Seeking for Christ

Seeking for Christ

I’d like you to turn in the Word of God this morning to the Song of Solomon. The song which is Solomon’s. Find the Prophecy of Isaiah. The book just before that is the Song of Solomon. We are using the Song of Solomon as a means of preparing our hearts for the Lord’s Table each month just working our way through the lines of this text, trusting the Lord to encourage us and help us to see Him and his mercy and what he has done for us. We look at the Song of Solomon and why it reflects much of direct experience in terms of relationship as many of old, we see in that the nature of the relationship between Christ and his church. So we are in Song of Solomon chapter 3. We have come to the beginning of this chapter and we want to read the opening 5 verses and consider them this morning. Next Lord’s Day, God willing, we will return to our series in 1 Thessalonians. Tonight, we will be in the gospel of Luke as we have been going through that gospel, but, here we are in the Song of Solomon, chapter 3. Let’s hear the word of God from Chapter 3 verse 1 through to verse 5:

1By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.
2 I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.
3 The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?
4 It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.
5 I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.

Amen. We end the reading there, trusting that we will prayerfully approach the Scriptures and approach the Lord’s Table at this time. Let’s pray just momentarily again.

Lord, we do pray that Thou wilt create in us a clean heart and renew a right Spirit within us. We pray that all of us who claim the name of Christ would be fresh warmed by what the Savior has done for us. We pray that as we look at Thy word, it would be a help to where we are today. Wherever any one of us finds our self, we pray for that word in season. We ask that it would not just be a sermon, but that the Spirit Himself will minister to the heart of thy people. Remember those without Christ, those who can’t participate in the communion feast. We pray for conviction of sin. We pray Thy mercies upon them and their unbelief. Open their blinded eyes, O God. Have mercy this day. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let me begin this morning, by making it plain that you will never be in heaven unless you are a seeker of the Lord Jesus Christ. You will never be in heaven unless you are a seeker of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is very clear evidence in the word of God that Christ is the great Seeker of Souls. Do not deny that. But at times, we can focus too much, not that there’s any wrong in looking at the aspect of this doctrine and considering it together, but we can put too much weight on focusing on the sovereignty of God in his seeking after souls to the detriment of not considering the need that souls have to seek after Christ.

Jonathan Edwards put a great emphasis on this, from what I have read and understand. In one place he says this, “This with me is established, that grace and the exercise of grace is given entirely by the Spirit of God by his free and most arbitrary motions, but that His ordinary method notwithstanding, is to give grace to those that are much concerned about it and earnestly and for a considerable time, seek it or continue to do things in order to it.” Edwards points out something that I think is plain in Scripture. The Lord Jesus Christ said very clearly in Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter in at the straight gate. For many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in and shall not be able.” They will endeavor to enter. There’s a measure of effort. There’s a measure of desire, but they will not, because they do not strive, or as it could be translated, “labor fervently”. They don’t labor fervently to enter in at the straight gate.

I remember preaching on that text just before I moved to Canada in 2014. The previous minister of this church, Dr. Cairns, was there and he said to me that whatever way I took the text, he said not many would preach what you preached. It wasn’t in a way he was saying I did wrong, but I remember that sermon. I remember preaching. I don’t remember all, but I know the exhortation I was leaving before the lost, that if they ever desire to be saved, if they ever truly desire to be washed from their sins and reconciled to God through Christ, they must take the exhortations of the word of God and strive for it. I remember I haven’t looked over those notes in probably five years, but I remember exhorting them, saying, you of all people should be listening to sermons, downloading the Sermon Audio app and listening to the gospel. For you of all people must get it. You of all people must grasp it. You must understand your need to press into Christ. So it is this morning. If you’re sitting back thinking, “Well, the Lord will save me in His time.” Yes, indeed He does, but there is nowhere in the Word of God where he says “Sit back”, rather “Today, if you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Enter in. Strive to enter in. Labor to enter in. Do everything in your might as you can, and God will often give grace, add grace to the desire. Even the desire itself is a measure of grave to press into the Kingdom. But if you have no desire, don’t sit there thinking that it will just perhaps come to you someday. Do everything in your power. Be at every meeting. Sit under every means. Hear the Word of God as often and frequently as you can. Respond to the voice of Christ. Repent. Believe. This is so important.

