Category Archives: Bible Commentary

Rise Up, My Love (304): Being Occupied ‘Til He Comes

Song of Solomon 8:14 “Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart…” Have you digested the past few weeks’ sampling of the wonderful names for our beloved One? There is a lifetime of food for the soul in the verses on which we just meditated. Wouldn’t those verses make a great list to commit to memory? Every year during our homeschooling years, my children and I tried to memorize a verse each day from the Bible as part of our home school program. Some times we memorized passages, or favored verses from each book, or choice verses from each chapter of a book, but more often than not it was a compilation of verses on a subject, such as the “I ams” or the “I wills” of God. One of the best concerned the names of God!  Do you have a memory program for learning Scripture? It is a wonderful way to hide God’s Word in your heart in order to avoid sin and please him (Psalm 119:11). It was my hope that during this study we would memorize the words of the Song of Solomon without much effort simply by meditating on them day by day, but I see that—at least for me—I do not completely memorize without conscious effort and oral recitative practice.  How about you? If you have no consistent memory program, won’t you consider beginning one, perhaps even by using the lists of verses given over the past couple of weeks as a start? There are fewer than sixty verses…hardly more than one a week. Will you try? Feel free to photocopy the pages with these verses and tape them to your mirror or keep them with your Bible so you can memorize them more easily. As we appeal to the Lord to make haste and return to us, so he appeals to us to “occupy till I come” (Luke 19:13)! I can think of no better way to be “occupied” with Scripture than to memorize it and then put it into practice. May we always be occupied with our Savior and his Word!

 

Rise Up, My Love (303): What the Bible Has to Say About Our Beloved Christ

Song of Solomon 8:14 “My beloved…” Finally, let’s meditate on some more names for God, this time from the New Testament, that remind us why God, in the Person of Jesus, is our beloved:

Matthew 16:16 “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”John 6:35 “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

John 1:29 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 8:12 “I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 8:24 If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”  John 11:25 “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

John 13:13 “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.

John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  John 15:5  “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

John 18:37 “Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.”

John 20:28 “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”

Acts 16:31 “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

Ephesians 2:20 “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.”

Hebrews 2:10 “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

Hebrews 5:9 “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”  Heb 12:2 “Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”

Revelation 1:17 “Fear not; I am the first and the last.   Revelation 1:18 “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”

Revelation 2:18 “And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass.”

Revelation 2:23 “I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.”

Revelation 14:14 “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.”

Revelation 21:6 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”

Revelation 22:16 “I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”

(The photos with verses on them are used by permission of Bob Hardee. Thank you, Bob! [The others are mine.])

 

Rise Up, My Love (302): God As Our Savior and Jesus as God’s Messiah

Song of Solomon 8:14 “My beloved…” Last week we began meditating on some of the many names of God listed in the Bible, and for this week and next week, I’d like to continue with this project. Here is another list of names from the Old and New Testaments that describe God as our Savior, and his Messiah, who was “Immanuel,” (God with us). These verses give a little insight into why Christians believe that Jesus was the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament:

Isaiah 7:1 “Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Isaiah 43:11 “I, even I am the Lord; and beside me there is no Savior.”

Isaiah 43:12 “Therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.”

Isaiah 43:15 “I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.”

Isaiah 45:22 “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”Isaiah 53:3 “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him.”

Isaiah 53:7 “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”

Daniel 9:25 “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks.”

Luke 1:31-33 “thou shalt…call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest…and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

Luke 1:35 “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”  John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

John 8:58 “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”

Colossians 1:13-16 “…his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.”

1 Timothy 6:15 “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.”

Titus 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Revelation 1:8 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

Rise Up, My Love (301): Some of the Many Names of God

Song of Solomon 8:14 “My beloved.” From Solomon’s song, we’ve seen many reasons why the king is our well beloved, and we’ve learned a few of his names. The bride calls him her “king…thou whom my soul loveth…my well beloved.” She likens him to a cluster of camphire and an apple tree, and she asks him to be “like a roe or a young hart.” But, throughout the Bible there are dozens of names given to our Lord, and each one expresses some aspect of his character that makes him beloved. Let’s consider a number of them.

Wow! So many thoughts flood my soul that it’s hard to organize them into transferable images. I can’t develop one before another comes bursting in like the grand finale of a fireworks display. Why is he our beloved? Below is just a sampling of the things that are said of this one whose name is “above all names.”  Jesus is like a huge diamond, and each of his names is like a brilliant flash of colored light reflecting one facet of his amazing personality. Please read the following list slowly, considering these questions: What does the name mean? How does that aspect of his being impact me? Have I learned to utilize this aspect of who he is? Do I love and appreciate him for being this in my life?  Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”  Deuteronomy 32:15 “Then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.” (May we never forsake God…may he be the Rock of our salvation always!)  Psalm 78:35 “And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.”  Psalm 118:22 “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.”  Isaiah 8:14 “And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel.”  1 Corinthians 10:4 “For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”  So, there are many verses about God being our Rock. He is also our Redeemer (our Lord and King, our God, our creator, the Holy One of Israel, our Savior, our Maker, our father, etc…all found in these verses):

Isaiah 44:6 “Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”

Isaiah 44:24 “Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.”

