Thoughts of Mutual Affection

Thoughts of Mutual Affection

Turn in the Word of God this morning to the Song of Solomon. The Song that is Solomon’s . Find Isaiah and work back from there. It might be easier for you. I’ve been doing devotional exposition, you might call it, every time we come to the Lord’s Table through this book. I trust it will again, today, prepare our hearts to sit at the table of the Lord. That it would be helpful in getting our minds, as Isaac Watts said, “To see the Savior’s love” and that that may kindle ours. One month passes. Another month passes. We come to the table of the Lord and you will know what it is like, I’m sure, to feel the ebb and flow of your own affections. It’s a constant battle here on this side of glory. The battle of our affections to keep them warm, to keep them the way they ought to be. So, the Lord has given us the table as a means to stimulate our affections toward that which is central to our whole joy that we have a Savior who lived, who died, who shed his precious blood for us that we might be set free. As we come to this book again, we are going to read the last few verses 12 through to the end of the chapter. We were trying to finish the chapter last time, but we only got as far as verse 12, so we will develop some of our thoughts a little more from what we had for last time and trust the Lord will encourage us. So, Song of Solomon Chapter 1, let’s read from verse 12 to the end of the chapter.

12 While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.
13 A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.
14 My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.
15 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes.
16 Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green.
17 The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.

Amen. We will end our reading there. Let us still our hearts momentarily in prayer. Let’s ask the Lord to open up the scripture for us and see him in all of his glory:

Our Father, we are thankful for the fact that the Lord does think upon us, that we can say with the Psalmist, “How great is the sum of them, thy thoughts toward us. We pray today that Thou wilt help us as we look at the Word and consider the thoughts that Thou dost have toward thy people. There are some not in our midst today. We pray that Thou wilt remember them; some that are tuning in and others Lord, that are lying in beds of sickness. We think of our sister Melva. We pray that Thy hand will be upon her. We pray that Thou wilt restore full strength to her and full health. Our brother, John, continues to need our prayers. Restore him we ask. Thank you also for our brother, Dr. Allison. Encourage his heart this morning. Bless his soul, he and his family. Grant today that Thou wilt come and prepare all of us to sit at Thy table. We need to hear from Thee, Lord. Our hearts are inclined to coldness. We battle with it every day. So fan the flame, we ask. Come. Breathe upon the embers. Come, gracious Spirit of God and see the need of every individual heart and cause our affections to rise. May we love Thee the way Thou hast called us to love Thee with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength. So fill me with power. Condescend upon the gathering here that thy presence may be known, In Jesus’ name we ask. Amen.

The opening scene of this wonderful song presents to us an individual, a woman, that finds herself somewhat distant from her beloved. She is not where she needs to be. She is not where she wants to be. So she expresses in verse 4, “Draw me and we will run after thee.” The sense of that distance that she has between her and of course, she, as we thought of some time ago, she is really reflecting the church. She’s reflecting the life of the believer. She’s reflecting that body for whom Christ gave Himself. She feels herself to be at that distance, as I’ve said to you already, expressed also in verse 7 when she asks this telling question, “Tell me O thou whom my soul loveth where thou feedest. Where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon. Where are you? Where are you? I need to get myself to where you are. I’m at a distance. I’m away from you. I’m not right near to you and I recognize it now. I want it to change.”

I just pause there and underline that, should there be anyone here this morning that senses that distance this morning that you know you’re not where you ought to be with the Lord; that there’s a distance between you and the Lord, not caused by Him. There is a dear lady used to visit and she is well into her 90s and she would sometimes say to me that she didn’t really sense the Lord and then she would ask the question, “Who moved?” She knew it wasn’t the Lord. He hadn’t moved. The Lord hadn’t moved away from her. There was no desire in the Lord to create a distance between Himself and her so she would wonder, it must be me then. This distance needs to be corrected. Needs to be addressed. We considered that in previous weeks. So she gets herself into the place where she needs to be. We looked at verses 8. As I said, we got as far as verse 12, where she begins to see that need to get back to where she needed to be. So she moves in that right direction .Look at verse 8: If you don’t know where to go. If you don’t know how to get where you ought to be. Look at verse 8. “Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock and feed thy kids beside shepherd’s tents”. Go to the place where the others have gone. Follow the footsteps of those who have gone before. It’s not new. You don’t have to try and find a novel way. Every child of God goes the same path to get close to the shepherd. Every Christian gets right with the Lord the same way. It’s why Christians can give advice to one another. It’s why we can say to one another “Look brother, look sister, here’s what you need to do. Here’s how to get back where you need to be.” The way back to God is not novel for each of us. It’s the same way of confession, recognition, and desire. I need to be where the Lord is.

