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Showing posts from March, 2023

Day 90: Complacent Satisfaction (SoS 2:5)

   Sustain me with cakes of raisins, Refresh me with apples, For I am lovesick.    Song of Songs 2:5  To understand this verse, we'll have to start with the last phrase: for I am lovesick. There are two lessons from this. We'll look at one in today's lesson and another in tomorrow's. Have you ever been at a party or in the company of friends where you were having so much fun you wished the moment will never end, yet, you're exhausted? It's the perfect place you want to be, yet you're drained from all the energy it was demanding. (Introverts will understand this better.) The Bride in verse 4 was exhilarated. She was with her beloved in the banqueting house celebrating their love. She expressed how His love had conquered her. She was beside herself with joy. In SoS 1:2 she said his love was better than wine and she's experiencing just that.  So this was a moment of overwhelming satisfaction. It's like when fans faint in the presence of their favorite c

Day 89: Conquered by Love (SoS 2:4b)

  He brought me to the banqueting house, And his banner over me was love.  Song of Songs 2:4   Banners are flags or standards used by a nation, organisation or military. Unlike our day and time when the banner is used more commonly and for many sorts of things, it was mostly used by armies in those days. Armies marched under a specific flag or banner and even smaller units had their own banners. Banners represent many different things, but we'll look at just three in the context of our text.      1. Banner represents identity: a public proclamation of ownership and belonging.      a. When a new territory was conquered, the enemy flag was let down and the conqueror's flag displayed. Banners depict who owns a territory. To camp under a flag or wear it as we have in our day is to declare allegiance and belonging to what or who the flag represents.  In Numbers 2:2, God gave Moses instructions about how Israel was to set up camp. Each man was to stay under his tribal banner and his

Day 88: House of Wine (SoS 2:4)

  He brought me to the banqueting house , And his banner over me was love.  Song of Songs 2:4   The word translated as banqueting here is used over a hundred and thirty more times in the scriptures as wine. It is the same in SoS 1:2 where the Bride says the king's love is better than wine. It's why many versions use wine instead of banqueting. It also means to effervesce which is to be in high spirits (joy) and implies being intoxicated. It is said that banquets differed from feasts in those days. Feasts were characterized by an abundance of food but banquets involved more drinking. So banqueting could either be right after a feast or an independent event on its own. It was a time of great celebration. It is even said that the banquet room was sometimes different from the feasting room. Esther 5 tells us that the feasts Esther prepared for King Ahasuerus were banquets of wine. Considering all we've said so far, there are two schools of thought in interpreting this scripture

Day 87: Taste and See (SoS 2:3c)

  “Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, So is my beloved among the sons. I sat down in his shade with great delight, And his fruit was sweet to my taste.”   Song of Songs 2:3 In the previous lesson, we discussed how Jesus gives shade from life's heat. But that wouldn't be enough. Apple trees are not just for shade, but also for fruits. Fruits are a class of food and they can satisfy hunger. Apples are one of the favorite fruits consumed by men worldwide because of their delicious taste. Not just that, apple signifies sexual pleasure (which is considered the highest form of physical pleasure) and temptation. This shows its superiority to other fruits. Fruits in the Bible refer to a variety of things; children, words, actions, character, prosperity, food, provision, etc. So many scriptures in the Bible use fruit to refer to man's words. Jesus used it in such a manner in Matthew 12:33-37. Many other scriptures do the same. One of them is Proverbs 18:20. It says:  

Day 86: Sunshade (SoS 2:3b)

 “Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, So is my beloved among the sons. I sat down in his shade with great delight, And his fruit was sweet to my taste. ” Song of Songs 2:3 In those days, most people were farmers and shepherds. So they had to labor under the sun for hours each day. As said in Lesson 52, the two priority needs after a day's labor are rest and food (satisfaction). The Bride here says her beloved provides shade for her and she gladly sits in it.  Jesus in Mark 4:30-32 said:   “...To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.”  And in John 12:24 (The Passion Translation):  “...A single grain of wheat will never be more than a single grain of wheat unless it drops

Day 85: The Apple Tree of Trees (SoS 2:3)

“ Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods, So is my beloved among the sons. I sat down in his shade with great delight, And his fruit was sweet to my taste.” Song of Songs 2:3 Right after the Beloved said his love is a lily among thorns, she reciprocates with her comparison too. She said he is like an apple tree among the trees of the woods. In Joel 1:12 apple trees were one of the valuable trees listed that was grown in Israel. Apple is known not just for its delicious fruit but its fragrance and beautiful appearance. It's probably why it's used to depict the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Trees in the bible are used to refer to men. Jesus compared men to trees who bear good or bad fruit in Matthew 7:17-19. In many scriptures like Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17:8, the righteous are said to be evergreen trees. In Daniel 4, King Nebuchadnezzar was compared to a large, tall and fruitful tree. Also in Ezekiel 17:28, Isaiah 55:12, and many other texts in th

