(Song of Solomon 7:1-13)
“How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
O prince’s daughter!
The curves of your thighs are like jewels,
The work of the hands of a skillful workman.
Your navel is a rounded goblet;
It lacks no blended beverage.
Your waist is a heap of wheat
Set about with lilies.
Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle.
Your neck is like an ivory tower,
Your eyes like the pools in Heshbon
By the gate of Bath Rabbim.
Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon
Which looks toward Damascus.
Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel,
And the hair of your head is like purple;
A king is held captive by your tresses.
How fair and how pleasant you are,
O love, with your delights!
This stature of yours is like a palm tree,
And your breasts like its clusters.
I said, ‘I will go up to the palm tree,
I will take hold of its branches.’
Let now your breasts be like clusters of the vine,
The fragrance of your breath like apples,
And the roof of your mouth like the best wine.
The wine goes down smoothly for my beloved,
Moving gently the lips of sleepers.
I am my beloved’s,
And his desire is toward me.
Come, my beloved,
Let us go forth to the field;
Let us lodge in the villages.
Let us get up early to the vineyards;
Let us see if the vine has budded,
Whether the grape blossoms are open,
And the pomegranates are in bloom.
There I will give you my love.
The mandrakes give off a fragrance,
And at our gates are pleasant fruits,
All manner, new and old,
Which I have laid up for you, my beloved.”
Have We United Ourselves with the Lord to Live by Faith?
All of us gathered here have just read Song of Solomon chapter 7 for today’s Scripture reading. This passage does an excellent job of describing just how much our Lord loves His workers. Even though the Lord loved us so much that He offered Himself up to be our perfect propitiation, there are many times when we fail to live up to this amazing love while working for the Lord. So, we are compelled to confess our shortcomings and profess our faith before the righteousness of the Lord. Although we are all lovely and precious in the Lord’s eyes, we also have the duty to please His heart. That’s because we are now carrying out the Lord’s work.
We need to think about whether or not our hearts are truly joyous to serve the Lord’s work. Right now, you and I are living by trusting in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and if this is true, then all of us are more than qualified to become God’s workers. The Lord loves us all, but the question is, do we really love Him also? Are we really carrying out the Lord’s work in joy by our faith in the righteousness of God? We need to ponder deeply on these questions. Even though we have received the remission of sins, we still have many shortcomings, and such shortcomings are revealed more clearly when we fail to unite our hearts with the Lord. When, then, do we fail to be united with the Lord?
This happens when we start loving the things of the world more than the Lord. Even though the Lord has loved us with His righteousness, there are times when we don’t respond to His love. It’s because we still retain our flesh and we are prone to follow it. Why do we then follow our flesh, when it’s clear to us that the Lord is our indispensable God? Why do our hearts lack loyalty, when the Lord has saved us from all the sins of the world and made us His own children? Why aren’t our hearts burning for our Lord’s love—or, even worse, why are they cold like burnt-up ash? That’s because there are too many things of the world filling up your heart and mind.
If we are not passionate about the Lord, it’s because in our hearts we love something else more than the righteousness of the Lord. This can happen even though in reality there is nothing that is worthy of our love other than the righteousness of the Lord. Yet, without us even realizing it, many things of the world can sneak into our hearts and plant themselves firmly. The desire for worldly fame can lodge itself in our hearts very easily, as the pleasures of this world can also sneak in. However, the only thing that can captivate our hearts until the end is the gospel of the water and the Spirit. So, when the things of the world come into our hearts and we fail to live for the righteousness of the Lord, then the righteousness of God will last only for a short while.
Why Do Those Who Have Not Been Delivered from Their Sins Remain Unsaved?
Let’s consider this question first. It’s because their hearts have no space for the Lord’s righteousness to enter in. To our knowledge, there is no room in their hearts for the righteousness of the Lord. That’s because sin reigns in their hearts. Today, even when people come across the gospel of the water and the Spirit through our print ministry, many of them reject it because their hearts are already seized by too many sins. The vast majority of people’s hearts are filled with sin. Reigned by sin and are serving it as their king, they lust after the riches, fame, and power of this world. It’s all because their hearts are ruled over by sin.