In Psalm 10:4, the psalmist said, “The wicked through the pride of his countenance will not seek after God.” God is not among his thoughts. He will not seek after God. You can see the obligation and the emphasis there. The expectation is that a man in his wickedness, if he has any sense whatsoever, would seek after God for mercy. So this is what you must do. If you are not saved this morning. If you have no assurance. If you have not stepped into the ark and are assured you are out of the reach of the wrath of God and the storms of his wrath that will come upon the unbeliever, step in today. Take Christ at his Word. You come to Him. Seek him out. Be a seeker of Christ. He will hear your cry. He will save your soul.

The vast majority here this morning, I expect, have truly sought Christ. As Peter says in 1 Peter 2:7, “Unto you that believe, he is precious.” You haven’t just sought him, but he is actually precious to you. He means something to you. In fact, we might say he means everything to you if you rightly understand what he has done for your soul. The more you understand what he has done, the more you love him, the more you appreciate him and the more you’ve learned that you need to keep on seeking him, that your life is a life of seeking the Lord. Psalm 27:8 David says, “When thou said ‘Seek ye my face. My heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.’” Psalm 40:16, “Let all those that seek Thee, rejoice and be glad in Thee, that such as love thy salvation say continually, the Lord be magnified.” You can see through these verses, and there are many more, you can see through them that there is the ongoing seeking after the Lord that the believer, David, as is expressed in Psalm 27 and Psalm 40, he is a seeker of the Lord as a believer. He seeks after the Lord. He hears the beckoning call of the Lord to him, “Seek ye my face.” His heart responds in affection and emotion. “Thy face, Lord, will I seek.”

The Lord seeks out seekers. In the 53rd Psalm in verse 2 we read, “God looked down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there were any that did understand and did seek God.” He looks to see, “Who seeks me. Who seeks after me?” Who seeks after him this morning, here? Of course, on the one hand, one might say, “Well, why would I have to seek the Lord? He has promised he will never leave me nor forsake me. If he never leaves me or forsakes me, I don’t have to seek after him. He’s there.” Yet, it appears to me that there is a felt experience with the Lord that we struggle to maintain, perhaps in part because of ourselves and in part in the Lord’s providence and his dealings toward us. So we are called to seek for that felt experience on a repeated ongoing basis through our lives. Psalm 63:1-2, “O God, Thou art my God. Early will I seek Thee. My soul thirsteth for Thee. My flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is, to see Thy power and Thy glory so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary.” The longing again of the psalmist here is, I long for what I have known in the past and I am seeking you Lord. I am longing for you. I am thirsting for you that I might experience you afresh as I have before.

Our verses this morning in the Song of Solomon chapter 3 reflect this seeking spirit. The bride’s joy depends upon a felt experience of having the bridegroom, whom her soul loves, near her. She is not content to be without him. You’ve been there or maybe are there. That in her discontentment and I will tell you, it’s not a bad thing. Now, it can become a bad thing. Our inner discontentment can reflect doubt rather than real exercising of our faith seeking after the Lord. We may languish in an experience of unbelief where we lament that the Lord is not near me. Yet really, the problem is a lack of faith, that we are not pursuing, trusting that he actually wants to be near us. You see, in the pursuit, there is the understanding of his reaching out in return, his willingness to actually be found of us. But if you are a seeker of Christ, and there is such a doubt cast over your mind, generated by yourself or by the lies of the devil in your ear, if there’s such a doubt cast over your soul that you think, “He will not be found of me”, that’s where it is wrong. But if you seek the Lord, if you seek after him, believing he actually desires to be found of you, and in faith you pursue him, you will find him whom your soul loves. So this morning, as we consider Seeking for Christ, let us note, first of all:

1. It is personal As much of this is and we have emphasized this. Again, I want you to keep this in mind. While the Table of the Lord is a corporate experience, where we come and we gather around the Lord and seek him in this fashion, yet, it is personal. It is very personal and we see this reflected in our text, as well. “By night in my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth,. I sought him but I found him not. At the end of verse 2, you have that phrase repeated, “I sought him but I found him not”. Make no mistake, this is someone who already has a genuine relationship, but she is troubled by the absence of his presence. She is concerned. Like the psalmist again, Psalm 77:6 “I call to remembrance my song in the night. I commune with mine own heart. My spirit made diligent search”. She does the same thing. Her spirit makes a diligent search. “I sought him but I found him not,” There is this personal seeking after him and in fact, even as we will see later on, when she comes to the watchmen. The watchmen are the ones that find her. She doesn’t find them. They find her. Her focus is not on them. Her focus is on the Lord, as it were. So she is searching, pursuing, desiring personally to find him whom her soul loves.

