Category Archives: Rise Up My Love

Commentary on the Song of Solomon

Rise Up, My Love (236): Glorious Palm Trees

Song of Solomon 7:7 “This thy stature is like to a palm tree…” Palm trees tend to be tall and slender, often with a graceful curve reaching upward toward the heavens. This is an almost universally known fact and would be the most obvious reason for the King comparing his bride’s stature to a palm tree. Those of us who’ve been privileged to view more than pictures of these magnificent trees know the soothing pleasure that comes from watching a palm tree sway gently in the breeze.  For most of us, palm trees speak of warmth…of tropical weather and refreshing fruit drinks…of relaxing times of vacation. For our family, who are annual vacationers in Florida, seeing our first palm tree as we travel south brings a great sigh of relief and excitement: “We’re here!” After twenty-four hours in the van, we can get out and stretch our legs! No more snow and cold…just wonderful warmth and sunshine! It’s easy to imagine the king’s delight as he watched his beautiful young bride, as slender and graceful as a palm tree, and anticipated the bliss of sharing in the warmth and freedom of her love.  Researching palm trees also brings to light some other important (but perhaps less known) facts that provide rich food for thought. Most trees from more temperate zones, like these ancient olive trees from the Garden of Gethsemane, are exogenous, which means they grow by yearly adding layers of woody tissue. Age can be determined by counting the rings (one per year) seen in a cross-section of the tree. With age, the trees become wider and wider and the wood extremely hard and unbending. This characteristic is great if you are a tree hoping to be chopped down and turned into a durable piece of furniture, but it’s not so great if you want to continue living and withstanding storms.  In contrast, the palm tree is endogenous, and its softest part is its heart. (In fact, palm hearts are nutritious and considered a great delicacy.) Palm trees send roots deep into the earth in search of hidden springs so that they can survive even in desserts. These characteristics make palms flexible and resilient. When our property was battered by tornado force winds some time ago, over twenty huge deciduous trees were uprooted and destroyed. In contrast, Alan and I were “privileged” to be holed up at an oceanfront resort when Hurricane Irene ravaged the coast of Florida some years ago.   We watched helplessly as the sea began a frothy rage and boiled over. The large picture window in our room bulged, and the mirrors bounced on the walls. The waves and winds battered the palms mercilessly, and yet, they only bowed and bent, they did not break. When we woke up the morning after the storm had passed by, all the windows and the sunroof had blown out of our car, but the palms were upright and dancing in the sunlight again.For a woman to be like a palm tree means that her softest part is her heart…which is a great delight for all who partake of her tender goodness. For a woman to be like a palm tree means that her age is not necessarily determined by her width! For a woman to be like a palm tree means that her tap root goes down, down, down deep to the hidden springs of Living Water where she will be nourished and anchored, so that even though the storms of life batter her, she’ll be able to bend without breaking and lift her head again to sparkle in the morning sunshine.   Another interesting fact about palms is that they are one of the largest and most economically important families of the plant world, and in primitive cultures palms are a major provider of sustenance with a multitude of uses, including food, shelter, and clothing. Anyone who understands the supreme significance of the palm tree as a nurturer and sustainer for the world’s children can immediately understand another type of stature being discussed. “This thy stature is like to a palm tree,” could refer not only to his wife’s physical body build but also to his wife’s significance as a “tree among trees.” (See Song 2:3, where the bride compares her husband to a fruitful tree among the trees of the woods).   As the palm is among the most valuable of trees, so is Solomon’s bride among women. Not only was she graceful and beautiful like the palm, she may well have risen to a place of great significance in the kingdom as a sustainer and provider for those under her care.

(Although I took all these photos, I don’t actually have high quality pictures from our Florida trips or Hurricane Irene [which were taken before I had a digital camera], so I used more recent photos from other places.)

Rise Up, My Love (235): The Foreshadowing of Spiritual Union

Song of Solomon 7:6 “How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!” Verse six is the pivotal point in this one particular ode. It is as if the husband concludes his observations with a final seal of approving commendation that also transitions him from simply observing her beauties (verses 1-5)…to beginning to remember the pleasure of experiencing them (verse 6)…to declaring that he will enjoy them again (verses 7-8).

