THE PARALLEL BETWEEN
THE LUKEWARM BRIDE IN THE SONG
AND THE LUKEWARM BRIDE IN LAODICEA
HERE IS OUR PASSAGE:
I slept but my heart was awake.
A sound! My beloved is knocking.
“Open to me, my sister, my love,
my dove, my perfect one,
for my head is wet with dew,
my locks with the drops of night.”
I slept, but my heart was awake.
A sound! My beloved is knocking
“Open to me, my sister, my love,
my dove, my perfect one,
for my head is wet with dew,
my locks with the drops of the night.”
(Song of Songs 5:2)
What does it mean when she says, “I slept, but my heart was awake”? Some think she is dreaming but I think it is describing spiritual sluggishness, as when the disciples fell asleep in Gethsemane and Jesus said, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” We are dark but lovely. Both of these conditions reside in us simultaneously, and that should alert us to our depravity, to our capacity for being deceived and sluggish – but it should also give us the assurance that we can never fully fall from grace. Even when we quench His Spirit, we have not put that Spirit out. Christ is right there, knocking, and ready to revive our flame and rescue us from ourselves.
I had put of my garment;
how could I put it on?
I had bathed my feet;
how could I soil them?
My beloved put his hand to the latch,
and my heart was thrilled within me.
I arose to open to my beloved,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with liquid myrrh,
on the handles of the bolt.
I opened to my beloved,
but my beloved had turned and gone.
My soul failed me when he spoke,
I sought him, my found him not.
I called to him, but he gave no answer.
In a commentary published by Crossway, Douglas O’Donnell sees marriage as the primary focus of the Song, but does also see it as a pointer to our relationship with Christ. He writes:
Just as your desire for intimacy with your spouse is a reliable indicator of your marital health, so too your desire for intimacy with Christ is a reliable indicator of your spiritual health.
In a commentary by Puritan Richard Sibbes, (who inspired Michael Reeves), he said that two warning signs that indicate a believer is preferring sleep over wakefulness are:
- Preferring to be alone (withdrawing from fellowship)
- Preferring to draw the blinds and shut out the light (withdrawing from the Word and the Lord)
I want to thank you again for your participation here, for it helping me so with the book and study I am writing. I am so excited about this week, for I have found some wonderful new resources, including some short you tube videos from Joseph Stovall (a past and wonderful President of Moody Bible Institute) filmed in Laodicea.
1. What comments do you have on the above and why?
2. What comments do you have on Douglas O’Donnell’s thought? Does either describe you?
3. What comments do you have on Richard Sibbe’s symptoms of spiritual sluggishness? Do either describe you?
Monday – Wednesday Bible Study
4. Read Song of Songs 5:1-3
A. How do you see passion in verse 1?
B. What two conditions reside in the bride in verse 2? What do you think this means? Compare to the account of Gethsemane in Mark 14:32-42. Do you see any parallels?
C. What excuses does she give for not unlocking the door?
D. Consider what the root idol might be for spiritual lethargy and what the solution might be.
5. Read Song of Songs 5:4-9
(In his message on this chapter, which is excellent, but focuses more on earthly marriage, James Hamilton said he left a gift of fragrance to show her grace, and exhorts men to show the same grace when their wives refuse them, and exhorts women to consider their motivation for refusal.)
A. When your earthly or spiritual husband gives you grace in response to unkindness or selfishness, how do you feel?
B. The phrase “my guts churned within me,” is also found in Jeremiah 31:20. What does this tell you about His heart for you — and for what He longs for from you?
