Maintaining Fellowship with Christ (Part 2)

Maintaining Fellowship with Christ (Part 2)

I invite you to turn this morning to the Song of Solomon, chapter 2. We have been, on our communion Sundays, going through this book, just taking our time allowing the language of fellowship and communion to direct our hearts before we sit at the Lord’s Table. It has been very instructive and helpful thus far, good for the soul and good for the heart. We come to the end of chapter 2. Last time, my intention was to preach from verses 14 through, to the end of verse 17, but we got stuck on verse 14 and got no further. The Lord seemed to direct our minds and our hearts on particular themes last time. So, we are finishing up, really, this message that I set out to preach last time.

Let us read from verse 8 again. Song of Solomon Chapter 2, verse 8. I’ll just say again, we have this relationship that is reflected in the language and we are following on in the vein of those who we would respect, in terms of their exegesis of Scripture that this book is predominantly pointing us to the relationship between Christ and his people. So, if you are here for the first time today and you hear me kind of assuming that, I’ve already made out the reasons for that at an earlier time. This is what we see the heart of the message, what the spirit of God is instructing us in this allegory.

8 The voice of my beloved! Behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.
9 My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.
10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
14 O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.
15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
16 My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.
17 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.

Amen. Let us bow before the Lord momentarily in prayer and seek Him for the light and the help we need in coming to commune with the Lord in his word and preparing your heart for the table of the Lord. Let us keep that in mind and desire to really see Jesus as He reveals himself by His Spirit.

Lord, that’s our hearts’ desire above everything else, that we would see the Lord Jesus Christ. We pray that as Thou hast given Thy word to this end, Thy people would feast on Christ, seeing him in all of his splendor and glory, learning of His love and his mercy. We pray that afresh, no matter how well acquainted we are with the gospel, that our hearts, by the effectual working of the Spirit through the word, our hearts would be drawn out after him in deeper affection for the One whom we profess our souls love. We ask for the help and ministry of the Spirit of God. Empower me as the preacher. Give power and help to the hearer and grant, O God, that there would be that preparation of heart that we would sit at this table today and feast on Christ, that we would see him with the eye of faith and know his pardoning voice and his mercy toward us, that we would be reminded of the blood that was shed, of the work that was done, of the ministry of our Savior on our behalf. Even at this moment, we know our Lord Jesus is praying for us. Blessed Lord Jesus, may Thy prayers be effectual in our hearts and lives. May we know it and testify of it today in a way that is very profound for all of us who profess Thy name. Give eyes to those that are blind and sit in darkness. May they see Christ, savingly for the first time. May it please Thee now to extend Thy church and Thy kingdom, for we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

The great desire of the child of God is to enjoy communion with the Lord. This is something that is instilled from the outset in those who profess the name of Christ, that they begin a life of relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ; a life of reflecting on what he has done and desiring to know more of his mercy. It is in the heart of every child of God that they might understand to a greater degree, what Christ has accomplished on their behalf and to enter into that knowledge in a way that is more profound than its influence upon their own lives. It’s a sad state of affairs when the child of God reaches a point of hardness and indifference toward the gospel. We’ve all been there. Maybe even this morning, it finds us there, where we aren’t truly rejoicing in what the Lord has done. We will come, therefore to the table of the Lord, being reminded of the cross work of Christ as if it didn’t really matter to us. Now, we wouldn’t say that. That wouldn’t be what we would profess. It wouldn’t be what we would say, but how often is it true, when we pray, or read the word, or God forbid, when we come to the communion table of the Lord, that we aren’t really in that place of fellowship with God. Yet deep down in our hearts, there is that desire within our souls. There is that longing and that prayer, that desire of soul that we might just have more of Christ, see him, sense him, and have our hearts blessed and encouraged by his word to our souls.

