What is this coming up from the wilderness
Like columns of smoke,
Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,
With all scented powders of the merchant?
There are those who say that when the king shows up in the Song of Solomon, the story becomes a love triangle, and the shepherd and king are different characters. This verse is one of my key’s to why I believe we are talking about the same man.
I have no problem with having more than one way of reading this, but this verse informs my understanding of this Shepherd King being a wonderful picture of Christ in His various offices.
It is hard to miss the directness with which this verse points at our King, Jesus.
First there is the idea of the procession coming up from the wilderness like a column of smoke.
This column of smoke reminds us of the presence and protection of God while Israel was in the wilderness. Moreover it is the Holy Spirit that hovers over the people.
The first half of Luke chapter 4 speaks of Jesus’ days in the wilderness, where He fasted and then was temped by old trash mouth, and I find the contrast of the description of the Lord before and after very interesting.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness – Luke 4:1
And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. – Luke 4:14
Before His temptation, He was full of the Holy Spirit and led by the Spirit, but afterwards He walked “in the power of the Spirit.”
It is easy for us to look at our testing and temptation as things we must simply endure, things that beat us down, and rob us of our joy, but this is not the way it works, if we face these things full of the Holy Spirit, we will come out of the wilderness with a new level of connection, a new level of power, and a new appreciation for what Christ has done for us and in us.
The biggest mistake we make when we face temptation, is to isolate ourselves from the Lord. When we here the voice of satan, somehow we think the very fact that we can hear him implicates us, and so we feel shame and hide from the Lord.
Satan is very clever, because by painting us with shame just for hearing his voice, he immediately cuts us off from our help.
Jesus face satan full of the Holy Spirit.
When the writer of Hebrews tells us to confidently approach the throne of grace, it is in the context of temptation:
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:15-16
Hear this and hear it well. When we face temptation, when we hear that old lying accuser in our ear, that is the time to approach the throne of grace, the mercy seat of Christ in full confidence, know that Jesus has been in this very same situation, and there is help at the mercy-seat, there is help at the throne of God, there is help in the presence of the Lord.
Lord, give me the wherewithal to come to you in those times I am tempted and feeling shame.
This did me good this morning.
How about you?
See you again next week.
I would love for you to check out one of my favorite posts at Another Red Letter Day.