Now, from that, we learn something very practical. There are some things that cannot be done for you. It doesn’t matter how willing someone might be to seek the Lord in your behalf. There are some things that simply cannot be done for you. When I make an appeal to you to press into Christ to trust the Lord while he may be found, that is something I am expecting you to respond to. It is of no use whatsoever if your parents come to me and say “I want my son to be saved. Can you do that from my mediation?” No! No, not at all! You need to be the seeker. You need to be pursuing after the Lord. Your spirit needs to make diligent search! The Lord withdraws spiritual experience of his presence. I know, look, I’m not going to argue about it, just as an aside, I’m not going to argue the reality of that. There may be some that say, “Well, that’s touching into the mystical.” I’m not mystical, by any means. I read Scripture! I see that believers long for an actual felt knowledgeable experience of God in their midst. They want to know if thy presence going up with us carries not a pence. Lord, give token and indication of your presence. Let us know you are there. Give evidence of your presence. So while it may bring the charge of mysticism, yet it is not exclusive to me. Again, I spend most of my time reading dead guys. They are long dead and they speak in this same way, whether it be the Reformers, the Puritans, at least in my reading, which isn’t comprehensive. I haven’t read everything, but certainly in what I have read I never read anything that contradicts this pursuit after a real felt knowledge of God’s presence in your life. Sometimes when I hear even those within Presbyterian circles, we have a Presbyterian brother here this morning, but in those circles sometimes you can get a moving away from this. I ask myself, have you ever read some of the old Presbyterians? Have you gone back and read, even at the time of the Reformers, Knox is there, or just a generation or two afterward, Robert Bruce? Have you read some of the things they said? Have you read their own heart in this? They longed for, they knew, they desired the felt experience of God in their lives. They longed for it. They looked for it. They preached on it. They pursued it. They would point it out when it was not present. Not assuming merely upon the promises of God, knowing that behind those promises is an actual experience for the believer, but there are some things that cannot be done for you. When the Lord withdraws the spiritual experience of his presence, I can’t seek the Lord for you and you can’t seek him for me. It must be you seeking him, his calling out, his moving in his providence in your life, drawing you to himself.

So, how do you seek for Christ? How do you do this? Obviously you can’t fall what she does here in the literal sense but how do we learn from her example of seeking the Lord? It’s very obvious. You open the word. You bow before the Lord and you pray. You come to the place of corporate worship as you have this morning. You give yourself to what we call the “means of grace.” You give yourselves to those things. But let me just issue a warning: there is an element in which giving yourself to the word and to prayer and to gathering together to worship IS seeking. It IS seeking. I don’t deny that. But there is to be a seeking within our seeking. It is very easy to open the word of God and read but not be seeking. It is very easy to pray and not be seeking. It is very easy to be in the house of God, engaging in all the aspects of corporate worship and not be seeking. There has to be a seeking within the seeking. If you’re a child of God, you will know by personal experience, the difference between coming to the word, or to prayer to the house of God in a spirit of expectancy, desire and longing, seeking, actually engaging in a seeking endeavor to see the Lord, know the Lord, to experience the Lord. You will know that versus just mechanically reading your Bible. But look, I know from personal experience. Far too often. If it touches a raw nerve this morning because it’s exactly where you are, I have been where you are. God knows this morning, I was under conviction, wondering whether or not I’m actually there. Lord, am I in a position where I am not seeking in my seeking? It’s very easy to do. Very. But it is personal. That’s the point. I sought him but I found him not. I sought him but I found him not. Make sure you’re seeking. Make sure you are personally going after the Lord. Don’t sit around blaming everyone else for the distance you have from the Lord. I’ve heard Christians like that. I’ve heard them. I’ve heard believers and maybe they have an employer who is a professing Christian and seems to shows a measure of inconsistency in their life and they’re not living the Christian life the way they ought and they blame church oversight their boss is meant to be a Christian, their parents aren’t doing what they should. They blame every….NO! NO! No doubt we can be stumbling blocks to one another. I’m not denying it. It’s true. We can be a stumbling block to another person. God forbid! But, at the same time, you have to pursue. You have to seek the Lord. You have to get up and run after him whom YOUR soul loves!