Well, last time, when we looked at verse 14, we could see the amazing language of the bridegroom to the bride, where he says, “O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance. Let me hear thy voice, for sweet is thy voice and thy countenance is comely”. I don’t want to go over everything we said as we looked at this aspect of the call that is within this maintenance of our fellowship with Christ. There is a call that’s here, but I just want you to look again at the heart of the desire to see again what he says, “Let me see thy countenance. Let me hear thy voice”. It is a marvel, an absolute marvel of grace that this is the message of the Lord to his people. When we keep in mind our sin, when we become aware and conscious if the sins we commit on a daily basis, even as the people of God, that still this is the invitation of the Lord to His people. “Let me see thy countenance. Don’t be running away.” Satan would come and drive us to despair. He would cause us to run away from Christ, to hide from him, to try and find refuge in something other than him. Time and time again, we fall prey to that and we become so discouraged by our sins, by our besetting sins, by our coldness of heart. That rather than running to Christ, we neglect him even more. Yet, hear the word of the Lord to such a heart this morning: “Let me see thy countenance. I want to see you. I don’t want you to run away. I don’t want you to hide. I want to see you and I want to hear from you. Even more amazing: “I want to hear thy voice”. It is one thing for the Lord to call us into his presence, we might imagine then, that for him to call us into his presence, it’s for him to tell us what we need to hear. Often, that is the case, but on this occasion, in this passage and portion, we are being reminded, not merely of the Lord desire to communicate with us, to speak a word to us, but his desire to hear from us as well. Let me hear thy voice. I want to hear from you. I want to hear your prayers. I want to know your desires as they are reflected from you in communion. I want to hear from you how you love me, how you revel in me, how you appreciate me, how you are rejoicing afresh continually in the cross work and my redemptive work on your behalf. Let me hear thy voice.” We’ve been singing this morning. Has it been more than merely the lifting up of our voices in song? Has the Lord really heard our voice already today? The sentiments in the hymns, in the psalms are reflected in our lives and in our hearts, even as we worship, that we are communicating this to the Lord. This is my desire. It’s very easy for us to worship in lip, our hearts being far from the Lord. This is not his desire.

Then again, even more amazingly: “Sweet is thy voice. Thy countenance is comely.” This is only because of Christ. It would never be, unless he had done what he has done for us. It would never be that those that continue on in their sin, that are cut off from God, that their voices would be sweet and their countenance would be comely. So it is our union with Christ that is in view. It is our standing in the Lord. It is ONLY, it can only be said of those who know Christ this morning that are seen in this way. So as we proceed dealing with, as I’ve said already, this maintaining fellowship with Christ, just dealing with the same message that we sought to leave before you last time, we move on into verse 15 and following, leaving behind the call and looking now at the caution that is in verse 15.

Maintaining Fellowship with Christ

1) The Caution Look at the text again. Verse 15 here continues to say, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” So the desire of the Lord is for fellowship with his people. He wants to commune with his people. He desires this relationship and that is reflected very plainly in verse 14. But there are things that can hinder. There are things that are problematic, not on his side, but on our side. So the exhortation, the caution given in verse 15 cannot be ignored. If we are to truly enjoy fellowship with the Lord, if we are to sit this morning at the table in a meaningful way. If we are to come in prayer in a sense of genuinely enjoying fellowship with God, then we cannot ignore the cautions given in verse 15. The caution essentially is a warning that our grapes would not be spoiled, that the vines would not be spoiled and the grapes would not be destroyed.

Now, when you look through the word of God, you will find out that in a number of places, Israel is referred to as a vine. You’ll find it Isaiah chapter 5 and a number of other places that Israel is referred to as a vine. As she bears fruit, there is this cause, as you read through Scriptures, the vine is to bear fruit, even in the New Testament, but the fruit can be damaged, spoiled, ruined. That’s where the caution is because as we live before the Lord his desire is that his people be fruitful. Now, without turning to John 15, if you go there and study it for yourself, you will see that bearing fruitful is only possible by our fellowship with the Lord himself. It is our communion and union with Christ that causes us to be fruitful “Herein is our father glorified that we bear much fruit so shall you be my disciples.” It follows (that’s verse 8) this exhortation to abide in the vine. Without abiding in the vine, we can never bring forth fruit and glorify our Father. It’s not possible. So as the Lord Jesus presses upon his own disciples in John 15, if you want to bear fruit and have true communion with God and bring fruit forth to his glory, then you must abide and fellowship with me. So you have that fellowship reflected in verse 14 and the caution then given. There are things that can spoil it. Here in the allegory, it refers to the little foxes, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines for our vines have tender grapes.”