Anyone who lives with a sinful heart is bound to remain a slave to sin forever. Yet, our Lord still comes looking for even such sinners. The problem is that most of these sinners remain oblivious, mistakenly thinking that the righteousness of the Lord has nothing to do with them. In reality, what every sinner needs absolutely is the Lord’s love and righteousness. Despite this, when sinners hear about the righteousness of the Lord for the first time, most of them say that they can’t really believe in it wholeheartedly. That’s because they think mistakenly that what the Lord has done for them out of His love is completely irrelevant to them. So the Lord said in the New Testament that He is looking for those who labor and are heavy laden. And He also said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
My fellow believers, only when the things of the world can no longer rule over the hearts of sinners can the righteousness of the Lord begin to reign over their hearts. It’s when we fail to find happiness by amassing the things of the world that we can finally realize and profoundly appreciate the greatness of the righteousness of the Lord. That’s when we grasp that all the things of this world are nothing compared to the righteousness of the Lord. It’s when we reach a profound understanding of the righteousness of the Lord that we can properly grasp the meaning of true salvation. It’s then that our hearts look toward and trust in only the Lord’s righteousness. It’s then that our hearts come to believe in the righteousness of the Lord the moment we hear about it. And it’s then that the Lord’s righteousness brings true salvation to sinners.
When sinners hear that the Lord has saved them once and for all through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they come to reach their true salvation by believing in this Truth with their hearts. It’s at that moment that they are able to grasp the righteousness of God and thank the Lord for His love with their wholehearted faith. However, if a sinner’s heart is not poor, then God’s will is not fulfilled even though the righteousness of the Lord has saved all of us from all our sins. Therefore, it’s only after receiving the remission of sins by encountering and believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that we can truly realize just how we had been sinners.
If we lust after the riches of the flesh, its fame, or its power, then we will ultimately end up betraying the Lord’s love and His righteousness. For the righteous, material prosperity is gained by preaching the righteousness of God. Even greater blessings are to be had by believing in the Word of God. Yet, there are some people who, despite having believed in the righteousness of the Lord with their hearts, still follow their flesh. Because such people’s minds are preoccupied with the need to amass wealth, attain power, or find fame, they end up forsaking the Lord’s commandments.
If anyone wants to become like the salt that has lost its taste, all that this person has to do is to live in disobedience to the Lord’s commandment to spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Tasteless salt cannot follow the Lord. Even worse, such people are incapacitated from following the righteousness of the Lord even if they want to. They are disqualified. If those who believe that the gospel of the water and the Spirit constitutes the righteousness of God fail to follow the Lord’s righteousness by faith, then in the end they are bound to turn into Satan’s servants.
They would just end up turning into someone like the servant in Jesus’ parable who received one talent. Such people think of the Lord as an obstacle to their lives. Because they think of the Lord like a miser and a usurious moneylender, they end up turning the Lord into an evil God. When this happens, far from serving the righteousness of the Lord, they actually come to blaspheme His work. It’s such people who end up blaming the Lord and leaving Him. It is therefore absolutely imperative for all of us to believe in the Lord’s righteousness with our hearts and follow His commandments.
We all know that we need to empty the garbage can at least once a day, especially when it comes to food waste, or otherwise it would start smelling really bad. Likewise, we also need to get rid of the trashy transgressions that come into our hearts at least once a week with our faith in the righteousness of our Lord. As we all know, the garbage can has to be emptied once a day to ensure that there is no stench in the house. Before believing in the Lord, we must first abandon the greed of the flesh, for only then can we follow the righteousness of the Lord.
The things of the world can turn even us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit into someone who has nothing to do with the Lord. In other words, our worldly greed that lingers around us constantly can make us fall deep into the sins of the world. But the things of the world cannot bring peace into our hearts. We must realize that the Lord’s righteousness constitutes our salvation, and we must believe in it, and follow it with thanksgiving. It’s by encountering and believing in the righteousness of the Lord that we have been saved from all our sins.
The Problem, However, Is That We Continue to Be Tempted by the Things of the World Even after Receiving the Remission of Sins by Believing in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
This happens because even we the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit still retain our flesh just like everyone else in this world. All of us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit are still human, and therefore the greed of the flesh is bound to stir up in our hearts. However, by placing our faith in the righteousness of the Lord, we can overcome these temptations that allow the things of the world to come into our hearts. Only then can we serve the Lord’s righteousness, follow it, and receive God’s blessings. That’s because we cannot converse with the Lord if our hearts are filled up with too many things of the world, and therefore we must ensure that we continue to ruminate on the righteousness of the Lord.