2. It is Passionate It’s a Passionate Seeking for Christ. The whole passage revolves around love, doesn’t it? “I sought him whom my soul loveth” verse 1. Verse 2: “I will rise now and go about the city and the streets and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth”. “Saw ye him”, verse 3 “whom my soul loveth. I found him whom my soul loveth”, verse 4. Can you see? Can you see that it is passionate? How many times here she refers to the love that she has for him? That is significant. It shows that it’s not mechanical. It shows that it’s affectionate. It shows that it reaches in to the full part of our being and our humanity. I said this before: there’s a lot that can be learned by the way God has made us. Our capacity to feel, our capacity to love, to understand. What other creature spends so much of their energy writing poetry and songs and stories and scripts and talking so much about love? Now, often, it is misunderstood, but we have the capacity to understand this that no other creature on earth can grasp.

That is not merely to be expressed and experienced toward one another in the midst of our humanity. It is first and foremost toward God. You read through the book of Deuteronomy, you will see, certainly in terms of the Old Testament, and great focus upon love and loving the Lord It deals with God’s love for his people, how they are to love him. Loving the stranger as well comes into it and there’s a lot about love and the familiar words of Deuteronomy 6:5 “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all of thine heart, with all of thy soul, and with all of thy might.” Echoed over and over again in the New Testament, this all of our being loving the Lord our God. They’re exhorted over and over again to love the Lord that loves them. This is the exhortation in the second giving of the law. This is what Moses is leaving before the people before he’s gone and they enter into the Promised Land. This is the focus: Love the Lord that loves you. This is to be our response.

Now, if you to turn to Deuteronomy chapter 4, you will see that the Lord prepares his people for the occasion where they may not love him as they ought. I’m not going to read all of the chapter, but, there is exhortation about how they are to live, but special focus upon on idol worship and turning aside from the Lord and what they can expect, should they do that. Don’t be corrupting yourselves with graven images and so on. As you come down to Deuteronomy 4 verse 25: “When thou shalt beget children and children’s children and ye shall have remained long in the land and shall corrupt yourselves and make a graven image of the likeness of anything and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord thy God to provoke him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereon to ye go unto Jordan to possess. Ye shall not prolong your days upon it but shall utterly be destroyed and the Lord shall scatter you among the nations. Ye shall be left few in number among the heathen whether the Lord shall lead you. You see God will lead them out of the land through oppressors. V 28 and there you shall serve gods and work of men’s hands wood and stone neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. BUT (note v 29) if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord they God, thou shalt find him. If thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. Now this may be familiar to you, not from here, but from Jeremiah chapter 29, where this is underlined, again to the people that have been taken into captivity and Jeremiah sends word unto them how to respond to the fact that this would be for seventy years and when the time comes, then they will seek the Lord and if they seek him with all their hearts they will find him and he will come to their aid. He will meet with them where they are. Now, keep it in context. The focus of the book is love. Love the Lord, Love the Lord! But the heart of that love is expressed by seeking; a passionate seeking after God. In other words, as I am to love God, it is a seeking love. So, I know that I am going to be always challenged by sin and temptation. I’m going to have things come into my life that will build brick walls between me and the Lord. That is inevitable. That is going to happen.

Listen, when the Father testifies of the Son three times, “This is my beloved Son”; between them, there are no walls. There is no hindrance. There is perfect love. Because there is a perfect love untainted by sin, there is no seeking in the sense that Christ is trying to find the Father. There is perfect communion, perfect harmony. “I know thou hearest me always. Heaven is always open.” The communion is always there. The Father and the Son have this perfect untainted love. That is not the case for us. That’s not! So, if you take the fact that Deuteronomy 4 is saying, Look, when you get away from the Lord and sin comes in and there’s a breach in your relationship with God, seek the Lord. That’s what you are to do. Your love, this is what this book is about, loving the Lord with all your heart. You will love him when you are found far away from him, when you seek him, when you seek him with all of your heart. Are you following, beloved? Because it’s very important we get this. We are affecting the kind of love the Lord Jesus has shown to us. While the love that is between the Father and the Son is without any tainting, without any problem, without any barriers. As Christ came from heaven to earth to seek for us there were many barriers. His love for us, God so loved the world required him seeking. Christ had to seek. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He shows his love because of sin he has to show it by seeking after us. In turn, beloved, our love is a seeking love. We love him because he first loved us. Our love for him is to be reciprocated in the way he has shown it to us. So we seek his face as we have seen through the Psalms, as we see from Deuteronomy chapter 4, we are to have this passionate seeking for Christ. If we really love him, then there will be a seeking love reflecting from us just as the Lord has exhibited to us. Thirdly, (I was stretching here a little, but it’s a partnered seeking for Christ)

