Muth and Fath on their wedding day.
Muth and Fath on their wedding day.

How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! 

Song of Songs 4:10

Our Husband, the Shepherd King is speaking into the relationship as it stands with the maiden. His words, the words of Jesus, speak life into this brand new marriage.

My sister

Sister is possibly the closest of human relationships.
Sisters share secrets.
Sisters hold confidence.
Sisters love without condition.

OK – maybe it is not always this way, but that would be the ideal.

My bride

Bride implies intimacy
Bride implies partnership
Bride implies knowledge of the deepest needs and desires

Our Lord draws us into relationship.

It always strikes me that we come to the Lord as servants, and never really graduate away from that core of serving a worthy Creator, Savior, Master.

But we do gain further levels of relationship, as we spend our live with Him.

He calls us His friend.
He calls us His brother.
He calls us His bride.

I love this verse in Isaiah 54

For your husband is your Maker,
Whose name is the LORD of hosts;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
Who is called the God of all the earth.

Isaiah 54:5

He is Husband, Maker, Lord, Redeemer, Holy One and God.

Hallelujah!

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping in today.

Merry Christmas

Ben

Many Waters - SoS header

My beloved is mine, and I am his; ~ Song of Songs 2:16

Back near the end of the first chapter of the Song the maiden began to speak in these terms:

My beloved is to me,

and we noticed that she had begun her relationship with the Shepherd King on the same footing that David expressed in Psalm 103, by noting all His benefits.

At that time we noted the progression from self centered Christianity to Christ centered Christianity.

Here is how this progression plays out in this most wonderful Song:

My Beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms In the vineyards of Engedi. ~ Song of Songs 1:14

My Beloved is mine, and I am his; He pastures his flock among the lilies. ~ 2:16

I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine, He who pastures his flock among the lilies. ~ 6:3

I am my Beloved’s, And his desire is for me. ~ 7:10

Here is the progression

  • My Beloved is to me
  • My Beloved is mine, and I am His
  • I am my Beloved’s and my beloved is mine
  • I am my Beloved’s and His desire is for me

As we arrive at the end of the Second Chapter of the song, we also find ourselves at the second step in this progression.

No longer is the maiden’s view of Jesus simply look what He has done for me, now she claims Him as her own. He is mine.

When she first began to consider Christ, He seemed far off, and she wondered if He would ever consider her, if He could ever be her lover. It seemed, at first, like a pipe dream, like a fairytale. How would this most wonderful King ever notice her, let alone give her the time of day.

But today we see that she has found Him with open arms and open heart. He has embraced her, and assured her that He belongs to her.

Not only does she see that He has given Himself to her, but now she is ready to commit herself to Him. “I am His.”

We must see, not only all His benefits toward us, His open arms, and His willingness to be in our lives. We must see that He wants to “own” us.

Paul captures this reality in 1 Corinthians 3 – check this out:

So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God. ~ 1 Corinthians 3:21-23

Do you see that you belong to Christ? You were purchased on the cross those many years ago, and He wants to own you. Surely you should not forget His many benefits, but today, will you be counted as His?

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

Come on back next week, will you?

Ben

Many Waters

For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers have already appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
The fig tree has ripened its figs,
And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. ~ Song of Songs 2:11-13

We have been camped here for a couple weeks looking at the season change described here in the Song. Last week we looked at some signs of life, signs that the seasons in life were changing.

In the Song winter is turning to spring. It’s interesting because if I suggest to you a spiritual winter, you might think cold and dead, and many Christians do go through a cold dead winter. However in our Song we actually see that our maiden has been snuggled in by the fireplace, so to speak, in a calm and intimate place. She has definitely been in the “comfort zone.” The Lord is calling her out of the comfort zone and into ministry now that spring has sprung.

Turtledoves - Photo Credit Wikidedia

So back to the signs of life.

Turtledoves singing:

The Turtledove is a migratory bird, and one of the last such to show up on the scene. Once this dove is cooing from the trees it is full on spring. The turtledove is traditionally a lovebird, faithful to one mate, and it's low mournful cry can be heard when it arrives from the south.

The turtledove played a part in the sacrificial system and in fact Jesus’ earthly parents offered a pair of turtledoves at His birth. Jeremiah speaks of the turtledove in much the same way as Solomon does here, as a sign of the season change.

There is however a reference to the turtledove that I love in Psalm 74, a Psalm of Asaph.

This Psalm is a cry to the Lord to return and rescue Israel. It starts out like this:

O God, why hast Thou rejected us forever?
Why does Thine anger smoke against the sheep of Thy pasture?
Remember Thy congregation, which Thou hast purchased of old,
Which Thou hast redeemed to be the tribe of Thine inheritance;
And this Mount Zion, where Thou hast dwelt. ~ Psalm 74:1-2

Sounds like winter to me. Asaph cries out to the Lord later in the Psalm:

Do not deliver the soul of Thy turtledove to the wild beast;
Do not forget the life of Thine afflicted forever.
Consider the covenant; ~ Psalm 74:19-20

This winter for national Israel is clearly not the cozy winter by the fire of the Lord hearth.

Our maiden experienced a safe warm winter by the fire, yet there are times (and she will face these times too) when it just feels like God has turned us over and left us for dead.

