November 22

Song of Songs 2:14-15 (NIV) 14My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. 15Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.

The Song of Songs is about a love relationship between Solomon and a young woman. In a type or shadow it is about Jesus (the Son of David) and His bride, the church. The church is a made up of many members, and this speaks to us all. But it also speaks to us individually. The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 5 that marriage is a mystery that represents Christ and the church. As you read the Song of Songs, place yourself in the role of the beloved. Let the words of the Lover speak to your heart. We consider the love of Christ expressed on the cross, but we should also consider that relational love that made Him willing to go there.

In this passage, He calls you His dove. He wants to see your face. To Him, your face is lovely. He longs to hear your voice, for He considers it to be sweet. Our flesh and blood body will pass away, and we will have new bodies that are a clearer expression of our spirit. (1 Corinthians 15:51,52; 1 John 3:2) He sees that now in you. He sees past the passing and to the eternal. Take time to come out of hiding in all your busyness, and come and talk with Him face to face.

In this song, the Lover and his beloved both have vineyards. It represents the fruit of their lives. Little foxes come in to spoil the fruit. The Lover and his beloved are going to see that those things that keep their lives from being fruitful are eliminated. What is it that keeps your life from being fruitful? Are you planning to eliminate it?

Prayer: Lord, help me to be completely Yours. Help me see and catch those things that keep our relationship from being fruitful.

November 22

Hebrews 13:15-17 (NIV) 15Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. 17Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

The great sacrifice that was pleasing to God has already been offered, but we can still bring a sacrifice of praise. It is not a sacrifice for us unless it comes from difficulty. Difficulty is common in the Christian life, but praise should be just as common. The difficulties refine us and prepare us for eternity. We can always praise God in the difficulty because He is our sufficiency. He meets every need, and sees us through every trial. Each one should strengthen us. Sometimes, praise alone is enough to lift our hearts to victory.

Another sacrifice that the writer encourages is doing good to others. It usually costs us something to do good and share. When we do it as unto the Lord, it is a sweet smelling sacrifice to Him. Do you want to do something to put a smile on God's face? Bring a sacrifice of praise or of doing good and sharing.

Verse 17 is rarely uttered by a humble leader to his own flock, but by a shepherd to another fold such as the case here. Your pastor most likely will not tell you to stop making His work such a pain or to submit to your God appointed authority, but let us hear it from the writer of Hebrews. It is not good for either of you when you are a burden by constant criticism or insistence on your personal preferences. Be a joy not a pain!

Meditation: Your praise, good deeds, and sharing can be a sacrifice to God. Be a joy to your elders, not a pain.