Rise Up, My Love (165): Beauty and the Best

Sunrise from AirSong of Solomon 5:9 “What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women?” Notice that the women of Jerusalem addressed the bride as “O thou fairest among women.” I think she caught their attention because of her beauty and was acknowledged because they admired her.

Fortunately, she was nonplussed by the compliments and used the attention to share about her beautiful Lord, who is the fairest of the fair! This makes me think of the great sermons preached in the New Testament. When Peter preached, thousands were added to the church. Think of the sensational—the heart-rending—message Peter could have preached about how he was the leader among all the apostles, how he’d seen Jesus at the transfiguration, and how he’d tried to walk on water. Think of how Peter could have expounded on how terrible he was to have denied and forsaken his master after his bravado about never leaving Jesus even if everyone else did. Think of the awe-inspiring quiet that would have overcome the audience as they heard about Jesus’ telling that old salt where to fish and then feeding him, testing him, and reinstating him into fellowship. Wouldn’t that have wowed the audience?

Is that what Peter did? Of course not! Despite the fabulous personal testimony Peter might have given, Peter went back to the Old Testament and taught people about Christ from the prophecies there. There may be a time for sensitively recounting some of the trauma—or joys—in our lives…but always and only as a backdrop for painting Christ. The sunset’s glow, the river’s flow…the beauty of the day…every detail should be like the brushstrokes of an artist preparing a background on which to paint Christ.

R.A. Torrey tells the story of Harry Monroe, who superintended the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago for many years. After an especially blessed night, when many men were converted, Torrey asked Monroe what he’d preached on to receive such a response. Mr. Monroe replied, “I simply held up Jesus Christ, and it so pleased the Holy Spirit to illumine the face of Jesus Christ that men saw and believed.” (Torrey, R.A. The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit. New Kensington: Witaker House, 1996, p. 108). This is the secret to spiritually productive preaching!

I remember hearing about Billy Graham for many years. My sister came to the Lord when she heard Billy Graham preach at a big campaign in Washington D. C. My husband had come to Christ after listening to a televised message of one of Billy Graham’s campaigns about five years later, and so I was extremely curious to hear him for myself. The chance came about ten years into marriage when Billy Graham preached at the Silver Dome in Pontiac, Michigan. By this time I had graduated from a Christian university and attended seminary, so I had heard many great men expound the Word of God. I was expecting Billy Graham to be like most of the very eloquent men I so loved to hear, but I was in for a shock! To my amazement, Billy Graham preached a very simple gospel message. He didn’t give a lecture on apologetics or explain any of the mysteries of the faith; he just set forth Christ, and masses of people came forward that night, repenting of their sins and confessing Christ as their Savior.

If we want others to come to Christ, all we need to do is share the message God has given in the Word, energized by his passion. This is what the bride did, and this is what we should do. In the remaining verses of chapter five, we discover just exactly what it is about the bridegroom that is so compelling to the bride. If you’re ever wondering how to explain to others what’s so awesome about Christ…read on!Sun rising behind tree


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