Rise Up, My Love (171): Like a Bed of Spices

Fullness of a beard like spicesSong of Solomon 5:13 “His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers:” The cheeks of the bridegroom—doubtless enhanced by a full beard—reminded his wife of a well manicured garden bed, rich with spices and perfumed with flowers. Have you ever enjoyed a spice garden? When our children very young, we lived near a lovely botanical garden. One of my favorite walks meandered along a woodland path, and near the end of the trail…in a tiny, sheltered meadow…was a circular herb garden with a plethora of fragrant spices arranged in neat beds shaped like the spokes of a wheel. The symmetric design was most appealing, and the soft fullness of the greenery made you just want to reach out and touch the plants. But best of all, when you got very near, you could smell the delicate aromas of the spices.

Perhaps it was this type of visual and olfactory imagery that the bride had in mind. The lines of his abundant beard and rich black hair framing his face like a circular garden…the softness of his beard begging to be touched…the delicate aroma of his skin and hair, drawing her ever nearer.

SON OF GOD, Diogo Morgado as Jesus Christ, 2014. ph: Joe Alblas/TM copyright ©20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved/courtesy Everett Collection

King Solomon’s cheeks were not only dignified by a manly beard, they were fragranced with perfume. Modern men sometimes splash on cologne or after-shave, but ancient men anointed themselves with spiced oils. In Psalm 133, dwelling together in unity is likened to the fragrance of precious ointment anointing the head and flowing down upon a beard…”even the beard of Aaron,” the high priest. Surely this is the picture we see! Our greater than Solomon is also our high priest forever (Hebrews 6:20)…graced with the beard of manhood and fragranced with the oil of the Holy Spirit…making the way for us as his bride to “dwell together in unity” with him! gods-own-hill-station-1aPrecious Messiah, of whom it was prophesied: “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isa. 50:6). Dear Jesus, who lived out that awful abuse (Matthew 27). We are told in Isaiah 52:14, “As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men.” Our precious Lord and Christ was mercilessly abused and tortured for us. In this world, his beard was not well groomed and fragrant. It was pulled out and matted with blood. “Marred more than any man.” My soul groans and wants to turn away from even imagining the one I love more than any other so hideously mistreated. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

Those of us who know him—look at him. All that he suffered was out of love for us. If you do not know him—look at him. This is what he did…for you. For me, but also for you and all the world. “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 3:16). Have you turned to him for forgiveness of sins and salvation? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31). It is my prayer that not even one person who reads this book will turn away from Christ, but that all will experience the wonder of his love and forgiveness and grow to see and love him as he is: our glorious bridegroom.

(Picture of the hill of spices from “God’s Own Hill” website):  http://completewellbeing.com/article/gods-own-hill-station/#comment-20289
Picture of Diogo Morgado as Jesus from the net.