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.

Be a Friend to Your S.P.O.U.S.E.

September 13, 2013 at 9:58 am | Posted in Biblical friendship, Biblical Marriage | 6 Comments
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The very first human friendship in the history of the world also happens to have been the very first marriage.

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Genesis 2:18

We tend to think of “friendship” and “love” as being in two different, although overlapping, spheres, but friendship is one of the most important ingredients in “love.”

Listen to how the wife in Song of Solomon talks about her husband:

My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.

Song of Solomon 5:10

She says, “My husband is awesome – I would not want anybody else.”

His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.

Song of Solomon 5:11

My wife has a slight variation on this when she talks about me: “He is very handsome – his bald spot shines like a diamond.”

His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.

Song of Solomon 5:12

“He doesn’t have beady eyes.” (Always a plus!)

His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.

Song of Solomon 5:13

“I like his aftershave and even his breath smells good!”

His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.

Song of Solomon 5:14

“He has strong hands and six-pack abs.”

His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.

Song of Solomon 5:15

“He has nice legs and his profile is stunning.”

His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

Song of Solomon 5:16

She is really carried away with this dude’s looks, and she’s telling this to the other women, but she is referring to him as her beloved and her friend.

I have devised an acrostic from the word S.P.O.U.S.E. to remind us of the importance of friendship between husbands and wives.

S.olace

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 17:17

Be a friend to your spouse by loving her or him at all times – especially in adversity. That’s what solace is: comfort in times of distress.

P.roximity

Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.

Proverbs 27:10

Friendship means staying close by – being there to help when a need arises. The relationship of marriage is less meaningful without the proximity of friendship.

O.penness

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

Proverbs 27:9

Be a friend to your spouse by communicating openly, honestly, and frankly. Your spouse needs to be the friend you confide in – and the one whose confidences you keep.

U.sefulness

Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.

Proverbs 19:6

Friends give each other gifts. It might just be time and attention or it might be material gifts, but being at your spouse’s disposal is the gift of usefulness. There are few things more discouraging than having a useless spouse.

S.upport and S.anctification

He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.

Proverbs 22:11

Kind words are supportive and helpful words are the marks of true friendship, but true love is always love in truth.

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Proverbs 27:17

Friends sometimes fight, but they fight to the glory of God, and they fight with a purpose. They fight in love, and God puts them together to make each other stronger – like iron.

E.ncouragment and E.xhortation

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Proverbs 27:6

A good spouse has to batter the other spouse occasionally (figuratively, not literally!), but then we have a duty to bandage the wound in love.

Be Kind to Your Spouse

April 2, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Posted in Biblical Marriage, I Corinthians | 8 Comments
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And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

I Corinthians 13:3-4 (emphasis added)

Christian spouses must “be kind” to each other.

Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards.

Song of Solomon 4:8 (emphasis added)

We must “come down” from the “high places:” the things in our lives that seem so important that they are overshadowing the importance of giving time and attention to our spouses. These include not only the material hobbies and pleasures and pursuits of this world, but even the “good things” we do: our devotion time; our prayer time; our church time; our ministry time. I am not saying that we shouldn’t be doing these things. We should. But there must be times when we pause, and say to our spouses, “‘Come down’ and spend time with me.”

There is also a warning that our “high places” are not only keeping us from spending time and attention on our spouse, but they can also be dangerous places.

Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards.

Song of Solomon 4:8 (emphasis added)

The mountains of Lebanon looked like mighty strongholds – but they were really the mountains of leopards and of lions’ dens. Satan, like a roaring lion, is out to devour your marriage and your family. I should want my wife to feel safer – physically and emotionally – with me, than with any worldly fortification.

Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.

Song of Solomon 4:9

Does your spouse – with just one of his or her eyes – just a glance in your direction – ravish your heart? True Christian love is kind, and kindness says that you should respond as though it does.

How little we understand of agape love! The word “ravished” means to capture someone’s heart – to make him or her come alive with desire – literally to cause the heartbeat to speed up. Was there ever a time when just a glance from your spouse made you so excited that you felt giddy – when your heartbeat sped up? Sadly, for many, that time has departed, but “kindness” reminds us that we must show excitement toward our spouse – not because he or she “deserves” it, but because of grace.

In Song of Solomon the husband goes to visit his bride, and she says,

I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night. I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?

