What Is Thy Beloved? – Part 3

The cheeks

Here is one who has a knowledge of the beloved. To know about the cheeks of the individual you need to be close to them. She appreciates the sweetness of the presence of the beloved. When asked, she was able to describe his cheeks in detail.

As we think upon Christ, we have challenged our hearts. How close are we to the Lord? Were we to be asked the question, what would we be able to say about our Saviour? Have we spent time in the sanctuary and in the scriptures learning of Him?

What is her description? ‘His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers’. The word ‘bed’ means ‘a raised bed of plants’, and the word ‘flowers’ means ‘banks of sweet-scented herbs’. You can imagine these ‘flowers’ rising like towers of perfumes. There is a fragrance about the beloved that only those who are close can know.

We might think of the Apostle John. Here was a disciple who knew the Lord closely, ‘Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved’, John 13. 23. Thus, there are things about the Lord that John records in his Gospel that the other writers don’t cover. Perhaps, this is because of the closeness of the relationship that John had with the Lord.

When we think of those cheeks, perhaps we must also think of the words of the prophet, descriptive of Calvary, ‘The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting’, Isa. 50. 5, 6. The fulfilment of that prophecy is recorded by Matthew, ‘Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands’, Matt. 26. 65-68.

The hymn writer reminds us, ‘That face, once so marred, we shall gaze on at length’ (E. Grimley). We shall see Him one day very soon. Let us keep that in our hearts and minds as we journey on.

His lips

‘His lips like lilies dropping sweet smelling myrrh’. I would suggest that here she is thinking about his words; the dropping of the sweet myrrh is the idea of flowing, or the words of love that flowed from the lips of her beloved. The psalmist wrote, ‘My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king … grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever’, Ps. 45. 1, 2.

When we think of the Saviour we can think of the words of compassion and comfort, words of salvation and solace, words of peace and pardon. So many different individuals were touched with the words that fell from the lips of Christ during the time of His public ministry. Even in times of suffering He was so different to the sinners. Think of the words of compassion for the thief, Luke 23. 43; the contrast is so marked. Of His experience, the psalmist wrote, ‘All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head’, Ps. 22. 7.

His hands

We come to the hands and we see that gold once again marks them - ‘gold rings set with the beryl’. Those hands had a precious blending of tenderness and strength. Strength? The psalmist wrote, ‘consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained’, Ps. 8. 3.

Once again, we see the divine character in the gold, but we see the word ‘rings’ here too. The word means ‘folding’ suggesting hands that enclose. For the believer, we know the Lord’s words, ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand’, John 10. 27, 28.

But we cannot think of the hands of the Saviour without thinking of Calvary - hands that were nailed to the cross. The psalmist reminds us, ‘For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet’, Ps. 22. 16. After His resurrection we can recall that He showed the disciples His hands and His side. He blessed them when He took them out as far as Bethany and the nail prints which were still visible in His hands showed the cost of their blessing.

His belly

‘His belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires’. The belly, or the inwards, would speak of the heart. The sapphire stone is blue in colour and it has been described as a heavenly blue. Here, we suggest, are the human emotions of a heavenly man. There is much for us to think of in the Gospels regarding the feelings of the Saviour. Love and compassion, joy and sorrow, pity and grief, indignation and even anger, were all seen in the person of Christ. Human emotions were all displayed in a rich balance in the perfect man.

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