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Archive for May, 2018

Song of Solomon 2:1: “I am the rose of Sharon, And the lily of the valleys.”

Shortly after I graduated college and had my first job, I was travelling home from watching a local high school football game with a friend. It was raining, and I was driving down a dark country road. I hit a tree branch that had fallen in the road; it was large enough that it caused me to skid off the road into a dark ditch. I couldn’t see the bottom of the ditch, so I had no idea if I could climb down; I was close enough to the road that I could climb out the window of my door. It was all but pitch-black and still raining. I had no idea how close I was to my folks’ house (that’s where I was heading), plus being the country, there were bound to be wild animals out. Well, it wasn’t too long after, a truck came down the road, and I managed to flag it down. the driver called out to me from his vehicle and asked was I okay. I told him I was, and asked if he could give me a lift to my folks’ house. He called out my name, recognizing my voice, and said “Is that you?” I aid, “Yes, it’s me! Who are you?” Turns out it was a friend of my family’s (for privacy, we’ll just call him Tommy) When he told me who he was, man, was I ever glad to see him! He told me to hop in, and he’d take me to my folks. The next day we were able to pull the truck out of the ditch with a tractor. At the time, no better friend and hero did I know than Tommy! He was a life saver in my dire predicament.

I always wondered why the “rose of Sharon” was one of the appellations for Jesus Christ. The Song of Solomon is a beautiful love poem between King Solomon and his Shulamite bride. It is also an analogy of the love between Jesus Christ (bridegroom) and the Church (bride). Though it is commonly assumed that this verse is spoken by the bride, many other translations state that it is the bridegroom who makes these statements (I did some research using Thru the Bible Commentary on Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon by Dr. J. Vernon McGee.) In Chapter 2, page 134, of this commentary, Dr. McGee states that “These words describe the Lord Jesus.” He explains that for anyone else to state this, it would be pride, but our Lord came down as a meek and lowly Savior, so it comes across as humility.

As Christians, we not only NEED a Savior, we should DESIRE or WANT a Savior. He should be the hero we need to rescue us in our sinful situation. And He is! The rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley are among the most beautiful flowers in that part of the world. Like my friend Tommy was that night, my Lord Jesus is the most wonderful Person I could see. He is there in times of trouble and of plenty.

To me, the old hymn says it best:
“I have found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.
The Lily of the Valley, In Him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.”

There is no more beautiful a Friend than Jesus.

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Rev 22:13: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

In the classic movie Beneath the Planet of the Apes, astronaut Brent had followed the same time-travel trajectory of George Taylor; his flight was sent to find out what had happened to him. After several adventures (encountering Nova, Taylor’s mute love interest, discovering Ape City, meeting the simian scientists Cornelius and Zira), he finally found Taylor, a prisoner like himself of a band of underground, radiation-scarred humans with psychic powers of illusion. After the three of them have killed their jailer, Taylor is attempting to treat Brent’s wound, when Brent tells him of the terrifying discovery he and Nova had witnessed: the humans’ “god”.

Brent: “Taylor…Taylor, they’ve got a bomb…atomic bomb…it’s operational! They intend to use it.” (since the gorilla army was advancing on the humans’ stronghold, they were going to fire it at Ape City)
Taylor: “What type is it?”
Brent: “I don’t know…I don’t know, what type, I’ve never seen it before.”
Taylor: “Didn’t you see a series number?”
Brent: “No numbers, just some letters…on one of the fins…Greek letters (Taylor freezes in realization)…”Alpha…”
Taylor: (resignedly) “and Omega.”
Brent: (surprised that Taylor knows) “What?”
Taylor begins dressing Brent’s wound as he explains about the “doomsday bomb”: “Another lovely souvenir from the 20th century. They weren’t satisfied with a bomb that could knock out a city. They finally built one with a cobalt casing…all in the sweet name of peace.”
Brent mutters in despair, realizing the consequences: “if they shoot it off at some of those apes, they’ll set off a chain reaction in the whole atmosphere…”
Taylor: “…burn the planet to a cinder…how’s that for your ultimate weapon?”

I replayed this dialogue on my copy of the DVD movie. Just like Taylor called it…a doomsday bomb, the beginning and the end of any conflict in which it’s used, an Armageddon. Tragically, in the movie, the bomb did go off, destroying everyone and everything.

Now, there really is going to be an Armageddon, but not with a bomb called the Alpha and the Omega. There will be a different Alpha and Omega as John tells us in his vision, which is the book of Revelation. That Beginning and End is Jesus Christ. John 1:1 and Revelation 1:8 reiterate what Christians already know: Jesus existed at the Beginning; He was, is, and always will be. He is God the Son, the Messiah. He is one of the three persons of God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). He will be there at the final battle against Satan, and He will be victorious! He is the End, too. This is part of His Majesty, being the timeless Lord He is. Though He walked the earth as the Lamb of God, He reigns in Heaven, as our Righteous King.

That’s a Beginning and End I will see one day!

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John 10: 11, 14: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.”
1 Peter 5:4: “and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”

Our pastor used to live in Wyoming, and among his many encounters, he got to know a local shepherd and wanted to learn about his occupation of caring for sheep. One morning, while the shepherd was rousing the flock to wake up, our pastor saw the shepherd tend to some sheep that had rolled over on their sides. Sheep are similar to turtles; if they fall over sleeping, they need help getting up. They can actually die from asphyxiation if they’re not righted, because they cannot get up on their own. The shepherd would help right the sheep, massaging their legs until they could stand and move on their own. This puzzled our pastor; he asked the shepherd why did he keep those sheep, for all the trouble they caused him. Why didn’t he just get rid of them?

The shepherd looked at our pastor in amazement. He told him he wouldn’t get rid of them; those were some of his best sheep! They were incredibly loyal, and would never wander away from him. They knew the sound of his voice.

(Now, our pastor told us this tale in his own sermon series recently on Jesus: I Am; so, if I’ve quoted the story incorrectly, I’m sure he’ll set me straight. :-) )

We are sheep, and we need a Good Shepherd. Jesus is that Shepherd. He cares for us, protects us, and even corrects us when we stray. Jesus contrasted the Good Shepherd with hirelings who don’t take care of sheep, who run at the first sign of trouble. Jesus isn’t that way; we know the sound of His Voice, and are dependent on him.

Peter writes in 1 Peter, chapter 5, verse 4, that those who care for God’s flock will receive that crown of glory from the Chief Shepherd…and this Shepherd is also Jesus.

Something to think about!

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