Day 84: Blooming Among Thorns (Bonus Lesson 12)

 To bloom is to flourish. It is a state of health, beauty, youth, and vigor. In the Old Testament, the righteous are often compared to evergreen trees. An example is Psalm 1 and in its first two verses are three principles of flourishing. Let's look at them in the Amplified Classic Version. 1. Verse 1 - Avoid negative influence: “Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather.” Though we live in this world, we are not to be influenced by or conform to the world's ways. We must be able to discern unhealthy relationships and companies and avoid them. Proverbs 13:20 in the Message Translation says: “Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.” Jesus was often found i

Day 83: Lily Among Thorns 2 (SoS 2:2)

“Like a lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. ”   Song of Songs 2:2 The word translated love every time the Beloved called the Bride my love is only used in the Song of Songs. That's great, isn't it?  Its other meanings are attendant maiden, companion, and female associate. So the expression transcends someone you're affectionate towards to someone who shares your life and everything about you. In fact, the origin of this word means a special friend but most importantly, it means someone who tends and feeds a flock. It communicates that Christ truly desires, not just trophies of His victory or PR agents. He wants partners. When I consider this, it reminds me of the establishment of the marriage institution in Genesis chapter 2. Eve was made a help meet for Adam. To be the Bride of Christ is more than just being loved by Him. It is to be His friend and associate. To partner with Him in His work on earth. In our text today, the Bride is called a lily among tho

Day 82: Lily Among Thorns (SoS 2:2)

 “Like a lily among thorns, So is my love among the daughters.” Song of Songs 2:2 Right after the Bride makes her humble statement, the Beloved speaks of her in his own terms. She says she's a Rose of Sharon and a Lily of the Valleys: just another beautiful flower growing in a fertile field. He says she's a lily among thorns. The lily as we said in the previous lesson signifies humble beauty. It also signifies innocence, purity, and rebirth. Let's see what thorns mean. Thorns unlike flowers are not attractive. They are prickly, painful, and have no enticing fragrance. The first mention of thorns in the Bible was after Adam sinned. God cursed the ground and said in Genesis 3:18, “Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth for you”. The Bible speaks about the enemies of Israel being thorns in Ezekiel 28:24. In Matthew 13:22, Jesus used thorns to represent the cares of this world that choke the word of God in our hearts. A crown of thorns was put on the head of our Savior a

Day 81: True Humility (SoS 2:1)

  "I am the rose of Sharon, And the lily of the valleys." Song of Songs 2:1 As soon as she declares herself as a Rose of Sharon, the Bride immediately calls herself a Lily of the Valleys. Just like the rose represents flourishing beauty, the lily is also recognized for its beauty. Lilies however are said to be one of the most beautiful and fragrant flowers you can plant in a garden.  In Matthew 6:28, Jesus compliments the beauty and elegance of the lilies. He compared them to Solomon, the richest man of his time dressed in his finest clothes, and concluded they were much more stylish and elegant. Lilies in many parts of the world represent innocence, purity, and rebirth. So it also speaks of the work of grace. Our Beloved Jesus' bitter work of redemption transformed us into pure, innocent beauties and gave us new, recreated spirits and lives. In Hosea 14:5 God said about Israel: “I will be like the dew to Israel; He shall grow like the lily...” Lilies grow really f

Day 80: Beauty As He Sees It (SoS 2:1)

“ I am the rose of Sharon, And the lily of the valleys.” Song of Songs 2:1 The Bride continues to speak here. In the last verses ending chapter 1, she spoke about her beloved, then their bed and houses. Finally, she speaks again about herself. What she says about herself shows how much her time with the beloved had impacted her. In Chapter 1:5 when she last spoke about herself, she said she was dark but lovely but here there is no mention of the word dark or her previous condition. Rather she calls herself a rose and a lily. Rose here represents fragrant beauty and loveliness. And because Sharon is a plain of Judea said to be a very fertile land, it is to indicate this is a healthy flower not diseased or blemished in any way. Beautiful flowers are admired by all. After hearing a number of times from her beloved that she is fair (beautiful and without blemish), she ascents to what he had called her. No longer did she consider herself dark. No longer is she crying not to be looked upon.

