Song of Solomon 4:14 What about cinnamon, and the next fruit of the spirit, which is “goodness?” Well, each spice could become a day’s study in itself! Cinnamon has a “glorious” scent that is deliciously attractive. There is a common phrase in our country about “home-baked goodness,” and what single spice is most associated with baked “goods?” Cinnamon. Have you ever met a stomach that didn’t love cinnamon baked in sweetbreads, pies, and cookies? Cinnamon is used to scent candles and potpourris, to spice cider, and to allure visitors into the kitchen on cold winter nights! What spice do you most associate with Thanksgiving and Christmas? Similarly, goodness is sprinkled throughout Scripture, adding flavor to all God’s creation: “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (Ps. 33:5); “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness” (Ps. 107:8-9). Goodness is the embodiment of all which is both right and kind…the kiss of mercy and truth together…that which fills and satisfies the soul…that which brings us to repentance and to God himself: “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance” (Rom. 2:4). Cinnamon is the perfect picture of goodness, because just as the wonderful aroma and spicy taste of cinnamon make food so attractive, so the quality of goodness draws men to God and satisfies our hungry souls!
Frankincense—a unique perfume, but it was used as a standard ingredient in temple incense and offerings (Ex. 30:34); it symbolized worship and praise. How like faith! “Without faith, it is impossible to please him (God)” (Heb. 11:6). No offering is as precious to God as faith, and no sacrifice brought to God without faith is accepted. Although it is an exquisite delight to God, it is also his absolute standard for access, his absolute requirement for acceptance. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:29). “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31-31). What is the foundation of the gospel? “Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts. 20:21). The frankincense of faith is the one offering God accepts from kings and commoners alike. Indeed, he has given this consolation to the poor: “Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith” (James 2:5)? All of us can be rich in faith and produce the royal frankincense of faith in our lives for the praise and pleasure of our Lord.
And what of myrrh? Myrrh speaks of sorrow, suffering, obedience unto death… the crucified life. Which of the fruits of the Spirit correspond to myrrh? Meekness. However, Scriptural meekness is not to be confused with “weakness.” The term meekness was originally derived from an expression relating to the obedience of powerful, well-trained race horses that were acutely attentive to their masters and aware of their desires. Some horses can be guided simply by recognizing slight pressure changes in their masters’ knees. This is meekness: great sensitivity and obedience to authority. But, it is not just surrender to a powerful authority, it is a powerful surrender…great power under authority. Once on a trip to the Everglades, I saw the awesome jaws of an alligator snap shut and heard the frightening bellow of a bull alligator. Did you know that alligators’ jaws can exert 3,000 pounds of pressure per square inch? And yet, when the baby alligators hatch, they swim freely in and out of their parents’ mouths. This is the perfect illustration of meekness. Not that the alligator could not crush its young, but that it does not crush its young.
“He could have called ten thousand angels, to destroy the world, and set him free! He could have called ten thousand angels, but he died alone, for you and me” (Ray Overholt). Christ lived a life of perfect meekness: “meekness and majesty, manhood and deity—in perfect harmony” (Graham Kendrick)…the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah. And, this is the life God calls us to live, a life as intensely fragrant as drops of myrrh distilling from wounds in the tree of our life. A life tuned to the Master’s every touch and obedient unto death. A life as surrendered as myrrh melting in the heat… like gold tried by fire, made molten and poured out to become a vessel fit for the Master’s use.