And here, perhaps it would be good to sit and rest a while, savoring this verse as the groom reflected on thoughts of his wife. Synonyms from other translations and commentators describing the husband’s feelings for his wife provide much room for meditation: “How beautiful; how entrancing; how charming; how pleasing.” “Good.” “Gracious.” “Delectable maiden, with your delights.” “Daughter of delights.” “My delight”… “soft, delicate, delightful, luxurious…”  Last June our family just picked cherries from a neighboring orchard…sweet black cherries, sun-sweetened at the tops of the trees. Some years we’re able to harvest big handfuls just by standing on the ground, but last year we had to climb way up high on very tall ladders in order to find many cherries. But…oh, how sweet! This verse is like those wonderful, hard-to-come–by cherries, so stop to taste each one as if it were a plump fruit. Indeed, biting into each adjective gives a spurt of spiritual sweetness like cherry juice!   Go back and read the list again slowly, meditating on each with the understanding that this is the way our Heavenly Lover feels about us as his bride! Truly? Does my Lord find my spiritual openness and submission to him as beautiful… entrancing… delectable?? Wow! It seems unimaginable that I can bring such pleasure to my Lord!

The other thing that may take some mental and spiritual energy is understanding and appropriating the distinctly physical nature of this verse. Although many verses in The Song of Solomon are hotly contested, this verse is unanimously agreed upon: It is a direct reference to the delights of lovemaking. Frankly, to many people, sex is an embarrassing, uncomfortable subject. Young children, especially, sometimes express concern that the whole idea seems “yucky.”  Can you remember when you first heard about sex? I’ll never forget the first time it was explained to me. I was twelve and had just recently become a Christian when my older sister sat down and told me the story behind “the birds and the bees.” My first thought was, “How awful! I’m sure my Sunday school teacher (who was also my spiritual mother and mentor) would never do that!” My husband remembers (at about the same age: prepubescent) thinking a girl’s body seemed “gross.”

These are probably not atypical responses. We are taught our whole lives to be modest and “keep your hands off!” All of a sudden we’re told that within marriage two people are to become totally uninhibited, that our bodies are nothing to be ashamed of or kept hidden, and that loving “hands on” is good, not bad. How does one make the transition?   As with so much of life, I think it is something that must be accepted and acted upon by faith. Our world is so tainted by pornography and sexually perverse practices that sex has become a commonplace topic with a terrible reputation. The wonders of a happy marital relationship are not put on public display; they are sacred and private, and parents don’t usually discuss sexual issues with young children lest they be defrauded (except as they need instruction for their own protection and safety).

However, the world seems to think of nothing else. Immoral sexual behavior is so much in the news and gossip that sex seems synonymous with sin. From the whispers and snickers and innuendoes that all children and young people are inevitably exposed to in our culture, “sinless sex” seems like an oxymoron, and the ideas of purity and privilege simply aren’t championed. Nevertheless, the teaching of the Bible is clear that “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4).

As an innocent young person, the idea of the purity of sex within marriage needs to be accepted by faith. However, just as usually happens in the experience of salvation…appropriate emotions generally follow. In fact, the usual pattern is that maintaining sexual purity before marriage becomes one of a young person’s greatest challenges. Once people mature and fall in love, by some “magic,” their attitudes towards the physical closeness that leads to intercourse radically change, and the desire to become one rather than two becomes an overwhelming passion if not severely restrained by “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).   Even so, by some sacred mystery, the pure passion of Christ to make us one with him, even as he is one with the Father (John 17), is a spiritual truth that we accept by faith and mature into as we grow up in Christ…learning at first by shadows and types and visions through dark looking glasses…but which will someday become our sole passion when we behold him face to face. This is not a physical experience; it is a spiritual experience…something that far exceeds but is only mysteriously suggested by physical union.

