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This Is My Beloved, My Friend

 

Division: This Is My Beloved, My Friend
By Andy Zoppelt

The five wise virgins - they are asleep, but their heart (spirit) is awake.

We live in a time when many are asleep, but what is the difference among those who are asleep? All Israel came out of Egypt, but why so few entered into the Land? Listen to the message of the five wise virgins to the foolish virgins: "…go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves." (Matt 25:9)

With all this talk of salvation being free, how is it the exhortation of the five wise virgins is "buy?" But then that should not be of any surprise to some. The message to the man who found a precious pearl, or the treasure hidden in the field was sell all that he had and "buy."

What cost accompanies true salvation that we have ignored? The rich young ruler was unable to dodge the issue of cost when he met the Author of salvation. Jesus did not give him a doctrine or a prayer to pray, but a price to pay.

Concerning the five foolish virgins, "And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming."

Today's gospel has no price, no responsibility, no work, no effort, everything is free. When people find trouble and trials knocking at the door (Jesus) they don't know how to respond to it (Him). They cry for deliverance, rather than having their faith deepened in trusting in Him. We have missed the personal responsibility as being true saints in our relationship to Him. We treat trials as an unwanted commodity, where in truth, they are the path to deeper fellowship with Him. Trials and faith are partners to purify our faith (1Pet.1:7).

To those who continually resist and complain during testing, Jesus is viewed only as a means to their own personal selfish ends. deliverance is their only pursuit and not a savior to love and to give their life. To many, receiving Jesus is no different than the Christmas bonus, the windfall on some investment or some relief in a financial crunch. Their happiness is dependant on happenings or friends. But when Jesus has worth-ship, He is the most precious person and no price it too great to pay. Nothing else is important, His Word is the foundation for which we live. No friend, no position, no situation will ever take His place. It is true that the pursuit of such will draw persecution and often leave us to stand alone, but He is worth it all to the one in love with Him

Consider with me, the first message that came to the beloved apostle Paul upon his conversion, "tell him how much he must suffer for my name sake."

Paul's own testimony bore testimony to the reality of persecution and rejection.

Phil 3:10-11, "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead."

Paul suffered rejection from his own brethren like Jesus Himself among his own brethren and family. Paul cried out for the "fellowship of His suffering." He who rejects His suffering, rejects brokenness and the release of their our spirit from its bondage to the carnal man. True, we all want to know Him and to know the power of His resurrection, but few are willing to know and embrace the fellowship of His suffering, the rejection, the misunderstanding, the accusations and the betrayal. We need to reach beyond the horrifying circumstances and embrace Him until He has finished His work in us.

"The Holy Spirit has only one goal in all of His disciplining work: To break and dismantle the outer man so that the inner man can break forth. But the trouble with us is that we murmur as soon as we suffer a little hardship, and we complain as soon as we suffer a little defeat." Watchman Nee, Release of the Spirit.

We must see, everything we do as true believers is for His name's sake. We, willing lose our lives for His precious name's sake. We live for His name's sake, and in so doing it will free us from the real enemy.....us. The core and heart of the carnal nature is selfishness. Sin is described as missing the mark; that mark is Jesus. When we sin, we set ourselves as the mark and we see ourselves as more valuable and precious than Jesus. But Jesus will not play second to anything. Either He is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.

Jesus is the greatest lover one can ever know, but He hides behind the door of suffering and few therefore find Him. Selfish reasoning cannot deal with a God who doesn't meet its self-centered expectations. To the self-centered person, God must perpetually jump through hoops to "prove" Himself and His love. In many, trials brings us to the place where we put demands on God, rather than an outflow of worship.

Are you asleep or in a coma?

There is a difference between the sleep of one at night and the sleep of another in a coma. There are saints today who cannot be awakened. No matter what you say to them, they embrace their little pet doctrines. They find security in their emotions and their beliefs. nothing is going to shake them and awaken them to the seriousness of these last days. Their pastors tell jokes and funny stories to entertain them.

Isa 50:11, "Look, all you who kindle a fire, who encircle yourselves with sparks: walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled-- this you shall have from My hand: you shall lie down in torment." NKJV

"It is evident, from the connection of these words in the chapter, that the prophet was addressing those who professed to be religious, and who flattered themselves that they were in a state of salvation, but in fact their hope was a fire of their own kindling, and sparks created by themselves." Charles Finney, True and False Conversion

The song of songs

The Song of Solomon tells of the beloved (Jesus) coming to the door, His head is covered with dew, He has been walking in the night (the picture of suffering) and the bride is in bed (the picture of ease and sleep). She delays and gives an excuse. She then is moved and shaken in the spirit and goes to the door, but it's too late. He is gone. Because of her great love for Him, she begins a frantic search for Him, and later the beloved finds Him, but only after describing to her friends His majesty and excellence.