3. It is Partnered It is a partnered seeking for Christ. Verse 3 “Watchmen that go about the city found me. To him I said saw ye him whom my soul loveth.” Now earlier, I said you can’t have anyone do for you what you need to do yourself, in terms of seeking the Lord. That you need to seek the Lord for yourself, but that does not mean that you can’t be helped by others. Here, the watchmen appear to be a help to her. Now, who are the watchmen? Well, the watchmen are those tasked with proclaiming truth and guiding the way and protecting those around them. In Scripture, watchmen are often prophets. We read in prophets Isaiah 21:6 “Go set a watchman. Let him declare what he seeth.” He has this duty to declare what he sees to the people, to reflect truth to those for whom he is responsible. Isaiah 62:6 “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night.” This is their job to continue to declare what they need to hear. Jeremiah 6:17 “I set watchmen over you saying, hearken to the sound of the trumpet”. Of course, the message that goes along with the trumpet. Ezekiel was such a watchman. Ezekiel 3:17, we read, “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel. Therefore hear the word of my mouth and give them warning from me So these are the watchmen. There are those in your life that bring you the word of God. There are those in your life that God uses to direct you as they simply bring the word. It can be any one of the Lord’s people at times, because we speak to one another the word of God. We counsel one another on various occasions. Parents teach their children, Sunday School teachers teach those before them, Christian educators teach those that are under them, grandparents, the church body, all of this. But particularly, of course, you have that weekly, sometimes several times through the week, where the assigned preacher/teacher of the word opens up the word and gives you the mind of God on that occasion.

Now, I was reading one of Spurgeon’s sermons this past week. He touches on this. It was an encouragement to my own soul. It so fit in with the work of the watchman and how people are to perceive the work of the watchman and so on. Here is what the great Baptist preacher said on that occasion: “Let not any one of you, as he goeth out of the house of God, say unto his neighbor, ‘How did you like the preacher? What did you think of the sermon this morning?’ Is that the question you should ask as you retire from God’s house? Do you come here to judge God’s servants? I know it is but a small thing unto us to be judged of man’s judgment, for our judgment is of the Lord our God. To our own Master we shall stand or fall, but of all men should ask a question more profitable unto yourselves than this. Ye should say, ‘Did not such-and-such a speech strike me? Did not that exactly consort with my condition? Was that not a rebuke that I deserved; a word of reproof or of exhortation? Let me take unto myself that which I have heard and let me not judge the preacher, for he is God’s messenger to my soul. I came up here to be judged of God’s word and not to judge God’s word myself.” What advice. What advice! In a day where we get to pick and choose everything, we are long away from the day when Henry Ford said, “You can have whatever color you like, as long as it’s black.” That’s not how we have all these colors whatever toppings you want on your… you can actually select your own burgers now and you don’t even have to do it…with your own with the little devices they have at checkouts and so on. You get to select everything. Never think that kind of approach can be brought into the house of God. We begin to stand in judgment not really of the preacher at all, but actually of the word of God. Of that which has been declared to your soul. There are watchmen in your life in the providence of God. They bring the word. That’s their job. Not really anything else.

So the watchmen that go about the city and in the providence of God they come across this one who is able to say “saw ye him whom my soul loveth”. Well, we are not told whether or not they gave direction. Doesn’t give us specifically an answer. It’s kind of like John 12 when the Greeks come: “We would see Jesus.” We’re not actually told whether they got the opportunity. I know again, people, they read, “Well, I’m sure they were led to Jesus.” Maybe they were. Maybe they were. We don’t know for sure, here. We can’t say absolutely certainly that the watchmen were a help, but it seems to be that they were some help because immediately following this meeting then, she finds him whom her soul loves. See, the Lord uses various things to bring us where we need to be. In His providence, he puts various people and circumstances and experiences in our lives that we may not appreciate. We may not value. We may not understand what they are doing in our lives at any given moment. But the Lord has them right there and they’re going to be used to get us in the direction in the path of the Lord himself.

