The King’s Response
Yesterday we saw that the maiden had finally recognized that what Christians need the most is not so much a system of works but that unique place where the Lord feeds his flock and makes it to rest. But because of her lack of nourishment, she was looking for a place to be fed, and because of her need for rest, she is looking for a place to lie down.Today, we look at the King’s response to her cry.
As she was drawn into the King’s chambers, she discovered three things. First, she is black in Adam, her old natural state. Yet, because of her relationship to Christ, she is beautiful. Second, due to the Lord‘s dealings with her, she realizes the vanity of her former fleshly and external works of service. Third, she recognized her need for spiritual food and rest. Finally, the King responds to her diligent seeking.
The King addresses her as “the most beautiful of women” (Song 1:8). She is the one of greatest attraction to him because of her capacity to appreciate him. However, in a tone that almost carries reproach he says to her, “If you do not know . . . follow the tracks of the sheep” (Song 1:8). The Lord is trying to show her that, in some measure, she is responsible for her ignorance. Her directions are written in the Book, but she has been taken off the path by attending to the works of others.
In answer to her desire for instruction, he directs her to continue in the footsteps of the flock, to continue her work quietly beside the shepherd‘s tents.
Unfortunately, when other devoted children of God meet people like the maiden, a soul hard-pressed in her pursuit of a personal knowledge of him, they don’t understand her path. They fail to comprehend the heavenly vision that draws her on to obedience to him. Maybe they think it is unnecessary.
I believe this is the reason he gave her these directions. There is a danger she will forsake the assembling together (Hebrews10:25) in the shepherd‘s tents, or no longer see the necessity of continuing to be faithful to whatever service she has been given.
It is very important that although the Holy Spirit may be stripping away the works of the flesh, or what some call the consecrated self, you must maintain the faithful fulfillment of all outward duty so you will learn to act on principle rather than on pleasant impulse. Don’t develop an attitude of indifference, the mind-set that says, “I don‘t feel like it . . .” The King said to “follow the tracks of the sheep,” not, “shut thyself away with the few who understand you.” Continue traveling on the path of duty, and let the Lord do his work. Let him find the time and the way to answer your petition, and then you can know the rest at noon in the heart of God.
Nevertheless, make sure that as you are traveling with the flock, under the leading of the Great Shepherd. Don’t become more concerned with keeping step with the flock, rather than with the Spirit of God. Because if you still have your eyes on him alone, he will lead you on the right path, to the city of habitation.
He also instructs her to “graze your young lambs by the tents of the shepherds” (Song 1:8). This is an expression of apprehension that in her quest for satisfaction and absorption with her own needs, she may neglect her duties to younger and more immature believers, and even close the door on them. It is even possible that the food and rest she is seeking will come as she cares for and feeds the lambs. She will not find it if she neglects that service of love.
I believe the Lord‘s intention is for her to come alongside his true under-shepherds, those who shepherd under the Lord‘s direction. He desires that she find her place among them. In that way, she will provide for those young kids that she is responsible for.
The greatest danger that many run into when they begin to experience this new revelation, is that they will feel like ceasing from any active service and works of mercy.
Unless you have very direct guidance to the contrary, experience says no. The past can be dealt with at the place called Calvary and in your dependence on the continual flow of the life of Christ. By faith in the working of God (Colossians 2:12), you can have the power to carry on your service out of obedience and principle, if not with a sense of delight. No matter how deeply God may be dealing with us, we can always rely on his power to fulfill all that lies in the path of duty. To shrink back because we have lost our delight in the service would be giving occasion to the flesh and yielding to self-pity. Just because God is dealing with us and revealing our true condition, can never be a sufficient reason for refusing to help anyone who comes to us in their need.
Not only that, if we are conscious that we are involved in responsibilities placed on us by others, and not by him, we will have to commit each difficulty to him. In his own time and way, he will set us free. He may even use our bonds, as the very means for the practical crucifixion of our own life and plans.
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