Beloved Shulamite, do you know you are Christ’s Eden?
“Grace is a garden of spices.”
Frances J. Roberts in her devotional Total Love made this statement about grace. Jotted down during the past six years on the way to the middle of the Song, it often returns to my thoughts.
Sometimes when standing in Abba Father’s grace, I encounter – yet again – how misunderstood is the Bible – therefore Christ, when one has not awakened to Him as the Living Word that He is. Knowing it will be daily denounced by the ungodly and intellectualized by the religious is one thing. It’s another when a sweeping ‘arrow’ lands at a personal level. That requires Holy Spirit administering grace upon grace in our garden of myrrh (bitterness) and balsam (sweet fragrance) to withstand the increasing darkness without defaulting to living life as weathered wineskins.
Solomon was a kingly playwright, but the Shulamite is an exquisite spiritual picture of Christ’s Eden. A recent social media feed filled with carnal mockery and diagrams about Solomon’s penned description of her landed in my Shulamite gut. I’ve found the Lord will use whatever He wishes to cause a beloved’s movement into His next phase of cultivation. Well, it worked. Dormancy, be it nature’s literal winter or one’s spiritual season, must pass. It’s time to return to Vineyard Days.
Internalized, but Not Untended
Untended does not describe the becoming bride of Christ. Rather, Christ’s Eden will not always resist further cultivation.
Father God the Husbandman and Holy Spirit have an eternal vested interest in preparing Christ’s bride. Her part is to participate with them in making herself ready.1 Otherwise, slowly but surely a slumbering spirit leads to poverty of spirit.
I went over the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man lacking heart,
and, lo, it was all risen up with thistles; nettles had covered its surface,
and its stone wall was broken down.
And I beheld, I set my heart on it, I looked, I received instruction.
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to lie down;
so shall your poverty come stalking, and your want like a man with a shield.
Proverbs 24:30-34 (LITV)
A poverty spirit cannot and will not remain where the Spirit of Grace and Truth is welcomed. Dear Shulamite, it is the poor in spirit (ie. not spiritually arrogant, self-dependent) to whom the kingdom of heaven belongs.2 Filled, with no lack.
All that has gone before in Vineyard Days has not faded into the background. Whatever has been internalized as a living word will not be cut off. Planted deep, it takes root. Watered, it grows. Tended, it yields glorious fruit.
Song of Songs 5:1
I have gathered from your heart,
my equal, my bride,
I have gathered from my garden
all my sacred spices—even my myrrh.
I have tasted and enjoyed my wine within you.
I have tasted with pleasure my pure milk, my honeycomb,
which you yield to me.
I delight in gathering my sacred spice,
all the fruits of my life I have
gathered from within you, my paradise garden.
Come, all my friends—
feast upon my bride, all you revelers of my palace.
Feast on her, my lovers!
Drink and drink, and drink again,
until you can take no more.
Drink the wine of her love.
Take all you desire, you priests.
My life within her will become your feast.[a]
“Gathered from My Garden”
In these Vineyard Days, there is One who has not been neglectful or unaware of the transformation occurring within. Take heart and know that even now Christ your Beloved has gathered to Himself the fruit of His life within you thus far.
Sacred are His spices. He is not unmindful of myrrh’s bitter grief; that from bitterness released comes fine wine. Milk and honey grace the lips that confess the faithful binding up by the One who heals our wounds. The fruit of His life forms within and is evidenced without. The tended plantings of the Lord are splendid, a feast for all who hunger and thirst.
Know this and guard your heart so you may remember and not forget: You, beloved Shulamite, are Christ’s Eden.
1 Revelation 19:7 2 Matthew 5:3
- Song of Songs 5:1 The beautiful bride overflowing with His life is to be given to others, even as Jesus was given to us by the Father. She has become a feast for the nations, wine to cheer the hearts of others. The Passion Translation (TPT)
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©2020 Nancy C. Bentz – Author’s permission granted to forward this devotional piece in its entirety, including this copyright line. Comments and subscriptions to this blog are welcome.