You’ll find the Lord Jesus in one place in Luke chapter 13, referring to Herod as an old fox. He is describing him in that way, not as a compliment of Herod’s characteristics. Herod was a destructive, corrupt and an evil person. We know that. The herods had absolutely no time for the truth. Even though we have in that herod, a desire to listen to John the Baptist, ultimately, his true heart’s desire is reflected when he takes off his head in response to the whim of a young woman. But foxes speak of that which damages and destroys. Without dealing with how Herod is that kind of a person that can destroy the life of a believer or the life of a church even, there are herods today that can come into the church and destroy the productivity and fruitfulness of the people of God. But, I think the point here is in relation to the personal communion of the believer. Therefore, the foxes are those things not outside of us, but those that are in our own lives. That deals with the problem of sin within the life of the believer and how it hinders what is desired in verse 14, that is, communion and fellowship. So let us just take a step back and think on this. The goal is fellowship. The longing is communion. It’s reflected here. Our Lord himself wants to have fellowship with you, his child. He wants to see your face. He wants to hear your voice. The caution in the following verse is that there are things that hinder it. There are issues. There are matters that can arise and it is going to destroy your productivity as you endeavor to have communion with me, whereby you will bear fruit. There are things that will spoil that fruit and destroy the vine so that it does not bring forth fruit at all.

Now, if you are a child of God, I know for a fact, that as soon as you start dealing with bearing fruit, you start to feel convicted just like every one of us because you know you are far more barren than you would like to be; at least you feel that way. There is no Christian on earth, there is no Christian in existence, there has never been a Christian in existence who is content and satisfied with the fruit that they are bearing for God. Doesn’t exist. If I was to ask you, are you bearing fruit to Christ? Some of you may wonder whether you could even answer that in the affirmative. You wonder, “Am I really bearing fruit?” You may bear fruit in a number of ways, of course. Our likeness of Christ is certainly fruit bearing. The desire to win souls is fruit bearing. Any form of service unto God to the glory of his name, even in our day to day work and employment, is fruit bearing, if it is done in the fashion it ought to be. But there is not the quantity of fruit and perhaps even the quality of fruit that we would want; more importantly, that our father wants. “Herein is your Father glorified that you bear much fruit.” So, we need to come to verse 15 carefully, because if we have entered into a period of spiritual lethargy, where we are not concerned about our fruit bearing, the chances are if we are not concerned about bearing fruit, if our desire is not to bear fruit, then we probably aren’t bearing fruit. While you may desire to have communion with Christ and to enjoy sweet fellowship with him, the likelihood is, unless you’re taken to heed the caution of verse 15, you’re not really enjoying that fellowship to the degree that you could. Foxes then, are these problems, these sins that are in our lives.

Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes chapter 10 verse 1, “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor.” Dead flies. The tiniest little thing; a dead fly in the ointment of the apothecary can cause it to send forth a rot and a stench showing corruption. Just a fly! This is the essence here of verse 15. There are little things in our lives that spoil, that rot, that destroy and we are to pay attention to them. Even the best of Christians need to take heed to this, because Solomon went on to say. “So doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor.” Just like that fly destroys the apothecary’s ointment, so does a little folly. Just a little folly. Doesn’t take great folly. You don’t have to fall as tragically aw some of those we read in Scriptures or in the church today. You don’t have to do anything outlandish. Just a little folly could have an impact upon the one who has the reputation for wisdom and honor, someone with a history of being wise, of walking with God, of being effective in the service of God; just a little folly.

Mr. Farr is dealing in Sunday School this morning, continuing on in the chapter 15 of the Confession of Faith, dealing with repentance unto life: down at paragraph 5 which talks about this need for us to endeavor to repent of particular sins, particularly. That the child of God in repentance, manifesting the grace of a new heart, the child of God is not just to have a general view of sin that says, “Well, I know I’m a sinner” and lump themselves in a group and say, “I’m here in the room. We are all sinners. We can all say we belong together as sinners.” That’s not the extent to which the Spirit works repentance into the child of God. It goes deeper. It goes to the point where the child of God repents of particular sins, particularly. That he becomes grieved over the little things, the specific things within his life that destroy his fellowship with God and are unlike his Lord Jesus. So, we are therefore exhorted. I was thinking of how applicable it was to be exhorted to the particular things; the little things within our lives. Verse 15 is essentially saying the same thing. “Take us the foxes, the little foxes”, specific. You know who they are. You know what they are and you can take hold of them. They are actual things you can take hold of and say, “This doesn’t belong. This is destroying my life, my fruitfulness.” There are many things that may destroy the fruitfulness in the life of a believer. Many things. It is not new to be in this age and realize there are particular things that are causing the child of God to be unfruitful. This is a problem throughout the history of the church.

