Meer van Beloved Daughter:
Meer van Beloved Daughter:
The Garden of the Lord.
A garden enclosed is my sister, [my] spouse; A spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Thy shoots are a paradise of pomegranates, with precious fruits; Henna with spikenard plants; Spikenard and saffron; Calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense Myrrh and aloes, with ail the chief spices: A fountain in the gardens, A well of living waters Which stream from Lebanon. Awake, north wind, and come, [thou] south; Blow upon my garden, [that] the spices thereof may flow forth. Let my beloved come into his garden, And eat its precious fruits. I am come into my garden, my sister, [my] spouse; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, O friends; drink, yea drink abundantly, beloved onesl!
Song of Solomon 4: 12 - 5: 1
With these choice words from the Song of Songs, the Bridegroom likens His bride to a garden of delights. Probably, all believers, with hearts opened to understand the Scriptures, would agree that in the Bridegroom, or the "Beloved", of the Song of Songs, we have a beautiful figure of Christ. Most would also concede that, in the interpretation of the Song, the bride sets forth Christ's earthly people.
While, however, the strict interpretation of the bride has Christ's earthly people in view, we are surely warranted in making an application to the Church, the heavenly bride of Christ.
Furthermore, if we may discover in this garden the excellencies that Christ would find in His heavenly bride, do we not at the same time learn what the love of Christ is looking for in the hearts of those who compose the bride? May we then, for a little, meditate upon this garden, with its spring, its fruit, its spices, and its living waters, as describing what the Lord would have our hearts to be for Himself.
First, we notice that the Bridegroom always speaks of the garden as "My garden"; while the bride delights to own it is "His garden". "Awake O north wind . . . blow upon My garden," says the Bridegroom. The bride replies, "Let my Beloved come into His garden." In response, the Bridegroom says, "I am come into My garden." The application is plain — the Lord claims our hearts for Himself. "My son, give Me thine heart," says the Preacher (Prov. 23: 26). "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts," is the exhortation of an Apostle (1 Peter 3: 15): and again, another Apostle can pray that "Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith" (Eph. 3: 17).
It is not simply our time, our means, our brains, and our busy service, that the Lord desires, but first, and above all, He claims our affections. We may give all our goods to the poor, and our bodies to be burned, but, without love it will profit nothing. The Lord is still saying to us, "Give Me shine heart."
"Thou hast left thy first love", was a solemn word indicating that whatever excellencies belonged to the believers thus addressed, their hearts had ceased to be a garden for the Lord. As one has said, "A wife may take care of the house, and fulfil all her duties so as to leave nothing undone for which her husband could find fault; but if her love for him has diminished, will all her service satisfy him if his love to her be the same as at first?" (J.N.D.).
Above all, then, the Lord claims the undivided affection of our hearts. The garden must be His garden. Moreover, if the Lord claims our hearts to be a garden for His delight, they must have the marks of the garden that is according to His mind.
As we read this beautiful description of the garden of the Lord, we note five outstanding features which set forth in figure what the Lord would have our hearts to be for Himself. First, the garden of the Lord is an enclosed garden. Secondly, it is a watered garden, with its spring shut up and its fountain sealed. Thirdly, it is a fruitful garden — a paradise of pomegranates with precious fruits. Fourthly, it is a fragrant garden, with trees of frankincense, and all the chief spices. Lastly, it is a refreshing garden from whence "the living waters" flow, and the fragrance of its spices is carried to the world around.
The garden enclosed. If the heart is to be kept as a garden for the pleasure of the Lord, it must be as "a garden enclosed." This speaks of a heart separate from the world, preserved from evil, and set apart for the Lord.
May we not say that, in the Lord's last prayer, we learn the desire of His heart that His people should be as "a garden enclosed"? We hear Him tell the Father, that His own are a separate people, for He can say, "They are not of this world, even as I am not of the world". Again, He desires that they may be a preserved people,for He prays, "Keep them from the evil". Above all, He prays that they may be a sanctified people, for He says, "Sanctify them through thy truth" (John 17: 14-17).
