Song of Solomon 3:10 “…the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem.” The midst paved with love? That which is within is best seen from within. Could the bride have observed the inside of the carriage from her doorstep as the cavalcade approached? Likely not.
The description of the inside of the palanquin makes us imagine that the bride is now joining her husband at his side, and what a precious thought this is. It is all fine and well to see the rich provisions of the King of Kings for us, but until the step of faith enters the carriage of grace, we do not know that the “midst thereof” is paved with love! The shekinah glory—the burning core— of Providence is love.
The word for “paved” is rasap, which means literally “to arrange stones artificially as in a pavement; tessellated” (Patterson, pp. 64-65). The interior of this magnificent chariot was inlaid with an intricate pattern, not of stones, but of love. What does this mean for the believer? For one thing, it means that the intricate pattern of every circumstance in our life was meticulously arranged by our redeemer as an expression of infinite love and goodness. But, we must be inside, riding beside him, in order to see and recognize the pattern.
An observation of the outside of our circumstances may bring us to exclaim in dismay, “We’re all hedged about with thorns and brambles!” Have you ever read the Brer Rabbit tales? He would always beg his tormentor, “Please don’t throw me into the briar patch!” But, the briar patch was his home, and in fact it was the safest place in the world for him. Under the thorny stems and broad leaves of the briars, large, sweet blackberries abounded. In the spiritual world there is a perfect parallel. Our way, which often leaves us scratched and torn, also brings us to the succulent, hidden fruits of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:11: “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”)
Oh, beloved, see the mighty hand of love that guides us steadily through each trial. It is the nail-scarred hand of our bridegroom, who takes our tiny hand in his and carries us along with him in his chariot paved with love. Do you feel the aches and pains of adversity? Do not doubt his love. Though your eyes overflow with tears and you cannot see him, reach out your hand and touch him. It is as we abide within his chariot, the gold foundation of his eternal character underfoot, the silver pillars of redemption around, the purple tapestry of royal possession above, that we can sense “the midst thereof” is “paved with love.”
Imagine his arms about you; study the inlaid mosaics adorning the interior of your carriage and recognize the pattern of everlasting kindness; look up into his eyes shining with love; and, let your spirit recline on his breast. Rest your heart on this pillow of comfort: While you ride with your beloved, you not only rest in him, but you are reigning with him and progressing with him. How many times does a man feel like he’s “not getting anywhere,” or a young mother feel like, “All I ever do is wash dishes and change diapers!”? Remember, you are reigning with the King of Kings! Let that thought lift you to the heights of heaven! A wise friend once told me, “If I spend the first fifteen minutes of the day worshiping the Lord, then I know that regardless of whatever else happens, the day will not be totally wasted.” This is so true! The true journey of life is spiritual, not physical, and true progress is in our sanctification. God’s part is to do the work; our part is to trust him to do the work. Our part is to ride in the carriage with him. If the circumstances of life seem to close you in, and you feel that all you ever see are the four walls around you…understand that the walls are inlaid with love and that your tiny world so close around you is moving! When you feel restless and confined, remember that you are actually in your bridegroom’s carriage, being transported along on your way to heaven! Though your days seem dull and dreary on earth, let your spirit dwell with Christ in the royal palanquin, with spiritual eyes drinking in his wondrous face and feasting on the mosaics of love surrounding you.
“Fret not…Trust in the Lord…Delight thyself also in the Lord…Commit thy way unto the Lord…Rest in the Lord” (Psalm 37). “The midst thereof being paved with love.” What a pillow of comfort to cushion us on the journey! What a window of hope to bring us joy as we travel on! (The first picture was taken in St. Petersberg, and I somehow imagine it was more like Solomon’s chariot, but I also loved this simple carriage sitting on a porch on Mackinac Island last weekend. Truly, if we’re riding beside our loving spouse…I’m not sure if it matters what the carriage looks like!)