C. What does she do and how do the watchmen respond? What might be some possible explanations for this?
6. Read Revelation 3:14-22
A. What similarities do you see between this scene and the one you have just studied in the Song?
B. What are the three things Jesus tells His Bride to get and what might each of these represent on a spiritual level?
Thursday-Friday: Three Very Short and Helpful Videos (Joseph Stowall at Laodicea)
7. Share your comments and thoughts.
Saturday: Pray what you learned into your heart
A. What did you learn about Jesus to help you adore Him?
C. What did you see about yourself to confess?
T. What might you thank Him for?
S. What supplication might you make because of your need?
I thought Spurgeon’s commentary on 5:7 was helpful:”What did she do then? Why, she went to His ministers, she went to those who were the watchmen of the night, and what did they say to her? Did they cheer her? Perhaps they had never passed through her experience; perhaps they were mere hirelings. However it might be, they struck her. Sometimes the truthful preaching of the gospel will smite a child of God when he gets out of his walk with God, and it is right it should be so. But they did more than strike, they “wounded” her until she began to bleed from the wounds given by the very men whom she hoped would have comforted her. “Surely,” she might have said, “you know where the city’s King is, for you are the city’s guards!” But she received no comfort. When a poor soul in this case flies to an un-sympathizing minister, he will say, “Well, you say you have lost the presence of Christ; you should bestir yourself to find it.” “Yes,” says the spouse, “I rose up and opened to Him.” “You should use the means.” “But I have used the means; I sought Him, but I found Him not.” “You should pray.” “I did pray; I called Him, but He gave me no answer.” “Well then,” perhaps they will add, “you should wait patiently for Him.” “Oh, but,” she says, “I cannot, I must have Him now! I am lovesick.” And then perhaps the minister will be sharp, and say, “I fear you are not a child of God.” Now what is that? Why, that is taking away the veil from the mourning seeker…”
full sermon: http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols13-15/chs793.pdf
Wow, Lizzy. Spurgeon’s description of the watchmen as unsympathetic, critical ministers, “wounds from the very ones whom she hoped would have comforted her”. I think he is spot on … I will never see the watchmen in the same light again.
Diane-I agree. While Spurgeon can get wordy, he never candy-coats..I always appreciate his blunt wisdom, as sobering as it is!
Wow, Lizzy. Like many here, I too am a lover of Spurgeon!! These words of his take my breath away. That said, I’m not quite sure that I’m going to follow him down this trail….maybe, but maybe not! I’m still working through this whole “watchmen” thing. I just don’t know if his interpretation here is the “right” one….but regardless, his words strike a chord of truth. It is a grievous thing when Spiritual Overseers lord it over the flock and create even deeper wounds. God forbid. Words well worth chewing on a bit! Thank you. 🙂
Hadn’t read Spurgeon on it recently — he always strikes a cord. So good.
I have been wrestling with this passage this morning. i am seeing a contrast between how the Watchmen treat her in her lovesickness for Jesus as she searches for Him, and how Jesus treats her as she is lying in bed. What a oontrast! The Watchmen are protecters from danger yes, but they have no love for her. Jesus knocks on the door while she is in bed and then withdraws from her when she doesn’t respond, BUT He leaves Myrrh dripping on the doornob..GRACE…and sacrificial LOVE-Loving even when our hearts are lukewarm..His Love is deeper than the deepest ocean! I think His Love for her shown here sparks this passion already in her for Him as the Myrrh drips on her fingers-she explodes with responding back to Him in Love…it is like He is filling her more with His love and she responds.
Still not sure about the Watchmen…This is a far out thought but they could be a representation of the evil one who throws darts-condemns us for our past-trying to put us back in bed saying He doesn’t really love us-when we are hot inside for Him responding to His Love??
oh, Rebecca! The watchmen try to put us back in bed…. !
Rebecca…..I’m not finding myself being quite so hard on the watchmen as I used to be! From much of what I have been reading it does appear likely that they are spiritual overseers rather than from the evil one. Spurgeon certainly seems to think so! I’ve been curious to see how Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth handles this section and even though I was a little disappointed that she didn’t go as “deep ” on this as she has been throughout other parts of SOS, I did like the balance and the conclusion she came to….here it is:
“Now we’ve said that the watchmen are a picture of spiritual guardians, pastors, leaders. And the fact that they struck her, that they wounded her could speak of how our spiritual leaders sometimes have to speak into our lives words that wound and hurt us so that we can be healed. Sometimes they have to say hard things to us.