Rise Up, My Love (234): In the Galleries

Song of Solomon 7:5 “The king is held in the galleries.” Did you have the first reaction I had to this phrase? As an American, the word “galleries” brings to mind art galleries, and my mind drifted back to some of the most beautiful paintings I’ve ever been privileged to see, both here and abroad…paintings of Christ walking the Emmaus road, and the beautiful light of a Reuben depicting Jesus as a small boy watching Joseph hard at work in his carpentry shop. “The king is held in the galleries.” My mind returned to a time when I was “held in the galleries” of the Detroit Institute of Art for several years…during those long, hard years when my husband was in medical school. Our oldest son cut his teeth on the world’s great classic artists, whiling away the hours with me in the metropolitan museums that were just a short little red-wagon ride away from our apartment. Holding my firstborn in my arms, I used the paintings as superb visuals for lessons on vocabulary and life while answering his persistent questions: “Wha’ dat? wha’ dat? wha’ dat?” While he began developing childish impressions of what such words as “man, horse, river, and boat” meant, I developed a deeper appreciation for the creative genius of a God who could bless his creatures with such amazing talents! Truly, we were “held in the galleries.” We were totally captivated by wonder and beauty. Could the king have been so captivated by exploring the “galleries” of his beloved’s mind? Most women would be delighted to think so…because most women long to have their husbands think that their minds—and not just their bodies—are beautiful and worth exploring! For example, I once heard of a woman who wanted to hear a marriage proposal that would go something like this: “I’m so crazy about you that I want to be able to wake up at 6:00 a.m. some mornings just to find out what you’re thinking about!” Sound strange? Not to a woman. Once during our family’s end-of-the-school-year vacation we read together A Severe Mercy, the autobiographical account of the tremendous love and loyalty a couple developed for each other, how they came to Christ, and how they dealt with illness and death. One of the greatest appeals of the book was the intimacy and devotion the couple attained—truly their marriage was a noble human portrait of the love relationship Christ desires with each of us as his bride.

They developed the concept of a “shining barrier” to keep all competing loves at bay. They aspired to total trust and faithfulness…total sharing…total intimacy. Perhaps the greatest key to this beautiful love was the commitment to share all their thoughts and ideas. They tried to read everything the other person read and to share all their experiences in common. They allowed themselves to become willing captives of one another’s minds. Is this what the king meant? Possibly. The text is not explicit, and it is one of the many points where commentators struggle for meaning. The word gallery has a long history. It can be traced back to the middle English galerie, from the Italian galleria, from Medieval Latin galeria, which was perhaps a variant of the word galilaea, a term referring to the porch of a church, thought to be from Galilee.* If indeed the word goes back to church “galleries,” then it most likely refers to the upper floor: in today’s parlance, the “balcony.” One can just picture a church porch or balcony overlooking the beautiful Sea of Galilee! This is another pleasing possibility, and it fits in well as a parallel idea to our first thought, that the king is held captive in the “balcony” of her brain.   “Thine head upon thee is like Carmel…the king is held in the galleries.” Or, paraphrased for today: “Your head is your crowning glory…the king is mesmerized by all he sees in you!” Like an eager parishioner, leaning forward over the edge of the railing to hear every word the minister speaks…like the king in his royal balcony box enjoying every moment of the performance unfolding before him…..like a scholar intrigued by the seemingly endless possibilities for delight as he pours over the fascinating, leather-bound tomes in the upper recesses of a priceless library…so Solomon—picturing Christ, the matchless lover of our souls—remains in the “balcony,” intently gazing at his wife’s beautiful face and studying her mind!

(Morris, 539)

