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Friday, July 22, 2011

A Garden Enclosed


      You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices. You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon.” Song of Solomon 4:12-15 NIV
    Listen to the words that God uses to describe the love that He has for you. The lush portrait that He paints of His Beloved is illustrative of His extravagant love for us. The Song of Solomon is popularly attributed to be written by Solomon in 900 BC. Some scholars believe that it was eponymously, or written in the name of Solomon, by some other ancient writer. This theory is put forth due to some verses that compare and contrast the writer to Solomon; although, this in itself, is a technique used by writers to accentuate a point, and is not strong evidence that Solomon did not write the book himself. Other scholars have argued that several of the words used in the book are Persian, which would indicate that the work was written in the postexilic period or after the Babylonian captivity. Regardless of the authorship or dating, this allegorical book is God breathed and very telling about the love that He has for us and our necessary response to Him.


    God desires that we put Him first in our lives. He desires that we not lift our souls up to any other, which in essence, is idolatry. This concept seems so adverse in the fray of the world. As human beings we crave creature comforts. We covet human relationships, possessions, notoriety and power; while most of these things in and of themselves are not inherently bad, allowing them to come before God in our lives blocks our entrance into the lush garden of experiencing His love in the fullest. Imagine a locked garden verdant and overflowing with fruits and fragrant herbs, a pure fountain waters its enclosure. Contrast this to a garden with its walls broken down, its water source tainted, it is trampled by the world and its foliage withering and dying. Our lives can so easily become like this polluted garden. God wants us to guard our relationship with Him wholeheartedly. Exodous 34:14 admonishes, “Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” This is not petty jealousy, but God's desire for our hearts to be pure before Him so that He is able to flow through our lives as living water.


    Lord, we come before you in humility and prayer, please show us the areas of our lives that we need to release to You. Lord, sometimes it is painful to admit our sins and let go of them in repentance, thank you that it is very freeing and healthy to do so. Lord when our flesh revolts against You when You ask us to let go of something that it thinks it needs, I pray that you cover us and enable us to lay down our idols at Your feet. I know that very often You will restore what we let go of, when we don't put it before You. Thank you for your Word, thank you for your Son. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.



    Patti

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