Does not the Preacher exhort us to keep our hearts as "a garden enclosed", when he says, "Keep thy heart more than anything that is guarded"? (Prov. 4: 23, N. Tr.). Again we do well to heed the Lord's own words, "Let your loins be girdled about". Unless the girdle of truth holds in our affections and thoughts, how quickly our minds will be drawn away by the things of this world, and the heart cease to be "a garden enclosed".
Again, the Apostle James desires that our hearts may be preserved from evil, when he warns us, "If ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth . . . for where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work" (James 3: 14-16). Never has there been a scene of confusion and strife amongst the people of God that has not had its hidden root, of envy and strife, in the heart. We may be sure that the heart that entertains bitterness, envying, and strife, will be no garden for the Lord.
How necessary, then, to have our hearts kept in separation from the world, and preserved from evil. Nevertheless, the refusal of the world, and the flesh, will not be enough to constitute our hearts "a garden enclosed." The Lord desires that our hearts may be sanctified, or set apart for His pleasure, by being occupied with the truth and all that is according to Christ. Does not the Apostle Paul set before the Philippians "a garden enclosed" — a heart sanctified for the Lord, when he says, 'Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are noble, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things'?
If the heart is full of cares, fretting over wrongs, and full of bitterness towards those who may have acted badly towards us: if we are entertaining evil imaginations, malicious thoughts, and revengeful feelings towards a brother, it is very certain our hearts will be no garden for the Lord.
If then we would have our hearts freed from things that defile and turn the heart into a barren waste, choking the garden with weeds, let us follow the instruction of the Apostle when he tells us, "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Having, like Hannah of old, poured out our hearts before the Lord, and unburdened our minds of all the cares, the sorrows, and the trials that pressed upon our spirits, we shall find that "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus". Thus set free from all that might come in between the soul and God, our hearts will be at liberty to enjoy the things of Christ, and our minds free to "think on these things" — these holy and pure things which should mark one whose heart is "a garden enclosed".
A watered garden. The heart that is set apart for the Lord will have its hidden source of refreshment and joy. It will be a garden with "a spring shut up" and "a fountain sealed". A spring is an unfailing supply; a fountain rises up to its source. The Prophet can say, of one who walks according to the mind of the LORD, that his soul shall be "like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not" (Isa. 58: 11). To the woman of Sychar the Lord spoke of giving "a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life", to be "in" the believer. The world is entirely dependent upon surrounding circumstances for its passing joy; the believer has a spring of joy within — the hidden life lived in the power of the Holy Spirit.
As the spring of life the Holy Spirit meets all our spiritual needs by guiding us into "all truth": as the fountain of life, He engages our hearts with Christ above. The Lord can say, "the Spirit of truth which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me" — Christ in His new place in the glory. Thus as the Spring, He refreshes our souls with the truth; as the Fountain springing up to its source, He engages our hearts with Christ.
Let us, however, remember that the spring, which is the source of blessing, is "a spring shut up", and the fountain is "a fountain sealed". Does this not remind us that the source of blessing in the believer is sealed to this world, and wholly apart from the flesh? The Lord speaks of the Comforter as One that "the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" (John 14: 17). Again we read, "the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other" (Gal. 5: 17).
Alas! we may mind the things of the flesh, and turn aside to the world, only to find we grieve the Spirit so that our hearts, instead of being as a watered garden, become but a dry and barren waste.
A fruitful garden. The "spring" and the "fountain" will turn the garden of the Lord into a fruitful garden — "a paradise of pomegranates with precious fruits". The ungrieved Spirit will produce in our hearts "the fruit of the Spirit", which, the Apostle tells us, "is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, fidelity, meekness", and "self-control" (Gal. 5: 22). What, indeed, are these precious fruits of the Spirit but the reproduction of the character of Christ in the believer? The fountain, rising up to its source, occupies with Christ and His excellencies; and, beholding the glory of the Lord we are changed into the same image from glory to glory. Thus the hears becomes a garden of the Lord bearing precious fruit for the delight of His heart.