The righteous whose hearts are captivated by the things of the world cannot comprehend the work of God even when it’s explained to them. Like a man feverishly in love is rendered blind, so the righteous who fall for the things of the world become blind to the Lord’s will. Because they are still human, they can end up living a life that has nothing to with the Lord’s righteousness. Such people cannot hear the calling of the Lord’s righteousness. Money is something that everyone needs. However, the Lord said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). No one can find satisfaction from the things of the world; rather, a truly complete life can be led only when one has faith in the Word which proceeds from the mouth of God and the righteousness of the Lord
To spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit effectively all over the world, it’s true we need money. In this age and time, there is no way we can preach the gospel without having financial resources. But, even if we have all the money in the world, unless we believe in the Word of God first, we cannot spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit in this world.
We Recently Discovered a Conniving Imposter in God’s Church Obstructing the Gospel Ministry
Recently, we discovered that a certain pastor in our Church had been surreptitiously obstructing our gospel ministry to thwart the will of God from being fulfilled. This issue presented us with a difficult decision. We could not forgive this man’s wrongdoing. That’s because God is a just God who does not forgive anyone unless one first repents from his sins. We could have shown tolerance to this pastor in question, thinking that he is only human like everyone else; but the thing is, anyone who deliberately obstructs God’s work must pay the wages of his own actions. That’s because this pastor’s sin was committed not against man but against God Himself. Why did the pastor do what he did? Let’s think about his mistake here.
In fact, let’s take this opportunity to reflect upon ourselves as well. Why did the pastor do what he did? Why did he choose worldly fame, wealth, and power over the righteousness of the Lord? Did he really attain the riches and power of this world by obstructing the Lord’s work as he had sought? No, that was not the case. The things of this world had become like an idol to him, and as a result he was ruined. He was ruined by Satan and his own greed reigning over his heart. Because he was filled with greed seeking after fame and power in this world, the Lord’s righteousness could not reign over his heart. And because he could not empty his heart of greed, he ended up standing against the Lord of glory.
These things happened, despite the fact that if he only had served the Lord’s righteousness, all the things of the world that he sought after would have followed in time as a matter of course. While we know very well that the Lord is more precious than anything in this world, this pastor didn’t realize this. What preoccupied his mind was not the righteousness of the Lord, but the lust of this world. That is why he went astray. Moreover, not only was this pastor ruined, but the many people who had followed him also.
Even for us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit follow the Lord, but there are times while following the Lord when we feel like giving up, and this usually occurs because of the lust of the flesh. Why do some people succumb to this temptation? It’s because they think that there is less joy in following the righteousness of the Lord than in following this world. Why do they think like this? It’s because they think that the joy of following this world is greater than the joy of following the Lord’s righteousness. What explains this thinking? For some of them, it’s because they feel sick and tired of following the righteousness of the Lord. Why do they feel this way?
When we take a closer look at their hearts, we can see that it’s because their lust for this world is greater than their love for the righteousness of the Lord. It’s because these people don’t respond to the Lord’s righteousness even though He has saved them. And it’s because their hearts are already set on something else other than the Lord’s love. That is why the Lord told us to remove the dross from our hearts. It’s therefore extremely important for us to empty out as often as possible the dross that accumulates in our hearts.
Put differently, even we the righteousness need to regularly remove the dross that’s accumulating in our hearts, just as we regularly empty out the garbage can in our houses. Only then can we answer the Lord’s love, out of which He has saved us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, with a life of faith. If we live by believing in the righteousness of God, we are bound to answer His love, and if we answer His love, we can then live as His servants and partake in His glory.
The Lord said to us, “The lamp of the body is the eye (Matthew 6:22). If your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness” (Matthew 6:23). This means that no one can meet the Lord if his heart is dark. If your own heart is shrouded in darkness, then you can’t recognize the righteousness of the Lord even when you come across it. It’s therefore very important for us to look into our hearts from time to time, examine them, and empty them as often as possible. As we carry on with our lives, because we are only human, the things of the world can sometimes creep into our hearts. That’s why it’s so imperative for us to empty our hearts as often as possible.
After all, the things of the world that have already come into our hearts are not more precious than the Lord or His righteousness. If we trust in and follow after the Lord’s righteousness, we can all make sure that our relationship with the Lord is on the proper footing. Just because the lusts of the world have crept into our hearts, and just because we give into them to satisfy our worldly desires, this absolutely does not mean that we can actually find happiness. We know our own hearts the best. So we need to empty our hearts as often as possible.
