Australia Ministry Trip (Sept 26-November 10, 2017)

Australia Ministry Trip (Sept 26-November 10, 2017)
From September 26 to November 10, 2017, my husband, daughter and I will be on a ministry trip in Australia and New Zealand. The places we will be visiting are shown on the map above - along with the dates in which we'll be in these places (and what we'll be doing while there). Please keep this ministry trip and all of us in your prayers! Blogs will appear daily throughout this time, as I have written them and scheduled them in advance. I welcome your comments - and enjoy them! Just know I will not have Internet access for much of this time. So, I will look forward to reading your responses upon my return. Thank you for your understanding! And please keep reading to complete the "Reading the Bible in a Year" challenge and blessing! I am very grateful to Claire for her faithful blog comments (please everyone - join her in sharing each day as a discussion blesses everyone so much more!) And I am thankful that Claire has graciously agreed to add a bit more into her daily comments during my time of absence. Please direct special comments or questions which require immediate responses to her (on this blog). Blessings as you continue your journey through God's Word this year!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - March 31, 2017

Today's Reading:

Matthew 24:32-51

Numbers 28-29

Song of Solomon 8:5-14

Listen to the Bible

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

Today I'd like to return to Song of Solomon for my point of focus. Let's look at a few of the main verses from this passage, beginning with Song of Solomon 8:5:

"Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee."  

First, remembering that the Bride in this poetic picture is God's saints in the Last Days, we see her coming up from the "wilderness". In Revelation, we are told that the Bridegroom will prepare a place of sanctuary for His Bride in the "wilderness". It is there that God's people will be sheltered from the wrath of the devil in the final time of trouble:

Revelation 12:14  "And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent."

The promise is given to us that when the Trouble comes, God will sustain us. In this prophetic picture in Song of Solomon, we see the Bride coming forth from her wilderness trial, supported by her Heavenly Bridegroom. She is leaning on His everlasting Arms, like it says in the hymn. 

The next part of the verse is also very beautiful. God says to His End-time people that He "raised" us up "under the apple tree". Indeed, it was under the apple tree that we were born.

Trees, in Scripture, represent people and character qualities. Remember the story in Judges where Israel was searching for king and started with the olive tree? In the end, it was the "bramble" that became king (Judges 9:8-15). In Scripture, the apple tree represents a life filled with the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. The reference, specifically, to apples is a reference to the Word of God (Proverbs 25:11). 

In the poetic prophecy of Song of Solomon, the Bride's mother is the original church - the followers of the Way who have passed down the torch of truth to the final generation. It is because this truth is from the Word of God, which has produced much fruit, that the Bride is pictured having been born and raised under the apple tree. 

 In the next verse, we find the Bride seeking the Seal of the living God:

"Set me as a seal upon Thine Heart, as a seal upon Thine Arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame."

 Aaron, the brother of Moses and high priest of ancient Israel, bore the names of the 12 tribes (God's people) upon the "breastplate of judgment upon his heart," (Exodus 28:12, 29). Christ is our Heavenly High Priest, as well as our Bridegroom. He bears our names upon His Heart as our mighty High Priest. 

The Sealing moment for which the Bride is requesting is also pictured in the Book of Revelation:

Revelation 7:1-4 "And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel."

The Bride in Song of Solomon asks to be set as a seal upon the Bridegroom's Heart, as a call to Him to be her Sealing High Priest. But she also asks Him to set a seal upon His Arm. The Arm of the Almighty is our Salvation. This is a request for the Salvation of God to be eternally bestowed upon His Bride:

Isaiah 59:16  "And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His Arm brought Salvation unto him; and His Righteousness, it sustained him."

 Next comes another End-time reference to persecution, great trouble, and threat to the people of God. Yet, amidst it all, her love for her Heavenly Bridegroom is undimmed. Her faithfulness to Him is not shaken:

Song of Solomon 8:7 "Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned."

In prophetic symbolism, waters and floods represent persecution:

Revelation 12:13-15 "And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman... And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood."  

The Bride will prove her love by her loyalty to His Commandments:

Revelation 14:12  "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the Commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus (Yahshua)."

Perhaps as you are tempted to fear as you read of the coming persecution, which the Bride will faithfully endure as a demonstration of her great love for God. Even this is addressed in this eighth chapter of Song of Solomon. In chapter 8 verse 8 the Bride is described as an immature, little sister. We know she is immature, because she does not yet have breasts, in the poetic analogy.  

When we are spiritually immature, the idea of enduring tribulation is almost too much for us. But, God doesn't leave her there. In fact, through her time in the wilderness, in which she leans upon Him, He strengthens and grows her. She is matured. She is ready to be His Bride, in part, by the things she has faithfully endured. 

In His strength, she stands firm, like a stone wall, as it says in Song of Solomon 8:10. She is no longer depicted as immature, but is a full-figured woman, who has found favor in her King's Eyes.

Thinking of the Bride being compared to a stone wall, reminds me of a story from the Civil War. It is the story of how Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson got his nickname.

Jackson earned his nickname at the First Battle of Bull Run (also known as Manassas) in July, 1861. There was a gap, a point of vulnerability in the line standing against a determined Union attack. Seeing the breach, Jackson bravely rushed his troops forward to close the gap in the line. 

Upon observing Jackson standing there and stopping the onslaught, one of his fellow generals reportedly said, “Look, men, there is Jackson standing like a stone wall!” Jackson would not be moved, nor matter what assailed him.

In a spiritual sense, this is to be the testimony of each of us as Christ's mature Bride:

Jesus is my Savior, I shall not be moved;
In His love and favor, I shall not be moved,
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

In my Christ abiding, I shall not be moved;
In His love I'm hiding, I shall not be moved,
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

If I trust Him ever, I shall not be moved;
He will fail me never, I shall not be moved,
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved. 

On His word I'm feeding, I shall not be moved;
He's the One that's leading, I shall not be moved,
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved. 

 

Chorus

I shall not be, I shall not be moved;

I shall not be, I shall not be moved;

Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,

Lord, I shall not be moved