I love the references in this Psalm, I love how Asaph calls out to the Lord, and how he refers to God’s people.

We are:

The Sheep of His pasture
His Congregation
That He purchased
That He redeemed
His inheritance
His dwelling place
His turtledove

And finally – Consider the covenant.

Remember, Lord your great and precious promises to me.

Do you hear the singing of the turtledove today as you move through the seasons of life? Are you in a soul winter?

Remind the Lord  - call upon His name.

He made you, then purchased you, then redeemed you. If that does not demonstrate your great value, you’re missing it. You are the Lord’s turtledove, His lovebird, the apple of His eye.

I got a little rambly this morning, forgive me.

Come back next week, and we will finish these signs of life.

BenBut for now – cry out to the Lord, He is listening.

See you soon.

Ben

Colorado Rockies
Colorado Rockies

When we left our maiden she was resting in the arms of her lover, sleeping in His protective embrace. He left her there safe and warm and placed a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door.

He had set things in place to allow her to be undisturbed in this time. She was under His hand of protection.

She awakes to a sound.

Listen! My beloved!
Behold, He is coming,
Climbing on the mountains,
Leaping on the hills!
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. ~ Song of Songs 2:8-9

She rushes to the window and sees what it is she is hearing. And there He is, her Beloved.

But this is a side of her Beloved she has never known.

In the beginning of the Song, her Beloved, Jesus, was a Great Shepherd.

Next He took her under His wing, protecting her, feeding her at His table, giving her shelter, as a Father to her.

I have referred to Jesus as the Shepherd King for weeks now, but it is really here that Jesus is revealed as a conquering King, the Vanquisher.

Let’s pick it apart a bit.

First, notice that He is coming to her. If you remember her life prayer expressed in the very beginning of the song: “Draw me after You.” ~1:4 She loved Him from afar, but now He is coming to her.

Where had He gone? He was preparing the way, making sure the way was passable for the object His love (you.) He was preparing a way to walk and works to do.

Mountains and Hills

Mountains are the obstacles in life that seem insurmountable. When you are facing a mountain, you can’t see what is on the other side. To go around would take ages, seemingly more time than you have. To go over would take skills you don’t have. To go through would take an army of dwarves. (Thank you brother Tolkien.)

What are your mountains?

  • Unemployment
  • Debt
  • Sickness
  • Disability
  • Loneliness
  • Poverty

Hills are the problems of day-to-day life. They don’t cripple you, they just keep you from making progress. They come one after another and never seem to end. Got any hills in your life?

  • Cars that need constant repair
  • Relationships that are work
  • Work you just can’t get under control

When she (our maiden) goes to the window and throws back the sash she sees Him. And she sees that the biggest things in her life, the things that keep her up at night, her worries, her worst fears are not even slowing Him down.

Here we see Him climbing over mountains, but we know that there will be a day when He banishes them with a single word.

The stuff of life that slows her down – He leaps over – He is running through the hills and handles the mountains like a gazelle.

Have you ever seen a mountain goat, or any other mountain dwelling creature, just prancing up and down the mountainside? It is a wonder to behold.

What does it do in your heart, when you realize that the things you fear the most are child’s play to Jesus?

Remember Jesus walking on the water? You can read the story in John 6:15-22. The boys were toiling all night long – then they saw a ghost. They were frustrated by their circumstances and afraid of the unknown that was heading straight for them.

Jesus’ words are simple and profound.

It is I; do not be afraid. ~ John 6:20

And these are the words He speaks over you today. When it feels like all these endless hills are leading you to an impassable mountain – look for Jesus. He is calling to you – He is saying:

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10 *

BenOh, that is good!

See you next week.

Ben

* I know this is an Old Testament quote and I am taking a bit of liberty putting it in red letters - but I want you to hear this from the mouth of Jesus. He is speaking this to you today! Thanks for reading with grace.

Let his left hand be under my head
And his right hand embrace me.
~ Song of Songs 2:6

What can we see in the Savior's embrace?

The maiden calls out here for both the left and right hands or arms of the Shepherd King.

The left hand is under my head – it is out of my sight.

How much does the Lord do in your life that you never see? How much is behind the scenes? How often do you walk into a situation or circumstance and find that the Lord has laid all kinds of groundwork before you ever arrived?

Ever have a close call, where one minute, or even second of difference in timing may have meant life or death?

Paul tells us:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:28

How much of that working is done out of your line of vision?

That is His left hand behind your head.

Then there is His wonderful right arm. Those times you can actually feel His love in every fiber of your being. You see His hand of protection and provision, His answer to you desperate prayer, and your deepest longings.

His right arm’s embrace is manifest love, manifest actions on your behalf, provision, healing, help in time of need.

It is His deliverance. Five times in the book of Deuteronomy you find mention of the Lord’s mighty hand and outstretched arm rescuing Israel from the hand of slavery.

Let’s not forget this wonderful comfort in Isaiah:

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10

In short, there is no better place than the Lord’s embrace.

Oh dear ones, press in with me, and let’s seek His face together today.

Deb at Deb's Blog posted a related poem last week - check it out :

“You Open Your Hand”

BenThanks for going on this journey into intimacy with me.

See you next week.

Ben