Let’s continue on with our examination of Song of Solomon chapter 7. The Song of Solomon is a love song expressing God’s love for His workers. As we can see here in today’s Scripture reading, there are many passages where God is commending His workers.
God Commends His Servants’ Feet
It’s written in Song of Solomon 7:1, “How beautiful are your feet in sandals” God is praising His servants’ feet in sandals. The Lord began by commending His servants’ feet first. I don’t usually give that much thought to my feet, far less do I think that they are beautiful, but the Lord spoke about our feet quite often. Here, the Lord commended God’s servants by exclaiming the beauty of their feet. Why did God praise their feet then? God praises His workers’ feet because in His sight, it’s with these feet that they are preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit. That’s why God said elsewhere in Isaiah 52:7: “How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news.”
God Commends His Servant’s Thighs
Song of Solomon 7:1 says: “The curves of your thighs are like jewels, The work of the hands of a skillful workman.” The thighs here refer to the strength to devote oneself to spreading the gospel all over the world. The muscles that form the thighs symbolize strength. If we were to interpret this passage based on the standard of beauty prevailing in this age, we might say that this is a mistaken praise. But that’s not what it means. Rather, it means that in God’s Church, if we devote all our strength to serve and preach the Lord’s righteousness, we will be blessed by God.
In the last Winter Olympic Games held in Vancouver, a Korean woman named Sangha Lee won the gold medal in a speed skating race. She had very thick thighs, so much so that she used to feel embarrassed by them, but the Korea media called her thighs “golden thighs,” since it was thanks to the strength of her thick thighs that she won the gold medal. Likewise, the Lord also commends our thighs. That’s because we have devoted ourselves to spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit, which is God’s work. Tirelessly carrying out the work of the gospel is something that’s praise-worthy. So, our sisters with thin legs don’t have anything to boast of, while our sisters with thick legs have no reason to feel ashamed. It’s actually good to have thick legs. Only when one has strong legs can he kick the ball well and stand straight for a long time. The Lord praises us so much for our work of spreading the gospel. He also praises us for having an unwavering heart.
The Lord Praises Those Who’s Hearts Are Unwavering
Song of Solomon 7:2 says: “Your waist is a heap of wheat Set about with lilies.” The Lord says that God’s workers serving His work with passion are worthy of praise. As we are working tirelessly to spread the gospel, in the Lord’s sight everything that we do with our body is commendable, from our necks to our eyes, our noses, our heads, and even our hair. In other words, it’s beautiful in God’s sight that the members of His Church are serving the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Lord said in Song of Solomon 7:6: “How fair and how pleasant you are, O love, with your delights!” Here, the Lord is exclaiming how delighted He is with the members of God’s Church. He is expressing His heart to us, saying, “I am so delighted by you!”
Why is the Lord so pleased like this? That’s because God’s workers and the gospel they are serving are so beautiful in the Lord’s sight. In other words, we are lovely in God’s sight because we are passionate about His work. And because God’s servants and the Lord are in love, their loving spiritual relationship is maintained.
We the Believers in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit Are God’s Servants Abiding in the Righteousness of the Lord and His Love
We seek to be united with the Lord’s heart of righteousness in our lives. We the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have been saved from all our sins once and for all. That we have become our Lord’s workers means that we have united ourselves with the Lord’s righteousness heart to heart. Let’s turn to verse 10 here: “I am my beloved’s, And his desire is toward me.”
Our Lord belongs to all of us who believe in and preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. Because we are lovely to the Lord, He even gave up His life for us and made us His own workers. In response to the Lord’s love, we have volunteered to live as God’s workers. We believe in the righteousness of the Lord as our salvation. We can love the Lord faithfully until the very end only if we believe in and preach His righteousness
My fellow believers, we need to recognize here that not everything that comes into our hearts is right. If you look into your own heart, you would realize that not everything you see there is right. What would happen if we were to follow the things of this world? We would become useless to both the Lord and the people of this world. Before God, we must fill our hearts with His Word. Only if our hearts are filled with the Word of God can we follow the righteousness of the Lord.
If our hearts are instead filled and darkened by the things of the world, we can’t see the righteousness of the Lord, and consequently we can never follow the Lord either. The Lord has made us God’s workers to bless us all. Such things are not possible without God’s plan. It’s because so many people are spiritually blind that they cannot see the God-given blessings.