Isaiah 47:4 “As for our redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.”  Isaiah 49:7 “Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and of the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.”

Isaiah 49:26 “…all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.”

Isaiah 54:5 “For thy Maker [is] thine husband; the LORD of hosts [is] his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.”

Isaiah 63:16 “Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.”  Well, that’s probably more than enough for one day’s meditation, so I’ll continue on next week! May we be amazed and blessed this week as we remember God, our Rock, our Redeemer, and so much more!

(Most of the photos are mine, but the photos of the  magnificent red rocks are from Arizona, compliments of Bob Hardee. Thank you, Bob!!)

 

Rise Up, My Love (300): Feasting on the Bread of Heaven

Song of Solomon 8:14 Well, last week’s meditation was quite an aside. I hope you didn’t mind. Let’s go back to our last verse and savor just two words: “My beloved.” First, Jesus is ours: He belongs to us. Second, Jesus is our beloved: He is the one with whom we are entwined forever in a love relationship. “My beloved.” He is mine. He is yours! He belongs to each of us uniquely and individually, and we all belong to him and to each other in the universe’s grandest and most glorious, mysterious corporation…a corporation which offers incredible benefits, perfect job security, dividends “above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20), and a pension plan that will provide for us through all eternity. How do you like that for a package? “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation” (Psalm 68:19).

Why is he beloved? To begin with, “We love him because he first loved us” (I John 4:19). He’s beloved because he loves us. Also, we love him because we know that his love will last forever. Nothing ever “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:38-39). Other loves of this world come and go. Some passions seem intense but fade to nothing, and even the greatest loves of earth are at times fickle and frail. Not so the love of God! “I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3).  We love him because the expression of his love through his mercies is fresh and new each morning. Look at Exodus 6:7, “In the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the Lord.” Do you know what the children of Israel saw? They saw manna…the perfect bread sent down fresh from God’s kitchen. Did you know that “manna” means “What is it?” In John 6:51 Jesus explained what it is, and what he is: ”I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.” Jesus is our manna…our living Bread and our living Word (Matthew 4:4).  He is our Morning Glory…the one who satisfies us early. (As a flower lover, the idea of him being my Morning Glory is my own “pet” name with a double meaning, but isn’t it a sweet thought?) Are you feasting on the warm, fresh, inviting, living Word and being filled afresh with his glory morning by morning? The children of Israel got to the point where they complained bitterly about having to eat manna in the wilderness. “Our soul loatheth this light bread” (Numbers 21:5). They grew tired of perfection. Have you?

I’ve had children who struggled with continuing the practice of a daily morning devotional time because it became “routine and boring.” I beg you, never quit!! Forty years ago my Sunday school teacher used to encourage me as a high schooler with her own view on the Scripture. “Feeding on the Bible is like taking medicine when you’re you’re young. It’s like eating shredded wheat when you’re mature. But, it’s like savoring peaches and cream when you get old.” I think I’ve gotten old…how about you? May he ever be our Morning Glory, and may our waking thoughts each day be to praise him for the glorious beauty of his love and holiness!

Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
(—William Williams, 1745)

Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
[or Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer…]
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.

Lord, I trust Thy mighty power,
Wondrous are Thy works of old;
Thou deliver’st Thine from thralldom,
Who for naught themselves had sold:
Thou didst conquer, Thou didst conquer,
Sin, and Satan and the grave,
Sin, and Satan and the grave.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee.

Musing on my habitation,
Musing on my heav’nly home,
Fills my soul with holy longings:
Come, my Jesus, quickly come;
Vanity is all I see;
Lord, I long to be with Thee!
Lord, I long to be with Thee!

P.S.—Although this is an ancient song, I noticed that it was sung in Eng­lish at the fun­er­al of Di­a­na, Prin­cess of Wales, in West­min­ster Ab­bey, Lon­don, Sep­tem­ber 6, 1997. So, both the song, and the Bread of Heaven about whom the song was written, continue to feed our souls. Truly, feeding on the Word of God provides eternal nourishment, because Jesus is the Bread of Life sent down from heaven (John 6:48), and in him is life eternal (John 17:2-3)!

Rise Up, My Love (299): The Secret That Is No Secret

Song of Solomon 8:14 “Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart…” We are almost to the end of our meditation on The Song of Solomon, and I find myself hanging on every word, almost as if I can’t bear to finish such a delightful study! It’s like having to say goodbye after a perfectly wonderful evening that you don’t want it ever to end. Do you remember one or two such heavenly occasions?  My husband and I tend to relish the last hours of every Sunday night, often going to sleep a little later than is probably ideal simply because we’ve taken such joy in being together all weekend, and we know that when we wake up he’ll be off to work and I’ll be home to work…wonderful occupations, but apart.

