1:10 “Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold.” Some newer versions of the Bible start a new paragraph here, although the King James (along with many older versions) does not. Either way, the context leads one to imagine that either literally or figuratively (or perhaps both), the wife has actually entered into pastoral life, seeking to know her husband by following in the footsteps of those who’ve gone before her, and her husband praised her for her efforts. If we read this verse as a continuation of the husband’s commendation, then it almost seems that the bridegroom is trying to reassure his wife. (And, if we’re thinking in spiritual terms: God is trying to reassure those who follow him faithfully.) I can almost hear this young wife protesting, “How am I like a horse? Pharaoh’s horses are gleaming white! They’re gorgeously arrayed with jeweled harnesses and reigns woven in golden embroidery. I am worn right out and don’t look the least bit glamorous.” It is as if the bride is looking through the eyes of despair at her flesh. Her husband reassures her through the eyes of faith, looking at her spirit and visualizing her inner beauty. No, she is not wearing a jeweled harness like Pharaoh’s chariot horses, because she’s not a horse who needs a harness and bit to force her! She is his bride, following him freely in love! To the bridegroom, her cheeks are beautifully adorned, harnessed, as it were, by the mind of Christ, and richly jeweled with such precious gems as humility, mercy, love, and unity (Philippians 2). The bride does not need reigns to direct her! Spiritually, her neck is bright with the golden chains of Christ’s constraining love, and she turns in response to his loving desires, so tuned to him that she can read and respond to his eyes alone. “I will guide thee with mine eye. Be not as the horse” (Psalm 32:8-9). Oh, that we could be so tuned to our Lord’s will, and to our husbands!
1:11 “We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.” What does that mean? Perhaps at this point the bridegroom encouraged his exhausted bride to give up her work for the day and come home for dinner. He had tested and proved her devotion, and now he planned to reward her. And, what was her reward to be? “Borders of gold with studs of silver.” One can almost hear the bride lamenting, “But look at me, I’m a mess! I’m so tired and dirty that I don’t even feel like eating! And, I don’t have anything to wear!” I suspect that there are a few gallant husbands out there who have come home and tried to express their love and appreciation for their wives, maybe even inviting them out for dinner just to reward them for working so hard…only to find their wives refusing! It’s as if they can’t or won’t hear. Many brides are so critical of themselves…so frustrated by the way they look…and totally overwhelmed by responsibilities and the needs of their little ones. For whatever reasons, they condemn themselves and therefore can’t believe their husbands could possibly find them attractive. They’re often too tired to even enjoy life and intimacy with their husbands! Isn’t that true of our relationship with the Lord as well? We judge ourselves so sternly—against the standard of perfection—and find ourselves miserably wanting. Jesus comes to us in tenderness, trying to express his infinite love and encourage us, and we refuse to listen! We listen to the condemnation of our own hearts and the accusations of the devil rather than the wooings of our lover! How foolish. What a lack of trust and love! May we listen with hearing ears and believing hearts to the comforting whispers of the Holy Spirit. God loves us. He’s aware of our efforts. He wants us to rest in His love and abide in Him…come home for a “dinner” of fellowship! This is Easter Morning, March 31, 2013. Can we take some time today and simply enjoy communion with our Savior, who died and rose again to rescue us from sin and death…just because He loves us so incredibly much!“Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Luke 12:27).
(*Picture of horse from internet, although I couldn’t find copyright information.)