A fragrant garden. Not only is the garden of the Lord a garden of precious fruits, but a garden of spices from which sweet odours arise. In Scripture, fruit speaks of the excellencies of Christ, but the spices, with their fragrance, speak of worship that has Christ for its object. In worship there is no thought of receiving blessing from Christ, but of bringing the homage of our hearts to Christ. When the wise men from the East found themselves in the presence of "the young Child", they fell down and "worshipped Him", and "presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh" (Matt. 2: 11).When Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with "a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly," she was not, as on other occasions, at His feet as a receiver to get instruction, or find sympathy in her sorrow; she was there as a giver to render the worship of a heart filled with the sense of His blessedness. It was good to beat His feet to hear His word, and, again,to beat His feet to receive comfort in sorrow, but in neither case do we read of the ointment with its odour. But when she is at His feet as a worshipper, with her precious ointment, we read, "the whole house was filled with the odour of the ointment" (John 12: 1-3).
The Philippian saints in their gift to the Apostle, may indeed have shown forth some of the excellencies of Christ — His comfort of love and compassions — and thus bring forth fruit that would abound to their account; but there was in their gift the spirit of sacrifice and worship which was as "an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God" (Phil. 2: 1; Phil. 4: 17, 18).
In our day, if our hearts are to be a garden of the Lord, let us not forget that the Lord not only looks for the precious fruits of the Spirit, reproducing in us something of His lovely traits, but also the spirit of worship that rises up to Him as a sweet odour.
A refreshing garden. Lastly, the Lord would have His garden to be a source of refreshment to the world around. A garden from whence there flow the "living waters". Thus the Lord can speak of the believer, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, as being a source of blessing to a needy world, as He says, "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7: 38, 39).
Thus we learn, from the Song of Songs, that the Lord would fain possess our hearts as a garden of delights for Himself. He stands at the door of our hearts and knocks, for He desires to come in and dwell within our hearts. If we are slow to let Him in, He may say, as the Bridegroom in the Song, "Awake, O north wind; and come thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out." He may allow adverse circumstances, trials and sorrows, in order to drive us to Himself, so that we may say like the bride, "let my Beloved come into His garden."
If we open to Him we shall experience the truth of His own words, "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" (Rev. 3: 20). In like spirit, when the bride says, "Let my Beloved come into his garden," the Bridegroom at once responds, "I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey."
If then, the heart of the believer be kept separate from the world, preserved from evil, and set apart for the Lord it will become like "a garden enclosed."
In that garden there will be found a spring of secret joy and refreshment that, like a fountain, rises to its source.
The fountain, springing up to its source, will bring forth precious fruit, the excellencies of Christ.
The fruit that speaks of the moral traits of Christ in the heart of the believer, will lead to worship that rises up as a sweet odour to the heart of Christ.
The heart that goes out in worship to Christ will become a source of blessing to the world around.
In the light of these Scriptures we may well pray the prayer of the Apostle when he bows his knees to the Father, and asks, "That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith" (Eph. 3: 14-17).
A wretched thing it were, to have our heart Like a thronged highway or a populous street Where every idle thought has leave to meet, Pause, or pass on as in an open mart; Or like some road-side pool, which no nice art Has guarded that the cattle might not beat And foul it with a multitude of feet, Till of the heavens it can give back no part. But keep thou shine a holy solitude, For He would walk there, would walk alone; He who would drink there, must be first endued With single right to call that stream His own; Keep thou thine heart, close-fastened, unrevealed, A fenc-ed garden and a fountain sealed. R. C. Trench.
And the LORD shall guide thee continually,
and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fatthy bones:
and thou shalt be like a watered garden,
and like a spring of water,
whose waters fail not.
HOW DO WE BECOME A WELL WATERED GARDEN ?
The word says in Is 58: To LOOSE the bands of wickedness,
To UNDO the HEAVY BURDENS,
To let the OPPRESSED go free,
And that ye BREAK every yoke?
to DEAL thy bread to the HUNGRY,
thou bring the POOR that are cast out to thy house?
thou seest the NAKED that thou cover him;
thou HIDE not thyself from thine own flesh?
Then shall thy LIGHT break forth as the morning,
and thine HEALTH shall spring forth speedily:
and thy RIGHTEOUSNESS shall go before thee;
the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward.