Rise Up, My Love (233): Not Black and Blue, But Black to Purple

Song of Solomon 7:5 …”the hair of thine head like purple…” The word translated “purple” is ‘argaman, and refers to a “dark crimson or purple color.”* The other two references to the bride’s hair (4:1 and 6:5) describe it as flowing and (presumably) black like the goats from which the tents of Kedar were made. Kedar, whose name probably meant “dark” or “swarthy”** was the second son of Ishmael, and his descendants expanded into a powerful tribe that lived east of Israel and Ammon. It was the black tents of Kedar—woven from the silky black hairs of the goat herds—to which the bride compared herself in the first chapter. How is it that the bride’s hair is described as both black and purple? There is a simple explanation from nature that may be obvious to most people…and there is a lovely thought from the spiritual realm which may be encouraging.  Once when our family was out walking together, my youngest son (who was very little at the time) was fascinated by a large beetle by the side of the road. At first glance, it appeared to be a gorgeous, royal blue, but on closer inspection, we discovered that it was a jet-black beetle with an iridescent sheen…very beautiful! Have you ever seen a starling with a flash of iridescent purple or green on its wings? Sometimes black can radiate color almost the way snowflakes in bright sunshine can glisten with rainbows of light. Oriental women in particular, with their long tresses of midnight black hair, sometimes have lustrous highlights that ripple and shimmer in the light with an almost purple iridescence.  Perhaps it was such an eye-catching aura that so captivated the King. And, what is the significance of the shift from black to purple in the spiritual realm? Could this be another aspect of the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly…from beast to beauty…from the black of sin to the purple of God’s royalty? In the bright Sonshine of God’s grace, the bride’s black hair…once so darkly human and dull from the dust of sin… became bright and shiny-clean such that it reflected the sheen of her Majesty’s purple royalty!  This reminds me of a true story I heard some years ago about the Disney song, “Beauty and the Beast.” I was visiting my “little sister,” Lizzie, in Chicago, and we went to a Marty Goetz concert. Marty is a Messianic Jew now (which means he is one of the myriad Jewish people who have come to know and love Jesus as the Jewish Messiah), and he spends his life singing for our Lord. But, before he became a believer, he started out many years ago singing in piano bars in “heaven” (as he refers to New York City).  During that time, a young man named Alan Menken played some with him, and one of the tunes Marty heard was the song that later helped Alan Menken become famous: “Beauty and the Beast.” After Marty’s conversion, he wrote his own version of the song, reflecting on the wondrous change God had wrought in his life, and called it “Beauty in the Beast”: a “tale as old as time” about the transforming love of God in the heart of a sinner… how “only He could find beauty in the beast.”  Yes, our Lord, by his infinite grace and patient kindness, takes us as ugly, selfish “beasts” and by the gentle persuasion of his love transforms us into princes (and princesses). Isn’t that the truth behind this classic tale? In the Disney version, a young man’s selfishness condemns him to a life (and death) as a beast unless he can find someone to love him before his time is up. Belle, as a type of Christ coming to earth, sacrifices her own freedom and willingly submits to a life in the beast’s world. In the story, it was Belle’s love for the beast that revoked the curse and transformed him into a prince. In reality, it was Christ’s love for us…not just whispered in our ear…but lived out by dying in our place…that broke the curse of sin and freed us to be transformed into princes and princesses of his Kingdom!  What a magnificent tale! But, it’s not simply a wonderful story, it’s the glorious good news of the true gospel! “What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul. What wondrous love is this, O my soul. What wondrous love is this, that caused the Lord of bliss To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul, To bear the dreadful curse for my soul” (American Folk Hymn).

*Paige Patterson, Song of Solomon (Chicago:  Moody, 1986), 107.

**Merrill C. Tenny, ed. The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Corp., 1977), Vol.3, 778.

Rise Up, My Love (232): Mysterious Unity

Song of Solomon 7:5 “Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.” Before un-entwining “purple” hair, let’s consider one more aspect of the bride’s head being like Carmel— which stands “with regal splendor even above the grandeur of the sea.” Here is where spiritual mystery leaves us grasping to feel with our hearts what our minds cannot adequately process. The Scripture repeatedly reminds us that the man is the head of his wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, which is his bride, the body of Christ: “The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (I Corinthians 11:3). “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:23). “And he (Christ) is the head of the body, the church…that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18). “And ye are complete in him (Christ), which is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:10). In Colossians 2:19, the Christians were warned about false mystics who were “not holding the Head (Christ), from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.”

Although the term “head” is used as an office of leadership, it is also—particularly in this last passage—speaking of the church…the bride of Christ…as also being the body of Christ in an organic sense. This is a spiritual mystery. How can Christ at the same time be both a literal God-man with a physical body and—in an organic sense—also the head of “the body of Christ” which is His church…called to become His bride? How can the church be at the same time both the bride of Christ and the body of Christ? The bridegroom marries a bride that is a separate person. How does it work?

Indeed, it is a great mystery…one of those things that we look into now but can see only “through a glass, darkly” knowing just in part what we shall know fully through glorious experience when we see Him face to face! Now we know only that the marriage between a man and a woman foreshadows what it will be like.

In our most intimate human relationships, we begin to experience the merging of two souls and the unifying of two spirits. We sense the opening of our inmost being to receive the intercourse of love from heart to heart and the communion of soul to soul. In marriage, we can experience the fullest culmination of union in the merging of two bodies as well as souls and spirits. As Christ prayed for us, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us…even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (John 17:21-23).