Turn with me for a moment to the 19th Psalm. Psalm 19. This morning in our adult Sunday School, there was mention made of sin not having dominion over the life of the believer. Paul, when he writes that in chapter 6, he is referring back to the 19th Psalm, but look at the 19th Psalm. Now, Psalm 19 is a psalm of revelation; first God revealing himself through creation, natural revelation, then special revelation through his word. When you come to the end, you see that in light of the fact that God has revealed himself, so what? So what? God has revealed himself, to what end? Verse 12: “Who can understand his errors?” Man cannot have a revelation of God without seeing how unlike God he is and being brought to realize his sin. It’s impossible. I mentioned this in passing, last Lord’s day, I think in the evening, this same issue of having a revelation of God brings a man to see his sin. Where I referred to was Isaiah chapter 6. He sees the Lord high and lifted up. What’s his response? “Woe is me!” As David details God’s revelation of himself, both in nature and in his word, he cannot avoid this fact “Who can understand his errors?” In other words, I’m meant to see my own fault in light of God revealing himself. I am to see where I am at fault, so he says, “Cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins. Let them not have dominion over me. Then shall I be upright and I shall be innocent from the great (or much) transgression.” So, in light of seeing God and knowing God the child of God doesn’t get away from this point, that there is sin. And I need to be eradicated from all sin. I need to have a heart that doesn’t just hate sin and generalize sin in terms of saying, “I’m a sinner and guilty of sin”, but actually looks to understand his errors. I need to understand my errors. I need to know the problems and the plagues of my own heart. Again, to what end? God reveals himself. Man becomes aware of his sin. Man deals with his sin so he can properly understand and see God. For as God reveals himself, especially in Christ, as we see God revealing himself in Christ. Think of it, child of God. When you were first converted, go back in your mind and think of the time you were saved perhaps some point following that when you began to truly comprehend and rejoice in the gospel. As you became aware of your sin and began to weed out that sin and repent of the sin and name that sin and get victory over that sin, was it not to the end that you might know Christ more? It wasn’t just to be holy for the sake of being holy. It is that you might reflect him and know him. “This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God.” The end of sanctification is knowing God. The rooting out of sin is to remove that which blinds us to God. So the desire of the Psalmist, as he gets some little insight into God, is to get a greater grasp of the sin to have done with it; the specific sins of his life. Whatever the secret faults, he wants them washed away. He doesn’t want any sin to have dominion over him. He wants it dealt with.

This is the same. When you go to the Song of Solomon. We are being exhorted to the same thing. You want fellowship with God? You want fellowship with Christ? You want to hear him saying, “I want to see your countenance and hear your voice” and enjoy that fellowship with Him? Then we must take the little foxes that spoil the vines. Now, I ask the question this morning, “What are the little foxes in your life?” The little things; not talking about the great things. If there are great things I should not need to spell out to you your need to repent of them. We are dealing this morning with the little, with the small, with the apparently insignificant, with the things that others would turn a blind eye to, to the things Satan would say don’t matter, to the things we might say to ourselves, “Well, I know I’ll never be perfect, so it’s not a big deal!” And as soon as we resign ourselves to that attitude of being indifferent to sin no matter how small, we’ve already lost the battle. We are losing out in fellowship with Christ.