Song of Solomon 5:2-3

How often does your spouse want to spend time with you? How often does he or she knock on your door, and find you too “tired” (or too lazy)? Too often our response is, “I’ve done enough for you today. I’m having ‘me’ time now.”

I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.

Song of Solomon 5:6

If I am not exercising kindness, and my spouse is making me plead with her just to spend time with me, my flesh wants to say, “Just forget it – if you want to spend time apart from me, go ahead. From now on, you come to me – I don’t come to you.” And I forget that the sovereign God could say the same thing about me. But instead He shows kindness.

The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love. What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?

Song of Solomon 5:7-9

Are we so careless with our spouse’s love that others will think, “What’s so special about a ‘Christian’ marriage? You don’t even get excited about spending time with your spouse. Why should we want that?”

Kindness is evidence that you are anxious for your spouse to notice you – that you desperately want to be in your spouse’s presence.

A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.

Song of Solomon 4:12

Christian marriage must be “a garden inclosed.” It must be a place where – out of kindness to your spouse – you have shut the door to many things – even things that aren’t necessarily bad, but that just aren’t indicative of kindness.

Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.

Song of Solomon 4:16

As a faithful spouse, one of your greatest desires should be that your disposition is so kind that your mate would come to you and find you pleasing. Christian marriages are to be a picture of Christ and the Church, but not everything should necessarily be seen by the outside world. When you are awaiting your spouse, your attitude should be that of a prepared place waiting with expectancy to be filled at any moment with the presence of your spouse.

For kindness to be present, though, Christ must be the center of your marriage. He must be invited into the midst of our marital homes. If you invoked His Name at your wedding, do not think that He will now sit meekly on the sidelines of marriage like a genie in a bottle waiting to be summoned out to patch up our lack of love. Once you have invited Him, there are repercussions to ignoring Him.

Careless Love – Part 3

April 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Posted in Bible Studies | 3 Comments
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The heart of Christ races when we show our love for Him – not because we deserve it – but because of His grace.

But look what happens. The king goes to knock on the door, to visit the bride, and she says:

I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night. I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?

Song of Solomon 5:2-3

How often does the Lord want to spend time with me? How often does He knock on my door and and find me too “tired” (really, too lazy)? I think, “I’ve done enough for You today, Lord – I’m having ‘me’ time now.”

I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.

Song of Solomon 5:6

If I were this king, and my bride was making me call her down – making me plead with her just to spend time with me – I would say, “Just forget it! I’m the king – I’m the master of the universe. If you want to run around and play your games – apart from me – go ahead… You come to me – I don’t come to you. I’ll find another one – I’ve got every woman in Jerusalem who would love to marry me.”

The sovereign God could be justified in saying that about us: “You think you’re special? You want me to woo you? Try to win you? I made you! There’s a million more just like you – I’ll just say “next” – and you’ll be finished.”

The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love. What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?

Song of Solomon 5:7-9

Are we so careless with God’s love that others will think, “What’s so special about your God? You don’t even spend time with Him. Why should we want to? You claim there’s something special about being His disciple or His bride, but you wouldn’t even get out of bed to come to the door when He knocked!”

There should be some evidence of time spent alone with the Lord – some evidence that you are anxious for Him to notice you, that you desperately want to be in His presence.

A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.

Song of Solomon 4:12

We must be a bride who has shut the door to many things. Even things that aren’t necessarily “bad” to us, when evaluated, are things that won’t attract our King.

Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.

Song of Solomon 4:16

The greatest wish of this young bride-to-be was that the wind would blow upon the garden she had planted, and that her fiancé would come and find it pleasing. Our garden should be enclosed – not necessarily seen by the outside world. But it should be a place ready to be filled at any moment by the presence of God. It makes me sad to hear people sing: “More love, more power, more of You in my life,” to claim they want to be “filled” with His Spirit, but they are so full already of other things that there’s no room for Him. Remember how “empty” of worldly belongings and passions and attitudes Jesus was on the Cross? Do you have a garden prepared for your King? Does it still seem empty without Him in it?

We have to be careful with our words. When this heresy begins circulating that our relationship with God is completely broken when we, as true Christians, sin, it can be very discouraging. We do the work of the devil when we call conviction “condemnation” and drive people further away from the Lord. He’s saying, “You’re wrong – I love you – come back to Me.” That’s conviction, not condemnation. He will even protect us as we wander, and try to call us back.


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