What an incredible prayer! That we may all be one. That every man, woman, and child who belongs to Jesus by faith in his sacrificial death for our sins would become one entity…cells working together in one body which is both the beloved bride of Christ and in some great spiritual mystery the real, physical, living, eternal body of Christ. Bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh, having partaken of his blood and flesh, having become one in him. I stand in awe, silenced by my inability to comprehend the workings of such a mystery and the love that would allow me such privilege.

The Father loves us like he loves the Son? It’s true! The Bible teaches us this concept, and it is ours to believe by faith. The Father—who can do anything he wants—conceived a plan which will make us not only sons of God but a part of his organic body…even as the Father and the Son are one! Forever and for eternity we will be not only indwelt by the Spirit, but joined to Christ…and through Christ to God the Father as well! God in us and us in God…united and one in some inconceivably wonderful and mysterious way. And can it be?? Yes! Praise God, it can.

Rise Up, My Love (231): Beautiful Mt. Carmel—Yesterday and Today جبل مار إلياس הַר הַכַּרְמֶל

Song of Solomon 7:5 “Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.” At last Solomon completes his song of delight. He has praised each aspect of his wife’s precious body from toe to tip, and as his eyes feast on the sight of her blessed head crowned by billows of flowing black hair, he stands transfixed.   His heart has found its resting place in the regal beauty of her face! “Thine head upon thee is like Carmel.” Carmel, from the Hebrew karmel meaning “God’s vineyard,” is an area of lush vegetation “always considered to be one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Palestine, rich with verdant growth and beautiful from every direction. As Solomon viewed the head of his beloved, he saw the beauty and uniqueness of Carmel.”* Carmel is not only impressive because of its lush vegetation, it is important because of its location. Carmel is a limestone mountain range that extends like a spine from the Mediterranean Sea to the southeast for about thirteen miles, dividing the Palestinian coastal plain into the plains of Accho, Sharon, and Philistia. At their peak, the mountains attain a height of 1,791 feet, but according to Merrill Tenny, the most spectacular area is the northwest promontory, which stands 470’ above the Mediterranean Sea.**            Today, the modern city of Haifa has grown up the slopes of Carmel.   But three thousand years ago, when the Song of Solomon was written, it was on the slopes of these lush mountains that Nabal grazed his immense herds of three thousand sheep and one thousand goats (I Samuel 25:2). Nabal’s widow Abigail married David, who was (of course) Solomon’s father, so David would have become the owner of these vast possessions, and Solomon would have developed a special appreciation for the grandeur of this fertile area. (In fact, they may have become his personal possession at some point, because in I Chronicles 26:10 it mentions that King Uzziah had husbandmen and vine dressers in Carmel.)   The top of Carmel’s magnificent promontory jutted out over the Mediterranean Sea, and it was from this vantage point that the prophet Elijah sent his servant to “Go up now, look toward the sea” (I Kings 18:43) while he was waiting for the Lord to send rain to the famished land of Israel. It was on the top of this mountain that Elijah held his contest with Ahab and the four hundred prophets of Baal (I Kings 18:19). Carmel was famous throughout Palestine for its lush fertility and beauty, and it was used repeatedly by the prophets as a symbol of Israel’s best, which would wither in judgment (Isaiah 33:9, Amos 1:2; 9:3) but would blossom again during the millennial reign of Christ (Isaiah 35:2; Jeremiah 50:19).   Twice Carmel is touchingly referred to as the Lord’s personal possession—“his Carmel”— which the Lord would defend from enemy attacks (2 Kings 19:23; Isaiah 37:24). In Jeremiah 46:18, it was foretold that Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest over Egypt would be as glorious and prominent as Carmel’s impressive promontory over the Mediterranean Sea. With these rich threads of historical background in mind, it is easy to understand what an expansive compliment Solomon wove into his tapestry of praise.   “Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple,” is a simile that said to the ancient world, “Your head crowns your body like the glorious cliffs of Carmel which stand with regal splendor even above the grandeur of the sea. Your hair—so full and free— cascades down from your head like the verdant lushness that flows from the most fertile mountainsides in our country. Your head stands like Carmel—dwelling place of prophets…showcase for God’s victory over false idols…symbol of all that is fertile and pure and lovely. Your head is like Carmel—(spiritually: fertile with his Word!)… a showcase for his victories…regal with his grace.  Oh precious Savior, we pray that you would make these visions of your Bride a reality in our individual hearts and lives. How wonderful it is to know that someday we will be presented to you, without spot or wrinkle, as your glorious Bride!