Or it may be that these spiritual caretakers misunderstood her. They assumed that a woman of good moral character would not be out in the street in the middle of the night. So maybe they misunderstood her motives for being out there.
Whichever it was, whether they were trying to help her or they were misunderstanding her, the whole experience was a painful one. She was wounded by those who should have been able to comfort and help her.”
I think that last paragraph in bold letters is key. One of my first thoughts on the path that they perhaps misunderstood her motives was that they didn’t take the time to ASK!!! A little rush to judgement there? OR, the kind of discipline the Lord speaks to us of in Hebrews 12: 5-11? That passage is MOST uncomfortable for me! However, vs. 11 brings a beauty to the process….” For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields for peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
I wouldn’t want to be too quick to be hard on our pastors and spiritual leaders today because of this passage. I have HUGE respect for the godly leaders in my life and I am aware of how hard they labor and struggle for the Body of Christ…….I don’t know where I would be without them! And yes, sometimes they speak VERY hard truth into my life……such was the case in a conversation with my pastor just a couple of months ago! Rosaria Butterfield has said: “You can’t bypass repentance on the way to grace.” I LOVE that….and my pastor’s hard words helped me live that.
Just some extra thoughts here…..and Dee asked me to share what I heard Nancy D. W. teaching on this! 🙂
Thanks for sharing Nancy D. W.’s teaching on this, Jackie. I am wondering if it is possible to draw a parallel between the watchmen of SOS and the Pharisees of Jesus’ day (as well as many spiritual leaders of today?). They were not pure evil but watchmen who had been caught up in legalism and pride – putting burdens on the common people that they themselves could not bear. Still some of them were drawn to Jesus, like Nicodemus, and followed him. In chapter 3:3,4, she sees the watchmen as well and in that passage she asks them for help and again, though they cannot help her, they do not beat her. Still pondering … Also, in all other religions, the path to God is through following the rules and earning salvation. And do we not put expectations on ourselves that we cannot do and beat ourselves up when we do not live up to them? I myself am bruised and possibly bloody from beating myself up at the moment. Ah, wretched woman that I am, who can save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God who saves me!
Diane – you present an interesting proposition about the Pharisees…..and I think they very well COULD fit the watchmen type….failed watchmen, that is! But in my little search in the OT for “Watchmen” I found the phrase to be very powerful, very profound, very much set in place by the Lord…..without going into quote after quote….see these verses…..Isaiah 52:8, Isaiah 62:16, Jeremiah 31:6, Jeremiah 51:12, Ezekiel 3:17 (and many, many more in Ezekiel!), Habakkuk 2:1-20…..are just a few. Clearly, the Lord purposed for the watchmen to be a GOOD thing, a safeguard, a caring lookout for the people…….they were to see danger and sound the alarm. I see them as Truth tellers……and yes, they seem to have failed miserably time and time again in the Scriptures!
Jackie-Totally agree with you-wow I really didn’t mean to put it that way-but I did..they don’t represent the evil one-You are right on! I meant that the evil one in our passionate response to Him can condemn us through spiritual overseers. Through the leaders in our churches who oversee us. 🙂 That is why we must be discerning even when we are with our ‘overseers’ and that discernment can only come from being with Him and having Him fill us with His Love, for when we know His Love..we can discern when satan is working through another believer to discourage us for it isn’t His Love-it is condemnation. I hope I said that right! :))) I am so NOT great at communicating the deeper thoughts via typing. 🙂
AND you have some gems in your response!!! Great points-great post.
Rebecca – (only way I can respond to you is by responding to myself – sorry!). Well, I think that was BEAUTFULY said!! Great clarifications and I see exactly what you meant. Yes, yes. Discernment is so crucial with our spiritual leaders…time with Him in the Word…..being “Bereans”…..all so critical. 🙂 Otherwise we could easily fall prey to “cultish” leaders!!
