The Illuminated Vessel of Clay

“All that see them will acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord has blessed” —Isaiah 61:9

The Glorified Lamb has been revealed to the bridal spirit. She has seen his glory while hidden in the cleft of the rock (Exodus 33:22). He has made all his glory to pass before her, and she has come out with the light of God on her so that those around her break out into a description of her as they see her in Christ. Without one word from her, they glorify Him! They say,

Who is she that appears like the morning?” because they see her in union with him who is the “hind of the morning,” the firstborn from the dead. Who is she? Just one of those God has chosen, those who are described by Paul as “foolish” “weak,” “base,” “despised” — nothings — but in whom Christ Jesus has been made “wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption” (I Corinthians 1:27-30).

Those watching her describe her as being as “beautiful as the moon.” That is a very accurate description, because the moon is a faithful witness to the sun, and maiden is just the same. The moon is entirely dark in herself and simply reflects faithfully the light of the sun. She remains the same above all the clouds. She moves as her sun moves, wholly dependent on his upholding power. He is her center and her life. She has nothing apart from him. If he were removed she would sink into space, useless and helpless.

And so it is with anyone brought into the life of God. They are utterly dark in themselves — they have no light of their own. Resting on the Heavenly Sun as their Center and their life, they move with him, and in absolute dependence on him, above all and through all the changing scenes of earth. With their vision turned wholly toward him, their only obligation is to move in their orbit in the path marked out for them, in correspondence with their Sun.

This attitude of heart is poignantly seen in Chris Tomlin’s song entitled, “Your Heart,” where he describes the heart and attitude of King David as he looks back over the years he walked with the Lord. The chorus reads:

At the end of the day I wanna hear people say
My heart looks like Your heart, my heart looks like Your heart
When the world looks at me, let them agree
That my heart looks like Your heart, my heart looks like Your heart

Those watching the maiden again describe the Shulamite as being “bright as the sun,” emphasizing the words of the Lord that she is “as lovely as Jerusalem” (Song 6:4), because the principle characteristic of the Bride-City is its beauty. It is said to be “clear as crystal” (Revelations 21:11) because it is simply a medium for transmitting the glory of him who is its light (Revelations 21:23).

Beyond all that, when the maiden is united to the Lord, she is not conscious of this clear light of God shining through her. If she were to look within and know why the spectators say the things they do, she would be dark to herself — she is only “filled with light” as long as she is occupied with the Sun.

While she is full of light, she is majestic — or as the King James renders it, terrible. Majestic to the works of darkness and to the Prince of darkness; she is majestic as an army with banners, because clothed in the armor of light, she is one of those of whom it is written, “they have conquered him by means of the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony — for they did not love and cling to life even when faced with death” (Revelations 12:11).

Moment-by-moment, day-by-day, she becomes more and more an illuminated vessel of clay through which the Lord will show himself to weary hearts lying in darkness and the shadow of death. She is increasingly being prepared for the hour when her body of humiliation will conformed to the body of his glory.

Doulos Studies

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