She begins to have expressed to her the beauty she has, the imputed beauty that you can see in verse 10:Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold. This beauty has been placed upon her like the beauty of the people of God, given to us by the Lord. It is also contributed to by the church, verse 11 “we will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver”. This is what they, the daughters of Jerusalem are saying: “We will contribute to your beauty”, just as the body of Christ helps one another in our pursuit of holiness. Then we came to v 12 where we simply laid before you the scene as to while the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendest forth its smell thereof. We closed last time looking at this with that scene we find in John chapter 12 where Mary brings that alabaster box of ointment, very precious, a box of spikenard and she presents it to her King as He sat at the table as He sat dining there in that home, she brought this alabaster box of ointment, this spikenard and let the aroma of it be known in that room as she expressed her worship and love for her King. We didn’t get any further, so we pick up really at verse 12, looking at the remaining verses this morning as we try and prepare our hearts and minds to think of the Lord and all that He has done for us. We are considering it this morning under the heading,

Thoughts of Mutual Affection. I want you to note with me first of all:

1. The honor she feels toward him Look at v 12: “While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof. A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi“

Now, I know a lot of the language here in these verses, maybe at least some of you are thinking, what is he going to say from this? But, you begin to scrape, and you begin to look at Scripture and you see it has a lot to say in terms of the experience of the believer with their Lord. You’ll note, I think it’s helpful for us just to point this out in verses 12 and 14, the titles that she gives to him.

First he is a king, then he is beloved, and I think it’s important to note that. There is an emphasis there, in recognizing the Lord in these ways; that he is beloved to us. We love him because he first loved us. There’s a natural affection that the believer has toward the Lord, but there is also this recognition that he is king. And we never want to forget that. We never want to undermine the sovereignty of the Lord. In a sense, you may say, that she recognizes first, a title of dominion. He is king; then a title of devotion. He is her beloved and you pull them together. I think that helps us to have a correct view of who the Lord is to His people. He is our beloved King. He is our beloved king. We love Him, but we love Him also as king. And there’s a danger, I think at times, and certainly, even believers can fall into this, where we have a wrong familiarity, and I use that advisedly. There’s a familiarity that should be encouraged. We should know God. This is the whole purpose of the coming of Jesus Christ, that we might know Him. At the same time, that knowledge should not lend itself to a sense of contempt, where we do not recognize Him in the authority that He has over our lives. There must always be that understanding that He is also my king. It is losing sight of this that leads us into sin. Losing sight of this makes us set aside his commands. Losing sight of the fact that He is king allows me to take what?: A place of sovereignty. A place of control. Where I get to dictate what it is to live the Christian life. No, no, no, no! Never, ever, am I allowed to have a view of the Lord would lower or diminish my understanding of His sovereignty. He is sovereign over all nations, over all lands, over all peoples. But he remains sovereign over his own church and they’re the ones that ought to reflect the fact that he is sovereign more than anyone else. Their whole lives should recognize it. And she recognizes it. The king sitteth at the table. It is HIS table and she is there present that time. Of course the word “table”, I think I mentioned this last time, it’s not like we would understand it. In fact, it could be translated “couch”. But the whole sense of the word really in a literal sense is of being compassed around, or gathered around. So it’s a scene of relaxed fellowship while the king sitteth at the table, He is relaxing and the idea is that she ought to be relaxing as well and her spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.

Now, what is spikenard? It’s an Indian plant, seems to be imported from the Himalayas at the time of Solomon. It was brought over, prized for its rarity and perfume so it becomes familiar around this time when Solomon reigns and he is using it here. He is showing this kind of scent, this aroma that is reflected from the bride. Now, this smell, this scent that goes forward reminds us of that which should emanate from the Christian life. There should be an aroma that is sent off by the Christian. In fact, we might say there’s always an aroma sent off by everyone. It just depends on what that aroma is.The believer’s aroma, the scent that should come from the child of God should be a positive one, a sweet one, a pleasant one, a comely one. Of course, it doesn’t emanate from ourselves. It doesn’t originate with us. Turn with me to 2 Corinthians chapter 2:14. What wWe want to understand is there is a certain aroma that is being reflected from the child of God and that we need to encourage, that it is what it ought to be. Let’s take time to read from v 14. Paul writes “Thanks be unto God”, this is a doxology, don’t miss that. He opens with the doxology. He is praising. He doesn’t always do this. You’ll find it in some places but when he uses a term like this we ought to focus. What’s he praising about? What’s this doxology leading into or why is Paul so full of praise here? When he says “Thanks be unto God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ and make manifest the savor of his knowledge in us in every place.” Savor, there’s the scent. There’s the aroma. As they go around and try and triumph in the Lord wherever they go, there’s a scent that they’re leaving, v 15. “For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, to them that are saved and them that perish” Wherever we go, regardless of how men respond to us, we are a sweet savor of Christ. There is an aroma that we leave behind wherever we go. It’s an aroma that perhaps to the unbeliever, he doesn’t want to admit that there’s anything pleasant about it. In fact, he’s in opposition to it. He’s against it. But to the believer, to those who are saved, there is also a sense of the smell but it’s appreciated, v 16 .to the one we are the savor of death unto death and to the other, the savor of life unto life and who is sufficient for these things for we are not as many which correupt the word of God but as of God in the sight of God state we in Christ”. Now the point that I want you to see here is that the believer, as he bears Christ in the world, as he carries the gospel, he carries an aroma. There’s a scent. If you have worked, and I guess this applies anywhere, but especially for those of you that have worked amongst the ungodly, worked with unbelievers, you’ve been in places and spent time, years of employment in places where not everyone’s a Christian, when you leave, or even while you’re there, but certainly when you leave, there should be memories about you that relate to what you are in Christ. It’s not just remembering that you are there are on time, you did good work, and so on and so forth. There should be an aroma that actually revolves around the gospel.