I just have to add…..I do love my pastor, but recently he posted something on FB that just didn’t sit right with me. It wasn’t a big deal really….but I just couldn’t stop thinking about it…..he was getting lots of likes and affirming comments and I just had to speak something a bit different into the conversation….which I HATED doing. BUT….I tried to be respectful, kind and say what I wanted to communicate with a sense of humor. 🙂 This Wednesday night when I arrived at church for nursery duty, my pastor was pulling out of the parking lot…..and he stopped to chat with me….he told me he LOVED that and wished more people felt freer to respectfully disagree with him! So it is a balance, to be sure. Respect, but listening to the Spirit and His still, small voice to us always……bathed in the Scriptures……and very often I get carried away and say WAY more than I should have. 🙂 As you all have no doubt noticed here on the blog! Ugh. I like to think we are all iron sharpening iron….and I LOVE the grace that flows between us here. 🙂
Thanks Jackie. That’s what I remember. I know that in America many are aghast at the thought of church discipline or even now allowing non-Christians to be members, but it is important. Spurgeon seems ot feel more strongly that they were off-base. I think they might have been well-motivated but off-base. You’ll see my views tomorrow. Thank you. And really good input from Rebecca!
I love the picture of the dripping myrrh being GRACE, Rebecca.
Jackie-I so love your heart! So don’t EVER think you shouldn’t help with clarification because you do so with such grace! God has gifted you..I am guessing you have the gift of teaching for a sign is that when a teacher hears something that might be off she passionately desires to correct it. I wouldn’t have seen how I said it had you not pointed it out. Please feel free to point these things out for me-it really do like the back and forth here on the blog and love the fact that you are passionate about it!
5. Read Song of Songs 5:4-9
A. When your earthly or spiritual husband gives you grace in response to unkindness or selfishness, how do you feel? It melts me and I find that I want to do the very thing he gave me grace for! And more. I suddenly want to bless him, my selfishness drops away when I see his goodness.
B. The phrase “my guts churched within me,” is also found in Jeremiah 31:20. What does this tell you about His heart for you – and for what He longs for from you? This reminds me of “deep calling to deep.” I heard a sermon on compassion and the pastor said that compassion is literally translated as a deep gut pain (?) or churning. It is a deep stirring, not some flimsy surface emotion. He feels deeply, sincerely for us, love, compassion, hope. He longs for the same from us – deep, sincere, something that if taken would cause literal pain because of what it meant. I’ve been sick before at emotions, deep in me.
C. What does she do and how do the watchmen respond? What might be some possible explanations for this? She scolds her soul for not responding when he spoke, then she seeks for him But the watchmen find her. I find it interesting that they “found” her. Were they looking for her? Are they thieves in disguise? Overzealous enforcers? They beat her and took her veil away. Amplified says “shawl.” Expanded Bible says “garments” NIV says “cloak.” This was her warmth and protection while seeking her beloved. What is my comfort when seeking for my beloved? Explanations: People who are critical and drive people from the love of God to a practice of religion. Discipline (even though it is seemingly harsh) so that she remembers not to tarry in her responding to his voice. Or just mean people who have no compassion, we do live in a fallen world of people that do not care of others’ plights and would take someone’s cloak just because they can, even if they are in a role of protection and authority.
Such good thoughts in C. , Jill. Especially this:
Like the parallel with deep calls to deep. “Guts” in Hebrew is the deep seat of emotions…
I tried to edit an entry above – add something to it but the edit did not show up here, although it said that the edit was successful. Any suggestions?
What I started to muse about the watchmen is that we ourselves are rule keepers who beat ourselves up when we do not succeed in following the rules. I frequently at times am my worst critic, hating myself for my failures, and not giving myself grace.