4. It is Productive The Lord is so gracious, because we see here in verse 4 that it is a productive seeking for Christ. It is productive. She is not left unsatisfied. The Lord, in his mercy keeps himself within reach, beloved, need to hear this. We need to keep this in mind. We need to realize whenever he is beckoning you, whenever he distances himself from you, it is never to the point that he is out of reach. When he hides his face, it is not to forever hide his face, not to his people, anyway. When he is yours, when you can say, “My beloved is mine and I am his”. When you know that you belong to him, when your sins are washed away. When you are reconciled to God and you have that fellowship with the Most High through Christ. When we say like Peter that “unto us that believe, He is precious”, when he is actually precious to your soul, you are far more precious to him than he is to you. He is not distancing himself and keeping himself away from you so that you search in vain. He is getting your attention. You’ve been so focused on life, on employment, on relationships and troubles, on health, on any number of issues, so focused on these things, and something comes in and you begin to feel that I’ve actually lost out with God. I am not experiencing the Lord in the way I ought. That love for him does not exist as it once did. As that stirring begins to awaken within your soul, and as the word begins to strike at the quick and you realize there is something amiss, the Lord is moving you toward himself and he is not moving away. He is not hiding indefinitely. He is just doing enough to get your attention and to kindle again that love that you ought to have for him.

She finds him. “It was but a little that I passed from them”. Oh how the Lord uses the means of grace, at times. How, at times, we were in a bad way and the watchman, let’s say it is the preacher, oh how many times I could testify of being in this place. I didn’t even want to go to the house of God or hear the word of God. It wasn’t that you’re opposed to it, but you were in such a frame of mind of despondency, discouragement, distress, sorrow, whatever it might be. You felt the easiest thing to do is just to lie on in your bed and not seek, not take advantage of the means of grace. She had the wisdom to get up and just after she hears the word from the watchman, “It was but a little that I had passed from them. I found him whom my soul loveth” How the Lord uses the simple means of the word to address us where we are. So she finds him. “I held him and would not let him go until I had brought him into my mother’s house and into the chamber of her that conceived me”. She finds him and she’s not going to lose out. I found him whom my soul loveth and I held him and would not let him go. That is the right response, isn’t it? He has distanced himself from me or circumstances have gotten in the way and I need to get there. I need to pursue him. I need to experience his nearness afresh, so you run. Oh believer, get up and run after Christ. Within your soul pursue him. Within your heart let there be the prayers being offered with the sincere desire. “Lord Jesus, let me find you today. Come near to me. Reveal yourself to me. Don’t hide in the shadows. Don’t stay where I can’t reach you. Come to my soul with a fresh nearness. Melt the hardness of my heart. Remove my desire for sin. Change my ambitions and cause me afresh to love you with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength. Then once you get there, hold him and don’t let him go. Be like Jacob, wrestle to the breaking of the day and “I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me.”

Oh how profitable it is to apply ourselves to seek Christ. Is it not more profitable than our lives reflect? Is it not? I fear it is. Too many of us, myself included, we pray, we read our Bibles, we seek to apply what we read and give ourselves to what we should, what we ought, but am I really, really where I need to be? Am I really bursting with joy at the sense of my sins forgiven? Am I glad, or am I affected by circumstances? Does anxiety grip my soul, worry and concern. Are these things dominating my life because really they have the bigger view or my vision. They seem large in my life right now. But whenever I begin to seek the Lord and He fills my vision, when I get near to him, isn’t it in a sense, the proximity that matters. My nearness to Christ fills my vision with the Lamb and all my problems seem to fade away into the background. Its proximity to Christ, It’s seeking him, getting near to him, experiencing him, knowing his nearness. Finally,

5. It is Protective It is a protective seeking for Christ. She is very protective verse 5. (I should just add also what she does there at the end of verse 4 before going to verse 5: “I held him and let him and would not let him go until I brought him into my mother’s house and into the chamber of her that conceived me.”) I’m not going into the church as the mother of the believer, but that again, is the biblical doctrine and if we take it in that way, in the allegory, here she is, she gets a hold of him and what does she do? She brings him with her into the house of God, into the communion she enjoys with others, into the place of fellowship.

