Beware Fragrant Fingers

April 23, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Posted in The Fives | Leave a comment
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The bridegroom in Song of Solomon Chapter 5 comes to his bride’s home at night. He desires a visit, but she is already sleeping. Hearing him at the door, she is reluctant to get up. She has already washed her feet and got undressed for bed. Suddenly though, at the sound or sight of his hand by the hole of the door, she has a change of heart and gets up to greet him.

I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.

Song of Solomon 5:5

Sadly, she had waited too long. He was gone by the time she got to the door. Some commentators think that the smell of myrrh (an expensive perfume in Bible times) had been left there by the bridegroom as a token of his visit – sort of a calling card – and that when the bride touched the lock to slide back the bolt, she got the myrrh on her hands. It seems more likely, though, that the myrrh which dropped from her hands and fingers onto the handles of the lock was the result of her own preparations as she tarried in opening the door to her beloved.

If you are a Christian (part of the “bride” of Christ), has there been a time when Christ the Lord (your “Bridegroom”) knocked on the door of your heart or conscience in order to call you to some holy service, only to find you so slow to respond that the opportunity was past before you made up your mind?

When Jesus presents us with an opportunity to do His bidding our common sense might be tempted to do an analysis of the situation and decide that our hands are too dirty with sin to respond right away. “My hands reek of iniquity,” we think. “I must anoint them with the sweet-smelling scent of my own righteousness before I can attempt to do His will.” This can prove to be a costly mistake.

While it is true that only those with clean hands and a pure heart can ascend to the hill of the Lord, it is also true that “doubting” is one of the things that prevents us from lifting up our hands to His service. There is no amount of myrrh or self-righteousness that can make our hands acceptable to the Lord. Only His shed blood can do that, and once we are regenerated and justified by His grace through faith, we receive His imputed righteousness as a free gift. This means we must never delay – night or day, regardless of the condition of our body or our conscience – to respond to His knock of opportunity.

A Fly in the Ointment

November 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Posted in Common Expressions, Ecclesiastes | 8 Comments
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Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.

Ecclesiastes 10:1

The “apothecary” in this verse is what we would call a perfume-maker or possibly even a pharmacist. Ointment was used in Bible times for ceremonial anointing, perfume, and even medicinal salve at times. The popular expression, “a fly in the ointment,” comes from this verse, and it means a hidden defect or flaw in something that otherwise would be beneficial. Sometimes, just a tiny little mistake can cause a great deal of harm.

Can you imagine spending days or weeks perfecting the perfect concoction of spices, herbs, and oils, only to have the whole batch give off a disgusting odor because a miniscule, unobserved fly had landed in it and started to decompose? That’s what a little sinful foolishness can do to your testimony. Trust, honor, integrity, and character – and especially a reputation for wisdom – are things that are built up and cultivated slowly over time. However, they can be lost in an instant. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to guard our hearts, minds, eyes, and ears, and let’s keep our Bibles poised like holy flyswatters, always on alert for the tell-tale buzz of temptation.

Don’t Ruin Your Name

September 10, 2012 at 10:03 am | Posted in Ecclesiastes | 4 Comments
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A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.

Ecclesiastes 7:1

Your “name” (your reputation) is a precious thing. In Bible times ointment was expensive and precious. It could be used for medicinal salve or for perfume, but it could be easily spoiled. One little dead fly could ruin a whole batch of ointment. Don’t ruin your name.

The name “Judah” meant “praise” in the Old Testament, but the name “Judas” is now forever associated with treachery and betrayal because of the act of one man. I have no idea what the names “Adolph” or “Hitler” brought to mind prior to 1930s Germany, but they certainly haven’t been very popular names since then. Do you know any “Adolphs?” Did you go to school with a kid named little Timmy Hitler Smith? What about Charles Manson Jones? Those names were pretty much ruined by the deeds of evil men.

Ointment in the Bible was good, but it was fleeting. It had an expiration date. A good name is something that can be passed on from generation to generation. It can earn and carry with it trustworthiness. Cherish and protect your name by living your life according to the principles of the Bible.


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