Rise Up, My Love (146): Whose Knock? Whose Voice?

Christ knocking at doorSong of Solomon 5:2 “It is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled…” It is noteworthy that it was really her beloved’s voice, not so much his knock, that woke her. People do have distinctive knocks, and if you are used to a person’s knock—particularly if they always use the same rhythm and intensity—it is often easy to distinguish them…but not always. For example, I had seven children. My firstborn had a loud, insistent knock; my fifth born had a rapid, drum-like knock; and my last born had a gentle, quiet knock. These three boys remind me very much of the three billy goats gruff thumping across the bridge. The troll who lived under the bridge couldn’t tell the sound of the goats apart—but I lived with my little billy goats, and I could tell their thumpings apart. However, my other four children all knocked with an even, regular pattern…or else with some diversity based on mood…and so I couldn’t always guess which young person wanted my attention!

Voice, however, is a different matter. Each person knows the sound of his child’s—or his spouse’s—voice. Voices are unique, and even very similar voices (most often noticed when calling on the phone) can usually be distinguished after a moment’s thought. And, what about the voice of God?! How awesome in power…how beautiful in majesty! His voice roars out of Zion (Joel 3:16), and thunders like a mighty waterfall (Revelation 1:15); his voice is powerful and full of majesty, breaking cedars and dividing flames of fire (Psalm 29:4-7); but, sometimes it is a still, small voice (I Kings 19:12). Nevertheless, his voice is always recognizable: to the disobedient Adam and Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:8); to the faithful “friend of the bridegroom”—John—who “rejoiced greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice” (John 3:29); to an unbelieving Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:4-5). When God speaks, his voice can be heard and known.

Still, not everyone will hear his voice, for Jesus witnessed to Pilate: “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. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (John 18:37). But, Pilate did not truly hear his voice, because in the very next verse his response sounded out for the faithless of every generation: “What is truth?”

“I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me—” I believe this passage is speaking of Christ to his slumbering church, and I do not want to lessen the impact of his pleadings to those who are already his and drifting, but may I use it also to remind any unbeliever who might be reading these pages that God’s love and calling extends to you as well? The Lord says he is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus called out to the people, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” (John 5:25). Will you hear and respond to the voice of “the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead” (Acts 3:15) and sent “to bless you in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:26)?

The voice of God! Hear it and understand that it is true. Hear it and live! Hear his voice calling out to you: “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation” (Hebrews 3:15). Oh, sleeping saint—may your heart waken to the sound of his sweet voice! Oh, unbeliever, let his voice wake you from the sleep of death! Harden not your heart, but hear, believe, and live! The gospel message is true: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). What must you believe? “That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: and that he was seen…” (I Corinthians 15:3-5).

Jesus’ love for us is an everlasting love…just as faithful and true and strong as it ever was. We fail him, but he never fails us. We ignore him, but he calls us still. Hear his wonderful, tender voice! Visualize him standing outside your heart’s door: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). Hear him! Recognize his voice, and run to open the door!