Calvin said, “Satan has so many devices by which he deludes and blinds our minds that there’s not a man who knows the hundredth part of his own sins.” What are the foxes of your life, child of God? Have you made progress in sanctification because you’re going after the little foxes? Or is your Christian life summarized by, “I turned to Christ. I was saved. There were big issues in my life I dealt with. I got rid of them whatever they were…language, other habits…and you eradicated all those very evident sins of your life. You brushed them all away, as it were, by the help ad power of the gospel in hour life. You managed to get the victory. Sin did not have dominion over you in those areas. But then, you began to coast into a life of ease. You began to coast in dealing with sin. You get to a point where there are things in your life and you’re not really dealing with them and they exist there and you’re deluded to think that they’re not affecting your fellowship with Christ and your joy in the gospel. Satan has so many devices. Let me say he knows the exact device to use on you that you’re most likely to excuse. Now you will look at someone else’s life, where they excuse something. You’ll look at their life and say, “I can’t believe they excuse that thing in their life!” and you’ll see it, but Satan uses a device on them that he doesn’t use on you because you would see it clearly, but you specific devices in your life that deludes you so you accept that as something that is compatible with Christian testimony and a walk with Christ. He knows the exact thing to use that you excuse. The very thing that if I was to put my finger on, you would say, “Get away, preacher! There’s nothing wrong with that.” May the Spirit work in your heart. You need to take foxes (PLURAL). Don’t think there is just one. You have a life of dealing with the little foxes in your life. It’s all ahead of you. As long as the Lord preserves you this side of eternity, you have in existence of looking for, weeding out, dealing with, crucifying little foxes. They range so vastly, self-sins of various nature, habits, things that aren’t inherently sinful, but are robbing us with our walk with Christ. I think that’s really at the heart of the church today in terms of its powerlessness. I don’t think we are doing things necessarily that are really, really wrong and are way worse in terms of what the church in the past may have done. But I think there are things in our life we can legitimize because they’re not inherently sinful but they are destroying our walk with Christ.

2) The Comfort So we are to take them, but the comfort of the text, note with me, is that it says, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes. The comfort is we are not alone. This is the mercy of the exhortation. Take us. Take us the foxes. The Lord is standing alongside you, beloved. The one who wants to see your countenance and hear your voice is not leaving you to yourself. As you sit this morning, and you will come before the table of the Lord and ask yourself in your heart “What are the foxes in my life” and if things come to mind and you say, “Lord, I don’t know how I can ever get rid of that. It has been an ongoing battle for years I have never gotten the victory. It continues to raise up in my life. At times I feel that it goes away but over and over again it appears and takes root and it live on.” The Lord is not saying, “Look, go at it yourself. You have the power. Go ahead. Do it.” No, take us. Take us! The Lord is promising grace. The very fact you can see the fox is his mercy already working in your life. You are sitting here this morning and you see the fox. You see the problem. You see the issue. You KNOW what is hindering you in your walk with Christ. To see it is Christ already working by his Spirit in your life. He’s already helping you. He’s already ministering without me going through a list of things that should not be in your life, or whatever. Without that, the Spirit of God is striving in your heart. The Spirit of God is coming alongside and saying, “There! There’s the fox right there! That’s why you’re not enjoying God. That’s why you’re not enjoying fellowship with Christ. That’s why the word is dull. That’s why your prayer life is almost non-existent.” It’s that and the Spirit is pointing it out in your heart. It’s his work, saying, “Let us take the foxes. Let us do it together.”

They are little foxes. They are not big. They are not great. They are little. They are not huge things that spoil the vines. Now huge things may spoil the vines, but in this context, it’s dealing with the small. It’s the tiny. Here’s the caution. They are easy to ignore. They are so easy to ignore. You know what, if you ignore them, you will never go on in your walk with Christ. I wonder at how many of us are stagnant. Truly stagnant. We may be reading books and filling our heads but what about the heart? The vines have tender grapes. They are so easy to spoil. Fruit bearing unto God is easily destroyed. You just have to make allowance for the little foxes. God give us help. So we have the Caution, We have also here:

3) A Confession. Verse 16. The language is now of the bride speaking of the bridegroom rather than rehearsing what he has said. Here is her confession, “My beloved is mine and I am his. He feedeth among the lilies.” She confesses him. She says, “My beloved is mine and I am his.” Wonderful way to reflect upon the fellowship of the child of God with Christ, isn’t it? My beloved is mine and I am his. My beloved is MINE. That is, he is in me. “Christ in you. The hope of glory”, Colossians 1:27. He is IN you. My beloved is mine. You can say that this morning, child of God. He is MINE. He is actually mine and he is in me as the hope of glory. As Paul writes in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” As Paul died to sin, as Paul rooted out the little foxes, as he dealt with the things within his life, the life of Christ was manifested more and more within himself. “The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” Beloved, don’t miss out on the fact that this is language of affection! I’ve been emphasizing this through this as we come to the Lord’s Table. It is not in some dead formalism. It is with affection. Her heart is rejoicing, my beloved is mine. She is not saying it in some deadpan fashion. My beloved is mine. He is mine! He is actually mine. Not, “He will be, he could be mine, but he is mine.” Can you say that? Can you say it? He is mine. He is mine!