Paul says that when he went into places, it wasn’t just him. It’s not just Paul and the fact of the memories of this man who was in the area, but it’s a sweet savor of Christ. And that sweet savor of Christ emanated as they declared the gospel and as they lived the gospel wherever they went. Wherever you go, believer, you’re sending off something. You are! And your desire and your prayer should be “wherever I am, I am emanating Christ. I may not always have opportunities to speak to people and witness to people and share with them, directly the gospel. That might not always arise. I might not always have those opportunities, but there is still emanating from you. The question we should challenge ourselves with is, “Is it a sweet savor? Is it like the spikenard?” When Mary broke that alabaster box of ointment, the whole aroma filled the entire place. They couldn’t ignore the scent, the smell that was given off. Of course, to those that understood what it was and realized why it was offered, they would value it. Again, the world can be just like Judas Iscariot. Immediately he is full of contempt. “Why was this not sold for 300 pence and given to the poor?” He doesn’t value the aroma. He doesn’t have any appreciation for the scent that’s given off. He smells it. He knows it’s there, but he doesn’t see the value in it. That sometimes is the reality of the unbelievers that we live amongst. They don’t see the value of the fact that we have brought Christ to them; that our presence in their midst was bringing the Son of God very near to them. They might not value it, but they should still sense it. That’s the point. They should know that a believer has been in their midst these years. Someone who loves the Lord Jesus Christ has been in their presence. Of course, at times there is the sweet influence that we begin to make others think differently about the Lord. We actually have a positive contributing factor in them understanding the gospel and perhaps even coming to saving faith.

It’s amazing how this can work. It can work in ways you never even imagine. I’ve never had this happen before, but I’ll never forget it. It’s etched so deeply in my memory. There was a gentleman I worked with on a particular contract. There were three of us on that contract and one of them was very interested in the things of Christ and the other was not. So, the one who was interested would often ask questions. He would ask about the Word of God. “What does the Bible say about this?”, so on and so forth. We had very interesting conversations. Of course, the other one didn’t want to hear it, He would be asking us to be quiet or give up or talk about something else or whatever. He didn’t want to hear it. But we had some very interesting conversations and he was so curious about the things of God. Of course, when he responded positively to my efforts to evangelize to him, that encouraged me to evangelize even more. I’d invite him to church and so on and so forth. Well, little did I know what was going on in the background. He was meeting up with his family and the siblings wou;ld all meet up in the mother’s home every Saturday afternoon or mornings, so every Saturday he was going to his siblings and telling them, one brother in particular, about the conversations that I was sharing with him that past week. I think it initially started out, ”There’s this young guy at work and he preaches all the time, a really zealous christian.” Anyway, it got to the point that the brother would be asking him, “Well, what did you talk about this week?” They would talk about whatever I had been sharing with him there in the home. Combined with that, Ohhh,the wonders of God’s sovereignty, combined with this and me sharing this and him talking with his brother, the postman, not the man I was working with, but the postman for his brother began to witness to his brother and shared the gospel with him. So he began to listen from different angles. God was coming at him in different ways and he began listening to the postman and the postman began to invite him out to various services and he began to attend. He went out and lo and behold, he was converted. He got saved! I’ll never forget the day when the man I worked with, his brother, called me on the phone. It was a Saturday, and he called me on the phone and he was in tears. He was in tears! And I said, “Oscar, what’s wrong? And through the brokenness of his tears he said, “My brother got saved.” I said Oscar, that’s fantastic! That’s great news. But why are you crying?” and he said, “Because it should be me.” I talked to him a little. To this day I don’t know if he’s converted at all. But it was a very clear, this illustrates the point, a savor of Christ. They even latched on to the garments of an unconverted man and was carried into another place like a strong scent would. There is a strong smell in a particular room that would latch on to the very fabric of that individual and carry it into another place. Same thing was happening. Apostle Paul and this is what we are called to, Beloved. You can’t convert them. You can’t change their hearts. You can’t give them life, but there should be a savor of your life that goes out and begins to cling. Some will accept it and love it and appreciate it. Others will reject it. The point is there should be spikenard sending forth the smell in your life.