Ignore above comment. Once I had entered this, I went back to my previous comment and now the edits are there. Sorry for the confusion.
out of replies up there, but Diane–I’m smiling because just this morning I had that same thought about the Pharisees! Reminded me of what I’m reading in the Gospels right now. Nancy W.’s input was helpful too, I did think she seemed a bit similar to Spurgeon (he had WAY more to say on it than just what I posted, of course!) But now I am seeing what Diane shared here too, “we ourselves are rule keepers who beat ourselves up when we do not succeed in following the rules”–and that had also been a thought to me–how often in our own doubts and fears and self-condemnation, we “beat ourselves up”. I’m not trying to suggest this was a dream or not a physical presence of other people (watchmen), but just thinking about how hard I can be on myself, blaming myself, listening to the lies of the enemy…especially when I have allowed something to come between me and the Lord, as she had done here…sorry, thinking as I type 😉
OK, one more tidbit from me on the watchmen! I found this commentary on the Songs from RTS library, written in 1899 by Jessie Penn-Lewis (don’t know much else on her)
“…the “watchmen” found her! They were true, whole-hearted “remembrancers” of the Lord, perhaps (Is. 62:6), keenly anxious to be faithful to their calling of warning the wicked to escape from the judgment to come, and of warning the righteous man “that the righteous sin not” (Ezekiel 3:21). When they came upon this desolate child of God, they thought that they saw their opportunity of fulfilling their ministry…Like Job’s friends they gather round, intending to help or comfort, but wounding all the more…There are other “watchmen” that are also likely to “find” the child of God at such a time as this – the hosts of spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places. It is the hour and power of darkness, the “evil day” of a terrific assault upon the soul. In the hiding of the manifested presence of Him who not only gives her light but is Himself her Light, the enemy comes upon her like a flood. They aim at beating her back from her position in the Beloved, by attacking her faith in the Faithful God. They press upon her to admit the thought that God has laid upon her more than is right (Job 34:23) and that she must retreat to an easier path. They taunt her with the silence of her Lord and tell her that if He delighted in her, that if all was right in His sight, He would surely interpose and spare her from all this sorrow…When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord lifts up a standard against him. The soul is strengthened with might by the Spirit in the inner man, to stand steadfast in the faith. She lays the hand of faith afresh upon the head of the Sacrifice on Calvary’s cross and waits for God to explain.”
Wow — that so resonates with my heart, Lizzy.
I see a parallel to parenting — the research shows that children react adversely to parents who are too harsh, too legalistic.
About the WATCHMEN passage: I’m pretty overwhelmed stepping in here so late and trying to piece together what has been shared. So many deep and good thoughts! I’ve been reading ‘Song of Songs’ by Watchman Nee this week.
(interesting name, eh? It didn’t even occur to me for quite awhile into this passage; the irony of his name. Wonder why he was given that name? Does anyone else read him or have thoughts about his work? It’s been a long time since I’ve read anything by him, but I still find a lot of it helpful. And yet I don’t know ‘critically’ what his theology entails. )
Anyway, because I am reading a book and not online, I just can’t re-type everything I’d like to share (can’t copy/paste!). But a few things: “They ‘took away my veil from me'” Thus there was no seeming end to her suffering. Not only were help and comfort denied her, but what had happened to her now brought her into open derision. Those who wre the watchmen of the Lord, far from covering her from public reproach, now began to expose her and thus to broadcast her supposed failure, They were the very ones who treated her roughly and unjustly by taking away her covering, thus permitting her to open shame and chagrin…..so that, as with Job…., every friend from whom she expected some desired help turned out to be one who condemned her.” He makes a comparison to Job’s friends and quotes some laments from the psalms that she may have been feeling.
He goes on to say that ….’the attitude of responsible brethren may be wrong, but the expression of this wrongness may also be permitted to fall upon us by the permissive will of God in order that we may know where we come short.
I have some trouble with this conclusion. He goes on to infer that if we are walking in close relationship with the Lord, the Lord Himself deals with and disciplines us. If we are stagnant and not progressively moving in His will, He may “……permit the misunderstandings of brethren to deal roughly and ruthlessly with that one–more so than He Himself would deal with us.”