THEN shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer;
thou shalt cry, and he shall say - Here I am.
If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke,
the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
AND IF if thou draw out thy soul to the HUNGRY,
and satisfy the AFFLICTED soul;
then shall thy LIGHT rise in obscurity,
and thy darkness be as the NOON DAY:
And the LORD shall GUIDE thee continually,
and SATISFY thy soul in drought, and make FAT thy BONES:
and THOU SHALL BE LIKE A WATERED GARDEN,
and LIKE A SPRING OF WATER,
whose waters fail not.
God's Watered Garden
Did you know that Jesus sees each Christian, individually, and corporately, as His Betrothed Bride, as a beautiful garden, a springing fountain, and a flowing stream of His crystal clear water? This is His description of His promised Bride, as He looks at us through His cleansing Blood. In Song of Solomon 4:12-15, the Bridegroom says to the Bride, "A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices: A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon."
The Lord loves to meet with his beloved ones in a beautiful garden setting, with the fragrance of preserving spices and lovely flowers intermingling, the coolness of the canopy of the trees of His planting, and the sight and sound of springing fountains and streams. His creation began in a garden, which is one of His favorite places on earth to fellowship with His children. He communes with us in the garden of our hearts. Don't you love Him?
Jesus also encloses us in a garden with Him to set a hedge of protection about us so that the enemy of our souls cannot reach us to do his dastardly deeds to harm us. Actually, the devil despises Jesus in us, because Jesus is the Father's Son, and satan lost his honored place in heaven through his rebellion. Angels were created with the power to obey God forever, therefore, there is no redemption for them. Only mankind, the crown of God's creation, can sing the redemption song because of the Blood of Jesus and His redemptive work on the Cross. Receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior gives mankind the right and privilege to sing the song of the redeemed.
A garden with no high wall around it is open for wild animals to enter and eat its fruits. "I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; and, there it was, all overgrown with thorns, its surface was covered with nettles, its stone wall was broken down. When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction." Proverbs 24:30-32 In His great and all-encompassing love, the Lord reminds us that we must keep the gardens of our hearts, lest through neglect, or the enemy's exploits, we give place to plundering and ruin by the enemy of our souls. "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23
If you notice, this garden is sealed, barred, yes, for our protection and spiritual growth, but nothing is flowing out of it. Jesus wants our garden to mature so that the fragrance of His plantings and the waters of the springs may flow out to a dry and thirsty world.
In Scripture, there are several symbols which represent the Holy Spirit. Water, oil, fire, and wind are four of those symbols, which are, many times used, interchangeably. The different symbols of the Holy Spirit represent different attributes or characteristics of the Precious Holy Spirit. He is also known as the Heavenly Dove, because of the peace He brings to people. Keeping this in mind, Holy Spirit's attributes will be seen as water, oil, wind, fire, and as the Heavenly Dove in this message.
Let's look at some of the plants in the garden. Song of Solomon 4:13 "Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, speaking of the incorruptible seed of the Word. Open a pomegranate and look at the numerous seeds inside. Many other plants grow in the garden, each one symbolizing desirable traits and gifts from Father to His children. Pleasant fruits, speaking of the fruit of the spirit, camphire, a tree with glorious white blossoms, reminding us of the glory of God resting upon us and dwelling within us. Spikenard, which is a costly perfume, is growing there, portraying the sweet savor of Jesus in our lives. The woman with the alabaster box poured spikenard on Jesus' feet and wiped them with her hair. The amount of spikenard in her alabaster box cost about a year's wages.
Saffron, a fragrant and medicinal plant, and calamus, a reed are growing in the garden. Cinnamon, frankincense, myrrh, and aloes are also flourishing. A deeper meaning of some of the plants and spices found in the beloved's garden is that some of them were used by Moses to make the holy anointing oil in Exodus 30:23-25. "Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh...and of sweet cinnamon...sweet calamus...cassia...and of olive oil..thou shall make it an oil of holy ointment...it shall be an holy anointing oil.