You know, every one of us brings something of the Lord into His house, or nothing at all. That’s what, at least in part, there’s many ways we distinguish days of revival versus days of declension, but one of the ways to distinguish is that the people who gather together are bringing with them a real love, a real sense of connection, a real relationship, a deep fellowship with the Lord. They don’t come to a prayer meeting to pray for the first time that week. They come to the prayer meeting to continue on in the vain of fellowship that they have been enjoying. Now, again we are not in the days of revival. May god be pleased to visit us because that…Oh, may be the Spirit be merciful. Bring us to days where the church is doing what she is doing. Once we found the Lord, we will not let him go and there is a fellowship that is enjoyed there. Wherever we go we bring him with us especially when we come to the house of God, we bring him with us so there is that intimacy experienced in the house of God as every child of God in the church brings their intimate knowledge of Christ with them, rather than the deadness that so often exists, even in the church. So it’s productive.

As I say, verse 5, it is protective. “I charge you O ye daughters of Jerusalem by the roes and hinds of the field, that you stir not up or awake my love till he please.” Do not, whatever you do, don’t drive him away. This is her exhortation to those around her. This is someone here saying to the church, “don’t’ drive him away.” This is someone saying, “This is the priority of my life. Don’t let anything set in or come and hinder this. I want to maintain this. I so desperately want him to stay”. Beloved, we need to be protective of our walk with the Lord. We do. It’s all of the Lord at the end of the day. This is all him. He initiates our hearts to seek after him. The only reason you’re sitting here today with any inkling of desire and interest in Christ is the Lord. He sought you. He found you. He gathered you. He brought you into where He is. He has set you in heavenly places. This is a position that has been purchased for you. It is a standing that is to be enjoyed by everyone washed in the blood of Christ. All this is, is our response. It is a response to him who first loved us. He desires us. It is not mechanical. The Lord, and this is wonderful, and yet it is also a challenge, the Lord does not stand off stoically with his people and say well I’ve done the job, they are redeemed, they are going to heaven I’ve don’t my bit and I kinda don’t really care what else happens from here on in. I mean they’re saved, they are eternally secure and I can kind of walk on and continue on and not be worried about them. That’s not how he feels. He loves. His heart goes out to us. He’s touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He understands our sorrows. He is right there sympathizing with every broken-hearted child of God. He walks with us even at times when we are not completely cognizant of his presence. He is always there. He is always there. He is with his people and he genuinely, his heart reaches out to every last one of you who are washed in his blood. He loves you far more passionately than I can ever begin to explain and he longs for it to be reciprocated.

We are often like Gomer, yet Hosea continues to love the adulteress. She is so unfaithful with children that may not even belong to Hosea, yet the Lord uses this as a picture of his love for his people. That he keeps going after them and when we come to our senses, we, in return reciprocate that seeking love of the Lord toward us. I trust today that we will step into that spirit if we are not there already, that this table is, again, it’s the Lord seeking for us, and in turn, us sitting and participating is seeking for him, is it not? Is it just a table with no meaning, no significance, no value, no spiritual truth behind it, no significance in terms of our walk with the Lord? Or is it filled with meaning in terms of the Lord communicating, “I am seeking for you. You seek for me? I am so thankful that he seeks me. I trust that you and I will seek after him and that he will draw near in a very precious way and we will hold him and not let him go. Let’s bow together in prayer.

Lord, we have heard from Thee today. We don’t live in days of revival. Certainly a part of us wishes that we did. But we would pray that Thou wilt begin the stirrings in all of our hearts of personal revival, of personal quickening. We pray there would not be merely in our diligence to do the right thing, though we pray we will be faithful. We pray it will go much deeper than that, that we would be a people that have a heart for Christ. We pray all of our being would love the Lord our God. We ask sincerely that Thou wilt be gracious to us where we may be wandering, where the devil may have made inroads, where there may be a hardening of our hearts, where through sin and disobedience, a searing of our conscience. Lord, chip away, polish the diamonds, as it were. Help us to reflect the light in its clarity and beauty and do Thy work within us. We are thankful for such promises that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Never leave us to ourselves, Lord Jesus. Even now, meet with us around Thy table. Feed thy sheep. Nourish us in Christ. We pray in Jesus’ name.