Ugh. This doesn’t land well with what we know about the great mercy and love of God. I think if ‘responsible brethren’ are acting on misunderstandins and rebuking because of speculation that they are also accountable for their own shortcoming. I have certainly seen a lot of damage done in the church due to misunderstandings and acting on impulse.
I guess I’m exhausted, overwhelmed and not making much sense here. Maybe looking at another commentary to try clarify (and I thought he seemed in agreement with Spurgeon) has just muddled my mind more than before.
and also, Wanda…..I’ve always shrunk back at Jesus’ words in John 15:2….”…He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” What??? The first phrase is hard enough….but I can “get” that….but then he prunes (ouch) branches that ARE bearing fruit! It’s counterintuitive and upside down…..but when we can see the deepest sorrows and disappointments of our lives in light of God’s pruning and His MERCY in that pruning…..well, we just begin to see that we are loving Him above all else. And make no mistake, no matter who or what the instrument of His choosing….HE is doing the pruning! Which gives me enormous confidence throughout the painful process!! 🙂 (I’m sorry to speak with such passion here….but this gets to the very heart of my “faith crisis” several years ago……I just kept coming back to God and realizing “YOU have done this.” I had to come to a place of becoming completely undone by this God who had wounded me so deeply…..and LOVED me so completely. I just simply couldn’t grasp any of it….until He brought be all the way through Job to chapter 42……and opened my eyes.
No apology needed, Jackie. I really do understand your passion and how God has moved in your own story. Thank you for sharing it.
Interesting pick-up on the name Watchman Nee. I know he was Chinese, persecuted, spent last 20 years in prison, so more likely he was a victim of Watchmen than one himself.
Yes, and now that I think about it more (after I wrote my response to Jackie, I guess he was in a unique position to examine and ponder his own mistreatment by others, as he had experienced it to a great degree. Though I suspect his abusers were not believers, as I think I understand the ‘watchmen’ in the text to be.
Wanda – these words from Watchman Nee add a lot to this conversation! And I clearly can see how hard his conclusion is to stomach. But leaving God’s discipline to His children out of the conversation in the name of mercy wouldn’t be biblical! I had been reminded of Hebrews 12:5-13 earlier in the study this week….Nee’s comments fall within that framework it seems…..he didn’t say that the watchmen wouldn’t have to answer for their wrongdoing…..but I do believe that God can use even others wrongdoing against us to sanctify us! Job’s friends had been referenced by several here…..but look at the whole book of Job in the context of God’s mercy. God allowed Satan himself to come after Job and take NEARLY everything he had. Can we really even begin to imagine? One day four messengers arrive….beginning by telling Job that he had lost basically all of his “net worth” and income producing ability…..only to be followed by losing every single child. All Job was left with was a wife who told him to curse God and die….and eventually “friends” who were “miserable comforters”! And then came the painful, total body boils…….oh, oh…….and through it all….God’s mercy. God had never left Job for a moment……it is SO hard at times to reconcile our merciful Abba with the God of Job….and yet….when we are flat on our face, who do we often turn to? JOB. The Lord used this man’s story to pour LIFE into my broken heart in a way I will never be able to articulate.
I have also been pondering that the bride was out searching for her Beloved…..because….even though He came for her….when she procrastinated and stayed in the comfort of her bed…..He left! He left her alone to feel the depths of the loss of his presence…..likely knowing full well that experiencing this grief would lead her out into the dark and dangerous streets of the night on her search for him. But he didn’t make himself instantly present and by her side….he allowed a “season” of searching and wandering…..as dangerous as that might be. Hmmm.