Won’t it be grand when there are no more partings? When we are all forever “bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh” in some mysterious but perfect union with God? So, I linger over the last words in the Song of Solomon, clinging to each thought, anxious lest I lose the precious closeness that I’ve felt to the Lord while meditating so deeply on his Word for these past ten years. I think I’ve learned the secret of how to have a happy life, though. It’s the secret of loving the Lord with all my being…heart, soul, mind, and strength…and then experiencing love for others constrained by our love for him.  Sound familiar? It’s the secret that is no secret! How do we develop such passion for the Lord? By spending time with him through meditating on his Word. This does not mean simply reading it (which does have its own benefits…but more in gaining head knowledge than heart transformation). Meditation requires cogitation, like a cow chewing on her cud, where we dig into the meaning of each word and phrase, asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten us and apply the truths to our lives in a life-changing way.  How true the promise of Joshua 1:8 is! “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” When you’ve finished this study, if you aren’t already engaged in your own “green pasture” of meditation, won’t you consider asking the Lord to lead you to a study of your own on some portion of Scripture?  When I began studying The Song of Solomon, it didn’t occur to me that I might want to continue such extensive meditation somewhere else in the Scripture, but having experienced its sweet fruit, now I know that I can’t live without it! How true is the invitation: “O, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Psalm 34:8). By God’s grace, I trust that the Lord will let me lie down in some other green pasture, at least for a little while each morning.

However, it’s not about what the Lord does for “John”…what will he do with “Peter”? Won’t you ask him to lead you into his Word for an in-depth study of your own? All it takes is a Bible. Or, if you have the resources, it helps to have a pen and paper, or a journal or computer, and a commentary or two borrowed from your church or local library…or even requested as a Christmas present. My commentaries came from many sources: my pastor, an eighty-year-old saint from my church family, finds from local bookstores and libraries, and even one as a gift from a very dear but troubled young Christian sister who knew about my study. The Lord provides. But, truly all we need is a portion of Scripture and a ready spirit to listen to our guide and teacher, the Holy Spirit.

Rise Up, My Love (298): Deep Calling to Deep

Song of Solomon 8:14 “Make haste, my beloved…” A few weeks ago in Alaska my husband and I watched the pulsing flow of two great V’s of snow geese and heard their urgent cries calling their fellows on as the rose above the clouds and disappeared into heaven. In fall the whole world seems to become restless…waiting, watching…preparing to fly away…where? Can’t you feel the pull in your own heart? “Deep calleth unto deep.” I think it’s the deep, inarticulate longing within the heart of man to escape this sin-cursed earth and fly up into the bliss and rest of heaven.“Just a few more weary days and then, I’ll fly away;
To a land where joys shall never end, I’ll fly away!
I’ll fly away, O glory, I’ll fly away” (Albert E. Brumley).

And, for those of us who love God passionately, it is the longing to be
“Face to face with Christ, my Savior, face to face—what shall it be?
When with rapture I behold Him, Jesus Christ who died for me”
(Carrie E. Breck).

“Make haste, my beloved!” When will our Lord return? Do you wonder? I know that “of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32). But, whenever God the Father gives Jesus leave, our heavenly bridegroom will indeed “make haste!” The swift appearance of our “Bright and Morning Star” (Revelation 2:16) will turn night to day in an instant, surely in a blaze of glory more stunning than the sunrise I enjoyed this morning!   “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:28). “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him” (Revelation 1:7). Christ will come “in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52). “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:27).  Beloved, our Bright and Morning Star is coming back, and it is my fervent prayer that he comes soon, not only because I want to be with him forever, but also because nothing else can end the pain and suffering all around us! My husband and I recently saw an IMAX film at the science center in Vancouver, B.C. called Forces of Nature dealing with the tremendous activity of natural disasters, including volcanoes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. This magnificent film from the field of science made no mention of the Bible, but I couldn’t help but remember the verse: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows” (Mark 13:8).

I was filled with awe as the documentary discussed the fault line in the Middle East that is producing a series of earthquakes at an ever-accelerating rate. Could this fault line be related to the splitting of the Mount of Olives that will occur when our Lord returns? “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, with is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south” (Zechariah 14:4).

Dear Father, we cannot know the day or hour, but we know that Jesus, your son, is coming, and our hearts long for him to “make haste!” “The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” (Romans 8:22) waiting for Christ’s return to set all things right. Help us to “be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord” (James 5:7) and to “take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is” (Mark 13:33), so that when Jesus returns we may share the Apostle Paul’s testimony: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).