Come Away With Me (Part 4)
So far our studies in this Quite Bites series “Come Away With Me”, has led us to understand there is a place of encounter the Lord is inviting us into for romance. It is the most beautiful and intimate of experiences available to us, the very implication of the word “Come” reveals the longing and invitation of His heart to engage with us at a much deeper level than any we have been accustomed to or known before. Yet, this has always been the Lord’s intentionality toward us, to be not only our Saviour but our Bridegroom also. Furthermore, we have recognised the inability of our natural minds to apprehend any notion of God; therefore if we should experience any awareness of His Divine presence at all, it is only because it has been quickened to us by the inner working of the Holy Spirit, and this not in the peripheral mind of our unregenerate nature, but within the heart, the mind within, which as we have seen, has been dovetailed with the mind of Christ.
In summary, therefore, what I am saying is in order to encounter Jesus and respond to His call to “Come Away With Me”, we must understand this is an appeal to the heart and not one to the mind, and if that be so, then we must learn to still the outer thoughts that readily dominate our consciousness so we might access the inner thoughts of the heart. Why? Because it is here we shall find our Beloved waiting.
In this Quick Bite, I want to delve a little deeper into how this amorous encounter with Jesus may be understood in greater detail. Let’s return back to Song of Songs this time we’ll read from chapter five.
2 [The Shulamite] 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.” 3 I have taken off my robe; How can I put it on [again]? I have washed my feet; How can I defile them? 4 My beloved put his hand By the latch [of the door], And my heart yearned for him. 5 I arose to open for my beloved, And my hands dripped [with] myrrh, My fingers with liquid myrrh, On the handles of the lock. 6 I opened for my beloved, But my beloved had turned away [and] was gone. 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. 7 The watchmen who went about the city found me. They struck me, they wounded me; The keepers of the walls Took my veil away from me. – Song of Songs 5:2-7 NKJV
In verse two, the Shulamite woman tells us that although she is asleep her heart is still very much awake. I love the picture this gives us. It’s a great illustration of where we have arrived in this series. The Shulamite is sleeping, in other words, she is resting, she is still, the thoughts in her head have been silenced which enables her heart to hear the voice of her beloved who has come knocking on her door 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.” What a wonderful insight this gives us about the inner workings of the spiritual life. I don’t know about you, but I often find my heart awake in the middle of the night, those precious hours I have learnt to treasure as time alone with Jesus sensing the warmth of His caress upon my soul, without the exchange of words instead the mingling of hearts. At night it is almost effortless to silence those peripheral thoughts, because I am already in a posture of rest, and therefore the veil to the inner chamber is easily swept aside with one simple desire to be with Jesus. Of course this encounter in His Divine Presence is available at any time whether night or day, but whatever the hour, the principle and protocol remain the same: We must posture our hearts and still our minds before we can encounter the depths of intimacy we are invited into.
Here we read it is the Beloved who comes to the Bride with his head covered with dew, and his locks with the drops of the night. It parallels with Jesus’ invitation in Revelation chapter three.
20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. – Rev 3:20 NKJV
Now before I continue, I’d like to clarify an important point here to avoid any confusion. That’s because at times we have the imagery it is Jesus who comes to us knocking on the door, as though from the outside to come in, and yet upon salvation we believe Jesus enters every repentant heart. So is Jesus within us or not? Are there times when He departs and we need to allow Him back in? These are valid questions, and I’ll share what I have come to believe. Before salvation, a soul is empty and without the indwelling of Jesus through the Holy Spirit, but the benevolence of the Father’s love is readily lavished upon every penitent soul, transforming them into a new creation, adopted, forgiven, restored, healed and cleansed to be a fit habitation for Him in which to live. Listen to what Jesus taught His disciples on His last evening with them.
23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. – Jhn 14:23 NKJV
This verse is certainly not alone, for the scripture teaches us this wonderful truth many times
15 For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name [is] Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy [place], With him [who] has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones. – Isa 57:15 NKJV
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. – Rom 8:11 NKJV
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. … 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. – 1 John 4:4, 15-16 NKJV
These verses are more than enough to support this splendid truth as Paul declared it “Christ in you the hope of glory!” Col 1:27. So let us be clear, Jesus lives in you as indeed you live in Him. This is not some theological tenet aloof without a meaningful and personal implication, but a remarkable assertion how intimacy with God is available through the glory of “Oneness”. Now since Christ has entered the human heart and dwells therein, to seek Him is not an external endeavour but a communion within. The essential characteristic of this union and encounter with the Lord is occasioned by both His pursuit of us and our pursuit of Him, and all of this takes place within the inner chambers of the heart. You see, the heart is not just a single room, but has many rooms, it is not of simple construction, but a complex spiritual frame intricately woven by the hand of God and one in which He is intimately knowledgeable and aware. The psalmist writes:
13 For you formed my inward parts (H3629) ; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. – Psalm 139:13-15 ESV
When King David was inspired to write these profound words, I believe he saw something more than the sum of his physical parts, but the intricate nature of his inmost being. The Hebrew Word here is H3629 kilyâ (kil yah), and it is also found in
My inmost being (H3629) will rejoice when your lips speak what is right. Proverbs 23:16 (NIV)
I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart (H3629) instructs me. Psalms 16:7 (NIV)
We gaze with awe at the complexity of the human body, as modern science and research continues to unravel its secrets. But although we become increasingly aware of the wonders of our physical frame, even at the molecular level of our DNA unlocking the mysteries of the genome, we are most woefully unacquainted with our inmost being. And yet I believe our inmost being is no less a miracle than our physical body, God’s masterpiece, no wonder David marvelled when he glimpsed upon His Maker’s handiwork and wrote “I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made”.
When God designed and created our inmost part, He had in mind a place in which He Himself would dwell, a garden of romance and intimacy with us.
Oh, we can barely imagine the glorious chambers within, and over the years some enlightened pilgrims have journaled their thoughts and experiences on the inner life. I think of Teresa of Avila who in the 16th century described these chambers of the heart in her classic work “The Interior Castle”. When we recognise the heart is not just a single room, but one of complex design and chambers, it then becomes quite clear how this “hide and seek” nature of the inner life is entirely plausible. Jesus comes to the door of our awareness and invites us to open to Him.
2 [The Shulamite] 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.” Song of Songs 5:2