The Master is saying that we are a garden enclosed, beautiful to Him, though, with little flowing out, until His holy anointing oil is poured upon us. The anointing oil represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit, Whom we receive in a great measure, even in fullness, when we ask Jesus to fill us with the Holy Spirit to overflowing. "To anoint" means "to rub on, to pour over in profusion," as in the anointing of Aaron's head, with the oil running down on his beard, even down on his robes in Psalm 133, bringing blessed unity to God's people.
This is not the earnest or sealing of the Holy Spirit which comes at salvation, but a pouring over and into the born-again spirit of man, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, as on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-4. "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were ALL FILLED WITH THE HOLY GHOST, AND BEGAN TO SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES, AS THE SPIRIT GAVE THEM UTTERANCE." Water, oil, wind, and fire are all symbols of the Holy Spirit. The first Christians received this wonderful outpouring of the Holy Oil, Wind, and Fire of the Holy Spirit, and millions upon millions have received this same wonderful blessing since that day. Christians are receiving this mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit Baptism, in this day. Glory to the Name of the Lord! After a Christian receives the initial infilling of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Jesus, Who is the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, Matthew 3:11, tells us to keep coming, keep drinking, and keep being filled with the Holy Spirit in John 7:37-39, as the Greek tense indicates. There is always more of Him!
The description of the Bride, after receiving the holy anointing oil, mixed with the ground spices and plants, is "a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon." She is no longer a fountain sealed, but the waters of life flow from her freely. "The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail." Isaiah 58:11
A springing well, which the Holy Spirit puts within us, is like an artesian well, which has power to flow continuously. The Holy Spirit brings peace, for He is the Heavenly Dove. Peace is a powerful tool in the hand of the Father. Others will see peace in you, and come to the Giver of Peace.
If you want this great measure of dunamis power given by Jesus to believers, you must ask. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman. He will not force you to receive a greater measure of His power. When you ask Jesus to fill you with the Holy Spirit, or baptize you with the Holy Spirit, which are one and the same, He will do it. John the Baptist said, ... "he that cometh after me (meaning Jesus), is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." Matthew 3:11 He will make you a fountain, a well springing up unto eternal life, and a flowing stream, flowing out into the deserts of people's lives.
May 21, 2005
Worship the Lord and become a watered garden
Is there anything as pleasant to visit on a hot, summer day, than a beautiful, well-maintained, watered garden, with shade trees and cool water flowing? Such a garden is refreshing to most people. The Lord wants to transform the lives of His sons and daughters, spiritually, into beautiful, watered gardens as an oasis to those in a dry and thirsty land, as well as to minister to His children with His streams, rivers and plantings. One of the ways He does this amazing work is through worship. God had a plan for getting worship into the earth from the beginning. Even after Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, where the Lord had fellowship with them and provided everything they could possibly ever need, His plan to receive worship from the heart of man, the crown of His creation, proceeded in spite of the sin and frailties of mankind. Lucifer, who had been the archangel over worship in heaven before His rebellion against God, (Ezekiel 28), didn’t come close to thwarting the plan of God to receive man's worship, of which He is worthy. The Lord created us, and He is intently interested in freeing man from all kinds of bondages conceived by the devil. He knows how worship changes us into the image of Jesus. As early as Genesis 4, the Lord saw to it that a man was born into the earth who would be skilled in music and worship. “And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.” Genesis 4:21 Jubal was the son of Lamech, seventh from Adam, and he was the great-grandson of Enoch, the man who walked so closely with God, that the Lord took Enoch up into heaven without his passing through death. Jubal was of the lineage of Seth, aslo, as recorded in Genesis 5. He was an inventor of musical instruments. Jubal (03106 Strong's) is a Hebrew word which means "streams, a river, moist country." The English words, "jubilee,"jubilant", and "jubilation," are derivatives of the name, Jubal. It is not difficult to make the connection between a word that means, streams, river, or watered country and words such as jubilation. "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad (jubilant) the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High." Psalm 46:4 The opposite of a watered country or gardens is a desert, a wasteland, not words which bring joyful thoughts to the human mind or heart. Other verses which agree with the link between worship and jubilation, a derivative of Jubal, and streams, rivers, watered country or