* Paige Patterson, Song of Solomon ( Chicago:  Moody, 1986), 106.
** Merrill C. Tenny, ed. The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Corp., 1977), Vol.1, 755.

(I took all these photos on a birthday trip to Israel several years ago, except the one of me, of course! My husband took the last one.  🙂  )

Rise Up, My Love (230): Thank Heaven for Noses!

Song of Solomon 7:5 One of the beauties of the Bible is that—like the U.S. Constitution (but infinitely more so)—it is flexible and ageless. The Holy Spirit can interpret it and reinterpret it to meet the needs of every heart at every stage of life throughout every generation. Although the normal interpretation of the passage (given the knowledge that Solomon did build watch towers to protect his kingdom) is that Solomon was referring to a literal tower, other commentators—well-versed in Hebrew but with perhaps less insight into the historical background (which is continually being broadened through modern archeological research)—suggest that the passage should be translated “a tower of Lebanon” (rather than “the” tower of Lebanon).  (Mountains of Lebanon) These scholars surmise that Solomon was not referencing a particular watch tower, but was rather thinking of the whiteness of the beautiful 10,000 foot limestone cliffs for which the Lebanese mountains were named, since “Lebanon” comes from the root word laben, which means “to be white.”* Here the emphasis would be on the color rather than the size, and would suggest that her nose was also like the beautiful ivory-colored texture of her neck…pure and white…and no longer sunburned. Certainly both theories have merit, and both opinions add to the richness of the spiritual imagery: straightness and strength; whiteness and purity.  Finally, let’s take a pragmatic look at the functions of the human nose. It is the mechanism for the life-giving exchange of air, and it is the organ that mediates the sense of smell. Obviously, air is absolutely essential for life, and in spiritual analogy, a pure, straight “nose” is crucial for the life-giving intake of the breath of God. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). Spiritually, the Holy Spirit… that “wind” that “bloweth where it listeth” (“wherever it pleases” John 3:8, NIV)…is the one who imparts the air of grace to us, strengthening us for our daily walk of faith.  The nose also mediates the sense of smell. What are the advantages of smell? Through the sense of smell we determine the nature of odors: pleasant or unpleasant, familiar or strange. Pleasant, familiar odors normally attract; unpleasant odors repel; and strange odors trigger curiosity if they’re pleasant…or alarm if they are not. Where would we be without noses to sniff the air and warn us of fire? Think how dependent animals are on the sense of smell to help them find food and avoid confrontations with formidable enemies.  (Mount Lebanon) The spiritual parallels come naturally. Spiritually, there is nothing more attractive than the fragrance of Christ and nothing so repelling as the stench of sin. Our “spiritual nose” will warn us of hell fire and the threat of our Satanic foes. It will draw us to the comforting scent of the Good Shepherd and the fragrant Bread of Life. The bride of Christ, with her pure, straight nose, will be drawn to the sweet, familiar savor of Christ, who is “life unto life” to her. But, to those with crooked, impure noses, he and his bride carry the warning scent of “death unto death” (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).  Oh, Lord, may be all have spiritual noses that are beautifully straight and well placed…standing strong, tall, and pure as the majestic white cliffs…perfectly placed in the center of our face so that we may breathe fully and easily, sensing immediately the nature of what is before us so that we may flee from evil and eagerly pursue Christ!  “Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love, and do what Thou wouldst do.
Breathe on me, Breath of God, until my heart is pure,
Until my will is one with Thine, to do and to endure.
Breathe on me, Breath of God, till I am wholly Thine,
Until this earthly part of me glows with Thy fire divine.
Breathe on me, Breath of God, so shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life of Thine eternity.” —Edwin Hatch

*G. Lloyd Carr, The Song of Solomon: An Introduction and Commentary (Downer’s Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1984), 159.