The Call of the Lord
The maiden has only known the sweetness of communion with the Lord, but very little of the power for service or the fierce struggle of spiritual warfare.
“It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect . . . He enables me to stand on the heights . . . He trains my hands for battle . . . gives . . . His shield for victory . . . broadens the path beneath my feet . . . caused me to pursue my enemies and crush them . . . You armed me with strength for battle; you made my adversaries bow at my feet” (II Samuel 22:33-40).
When she finally learns these things, she will see great miracles and deliverance. There will be great liberty and victory all around her (Isaiah 35:5-10).
In the past, the maiden has experienced the Lord‘s presence in connection with a certain place and certain times in which she sought him out. A certain song, a particular passage of Scripture may have stimulated her faith. But she based her realization of his presence on feelings. Any impact with the world or daily tasks seemed to trouble her and rob her of any real peace. “The worries of this life . . . choke out the word, making it unfruitful” (Mark 4:19).
The Lord wants her to learn of his ever-abiding presence. He wants to release her spirit to touch his Spirit, to be able to fellowship with him not only in times of quietness, but also in times of great activity. He wants her to know a communion with him that surpasses feelings, a communion of spirit.
She has to learn to recognize the King in every circumstance of her life. His presence should be a reality, not only in her prayers, but also in the everyday affairs of her life. She knows his voice and knows he is speaking directly to her. His language is plain, “Rise up” (Song 2:10). What does he mean? He brought her into this rest, he forbade others to disturb her, and now he says, “Come away!” Where to?
The time has come for her to learn her identification with the Lord in his death, and her union with him in his resurrection life, so that he can tell her plainly of the Father (John 16:25).
“I am the way . . . no one comes to the Father except by me . . . I go to the Father . . . you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I in you” (John 14:6,12,20).
He died so that he could bring us to God (I Peter 3:18). Through the torn veil of his flesh, he, the New and Living Way, seeks to lead us to live with him in the Father.
The King compares the past time of rest to winter (Song 2:13), because inwardly the new life in her was being rooted and grounded in love (Ephesians 3:17), to the end that she would be strong enough to apprehend, and be filled to the full measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19). During the winter in nature, the sap goes down to the roots, and all outward manifestations of life seem to stop.
It is a time of Sabbath rest, a time when she is not to seek her own ways, but only doing the will of God (Isaiah 58:13-14). At all times, we are to avoid making our own plans and simply follow his direction for our lives (James 4:13-15).
The interruption of our own plans causes aggravation and turmoil sets in. If our day is subject to the leading of the Spirit, then there is no way we can be disappointed. It is only when we seek our own plans, no matter how spiritual they may be, that we step out of God‘s rest.
But now he is calling her to arise, because the winter is passed; it is the beginning of spring time, and the rain of the Spirit has been silently falling and preparing her for his fresh call (Song 2:13). He sees the flowers appearing and the need of careful pruning to the growth of waste wood.
He begins to deal more definitely with the outward manner of life, so that it corresponds with his inward possession of the heart. He has been doing a deep, silent work in her time of rest. She has occupied herself with him, while he has been drawing strong roots into himself, so that she will be able to endure the pruning knife in its time.
His desire is for her to be “a brave warrior, trained for battle and able to handle the shield and sword . . . face like that of a lion . . . swift as the gazelles on the mountains” (II Chronicles 12:8) “The righteous are as bold as a lion” “Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David has overcome.”
“Arise, My friend, and come. You must co-operate with me in all my working; you must work out all that I work in, if you are to know me, and the fullest power of my eternal life. Come away, and I will lead you to know the Father” (inspired by Song 2:10, 13).
You will know when the Lord is calling you to arise and follow by a deep inward cry to know him better awakened within your heart, an unspeakable yearning after God. Desire is always God’s preparation for a fuller communication of himself; it is, so to speak, the vacuum for him, the emptiness he can fill.
During our time of rest, we can say in the quietness of our heart, “we who have believed have entered into rest” (Hebrews 4:3), until we hear the voice of the King saying to us, “Arise and come away.”
As Jim Elliot once wrote: “My Father knows best. I‘m confident that He had placed me here; my task is to labor quietly until the pillar-cloud removes and leads farther, working out God‘s purposes in God‘s time.”
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