4) The Cost What does it mean to you to be able to say that this morning? What does it mean to you? Let me put it another way: What did it cost for you to be able to say that this morning? It cost Christ his very life’s blood. It cost him everything. It cost him his condescension into this world. To live in a world full of sin that would despise and reject and hate him. Yet to set his face as a flint to go to Jerusalem, understanding and comprehending the awful sufferings of the cross, and to have his own people reject him and not believe in him. He goes to that cross bearing your sin on his own body on that tree. That’s what it cost for you to say, “My beloved is mine.” It’s not nothing for you to say, “I have a right to sit at the table today”. If I was to come and say you’ve no right. You say, “I do have a right. Christ is mine. He invites me to this table.” It is not without tremendous cost and sacrifice. My beloved is mine and I am his. I am his. It’s not just Christ in me, but I am in Christ. What union. I am his. As we mentioned earlier in John 15, Jesus says in verse 5, I am the vine. Ye are the branches. He that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.” I am his. Does he know you? Does he know who you are? Does he invite you to this table? Do you know beyond shadow of doubt your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? I am his.

He feedeth among the lilies. It’s that fellowship again. He is mine. I am his. He feedeth among the lilies. Remember the lilies,that he described for us at the beginning of chapter 2, where we are told, verse 1, I am the Rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. This is us. This is the church. Lily among thorns. He feedeth amongst the lilies. He feeds in the midst of the lilies. Christ does not sit in heaven distancing himself from his people. He’s not up there satisfied with his work and sends forth a message to his church, “Now, go on. I’ve done the work. You take care of the rest and I’ll see you in eternity.” That’s not it! He feeds among the lilies. That is, he condescends to commune with those that are the lilies. He communes with his people. When it’s able to be said that my beloved is mine and I am his, it’s not a long distance relationship. It’s not, there he is up there and someday I’ll see him and be with him forever. It is here. It is now. It is personal and perhaps there’s nothing more reflective of the fact that Christ feeds among the lilies than the communion table. He invites you, child of God, to sit at this table and you might feed on him and he feeds with you but there’s this fellowship. There’s this relationship; this ongoing communion now, in the present. Yes, like the lilies among the thorns, as the lily among thorns there you are, surrounded by the curse in a world that’s indifferent to Christ at the very best, despising Christ essentially, in its heart. Even then, you are in the midst of those thorns as a lily and Christ feeds among the lilies. He communes with you. He spends his time, if I can use it reverently that way. Christ’s time is invested in communing with his people. It’s not, “Cheerio and I’ll see you later.” It is constant communion with his people. This is why he says what he says in verse 14, “Let me see thy countenance. Let me hear thy voice.” I want this ongoing fellowship. I want to hear fro you in the morning child of God. I want to hear from you in the midday hours. I want to hear from you in the night watches. I want to see your face. I want to hear your voice. I want to feed among the lilies. I want to enjoy fellowship with you, my child. I don’t think we get how much he loves us. We don’t understand how much he is invested in communion and fellowship with us, that his existence is ongoing fellowship with his church. With you. Insignificant you. Do you think it goes over our heads because we don’t believe we are worthy or we don’t think it’s a good use of his time? I don’t know what’s going on in your heart. Only you can answer. He feeds among the lilies. He is here today in this place to feed with you, to sit with you, to fellowship with you. Now, it may appear mysterious but it is very real.

5) The Concern As we come to verse 17 then, we have a concern. It is a concern. “Until the day break and the shadows flee away”, she says, “turn my beloved and be thou like a roe or young hart on the mountains of Bether.” You can see here that the text is enveloped in a prayer: turn my beloved, turn my beloved. Essentially, that’s a desire: turn. Turn to me and it’s offered at night. See that? Until the day break and the shadows flee away. Turn my beloved until the darkness is gone. Turn to me. Don’t leave me alone in the darkness. Don’t leave me groping through the midst of this darkness. Turn to me. Make yourself known to me.