gardens, abound. "Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert." Isaiah 35:6 “How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel! As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side, as the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters.” Numbers 24: 5-6 The Lord's comparison of worship to flowing streams and a moist, or watered, country is intentional, expressing the purposes of God in His children’s lives, as ones who have the Lord abiding within. We need to just stop and meditate on the reality that WE HAVE THE LORD ABIDING WITHIN OUR HEARTS! THE LORD IS COME TO DWELL IN YOU AND ME! His desire for our lives is that we live in love, in peace, and in joy, bearing all the nine fruit of the Spirit. When we are carrying hurts, bruises, or scars from a broken relationship, it is impossible to worship the Lord and dwell on hurt feelings, or bondages of the enemy, at the same time that we are worshipping. Worship will wash away these assaults on our souls in its everflowing streams. Keeping worship music on in our homes helps us to remain in worship, which is essential in life's trials. It helps us to hold our gaze on Jesus, instead of dwelling on a troubling situation or circumstance. There are numerous Hebrew and Greek words which are translated praise and worship. Singing, dancing, clapping, shouting, spinning with great joy--all of these are forms of worship given to us by the Lord. Worship is a pure stream flowing from heaven through the spirit or heart, by the Holy Spirit from the children of the Father. It unseats ’self’ from the throne of our hearts and gives the throne to Jesus. He becomes the King of our hearts. We place Jesus in charge of our lives as we worship Him. The pure stream of heart worship to the Lord in a person’s life dislodges all the debris of hurts, unforgiveness, sin, rebellion and every bondage of the enemy, that he would want to use to stop the flow of life in the child of God as a worship unto the Lord. Worship and praise are used by the Holy Spirit in healing physical sickness, because it rids people of the influences of spirits of infirmity. Jesus said, "Shouldn't this daughter of Abraham be loosed of this infirmity, after being bowed over, suffering these eighteen years?" The enemy and his cloven footprints will not stay long around a worshipping son or daughter of God. We know that Christians cannot have demon possession, because we are possessed by the Holy Spirit. But, we know, also, that the enemy tries to influence the lives and health of Christians. We put him on the run with faith in the Word of God, the Sword, and worship, one of the offensive weapons which the Lord has given us against Satan. "Praise stills the avenger," the psalmist said. For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody." Isaiah 51:3 Worship is a very powerful and pure stream. It emanates from the indwelling Holy Spirit, Who is the dunamis (Greek) of God, or God’s great dynamo. There is no devil or evil of any kind that can withstand God’s dynamo of worship from the heart of His child. This is one of the reasons why worship in our daily lives is so very important. Worshipping with the saints in a gathering multiplies the power many times over. The devil won’t stay in the presence of worship to the living God. He flees from it, because the combined power of the Holy Spirit and the empowered heart of the child of God is way too much for him. "Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; ...to bind their (demon) kings with chains, and their nobles wih fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord." Psalm 149:6, 8-9 God’s Word, which is forever settled in heaven, promises us victory as we worship and praise Him. A very important part of a godly walk with the Lord is worship, making us like that tree planted by the rivers of water. Lest anyone think that only the Old Testament scriptures teach us to worship the Lord, the New Testament teaches worship and praise in abundance. And why shouldn't it? Our Lord has accomplished His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension in every book of the New Testament. All the more reason to worship and praise Him continually from our hearts! "And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, 'I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.' " Luke 19:37-40 "And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Acts 2:46-47 "And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping and praising God." Acts 3:6-8 "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed." Acts 16:25-26 "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 'And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." Revelation 7:9-10 "And He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb." Revelation 22:1 "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athrist come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Revelation 22:17
"And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not." Isaiah 58:11 "For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." Isaiah 61:11 Scriptures which invite and command us as sons and daugthers of God, to worship Him, in singing, shouting, clapping, dancing unto the Lord, abound in both the Old and New Testaments, and fittingly so. We have a Wonderful God Who is worthy of all praise, worship, glory, and honor! As we worship and glorify Him, He makes us like a stream, a watered garden. Do you need an oasis for all the dry places in your life today? Worship Him!