She goes on and says in verse 13, we go back to the Song of Solomon, “a bundle of myrrh is my well beloved unto me”, another title for the Lord. It’s what he ought to be to us, well beloved, reflecting the primacy of his place in their affections. This is where the Christian should be a genuine love for the Lord; No half-hearted effort. But she describes him as a bundle of myrrh. Now, myrrh is another interesting substance that we find in scripture used in various ways. It was part of the composition of the anointing oil we find in Exodus 30:23. It is also employed in embalming, we find out concerning the body of the Lord Jesus in John 19:39. It is also given as a present because of its value as it was given to the Lord Jesus at his birth in Matthew 2:11 and in other parts of Scripture that refer also to its fragrance: Psalm 45 and various parts of Song of Solomon here as well.

What’s the significance of myrrh? I put it to you beloved, that myrrh conveys the fragrance of one without sin or corruption. A fragrance of one without sin or corruption. In Psalm 45:8 you will read there, speaking of Christ all the garments smell of myrrh. In fact, Psalm 45 is a very important Psalm and showing even how we interpret song of Solomon that we get our cue from Psalm 45 and some of the application and understanding of this book that we’re looking at. All thy garments smell of myrrh. That’s why we sang the very hymn that we sang. The garments of the Lord Jesus smelling a certain way. Scripture says they smell of myrrh. And it’s the aroma of a life without sin. Again, think about it: Christ was given myrrh at his birth and he was wrapped in it at his death. He was born without sin. He died without sin. Myrrh is present in both cases: at his birth and at his death and it indicates something of the incorruptible nature of the Lord Jesus, the impeccable nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, you’ll also find myrrh was offered to him mixed with bitter wine on the cross. Mark 15:23, which he refused. The question is: Why did he refuse it? And again, I put it to you, he refuses it because that which reflects the beauty and holiness of Jesus Christ cannot be mixed with anything else. It was repudiated. The myrrh mixed with anything, of course there’s a practical indication there, but there’s a spiritual signification at it all, as well. Rejecting that because it’s mixed with something that, because it doesn’t reflect how the Lord relates with myrrh as He has it even in His word. It identifies his lack of corruption. This, of course, is glorious news for the sinner because this life without sin is given to us. It’s the gift that allows us to sit at the table this morning. It is that which permits us to have hope and assurance and contentment, not because in the past month I have lived a great way of living. I have accomplished everything the law of God would require of me. If that’s the standard that we have to meet ourselves, we failed and we cannot sit at the table, but if there has been given to us, or should I say, since there has been given to us the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, we can sit at the table. We find acceptance there.