The Spiritual Leader in God’s Church Wants You to Prosper Both in Body and Spirit
Your church leaders are there to ensure you are safe in both body and spirit. They are not there to rule or lord it over you. It would be really unfortunate if you were not to realize this. Do you feel it’s cumbersome to have a leader? Some people might think, “If it weren’t for the leaders in the Church, I would be the head. I would be the king if there were no church leaders.” If such a person becomes a leader in the Church, this person will surely prey upon God’s people. Those who have been made church leaders must guide their people who were entrusted to them properly to the Lord. They have the duty of faith to guard their followers’ faith. The leaders in the Church must protect their followers in everything, from their lives to their safety, and they must also guard the congregation from the evildoers. The spiritual leaders must fight a spiritual battle against the enemies for the people of God.
The problem, however, is that the leaders who have not been born again do not have such abilities. Because they are preoccupied to satisfy just their own fleshly greed, they have no spiritual power. They are just drooling over their congregations, thinking to themselves, “It’s because of so-and-so that I can’t be the head. If it weren’t for that so-called church leader, I could do whatever I wanted to do. I could sweet-talk the congregation into handing over all their possessions to me. I could be rich; I could rule over all these people in the Church as my servants; and I could live like a king!” In God’s Church, merely having such a thought is itself a grave sin.
However, you and I are no fools. Do God’s people look like simpletons to you? Of course not! My fellow believers, the fact that there are true leaders in God’s Church are a great blessing to the saints. These leaders are there for your own sake and mine. They are God’s servants. The leaders of the Church are God’s gifts to you. They are God’s blessings. Your church leaders are guiding you in preparation for the coming days of tribulation, for this age will soon be besieged by all kinds of trouble.
As the Believers in the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit, We Have the Holy Spirit in Our Hearts
Because the Lord loves us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we the believers have responded to His love. It’s through us the believers in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that the Lord wants to spread the gospel throughout the whole world. He wants to work with us. So I ask you to abide with your church leaders and fulfill the will of God in this world.
The Lord is with you and me. He is with God’s Church. The Lord wants to work in your heart and mine. We ought to cherish this Lord in our hearts and follow Him, but because we sometimes fail to do so, we may feel as though we are alone, far away from the Lord. But, in reality, the Lord is always with us, and He wants us, God’s workers to preach the gospel on this earth.
Let’s turn to today’s Scripture reading for one last time before closing: “Come, my beloved, Let us go forth to the field; Let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards; Let us see if the vine has budded, Whether the grape blossoms are open, And the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love. The mandrakes give off a fragrance, And at our gates are pleasant fruits, All manner, new and old, Which I have laid up for you, my beloved.” Amen.
All of this was spoken to you and me. It’s none other than to us that the Lord is saying, “Let us go forth to the field; Let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards; Let us see if the vine has budded, Whether the grape blossoms are open, And the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love.”
To whom does the Lord give His love? He gives it first of all to those who know the will of God and want to follow it. When we realize that the Lord wants us to spread the gospel all over the world, and we pour our hearts into this endeavor—that’s when the Lord loves us even more. In other words, the Lord has made it possible for us to witness from our own experience that He is indeed helping us and working with us. Those who are entirely devoted to God’s work can realize from their own experience just how much God our Lord is helping them, how much He loves them, and how He is always here with them. In contrast, those who have not done the Lord’s work cannot experience God’s blessings even if they have received the remission of sins.
The Lord has not only saved us out of His love, but He has also entrusted us with God’s work. When there is genuine love between the Lord and us, we can all partake in God’s work together with Him. The Lord is offering us wonderful blessings, new and old. Referring to these blessings, He said to us, “Which I have laid up for you, my beloved.” The Lord will give us everything we need according to His time. This is the will of the Lord. Now, for us to share true fellowship with God, we must answer His love in our lives. We must love Him just as He loves us. It’s when we carry out His work that God abides with us and helps us.
Soon, the Lord will return to this world. But He won’t return until we finish spreading the gospel of the water and the Spirit throughout the whole world. We must therefore be filled with faith in the Word of God. So I ask you to devote yourself to your life of faith, realizing that now is the time to carry out God’s work. You may think that anyone can preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit, but this is not the case. Only those who follow the will of God, and only those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, can spread this gospel in the world. So, not just anyone can do this work. Nor is it the case that God’s work can be done just anytime.
Realizing this, let us all be united by our faith in the righteousness of God and live by this faith in the Word of God. The Lord loves us all, you and me alike. He wants to give all of us the strength to carry out God’s precious work. So, let us all answer this Word of God and live by faith.