The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 13:12, speaking of life here on the earth. “Night is far spent and the day is at hand.” In other words, the church is very much laboring in the night season. It’s a night season, beloved. It’s not the day season. There is a fair dawn that awaits the church, but here we are as lilies in the midst of the thorns, struggling with the battles of the curse, battles within battles without, the struggle with the world, the flesh and the devil, all militating to destroy our fellowship with Christ, so her concern is this. Turn, in the midst of this darkness in this world. I’m afraid that I’ll not enjoy fellowship with you. So, until the day break and the shadows flee away, until I am saved on the day of redemption in perfect communion with the Lord Jesus, until that moment, turn my beloved. Turn my beloved. It’s a prayer even for a little reviving isn’t it? In the midst of the darkness of the world in which we live, the uncertainty on every corner. See it? How many things happened just in the past week that are full of uncertainty: economic matters and global economy and everyone scrambling what’s going to happen, tragedy yesterday in Texas. Uncertainty everywhere. We are in a world where there is nothing certain. It appears there is only darkness all around, even the church. The ray of light is in the prayer: Turn my beloved and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether. In other words, skip over the mountains of Bether. Deal with division and separation. The world is full of division and separation. The world, the flesh, and the devil, They are all mountains of Bether. They can all hinder us from enjoying fellowship with Christ and intimacy with the Lord. The mountain of Bether are all around and even within. They divide and they dismantle the sense of fellowship with the Lord. They’re everywhere. She says, “Turn my beloved. Be thou like a roe or a young hart.” That creature that has the ability to skip over the mountains, cross the division and get to where we desire him to be. Turn my beloved.

What mountains are preventing you from preventing the Lord’s Table this morning? Are they mountains of doubt? The child of God can be crippled with doubt. Crippled with a sense of wondering am I a child of God. Have I any right to this table? Crippled with a sense of this ongoing battle. Seeking for assurance and wondering, wondering, “Why do I not feel myself to be a Christian?” But is it not good news to hear words of promise to your soul that have absolutely nothing to do with your feelings? Words of promise that come to the doubting believer, that if you come to Christ, he will never cast you out EVER? It doesn’t matter about feelings. It doesn’t matter about the sense of it. Christ says if you come to him, he will NEVER, Ever cast you out. They may be mountains of sin, discouragement. We look at our failures. Parents looking at lack of success in raising their children, parents struggling with raising their children in the midst of raising their children. The days that go by where they lose their temper, raise their voice in a way that is not appropriate, say things that aren’t really becoming of the Christian testimony. These mountains rise up and say, “You’ve no right to be here!” And you pray, you pray, beloved, “Turn, my beloved. Lord Jesus, turn to me and be thou like a roe or a young hart. Skip over these matters of division and separation. Come to me. Come to my soul. Meet with me afresh today. Minister to my heart.” It really reflects utter dependence upon him, doesn’t it? This whole segment at the end of chapter 2, maintaining fellowship with Christ, the reason we maintain fellowship with Christ is because we are utterly dependent upon him. We can’t go on without him. We can’t exist in any sense of joy or contentment or satisfaction in the midst of the darkness. Only comfort in the blackness of this world and its sin and its suffering and misery, the real true light, is not in success and material things and what are these things? The real light, beloved, is his presence. It is his voice and so the prayer, “Turn my beloved” is a prayer that recognizes that the only thing that satisfies my soul is Christ. The only One who makes a difference in this world is Christ. Would to God we felt it far more keenly. May the Lord help us and give us grace as we come to this table this morning for Jesus’ sake. Let us pray.

Lord, we are thankful for thy word and we pray that Thou wilt give us the help we need to meditate upon it even as we come to this table that is set up before us. With much weakness, we confess our hearts are inclined to run from Thee. We need Thee to draw us that we may run after Thee. I pray that every child of God, this morning, would be given grace to see Christ and sense the forgiveness of sins that is communicated by the emblems that are upon this table. Help us now. Pour out Thy Spirit and draw very near we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.