Rise Up, My Love (97): Is Your Neck Straight?

MAJ_ARMSTRONG_PENSong of Solomon 4:4 “Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armory.” A person’s neck displays his strength of will. A neck submitted to the will of God is beautiful to Him and able to look the world squarely in the eyes. Don’t you take note of the man with head erect who shakes hands firmly and looks straight into your eyes? He is expressing confidence in himself and approaching you as someone worthy of your attention. The Lord hates a proud look (Proverbs 6:17), but this is not what is being described in the Song of Solomon. The bride’s neck standing like a tower is not a sign of pride or conceit, but of poise and confidence based on her position as His wife. This is what the husband finds so attractive, and this is one of the beauties our Lord wants us to develop as well.

A drooping head signifies great grief of heart, shame, defeat, or a broken will. In Lamentations 2:10, it reports that after the destruction of Jerusalem “the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.” God allowed this destruction because “my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit…for my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:11,13).

But, God did not want them the have drooping heads! He sent Jeremiah to instruct them. That courageous prophet condemned the spiritual leaders because “they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity” (Lamentations 2:14), and he admonished the people to “let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest…pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord” (Lamentations 2:18-19).

If we have a drooping head, what are we to do? Ask God to help us!  “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). When I am so frustrated I can’t concentrate, I always turn to God for help, and I am almost always surprised that He actually does lighten my heart and attitude, even if He doesn’t often change my circumstances! I think that’s the essence of grace: the ability to bear the unbearable. “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in” (Psalm 24:7). Or, when we’ve become discouraged because we’ve allowed ourselves to fall into a sin trap, then we need to uncover our sins and pour out our hearts to God in repentance for trying to satisfy our souls by drinking from “broken cisterns”…the false idols of this world…and by returning to God, who is the true “fountain of living waters.” Furthermore, once our own necks have been saved and our heads are above the water of tears that were drowning us, God calls us to help those who are similarly discouraged (“Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees” (Hebrews 12:12).

So, God wants us to have a neck like a tower…not drooping…but not stiff, either! A stiff neck indicates a will hardened against God (Proverbs 29:1). God wants neither. He wants us to have wills (and necks!) that are strong and straight and true—like the tower of David—filled with thoughts of Him that will keep our heads held erect and eyes turned heavenward…and empty our minds from thoughts of oppression which we cannot remedy or from fleshly desires that twist our hearts and bend our backs under a load of sin.

In Luke 13, Jesus healed a woman who for eighteen years had been bowed together so that she could not stand upright. In the course of answering the ruler of the synagogue, who questioned our Lord for healing on the Sabbath, Christ remarked that this woman had been bound by Satan. When Christ released her from that bondage, “immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.” How often we, too, become bound by Satan in some area, and it causes us to have bent necks and down cast eyes. We become ashamed; our heads droop like bulrushes; we find it hard to look up toward heaven; we see instead only the earth below, and for a time we search in vain for something in the dirt and dust of this world that might satisfy. But, it is all in vain.

“Unbounded grace—it reached to me, when hope was gone from view. In my despair Christ came to me, as He alone could do” (Don Wyrtzen). Unbounded and unbinding grace! Grace is the towering neck of our faith that unbinds us from sin and provides our life-sustaining connection to our Lord, even as the neck connects the body of the church to her Head (Colossians 2:19). By grace through faith, Christ frees us from the weight of sin that bends us down; our spiritual bodies straighten; and, our neck of faith grows strong. Jesus calls us to “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (I Corinthians 16:13). I wonder, are our necks really like “the tower of David”? Mine certainly is not most of the time! Lord, help us to be perfectly straightened, like the woman in Luke 13, so that we might glorify God in all things!

 

 

2 responses to “Rise Up, My Love (97): Is Your Neck Straight?

  1. Nice choice of photo illustration, Kathi!

    • Thank you kindly! I was looking for a lady, but my son’s picture was on my desktop, and it occurred to me that he is (and looks like) the kind of person I was trying to describe!

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