Thought for the Week - 28th AugustLloyd Hopkin
I sleep, but my heart is awake;
It is the voice of my beloved!
He knocks, saying,
“Open for me, my sister, my love,
My dove, my perfect one;
For my head is covered with dew,
My locks with the drops of the night.”
I have taken off my robe;
How can I put it on again?
I have washed my feet;
How can I defile them?
My beloved put his hand
By the latch of the door,
And my heart yearned for him.
I arose to open for my beloved,
And my hands dripped with myrrh,
My fingers with liquid myrrh,
On the handles of the lock.
I opened for my beloved,
But my beloved had turned away and was gone.
My heart leaped up when he spoke.
I sought him, but I could not find him;
I called him, but he gave me no answer.
The watchmen who went about the city found me.
They struck me, they wounded me;
The keepers of the walls
Took my veil away from me.
I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
If you find my beloved,
That you tell him I am lovesick!
The verses above are a poem about a King and the woman he loves, and she him. The reason it’s in the Bible is because it’s also about Christ and us: the love between us and Him. These verses show the relationship we have and can have with Christ.
We read that the woman is sleeping, but her heart is awake. Her beloved knocks on the door. Christ wants to be with us and spend time with us. We see from the words he uses that she’s very precious to him. The dewdrops on his head tell us that he’s been there for a while, waiting for her. He calls out to her, but she responds with a silly excuse about why she can’t open the door.
So often, we can make silly excuses when we’re asked to do something by others or by God. We can make it sound plausible and we can convince ourselves and others, but we’re making a smokescreen because we don’t want to do what God is asking us.
She loves her beloved very deeply. He means the world to her, like Christ can mean the world to us, but she holds back. She’s not openly rebelling, but doesn’t want to do what she’s asked.
Hudson Taylor wrote about the pride and the selfishness of her actions. It can seem like a very small thing, she hesitates but changes her mind and then gets up to answer the door. But at the bottom of her actions is something quite ugly. He speaks with such tenderness, but she responds with pride and arrogance. She doesn’t want to do it and she doesn’t want to be put out. So often, we disobey because we don’t want to be put out. We’re comfortable where we are.
She doesn’t seem aware that she’s done anything wrong. While we shouldn’t go into introspection, when we disobey God – however small it seems – the effect of it can still remain.
I was thinking of some of the reasons why this woman held back, or why we can hold back:
- Is it that we’re afraid of the consequences? Perhaps we don’t want to do what we’ve been asked in case we don’t like what happens. We can assume there are consequences that aren’t there. We need to trust God. If it’s resisting a sin, we need to trust God to give us the strength to overcome. It is written that if He asks to do something of us, He will give us the strength to do it.
- Perhaps we’re too comfortable and cosy. God wants a sharpness in our spirit so that we’re ready to obey Him.
- Perhaps our desire for Christ has been dulled. All of a sudden we don’t respond as quickly as we should. Perhaps it’s because of a specific sin, or because we’ve not responded before and we can’t hear Him as well and so we don’t hear to obey again. The less we listen, the less we hear.
- Could it be stubbornness, an unconquerable will? This is something that’s in everyone until God breaks it. We can be following Christ and yet it’s our nature – something that’s in us that wants what we want rather than what God wants. This can take time to melt and break. This is one of the reasons why He asks us to make small changes as well as large changes, because He’s turning our whole person and will towards Him. When we disobey, we fight against that and instead feed our own will within us.
The woman answers, but it’s too late, he’s gone. This shows us the importance of immediate obedience – not the “now in a minute” (as we say in Wales) sort of obedience!
We read that her heart leaps. She was excited and yet she waited. Even though she disobeyed, he leaves liquid myrrh on the door. He’s not being harsh with her or condemning her . God is so merciful, that He leaves something of his presence with her to draw her as a sign of what is there for her. He sees the part of her that desires Him. He’s pulled away for a reason – now she starts to look for him.
We see how her disobedience hurts her, she goes looking for him and gets beaten by the watchmen. But It draws out her love and praise. Now that he’s gone, she’s forced to focus on him and why she loves him so much with some of the most beautiful words ever written.
She searches for him. When we disobey, when we feel we can’t get past something or hitting a wall, we must turn to Him and seek Him. He will help us change, He gives us strength. If you are stubborn, be honest about it. Ask Him to make you to be willing. Christ melts the pride and stubbornness. We have to do what we’re asked by God at some point, else we won’t move on or we move back.
Jesus said that His food was to do the will of His Father. If that is true for Christ, how much more true must it be for us!
Christ uses very similar words when He speaks to the lukewarm church in Revelations.
Revelation 3:20 – 21
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
This is the Christ who reigns with God in heaven, who sits on the Father’s throne, who died for us, who with God created heaven and earth, and who is the only reason we have any hope of being saved. And He’s saying that if we open that door to Him and overcome we will reign with Him. We don’t see that when we have our little battles about why we won’t do something God has asked of us. The more our will dies, the more He can come in.
Roy Hession says that the will is like a cobra: It rises itself up, hisses and spits when provoked. But our will in God’s hands should be like a worm’s, there for Him to do with us as he wants. We might find ourselves having this fight over sins, over having quiet times, over doing things we’re asked, or biting our tongue. These can seem small decisions, but they are the little foxes that spoil the vines.
When our wills are turned completely to Him, He will be able to do so much through us and trust us with so much. He is seeking lives that will be totally laid down to Him. When we obey, the presence of God, the love of God and the joy of God within us grows.
We need to nail our own will to the cross. We need to turn ourselves back to God and say “Not my will but Thine”. We need to search for Him when we know we’ve done the wrong thing. The Bible tells us “Be angry, and do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26). Use that frustration to turn to Him and don’t let Him go!
Ask Him what He wants you to do.