There is a wonderful picture of myrrh again, found in the life of Esther, as she was preparing herself for the king. It required this process of purification, which included, this is Esther 2:12 “six months with oil of myrrh.” Six months, bathing in myrrh, and another six months with other spices and so on. Six months for her to be acceptable to the king! Is it not indicating something, Beloved, of purification of something that Jesus Christ lived out for us and he gifts to us, so that we can stand before him? So she says, “a bundle of myrrh is my well beloved unto me”. He is a bundle of myrrh to me. He is a bundle of myrrh, so she then says he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts. What does she mean by this? Others translate it as it shall lie all night betwixt my breasts, referring to the bundle of myrrh. Essentially it doesn’t really matter because Christ is the bundle of myrrh. Whether it’s “he” or “it”, the same thing as being taught. Because if we recognize it as “it” being the bundle of myrrh that she is keeping there between her, on her chest, near her heart. She designed it to be the Lord Jesus himself, for he is the myrrh. His perfect life is held close to her heart. What a wonderful picture. The myrrh, speaking of the perfect life of Jesus Christ, the lack of corruption in his life, being held close to her chest. Why would she do that? Why? Why would she hold the perfect life of Jesus Christ so close to her? Would it not be with a desire that that would rub off, the myrrh as it would rub off on her? I mean, is this not why we cling to the Lord Jesus? That we look to him. We gaze upon him?. is it not our understanding that even as we pursue the life that he has for us as believers that what we need to be doing daily is looking to Christ? I mean, why is it that, as we endeavor to live a holy life that we understand I need to look at Christ. I need to see Christ and to understand him and all that he has done for me and all that he has done in his example for me.How do I become like the Lord? How do I walk, as we quoted it last week, even so as he walked 1John 2:6. How do I do that? It is by drawing Him near to me isn’t it? Isn’t it? Beloved is this not the need is when there is a distance? It is when the Lord is too far away; when we are walking afar off, we are creating distance. Then we get into the same trouble as Peter. We find ourselves in the world warming ourselves by that which is carnal and denying the Lord. It all goes back to the distance. We created a distance between us and him. But if we keep him near. If we have Christ, the bundle of myrrh, holding him there all night, at our chest, near our heart, gripping onto him; if we hold him there, is it not true that some of his character and nature will rub off? That his life and his manner and the fruit of the Spirit that so ruled Him would begin to be imparted to us more and more? Is it not by having Jesus near to me that I understand how I am to live? So she holds him tight. She holds him very near. Embracing Christ. No doubt, with the prayer that His beauty and perfection and character would rub off on her. Of course, she does, you see it? He shall lie all night, or it shall lie all night between betwixt my breasts. It’s the same thing. It’s Christ. All night. All night. There is a sense of extending the time. It’s a fellowship an intimate fellowship that goes on for a length of time. It’s not something you pick up and just drop. Christianity is not just merely the attendance at the means of grace and as soon as you walk out the door you just live how you please. You know that. I understand you know that. You come and you sit. You hear the word. Your worship and your desire is that you go away refreshed and strengthened and you’ll carry some of that truth out of the doors into your life and live for the Lord. Any genuine Christian here this morning, there’s not one genuine believer who wants to dump everything they hear at the door and carry-on the way they came in. There is not one genuine Christian that thinks that way. They want to carry the truth and the presence of the Lord and the sense of the Lord. They want to have their hearts changed and leave in the enjoyment of that change and carry it on through their lives. That’s what you want. And this requires a holding on to Christ, not only for just a little moment. You don’t pray a prayer and say “It is well with my soul” and live how you please. In fact if you understand that the night as the experience of the church here upon the earth; if we can see that heaven is the rising up of daybreak, where the shadows flee away, as this book puts it, then the night is life here on earth and we are holding on to Christ the entire time we are here. The whole time here upon earth, desperate for his influence, for the sweetness of the aroma of his life to be imparted to us, for the perfections of the Lord to be ours. Oh we have prayed it many times, I am sure you have as well, at least on occasion, the words of the Scottish