In Hooglied 4:12, noemt De Bruidegom de bruid een “besloten tuin”- een exclusieve tuin, verzegeld voor de Bruidegom. Zij is voor niemand anders. Zij behoort exclusief toe aan de Heer.
door Zac Poonen, vertaling Michel de Ruijter
Is jouw relatie met de Heer zo? Kan de Heer tegen jou zeggen, “Jij bent mijn privé tuin, exclusief van Mij”? Er zijn veel aantrekkelijke dingen in de wereld te vinden, zoals mogelijkheden om veel meer geld te verdienen, dan we nodig hebben, om aardse macht te krijgen of beroemd te worden en een naam voor ons zelf te maken, enzovoort. Zulke verleidingen kunnen vergeleken worden met andere mannen, die de bruid proberen te verleiden. De bruid hier wordt er niet door verleid. Zij is volkomen gericht op haar geliefde. Zij behoort haar Bruidegom exclusief toe.
Heel weinig gelovigen leven in een dergelijke relatie met Christus en dat is de reden dat ze Hem niet intiem kennen en Zijn Woord niet begrijpen.
Het geheim van het begrijpen van de Bijbel is om eerst een intieme relatie met de Heer te hebben – wie kan ons beter uitleggen wat Zijn Woord betekend dan Hij zelf? Wandel met Hem, zoals de eerste apostelen deden en verlang er naar dat Hij tot je spreekt. Dan zullen je ogen geopend worden zoals die van hen en je hart zal in vuur en vlam gezet worden, zoals die van hen. Dit is wat ik ontdekt heb in de laatste veertig jaar die ik met de Heer gewandeld heb.
Dan zal de bruid de noordelijke wind en de zuidelijke wind uitnodigen om door haar tuin te waaien (Hooglied 4:16). De noordenwind is de koude wind van lijden, tegenslag en beproeving; en de zuidenwind is de wind van zegen, bemoediging, voorspoed en blijdschap. Het maakt niet uit welke van deze winden waait; het resultaat zal hetzelfde zijn – het stromen van een (balsem-)geur. Of we nu een comfortabel gemakkelijk leven hebben, of een leven vol moeilijkheden en beproevingen, door de genade van God kan er altijd een geur van Christus uit ons voortkomen. Dankzegging, lofprijs en aanbidding voor God zal uit ons leven voortkomen, ongeacht de omstandigheden.
“Mijn geliefde kome tot zijn hof en eet daarvan de kostelijke vrucht” (Hooglied 4:16). Alles wat ons leven (onze tuin) produceert is voor de Heer – niet om indruk te maken op andere mensen hoe geestelijk we zijn. Als je een getuigenis van je leven geeft, probeer anderen dan niet te laten zien wat een fantastisch mens je bent. Laat hen zien wat een fantastische Redder je hebt! Anders zullen je vruchten voor mensen zijn en niet voor de Heer. Hier zegt de bruid; “Alles in mijn tuin is alleen voor mijn Geliefde”.
Heeft God je gebruikt om iemand tot Christus te brengen? Verblijd je niet over wat jij hebt gedaan. Verblijd je met de engelen dat een zondaar berouw heeft gekregen. Hij is een bekeerling van de Heer en niet van jou. Als je een offer voor de Heer gebracht hebt, laat niemand daar van af weten. Waarom moeten we adverteren met onze offers? Gaat een vrouw, die haar echtgenoot innig lief heeft, de hele wereld vertellen wat ze allemaal voor hem doet en welke offers ze daarvoor brengt? Er zijn zoveel liefdevolle geheimen tussen een vrouw en haar echtgenoot. Er zouden ook liefdevolle geheimen tussen jou en de Heer moeten zijn. Misschien besteed je tijd alleen met de Heer – Goed. Maar waarom zou iemand anders daar weet van hebben? Een vrouw, die verliefd is op haar echtgenoot wil niet dat iemand weet van hun tijd samen. Daarom zegt Jezus ons de deur te sluiten als we bidden. Niemand zou moeten weten van de tijd die we doorbrengen met onze Geliefde.
