the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house.”
The consecration of Solomon’s temple brings to our mind his father’s delightful Psalm, in which he expressed his love to the worship of the Lord his God.
More delightful than tongue can tell are the assemblies for divine worship. They are lovely in prospect, lovely at the time, and lovely to the memory afterwards. Under heaven, no place is so heavenly as the church of the living God.
Do we feel the same burning desire after God? If so, we shall not need urging to attend his worship. Some need to be whipped to worship, but David is here crying for it; he needed no clatter of bells to ring him in to the service, he carried his bell in his own bosom.
He envied the little birds which lodged about the tabernacle. When far away from the Lord’s altars he wished he had wings to fly to them, as the sparrows did, or build near them after the manner of the swallows.
He wished he could be always employed about the sacred tent, for he thought that even the menial servants of such a Lord would be always praising him. Dwelling so near him, their joy would never cease, their praises would sound forth both day and night.
Or, “in whose heart are thy ways.” None find joy in worship but those who throw their hearts into it. Neither prayer, nor praise, nor the hearing of the word will be profitable to persons who have left their hearts behind them.
The pilgrims who went up to the temple found refreshment in the dreariest part of the road, even the gloomy vale of tears became delightful to them. They made desolate valleys to be as cheerful as the wells where men and women were accustomed to meet for social intercourse. What will not holy fellowship and hearty praises do?
God’s people hold on their way, grow stronger, and at last reach their journey’s end, for they have an almighty Convoy who will not suffer them to fail.
The doorkeeper is first in and last out, and he has less comfort than anyone, yet David would sooner have the lowest place in God’s house, than the highest in the tents of sin. Quaint old Seeker says, “Happy are those persons whom God will use as besoms to sweep out the dust from his temple, or who are allowed to tug at an oar of the boat wherein Christ and his people are embarked.”
What a great promise, or set of promises! Here we have all we need for all time, yea, and for eternity. What an encouragement to pray! If all things are freely given to us of God, let us open our mouths wide in our petitions. What more can God himself say than he has said in this most precious verse?
How pleasant, how divinely fair,
O Lord of hosts, thy dwellings are!
With long desire my spirit faints
To meet the assemblies of thy saints.
My flesh would rest in thine abode,
My panting heart cries out for God;
My God! my King! why should I be
So far from all my joys and thee?
“My beloved is mine, and I am his.”
Song of Song of Solomon 2
It is possible that in those golden days when Solomon walked with God, he was inspired to write the matchless book of Canticles, which is the Holy of holies of the Scriptures, standing like the tree of life in the midst of the garden of inspiration. The song is highly allegorical, and describes Christ and his church as a bride and bridegroom who sing to each other and of each other. The passage we are about to read is a dialogue.
The Bridegroom first speaks, and says
Song of Song of Solomon 2:2
Who can this be but Jesus, in whose person the rose and lily are combined? “White is his soul, from blemish free, Red with the blood he shed for me.” He paints his church as a lone lily growing amidst a wilderness of thorns, among them but not of them, her beauties being all the more conspicuous by contrast.
Then the Bride or the church exclaims
Song of Song of Solomon 2:3
The golden citron excels all other trees, and Jesus is far more excellent than all others. Shade and fruit, protection and provision, are found in him. He is all in all to us who believe in him.
Song of Song of Solomon 2:5
Love to Jesus sometimes becomes so vehement a passion that the soul cannot bear it, and the bodily frame is ready to swoon under the supreme excitement.
Song of Song of Solomon 2:7-9
The spouse now hears the voice of her husband, and rejoices to see him coming to her with all the sacred haste of omnipotent love.
Song of Song of Solomon 2:13
When doubts and fears, trials and distresses are over and the heart is full of music, we should go forth in holy fellowship, and delight ourselves with the Lord Jesus. Dark days may come, let us spend our joyful seasons in the most profitable manner, walking with our Lord in the light while the light lasts.
The Bridegroom still speaks, and calls to his beloved, saying
Song of Song of Solomon 2:17
Come out from the hiding-places of fear or worldliness and own the Lord.
The church sings again
Song of Song of Solomon 2:16 , Song of Solomon 2:17
If we have lost the presence of the Lord, it is our duty and our privilege to cry to him to return swiftly and triumphantly, like the fleet roe which overleaps mountains and defies all difficulties.
Yes! my Beloved to my sight
Shows a sweet mixture, red and white:
All human beauties, all divine,
In my Beloved meet and shine.
All over glorious is my Lord,
Must be beloved, and yet adored;
His worth if all the nations knew,
Sure the whole earth would love him too.