God will come to us and ask us to bear our cross, as He bore His. He calls us in the night and in the seasons of suffering, he wants our quick response to see how much we love Him. If we delay, it indicates we are being drawn into and distracted by our own interest. We are holding on to other things at the time and hold them more valuable than our love for Him. We will find He will come time and time again until we leap and leave our slumbering to open the door for fellowship with Him in his suffering. The falling into varies trials must be met with the joy of surrender to His filling us in our brokenness.

Jesus is burdened with the church and He finds few with whom He can share. Jesus finds few who love Him in all things...

1 Peter 4:1, " Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin."

Phil 1:29, "For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake."

Let's us now turn our attention to the sequence of events in the Song of Songs. I believe it is the cry of the remnant, those whose spirit is awake and unwilling to compromise His purposes. This is a crucial in understanding the ten virgins.

The cry of the bridegroom (Jesus) to a sleeping, complacent and contented bride (The Saint) who find they "have need of nothing."

Song 5:2-16, "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.'"

Few carry the burden of Jesus, many are too occupied with their own burdens and getting free from them. We do not prepare our hearts for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to operate in and through us as His body … the anointing oil. Trials reveal the real concerns of our heart. Trials are meant to break us from those concerns, and, ultimately, ourselves.

Her excuse, she wants both ease and Jesus. Listen to her self-centered excuse.

3 "I have taken off my robe; how can I put it on again? I have washed my feet; how can I defile them? "

Four times makes references to herself. Two times the bride tells what she has done to make herself comfortable and twice she questions how she could commit herself to something that would be inconvenient for her. Her view of relationships at this point is convenience not sacrifice. Her attitude is, "I am content, why should I follow you and suffer?"

The spirit moves within her as He draws near to come in.

4 "My beloved put his hand by the latch of the door, and my heart yearned for him."

Though asleep, the true saint's heart (spirit) is awake. God's absence will cause the true believer to pursue Him…. yes…. in the night.

Her actions are too late, He withdraws. God often withdraws Himself to draw us to Himself.

5, 6 "I arose to open for my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, on the handles of the lock. (myrrh is a type of death. Her hesitation brought death to her hands.... work.) I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and was gone."

"God withdrew from him, in order to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart." (2 Chron 32:31)

"And when He hides His face, who then can see Him." Job 34:29

"Truly, You are a God who hides Himself…" (Isa 45:15)

"And I will wait on the LORD, Who hides His face from the house of Jacob; And I will hope in Him." (Isa 8:17)

The work of our hands has no meaning or value if they are not the fruit of obedience and dedication to our Lord and Master in love. There is a time when God comes to us as He did to the rich young ruler. He comes for everything and we can hold back nothing. Many, at this point, will "walk with Him no more."

In many cases many walk away when He hides His face. The price of pursuing Him is a cost many are not willing to pay. They would rather side with their reasoning than pursue Him. God hides himself to put an end to our reasoning and to reveal the fruitlessness of our reasoning. Often we get up and pursue Him, we don't know why we are going on, we only know we must.

She desperately searches for Him

6b "….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."

When God leaves, there are two conditions which describe His absence: we find no real rest in our present spiritual condition and we hear no voice to direct us. If we fail to move by His prompting, He leaves us to our reasoning and our excuses. He will never return until we are willing to give in to His love.

We don't want to give up our secure church life, our secure family or our secure job which we have nestled in. We are content and we have hidden in our comfortable "form" of religious activity. We are unwilling to pursue Him with sacrifice and devotion. We are not concerned about what is true, we are concerned about what is comfortable. Once we create a comfortable religion, we get settled in and we feel all is fine, but that my dear friend is when He leaves. The question is, are we willing to leave our comfort to find Him?

Persecution - the trial now awaits her.

Verse 7, "The watchmen (represents elder in the church) who went about the city found me. They struck me, they wounded me;"

Often the first group to oppose us when we desire to fully follow the Lord and enter in to the realities of the Kingdom… is religious leadership. Leadership tends to conform people to their ideas and ideals. They maintain a form of godliness with a set of principles. When someone steps outside their expectations, conflict arises.