Day 79: Mobile Temples, Living Stones 2 (SoS 1:17)

“The beams of our houses are cedar, And our rafters of fir.” Song of Songs 1:17 In the previous lesson, we said Jesus was the first mobile temple of God and we in turn now as His ambassadors on earth are temples of God. When we read about the building of the temple from 1 Kings 5-7, we'll see that the temple was not built with cypress and cedar alone. The temple was built with costly stones hewn to size at a quarry. Its foundation, floor, and walls were made with stones. When we read through the New Testament, especially the epistles, there are many references to rock and stone mentioned to symbolize the church as the temple of God's Spirit. According to Matthew 16:16-18 Jesus Himself is the rock upon which the church is built. This refers to Christ as the building location not the material for the building. The church and every individual Christian are built on Christ. 1 Peter 2:4-5 says Jesus was the first living stone (the first mobile temple) and now we also are being built

Day 78: Mobile Temples, Living Stones (SoS 1:17)

  “The beams of our houses are cedar, And our rafters of fir.” Song of Songs 1:17 In this verse, the Bride describes her place of rest and satisfaction. First, she mentioned the bed in the previous verse and now the house is made with cedar and fir. When we look through the scriptures we'll see that Isaiah 9:10 says cedars are strong and reliable. In Psalm 80:10 they were compared to the righteous because they are stately, tall, and flourish beautifully. And in Song of Songs 4:11 are said to be fragrant. They do not rot easily and are not often attacked by insects. The word translated as fir also means cypress. So it's used interchangeably in many Bible versions. Cypress is said to be stronger than cedar so it can bear more weight. It is also more expensive because it grows more slowly. It's strong and durable, does not decay easily, and is water resistant. It was used in the Bible for not just construction but also to make musical instruments in 2 Samuel 6:5. Cypress is sa

Day 77: Our Bed of Green (SoS 1:16c)

 " Behold, you are handsome, my beloved! Yes, pleasant! Also, our bed is green . " Song of Songs 1:16 There are quite a few lessons in this phrase that we'll skim through quickly: First, the Bride begins the next part of her speech with also. She was indicating that his beauty and goodness were the real deal. Every other thing after that is only an addition. It's just as we're expected to love our Beloved Jesus for who He is and not what He can give us. Second, she doesn't speak in the singular, but in the plural. Just as stated in Lesson 5 to have the King is to have all that belongs to Him. Romans 8:17 says that we are joint heirs with Christ . The gospel is this: Christ identified with us in our sin, sickness, shame, wretchedness, and death so that we may identify with Him in His righteousness, life, and glory. And it's just like the Father told his son in Luke 15:31: all that I have is yours. One of the greatest truths about the benefits of redemp

Day 76: The Beauty of Jesus (SoS 1:16a&b)

  " Behold, you are handsome, my beloved! Yes, pleasant! Also, our bed is green." Song of Songs 1:16 Behold is often used in scripture as a call to see or perceive something that already exists. When the Beloved called the Bride fair, she returned the same words to Him. Every praise we receive from men or even our Beloved Himself must be returned to Him.  We are reflections of Him, so whatever good is acknowledged in us is His doing. As Christ expresses His love for us, we in turn must express ours. As He expresses our beauty, we in turn must express His to Him. Let's see an example. Luke 18:18-19 says: “Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” When Jesus the Son of God who is as much God as God Himself was complimented, He redirected it to God. He also often acknowledged that everything He did was not by His authority, but by the

Day 75: Behold Perfection (S0S 1:16a) (Bonus Lesson 11)

  " Behold, you are handsome, my beloved! Yes, pleasant! Also our bed is green." Song of Songs 1:16 Here, the Bride calls her Beloved handsome. How can we describe our own Beloved, Jesus, without seeing Him with our physical eyes? Imagine Jesus was standing before you, how would you describe Him? I know you're probably thinking about those images of Jesus we've seen in the past. Perhaps like me, you're imagining Jonathan Roumie from The Chosen. What image do we attribute to Christ? God forbade Israel from making images of Him, it's one of the things they struggled with. All around them were nations who could point to their gods but Israel's God was unseen. They didn't understand it was because God already had an image: man. He said in Genesis  1:26 “let us make man in our image and likeness...” I love how the Contemporary English Version puts David's words in Psalm 8:4-5: “Then I ask, “Why do you care about us humans? Why are you concerned for us

Day 74: Undistracted Devotion (SoS 1:15)

  “Behold, you are fair, my love! Behold, you are fair! You have dove’s eyes.” Song of Songs 1:15 In the previous lesson, we looked at what makes doves' eyes special, why the Beloved complimented the Bride like that, and how it relates to us and Jesus. We looked at Jesus' words in Matthew 6:22 and juxtaposed them with how doves' eyes can only focus on one thing at a time. One more thing unique to doves about their vision is that when they fix their eyes on their partner, it is hard to get them to look away. They are not easily distracted. Matthew 6:22 again in the King James Version reads: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye is evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” When you study the Greek word translated as evil in this scripture and compare it with other words like it, you'll discover that