Maar het is echt zeldzaam om dergelijke Christenen tegen te komen. De meeste van hen vertellen erg graag aan iedereen over hun offers en diensten voor de Heer – om daar zelf eer voor te ontvangen! Dat is het duidelijkste bewijs dat zij geen liefdesrelatie met de Heer hebben. Hooglied is een belangrijk boek voor al deze Christenen. Ik ben de Heer innig dankbaar dat Hij me eerst dit boek heeft laten bestuderen, toen ik aan mijn leven als Christen begon. Deze liefdesrelatie met de Heer zou de basis moeten vormen voor álles wat we voor Hem doen.
(Zac Poonen heeft zich 40 jaar ingezet voor het stichten van nieuwe gemeentes. Hij is de schrijver van 25 boeken over verdieping in het geloof)
Hoor! Mijn lief! Kijk! Hij komt, springend over de bergen, dansend over de heuvels. Als een gazelle is mijn lief, als het jong van een hert. Kijk! Hij staat al bij de muur. Hij blikt door het venster, tuurt door de spijlen. Mijn lief roept mij toe: ‘Sta op, vriendin! Mooi meisje, kom! Kijk! De winter is voorbij, voorbij zijn de regens, weggegaan. De bloemen zijn verschenen op het veld, nu breekt de zangtijd aan, het koeren van de duif klinkt op het land. De vijgenboom is al vol vruchten, de wijnstok rankt en geurt. Sta op, vriendin, Mooi meisje, kom!
Mijn duif in de rotskloof, verscholen in de bergwand, laat mij je gezicht zien, laat mij luisteren naar je stem, want je stem is zo lieflijk, je gezicht zo bekoorlijk.’ Vang voor ons de vossen, vang die kleine vossen. Ze vernielen de wijngaard, onze wijngaard vol bloeiende ranken. Mijn lief is van mij, en ik ben van hem. Hij weidt tussen de lelies. Nu de dag weer ademt en het duister vlucht - ga nu weg, mijn lief. Spring als een gazelle, als het jong van een hert over de geurige bergen - Hooglied 2:8-17
In het begin wandelde God in de avond door de tuin om de mens te ontmoeten. Lijkt het je niet geweldig om in de avondschemering de levende God, de Almachtige, de Schepper, te ontmoeten en met hem te wandelen? Gewoon even de dag doornemen en genieten? Dat kan.
Jij kunt vandaag God ontmoeten en met hem wandelen. Zoals de mens in het begin gewend was zijn leven te delen met God, zo kan dat nu weer. Let maar eens op de parallel tussen het verhaal van Eva en het verhaal van Maria van Magdala.
Eva verlaat God in de tuin
In het begin was het goed. De mens leefde in de tuin van God, in de nabijheid van God. Maar op het moment dat de vrouw at van de verboden vrucht werd deze ontmoeting wreed verstoord. Het contact tussen God en de vrouw werd verbroken en haar man volgde haar. Met de zonde kwam ook de dood in de wereld en Adam en Eva werden uit de tuin verbannen. Wandelen met God was niet meer de dagelijkse realiteit.
Maria ontmoet God in de tuin
Duizenden jaren later is er een bijzondere ontmoeting in een tuin in de buurt van Jeruzalem. Jezus is opgestaan uit de dood en verschijnt als eerste aan… een vrouw. Aan een verdrietige Maria van Magdala. Ze zoekt een dode Jezus in het graf, maar vindt hem daar niet. In plaats daarvan ontmoet ze haar levende Heer in de tuin. Ze herkent hem eerst niet, maar gelooft en roept het even later uit tegen de discipelen van Jezus: ‘Ik heb de Heer gezien’. Het contact tussen God en de vrouw is hersteld in een ontmoeting in een tuin. Niet veel later hebben ook de mannen uit de groep discipelen hun Heer gezien.
Jezus dood en opstanding hebben er voor gezorgd dat het weer mogelijk is om God te ontmoeten. Paulus schrijft in zijn brief aan de Hebreeën in hoofdstuk 10: 22: ‘…laten we God dan naderen met een oprecht hart en een vast geloof… .’ Je kunt God naderen of bij hem uit de buurt blijven. God ontmoeten of hem negeren.
Ontmoeting in een gebroken wereld