Rise Up, My Love (187): The Great Lover of our Souls, or our Judge?

Lily. Red 6.18.2012Song of Solomon 5:16 “His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely.” The third striking contrast is our bridegroom’s mouth. To us, his lips are “like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh,” and “his mouth is most sweet.” How totally opposite this is from the appearance of our Christ as conquering King: “Out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword” (Revelation 1:16). Again, the real difference is in the perspective! As they say: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” We often see what we’re looking for and interpret data according to our expectations and experience. The mouth of the Logos…the living Word of God, speaks forth words of life and truth…and to the believer, how precious are those words! “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103). He whispers to us the comforts of forgiveness, mercy, grace, and everlasting love. He kisses us with the kisses of kindness and time stops. We breathe his breath…the breath of heaven’s Holy Spirit…and feel our soul filling up with the breath of life. We feel that nothing could draw us from his side or ever make us want to leave the security of his arms. And, when we’re busy during the heat of the day, we always long to be back within the timeless ecstasy of his embrace, nuzzling and listening and kissing him again. This is communion, and this is the honeyed mouth of our Beloved. But, now behold those who know him not!…those who “speak great swelling words of vanity” (2 Peter 2:18); who “are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts” (Jude 1:16); who “are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44). To these, Jesus will come as a judge out of whose mouth will come the Word of God which “is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:12-13). To the murderers and adulterers and all unrepentant sinners Christ will come with flaming eyes to lay open all hidden sin, and with words of judgment and justice to slay the souls of the wicked. The sword of the Spirit…the Bible…is honey to the hearts of those who have taken in God’s love and forgiveness and felt the healing balm of its comforting words…but a fearsome sword that hardhearted unbelievers will dread on Judgment Day. Sword on velvet setteeThere is a story told of a young ship’s captain who took his new bride to sea with him so that she could understand his life and work. One day there was a fierce electrical storm, and the young wife was terribly frightened. In response, her husband, who was a valiant soldier, drew his sharp cutlass out of his sheath and asked her how she felt when she saw its gleaming edge. “Does it frighten you?” he asked. “Oh, no!” she responded. “It makes me feel secure, because I know you love me and would fight to the death to protect me with that sword!” Ship at Sea in storm“So it is with this storm at sea my love,” smiled her courageous husband. “When you see the lightening streak through the sky, think of it as a flashing sword from the hand of God, who stands ready to protect you, and when you hear the mighty boom of his voice in the thunder, know that it is the one who loves you even more dearly than I do. Do not be frightened. All this marvelous display of his power should only remind us that we are safe in his love.” Yes, the mighty power of God—his flaming eyes and razor-edged words are for our blessing and protection. For those of us who are his, may we always see within his flaming eyes the passion of a love that has totally melted his heart, and may we always find within the words of his mouth—the pages of his Book—a dripping myrrh that is sweeter than honey to our soul! This is our beloved, and this is our friend, O dear believers!

(Rereading this some 15+ years since I wrote it, I’m concerned that the wording of the story about the ship captain may not be my own, although I no longer know where I first heard the story. If you know the source, would you please let me know in the comment box so I can give credit where credit is due? Thanks so much! Also, the picture of the ship at sea is one I took while watching a trailer for In the Heart of the Sea. I hope they don’t mind!)

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