Jackie, Thanks for all of your feedback. (And Dee also) I think you misunderstood part of what I was trying to say. (I wrote this during yet another bout of insomnia and I was tired and not being very clear.) I do not question GOD’s discipline. That is clear in scripture in the places you wrote as in Hebrews 12. But I was taken aback by his saying this:
In light of what he had just written (see original post), he speaks of the watchmen misunderstanding and being ruthless and unmerciful. Shaming and uncovering her failure. And doing it because of misunderstanding her real desire. (like Job’s friends). And it seems that Nee is saying that God uses these misunderstanding people to do that. I suppose that is true. But I don’t think it is necessarily God’s will for believers to be unkind to fellow believers. God redeems that with His purposes, but was that His plan? The damage I see in the body of Christ, is when believers expose and lay bare the failures of one another. Instead of letting God do the pruning. Maybe it’s a thin line, but I would like to err on the side of mercy amongst believers because God indeed does treat us sometimes, with severe mercy. And he can do that because he also lavishes us with radical love and grace. Maybe I am interpreting Nee wrong (and maybe I need to read more) .
I guess the quotation marks ended up in funny places above. I did and undid them too many times! Nee’s words are after, ‘If we are stagnant……’ in the indented paragraph.
Good pondering, Jackie.
6. Read Revelation 3:14-22
A. What similarities do you see between this scene and the one you have just studied in the song? Christ is knocking on a door urging those inside to answer and He will come in to them. There is warning against not responding to His voice. “The one who conquers (v.21)…” In Song of Songs she was charged to catch the foxes, conquer temptation…there is implication in both passages that responding to His voice “hotly” is conqering temptation.
B. What are three things Jesus tells His Bride to get and what might each of these represent in a spiritual level? Gold refined from the fire in order to be rich, white garments in order to cover our shame, and salve for the eyes in order to see. Without researching – the garments are His forgiveness and righteousness, the salve would be understanding to see. I do not know about the gold but the fact that they already had gold and Christ says to trade it for His gold refined in the fire indicates purity…trading our riches in this temporary world for His eternal riches in heaven?
More thoughts in the watchmen:
Observation: They were in authority. They found her. They wounded her, so their actions were not right.
I do see that this could be discipline and I can realize that discipline looked different back then. Rebecca’s comment about the watchmen drive us back to our bed really stuck out to me and I wonder if the watchmen could even be a false gospel? The bride is just newly married and she makes a mistake, doesn’t respond and she looks for Him but instead is found by people that misinterpret what is needed. It’s not safe to seek him in this way, go back! How many seeking Christ are found by those that do not understand the gospel and end up severely sounding new Christians? Or even older Christians? I believe her actions to seek him after she missed Him were right but she was met with people who made that difficult and they became the danger that they may have warned her against.
Jill – who would have dreamed that we would have had so much ruminating on those watchmen?! Well, actually, the scene is so disturbing to us that I guess it isn’t surprising. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this distillation you provided here. “…they became the danger they may have warned her against.” wow. That stood out in neon lights to me, for I think it is a sound warning to us all. Do I want to become the very danger I am warning others of? God forbid. I pray that I am surrounded with other believers who are grounded in Him and would “call” me on that.
I also found your words clarifying here, Jill. in fact, instantly, I saw scenarios in my mind; bad memories of ‘church people’ wounding others by being ‘over zealous watchmen’. You spoke of new Christians being wounded. I have seen that for sure. But in reverse, I have seen new Christians doing the wounding, because in their new intensity and desire to take their stand, fly their flag and make their positions clear, they have spoken harshly, lacking grace and maturity. I’m cringing as I think on some specifics here. The Watchmen being the danger they warned about. That is profound.
Comments on the videos:
The he minerals in the water remind me of the water in my “homeland” of Florida. In many places the water is foul smelling and tasting because of the sulfur in it.
The laodiceans had no needs or wants; not even for Jesus. We can be that way too…we are “all set” in our lives. How sad that is….
Thoughts on the videos: only 3 minutes each but a must watch! Really appreciate the insight into Laodicea and the situation at the time Revelation was written. The contrast of their water versus neighboring towns was amazing and completely missed if you don’t know of the challenge they had back then. Christ’s words were so specific for them…to draw them back to Him and away from the worldly pleasures they had been distracted by.
After watching I have to addendum my answer to 6B. Christ was contrasting the things that they bought and saw value in with what had true value -Him.