Jesus spoke to those who live in the gray area, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. " (Matt 23:13)

They uncovered her and exposed her.

7b "…The keepers of the walls took my veil away from me."

The "keepers of the walls" have the ministry of the deacon. They are to protect us from the enemy coming in. But when the true bride (real church with walls) comes to the last days, the religious leaders will be threatened by her and will use every means to uncover her weaknesses. Accusations will fly from every corner, persecution and twisting of words will fly like darts. Make no mistake, this last day shall not only awaken the bride, but it will also awaken the sleeping giant of man's religion.

Men hate the truth. They quickly get offended and spread their discontent with one another. They hate those who uncover their lies of hypocrisy. "In the last days …. many will be offended, and will betray one another." Matthew 24:10

A.W. Tozer said in "Unknown Saints,"

"Strange as it may be, the holiest souls who have ever lived have earned the reputation for being pessimistic: Their smiling indifference to the world's attractions and their steady resistance to its temptations have been misunderstood by shallow thinkers and attributed to an unsocial spirit and a lack of love for mankind: What the world failed to see was that these peculiar men and women were beholding a city invisible; they were walking day by day in the light of another and eternal kingdom: They were already tasting the powers of the world to come and enjoying afar the triumph of Christ and the glories of the new creation…. he (the unknown saints) will serve his generation in the will of God: If he should be overlooked in the religious popularity contests he will give it but small attention: He knows whom he is trying to please and he is willing to let the world think what it will of him: "

The cry to the true body of Christ for help

8 "I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem (the remnant), if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am lovesick!"

She has found those whom she can fellowship in her pursuit of love. For the daughters of Jerusalem to tell Jesus that the beloved loves Him, is the intercessory prayer of the remnant…. its all about love.

After being beat up and accused by leadership, she now turns to the people (the remnant). She tells of her love for her Beloved and her search for Him. Listen to their response in verse 9 and their desire to know Him more.

The church has lost the true value of Christ

9 "What is your beloved more than another beloved, O fairest among women? What is your beloved more than another beloved, that you so charge us?"

The daughters of Jerusalem have fallen asleep in religion, and the beloved is pointing to them to His love. She charges them to speak in her favor of her love for Him. She then responds to their query by magnifying His beauty and majesty. It is there she (and them) find Him. Her love drives her to Him.

10 - 16 "My beloved is white and ruddy, chief among ten thousand. His head is like the finest gold; His locks are wavy, And black as a raven. His eyes are like doves by the rivers of waters, Washed with milk, and fitly set. His cheeks are like a bed of spices, Banks of scented herbs. His lips are lilies, Dripping liquid myrrh. His hands are rods of gold Set with beryl. His body is carved ivory Inlaid with sapphires. His legs are pillars of marble Set on bases of fine gold. His countenance is like Lebanon, Excellent as the cedars. His mouth is most sweet, yes, he is altogether lovely. "

How did she come to this conclusion? Where did she get this revelation? In a bible study? In a sermon? From a friend? No, she found it in obedience and in death.

There are those who talk of the truth, and those who dare to live it. They refuse to follow the path of religion for a even a day. They will search the wilderness if need be because they belong to Him, and no cost will be withheld to be with Him.

She finds real friendship in her relationship.

16b "This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!"

Conclusion:

It is not until we come to elevate the beauty of Jesus that our trials become a stepping stone to a higher and closer walk with Him. Only those who long for Him will find Him. Only those who appreciate His value will understand their own purpose. Only those who are willing to seek Him beyond their trials will find Him as their dearest friend.

Oh, let Him break your expectations, your agendas, your wants…. and your life. Break it and break it until there is nothing left in you but Him. Let Him destroy the death and sin of your "self" life. Hold on to the hunger to have more of Him. Cling to the faith that all will be well and He will restore you to the innocence and intimacy for which He made us before the fall.

Let passion, longing and love move you relentlessly to holding and embracing Him, until He pours His love in you. Hold on; He is more valuable than anything you will ever find. Dig deep, agonize, sell all that you possess to buy what money can never satisfy.

Others will remove your veil, but He will cover you in righteousness and shower you with His friendship. "For your love is better than wine."

Many try to find God by being significant, being noticed, having a place of recognition, being successful, secure and at ease. But there are those who will give up all that they have in order to die for Him. You will never know Him until you have trusted Him in your darkest trial. Until you have surrendered the concern for yourself in exchange for the eternal value of a deeper relationship with Him alone. Though we walk in the light, we find love at night.

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