minister, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, when he desired for himself, “Lord make me as holy as a pardon the sinner can be. Make me as holy as a pardon sinner can be.” Though M’Cheyne wanted the Sabbath to be as long as possible, so it was always at least 18 hours long. He liked the Sabbath day. He liked to have it as tha day where she just as much of Christ, as much of the Lord. He could just absorb and so he’d be up no later than 6 AM and didn’t go to bed until midnight. He liked the length of the Sabbath day. It prepared him for the week ahead. Here’s a man who just wants more of the Lord and desires to be as holy as the pardoned sinner can be. What a prayer. And of course she reflects it here. Her holding on. Her holding tightly reflects this desire for the Lord to be near. Verse 14, “My beloved is into me as a cluster of camphor in the vineyards of Engedi”. There are a couple of words here that are very interesting that will help us in our understanding and what this text instructs us. The word “cluster” is literally “Eshchol”. And you will find that word in various parts of the Old Testament, most notably in the book of Numbers chapter 13. We will not turn there for the sake of time, but I will read to you Numbers 13:23-24. It’s a very well-known event. The spies have been sent to spy out of the land and we read, “They came unto the brook of Eshchol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes.” There’s the word Eshchol: cluster. “and they bare it between two upon a staff;and they brought of the pomegranates and of the figs. The place was called the brook of Eshchol, because of the cluster of grapes.” It’s the same word Eshchol, because of the Eshchol, because of the cluster of grapes “which the children of Israel cut down from thence.” Now, when you look at that and you see the cluster translated “Eshcol” and then the place is called the brook Eschol because of the Eschol, cluster of grapes, you realize the term is closely associated with grapes. Eshchol was called Eshchol because of athe grapes. The grapes that were there, that grew there but this word that is who translated cluster, if we can understand it as being associated with grapes, it will help us. It will help us understand what’s being said here. Just keep that in your mind. The word camphor, then is used, camphor, or Cyprus but literally, actually, the word in the Hebrew is Cofer which has the idea of a ransom or satisfaction. The fact that it is closely related to the Hebrew word “Kifar”, which means “atonement.” So you have read of the atonement in the book of Leviticus and all the references to the atonement is Kifar, but Cofer and Kifar are so closely related. In fact, John Gill puts it this way: it says, “Some leave the word untranslated Cofer, speaking of this passage, which has a signification of atonement and propitiation“. So, you bring all this together. You have the cluster, referring to grapes, you have camphor closely identified with atonement, and you might say this: “My beloved is unto me as the grapes of atonement in the vineyards of Engedi.” My beloved is unto me as the grapes of atonement. Now, if that doesn’t draw a picture of the work of Jesus Christ in your mind, I don’t know what will. When she sees him, again this is her affection toward him, she is expressing this in very graphic language, a cluster of camphor is like grapes of atonement, of that which deals with my sin. What she sees, what she is drawing a picture for us to see is that that fruit that is so closely identified with the blood of Jesus Christ, the grapes, she sees them, these grapes reflecting atonement! That’s essentially what we can understand “ransom” or “satisfaction”. That’s the word Cofer, literally has the idea of ransom or satisfaction. That satisfaction/ransom is come by my beloved is like these grapes of ransom/ satisfaction/ atonement. Can you see it Beloved? It’s the very same thing that we are doing here this morning. We are taking of the cup of the fruit of the vine and we are thinking of what? We are thinking of atonement! We are thinking of the work that has been done. Blood that has been shed. Ransom. Satisfaction. Atonement or to break it down, AT ONEMENT. The unification between God and man, because of work that has been accomplished by the Son of God. Beloved, this is a wonderful picture. I want you to see it because verse 14 is for you what you are doing here this morning when you take of the cup that reminds you of the blood of Jesus Christ. You might say, “This cup, it reminds me of my beloved. It is as a cluster or as the grapes of atonement or ransom. Satisfaction. That’s what you’re thinking when you take the cup, isn’t it? This signifies something to me. She looked at the cluster of camphor, as it were. She looked at the grapes of Eshchol. She saw those grapes and it reminded her of atonement. Tremendous picture! Tremendous truth! These then are some of the thoughts that she has toward him. The honor that she feels toward him. But notice also:

2. The Holy Spirit that he sees in her. The Holy Spirit that he sees in her: verse 15. Because he speaks then, in response to her, he says, “Behold, thou art fair, my love. Behold thou art fair. Thous hast dove’s eyes. He is identifying how she looks to him: Thou art fair. Thou art fair. He repeats it. Of course, she’s going to struggle to believe this, because she recognizes herself. Look at verse 6 “Look not upon me because I am black”. Because the sun hath looked upon her. She feels herself to be affected by the world.That is the application we looked at last time. She’s been out in the world. The sunshine of the world has beaten upon her and it has affected her life while she has been distant from the Lord. She doesn’t feel herself being very pretty at all. But he says to her, “That art fair, my love. Thou art fair: thou hast dove‘s eyes.” This underlines some of the fairness that she has. What are we saying here the Holy Spirit? He sees in her. Well, again, as we said grammar notes that he is speaking and addressing her. And he says that she has dove’s eyes. Let’s focus in on that. Thou hast dove’s eyes.The same term is used in chapter 4:1, where it says, “Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes within thy locks.” the same term used toward her. Also chapter 5 verse 12 where it is used about him. It’s turned and there’s a description given of him: “His eyes are as the eyes of doves”, so there is something in common here. She has doves’ eyes. He has doves’ eyes. There’s something in common. Now, eyes are an important part of beauty. In fact, humans are the only creatures with obviously visible eye-whites. There are some other animals that have whites around their eyes, but those, you cannot see them. Usually they’re hidden. You can’t see the white and many others there is pigment. There isn’t that white there. It’s colored in some way. There’s pigment in it. So humans are very unique in their eyes. And when we look at one another and we address one another, we can tell when someone is looking at us or not. In fact, we can tell a lot about the eyes. We can tell whether they are sad or whether they are happy or whether they are displeased with us or whether they are unsettled. We can tell a lot by the eyes. And of course, the Lord has made it that way. But there’s a beauty. That’s the thing. There’s a beauty and of course, women sometimes they try to accentuate that beauty. With makeup around their eyes and so on. We are not getting into the rights and wrongs of that. Just saying that’s how it is. And here, this is something that he notices in her. Thou hast doves’ eyes. Now, what is he referring to? Well, you will know at the baptism of the Lord that the Holy Spirit came upon him in the form of a dove. You will know that. So the dove is very closely associated with the Holy Spirit. In fact, you can make the argument also from the ark of Noah, and so on, as well. But the point is this: the dove and its association with the Holy Spirit. Now, he looks at her and the Holy Spirit has here, noted for us in this language that when he looks in her eyes she says she has doves’ eyes. The idea is that the Holy Spirit has some influence on those eyes. We may put it this way: that the Holy Spirit is connected with the ability to convey and perceive beauty. To convey and perceive beauty. The Holy Spirit. When you look at this, it is by the help of the Holy Spirit that we convey the beauty of the Lord. Is it not? He is saying “thou art fair. thou art fair.” What is fair about her? Thou hast doves’ eyes, something that is connected with the activity of the Spirit of God. So, he is looking at her and recognizing the fairness cannot be detached from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit as he looks at her eyes, there is a connection with the Spirit of God. Again, follow me here, Beloved. There’s a sense of beauty in her that the Holy Spirit has given her that when he looks at her, he sees the beauty of her eyes. So, she is conveying beauty and it’s by what? By the Spirit of God. The beauty of the believer’s life is only always conveyed by the Spirit of God. The Fruit of the Spirit is love Joy peace, and so on. It’s the fruit of the Spirit in her life that brings beauty; that brings the Christian character; that brings out that which the Lord calls us to live. It’s by the activity of the Spirit of God in our hearts that we live the way the Lord requires us to live. We do not do it by our own strength. It is not by your flesh that you obey the law. It is not by your own might that you fulfill his will. It is by the activity of the Spirit of God. The cry of the believer over and over again should be “Fill me with the Holy Ghost.” And want to be filled with the Holy Ghost so that way emanate the beauty of the Lord. So that there is something about our life that is attractive. He looks at her and says, “Thou art fair.” Think of this, Beloved. This is Christ looking at the church! And all of her sin and imperfection, in all of her disobedience and he is saying,”Thou art fair”. He sees a fairness there but it’s only by the activity of the Spirit of God. She can convey beauty by the activity of the Spirit of God in her life. But it is also by the eyes that we perceive beauty. Not only do we convey beauty by the eyes, but we perceive beauty by the eyes. Turn to Ephesians chapter 1 quickly. When Paul prays for the church at Ephesus, he has a desire for them. Of course, and it may not be what we would pray for the church but it is how Paul prays. Ephesians 1:15 for context. “After I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you making mention of you in my prayers.” Now what does he pray? Verse 17: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of glory, may give into you, the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.” Now what’s the desire? The basic desire is that they would have the spirit of wisdom and revelation. What? Special revelation to know things that are going to come to pass? No! In the knowledge of him or for the acknowledgment of him. In other words, it is directed toward Christ. His prayer is that God would grant all they need to see Christ,and understand Christ. And grasp Christ. Verse 18, he continues with this prayer: “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened.”This is what we need. For me to see Christ. Indeed for me, let’s come back to what we’re saying, that the eyes convey beauty but they also perceive beauty and for me to perceive the beauty of Jesus Christ requires what? The Spirit of God! That’s what Paul is praying for. He is praying that the Spirit of God, the spirit of wisdom he called him here, the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ, the eyes of your understanding be enlightened, continue on, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.” All of this is about Christ what he is doing, what he has done, what he is continuing to do, and will do, I should say and “what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe according to”… I’m not going to go on and read on down through that for the sake of time, but the heart of it is there. Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians says that God would give the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him in the eyes of your understanding and being enlightened. You need your eyes open. The Spirit of God comes into the believer’s life and opens their eyes, continually. Not just once! Not just at the point of regeneration! Though that does happen then, our eyes are opened before there was no beauty in him that we should desire him. All of a sudden my heart goes after him. I see him as the lamb slain for my sin All of a sudden, that which I was ignorant to becomes illuminated in my heart and I see him as the bearing need of my soul! Yes, there’s a removal of the scales. A recognition of him, but there is an ongoing need for our eyes to be enlightened; for the spirit of God to help us to see more of Christ and knowledge of him. Why? So that we might not only convey beauty by the activity of the Spirit in my life, but perceive beauty by the activity of the Spirit in my life. So, I am conveying Christ by a holy life. The Spirit comes and gives me, before the Lord, doves eyes that emanate the character and very nature of the Lord, by the Spirit working in my heart. And so I’m conveying beauty. But I’m also perceiving beauty. I need those doves’ eyes that I might see Him and all of His glory and all of His splendor. Is that not the day this morning, Beloved? Know your own heart this morning. The temptation, if you haven’t been awakened and enlivened already this morning is to just take that bread and take that cup and go through the motions. Completely separate from what is going on, and your eyes haven’t been enlightened. You haven’t seen Christ there upon the cross. You are not seeing the blood by faith, washing away your sin and reconciling you to God and giving you a standing and security that you are right with him. You’re not seeing it. You are just seeing the bread and you’re just seeing the cup, the elements. But by the Spirit of God, we are to see Him. I need to see the blood shed for my sin. I need to see that body broken with the eye of faith. I need to see it. The eyes of my understanding being enlightened. O Spirit of God, give us the help we need. This is the beauty of the Christian. There is no other beauty. To have doves’ eyes to convey the beauty of the Spirit-filled life and to possess the ability to perceive the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ. The more we have of one, the more we will have of the other. Thirdly:

3. The habitation they have together. The habitation they have together. Verses 16-17. Behold out art fair my beloved also our bed is Vinny. She turns again and reciprocates this affection of sensing his fairness, how fair he is, pleasant. But I want you just to note how she tells various things that belong to them both: our bed is green, the beams of our house are cedar, ours rafters are fir. The bed, again is like we said earlier, it’s like verse 12 a couch and it’s a place of rest, essentially. And it’s green. Green speaks of freshness and life, doesn’t it? Psalm 23 tells us he makes us lie down by green pastures. There’s a lying down here. There’s a rest here as well except here it’s not green pastures, here is on a green bed. The beam of the house are cedar and rafters are fir.This is language just like the great temple. Solomon is drawing from the very way the temple was built. 1 Kings 6:15 tells us that he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls and the ceiling and he covered them on the inside with wood and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir. Cedar and fir. Materials of permanence and strength. Now the temple has the idea of the house the beams of the house and the rafters and galleries of the house have the sense of a structure. When it was the temple, the place where God and man are brought together, isn’t it? And I think that may be the sense here as well.This is a place where we are brought together. This is where we are brought together. It speaks of union and fellowship. It speaks of communion and nearness.

Beloved, there’s a need for us constantly to see the Lord; to really see Him. When she gets near to him, it’s just about seeing Him. Nothing else matters to her. In fact, as soon as she realizes there is that distance, the only thing that matters on earth is getting back to where she needs to be. I’ll tell you that needs to be grasped by us all. If I have to confess this morning that there’s a distance between me and the Lord, there is nothing more important on earth than to get right with Him. Get to where I need to be. Now the glory of it is that it can happen right here. Right now. I don’t have to hold back. I just need to confess my sins and forsake them. I need to tell the Lord how I have walked away from Him deliberately, denied him and He will take us in. There was no reluctance when she pursued after him. There is no reluctance, at least in this scene here no reluctance of Him to draw near to her. The Lord is gracious like that you know. He is! Come very near.

I wonder do you see Him? I wonder do you see Him? Have you seen Him? Have you seen it? Do you see Him the way she sees Him? She even used poetic language. I’ll tell you another thing. You can’t use language like this without meditation, can you? I mean, this takes meditation. This takes thought. The poetry here. Drawing these things and pulling them all together all in relation to Him. This takes real consideration. And again, this is part of our problem. We don’t think about Him. We don’t really think about Him. Our minds are everywhere from one day to the next. They are everywhere. I know it. I am no different than you. I feel it the same. Your mind is here and there and everywhere and you’re wandering. You can go weeks at times, and real contemplation of the Lord. This is why the table of the Lord is so essential; why you have to come and sit and contemplate and have the prayer, “We would see Jesus. We would see Jesus.” May He show Himself to us today and graciously come by. Let’s bow together in prayer:

Once again, I say to you, you are very welcome as a child of God to join with us around the table. If you are not a child of God, you don’t need to leave, you just can’t participate. Don’t take the bread and the cup. I would encourage you to think very soberly about the need of your soul. If you haven’t seen Christ dying for your sins, if you haven’t seen the blood shed for you, then you need to see the blood shed for you. You need to see Christ dying in your guilty room in your place where are you deserve the wrath of God and he takes your place. You need to see that today. If you see that and you take Christ as your Savior, and you put away your sins and have eternal life. It is right there for the taking. Maybe this morning finds you more at the distance. You’ve been walking afar off. Again, the Lord is very near. Just confess your sins for He is faithful and just to forgive your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

Lord, we pray for grace. In my own heart, I feel it. I need to see the Lord Jesus, to reflect him more and to see more of Him. I pray that for my own heart and life. I pray I might have doves’ eyes. I pray I might have a life that has a fragrance that emanates wherever I go. Lord I don’t have that in the way I need to have it. None of us do. Give us help. We are so prone to wander. So prone to leave the God we love. Have mercy upon us we pray. I ask now but that would be with us around this table. Draw near Lord Jesus. Draw near by your Spirit. Feast our souls on Thyself. We pray in Thy name. Amen.