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BLOW UPON MY GARDEN

awake-north-wind-and-south-wind-aleonartIn the Song of Songs, the Beloved says to her Lover: “Awake north wind, and come south wind! Blow upon my garden that its fragrance may spread abroad.” (Song of Songs 4:16)

Throughout Scripture, including the psalms, we learn how the Lord would have us respond when He brings the north wind (the hard things of life) and also, when He brings the south wind (the sweet things of life). The purpose of our lives is to glorify God, to let His fragrance be spread abroad. That can happen when our heart is right, whatever weather He ordains.

Let’s start with the hard things, finding some insight from Lesson 4 in A Woman of Worship and Psalm 42, and then move to the sweet things, finding insight from Lesson 5, and a few of the many psalms that model and exhort thankfulness.

We’ve gained some new sisters in our last post, for whom I’m so thankful. I’m praying for each of you, that our sharing may be honest and thoughtful, and that together we will help each other be ready for either the north wind or the south wind.

Take a question a day, two if you like, and listen to the songs, if you have them, to help your heart.

NORTH WIND

1. In Psalm 42, the north winds are blowing, and the psalmist keeps asking the same question of himself.

A. What is the repeated question?

B. The psalmist is taking his soul in hand and asking her, “Why are so you upset when you know that your hope should be in God, who can never be shaken?” The psalmist realizes he has displaced his hope in something that can be shaken. List some of the things or people you have placed your hope in that could be shaken.

2. If you have the song from A Woman of Worship on Psalm 42, listen to it. There are two voices — one if the male psalmist, asking his soul “Why are you downcast?” Then there is feminine voice who keeps singing back, “Put your hope in God.” What is your interpretation of these two voices? (If you have other songs based on Psalm 42 you’d like to recommend — please tell us about them and why you like them!)

3. If the North Wind is blowing in your life right now, would you be willing to take your soul in hand and ask her, “Where have you displaced your hope?” If so, what do you learn? (This is our chance to pray for you to put your hope in God.)

4. We’re starting to get to know one another in this blog. Is there someone whom you’ve seen put her hope in God when the North Wind is blowing? What have you seen?

How has His fragrance spread abroad?

SOUTH WIND

5. If you have A Woman of Worship, listen to the song “Give Thanks” and share your thoughts. What other songs of thankfulness can you recommend that stir your heart? How might you better sing them on a daily basis?

6. Read Psalm 78:1-16

A. Summarize verses 1-4 in one sentence.

B. You could call this passage “forget not.” Find some verses that re-iterate this theme. What are we to “not forget?” Why?

C. What verse stands out to you from this passage and why?

7. Let’s practice thankfulness right now for everyday life. List a few simple pleasures that you do not want to forget.

8. I’ve a video of my daughter Anne speaking at her Dad’s funeral about “giving thanks.” http://deebrestin.wpengine.com/about/steve-brestin/

(Scroll down under the About Dee section.) What do you learn?

9. How does practicing thankfulness as a daily habit, when the South Wind is blowing, better prepare you to respond when the North Wind blows?

How might you better incorporate practicing the habit of thankfulness? Specific ideas are welcome!

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161 comments

  1. Dee, the picture of the lady in the beautiful dress on this post is intriging. I’d love the hear the story about it.

    1. Does the picture have something to do with the south wind blowing? Everything is blowing on the lady & the birds are flying.

  2. Thank you for prayers for Joey. We did manage to come to an understanding and I am encouraged. Someone did reach out to him at church:) Even though I am not comfortable there like I once was, worship was very meaningful for me today, and the sermon was on Hosea and Gomer. Punchline was, we are not Hosea…

    Thinking about you and the reunion Gloris.

    1. AWESOME!!! I am so glad to hear that about Joey and so glad you had a blessed morning as well.

  3. Rebecca, How was your morning?

    I want to share a song I heard this morning. It is the closest thing to lament I have heard on contemporary Christian radio. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOHJghBU0XA Better Than A Hallelujah-Amy Grant

    1. Anne, Great song!

      Yes, it went great this morning. =)

      It also seems every where we go here in Kansas people know my friends from my church in Missouri where we used to live. It is really awesome how God works.

      1. It is good to have connections back to home in a new place.

  4. In the painting it looks like she is planting seed and even though the wind is blowing it is falling toward the ground. Another thing I notice is that the garden is her dress with porticoes and trees and flowers. There is color only in her hat and dress, the shawl and banner have only the beginning of color. Also, there is no color in the fringe at the bottom and seems to increase going up the dress. The birds are behind her possibly in the shawl itself. There is no color in her skin or hair. Is she wearing her garden? The only thing I am reasonably sure of is that her garden is not finished. I think the red hat may be significant. Perhaps of her salvation because without that there would be no garden. There is something red in the area of her chest which might be her heart, alive with life. It seems that the wind would be north since she is facing into it and I am beginning to think that the faint color is the fragrance. She seems to be cultivating her garden even in the north wind.

  5. Aleona Isakov’s (the artist) description of her art– and other art based on Song of Solomon: http://web.me.com/alangel/e/Song_of_Solomon.html

    or to buy the print 🙂
    http://www.redbubble.com/people/aleonart/art/3424166-2-awake-north-wind-and-come-south-wind

    Hmm. . .maybe the links require this post to be “moderated” ??

    1. Wow Renee, the movie was really beautiful.

  6. Oh, wow! Even a movie with attention to details of her art!
    http://web.me.com/alangel/portfolio/Movie.html

    1. I posted the link to the “movie” before I watched it —- it’s so much more than a “movie.” I don’t even have the words to describe it, but what an amazing presentation of the gospel through Song of Solomon.

  7. This is the amazing story of how God is using this humble Russian artist. http://web.me.com/alangel/e/Story.html Be sure to watch the video Beauty by God. Thank you Renee for finding this!

  8. 9. How does practicing thankfulness as a daily habit, when the South Wind is blowing, better prepare you to respond when the North Wind blows?

    If my heart stops to think about my blessings and to say thank You for them, the memory of them is there when the north winds blow. They are like insulation from the cold. I quickly remember His love and faithfulness.

    How might you better incorporate practicing the habit of thankfulness? Specific ideas are welcome!

    I am now a firm believer in journaling and of the exercise we did in this post when we just wrote down the things we are thankful for.

    Thanks to all of you for your prayers this weekend. Tammy you prayed that God would speak to me from the Word. He showed me as I was doing the study questions that I need to be talking to Joey and teaching him of God’s faithfulness. I’m not sure how to do this now as he is a little old for Bible stories but I trust God will show me.