I try every day to leave work and have lunch with my family. But I've been too busy to appreciate it.
Today, at lunch, though the busy-ness and stress of work was perhaps at the top of 1 to 10- scale, I was blessed to at least caution myself while admitting, "I've allowed myself to be too busy to note the enjoyment God has given me."
So as a way of counting my blessings, I want to enumerate the numerous enjoyments my lunchtime this noon provided.
1) The meal was delicious. My soon-to-be-17-daughter and my 14-yr-old-daughter both prepared me a nice luncheon and took good care of me as we dined together.
2) Resulting from her enjoyment of, and appreciation for the Preface to Robin Hood, My 17 yr old asked: "Dad, have you read the preface to Robin Hood? It's so well written, so expressive, and so much fun too read." And so my 14-yr-old retrieved said book and my 17-yr-old proceeded to read the same. And this reminded me of a recent blog article I had read, written by Doug Wilson, in which he mentioned Robin Hood. This made for good discussion as we compared modern sentiment, the book, the article and what we think of all that. click here for D. Wilson's article.
3) I then proceed to read to my girls from Ralph Erskine's Large Explicatory Poem on the Song of Solomon. Oh, how we enjoyed those poetic words. Some of which were from Song 1:7-8. See below at the bottom of the post to read for yourself those joyful words we also read.
Reading those words we then went on to discuss poetry, as my 14yr old explained from her reading that very day how beat and metre and even "thump" is built into certain styles of the poetry. "Do you hear the thump, Dad? You have to listen for the beat?" she exulted.
We then proceed to discuss Song 2:1 "I am the Rose of Sharon..." and who is the person of that verse. Is it Christ? Is it the bride? Both Poole and Gill mention both possibilities, but they both proceed with large explanation why the received understanding is the correct. Christ himself is the Rose of Sharon. We saw good cause for both sentiments but the words "I AM" struck us in the verse. So then we searched the Song using MySword and discovered all the "I am's." "I am Black," "I am the Rose of Sharon," "I am come into my Garden," "I am sick of love," "I am his," "I am a wall." Others escape me, but we did enjoy the commentators explanation of how this assertion is not unbecoming of Christ, not in this poetical language of love.
I then made note to my girls how Erskine also has a preface to his poem. In fact he has two. He as a preface To the Curious Reader, and a second To the Serious Reader. And so we read a little from the second.
"But if you are exercised unto godliness, and acquainted with the sweet life of fellowship and communion with our Lord Jesus Christ, I hope you shall see here a picture and representation both of his heart towards you, and of your heart towards him : and a portraiture of the sweetest experience of intimacy with heaven, that the bride of Christ can have upon earth. And I judge, that a song upon this subject is not unseasonable amidst these evil days, wherein the songs of the temple are like to be turned into bowlings, and wherein the bride, the Lamb's wife, is ready to hang her harp upon the willows. How desirable were it, if this little book might prove a mean for helping her to sing away her sorrows, and to harmonize with the design of that precious promise, Hos. ii. 15. " I will give her the Valley of Achor for a door of hope, and she shall sing there !" To drive away the night of trouble with songs of praise, would be a work and exercise most suitable to that gracious name our Lord takes to himself, Job xxxv. 10. " God our Maker, who gives songs in the night."
Oh, and how those words gave us cheer and warmed our hearts in hope!
We then ruminated together, who could enjoy this Song, and who could appreciate this poem. Would this not make such a gift to a brother, a sister, suffering trials? Someone, who perhaps themselves, also, to busy living to take note how they enjoy life. And so we really did have much enjoyment. Thus beware the busy life, how good it is stop and praise God, who gives such precious gifts from above.
Ralph Erskine - The Song explained in poetic form. Click here. On Song 1:7-8
THE CHURCHES WORDS:
For why should I that am thy bride
Be left to starve and stray,
Or seem as one that turns aside
To any crooked way ?
All other loves my soul abhors,
Thy rivals I disdain ;
With flocks of thy competitors
Why should I wander then ?
I all thy feign'd companions hate, -
They are a bane to me ;
My soul affects no other mate,
No other Lord but thee.
O if I knew thy fix'd abode,
I'd lodge for ever there ;
Where may I then enjoy my God ?
O tell me, tell me where !
O thou my bride, whom I esteem
The fairest of thy race,
However black thy form may seem
While griefs do veil thy grace ;
Dost thou not know, my lovely bride,
The shadow of the rock ?
Nor pastures green where I abide
And feed my little flock ?
Come follow my directing grace,
Which I afford to thee ;
I'll lead thee to the sweetest place
Of fellowship with me :
That hence thy feet may never swerve,
Nor fall in snares and wrack,
The footsteps of the flock observe,
And follow thou the track.
See how they climb the rock in droves,
To social worship prone,
And forthwith haunt retiring groves,
To meet with me alone.
Keep thou the beaten good old path,
Yet new and living way,
Which all my saints have trod by faith
And prayer night and day.
Though none of their dislik'd escapes
Must be a rule to thee ;
Yet follow them in all the steps
Wherein they follow me.
And, while my under shepherds tents
Are kept in good repair,
Attend them still ; for heav'n presents
My choicest dainties there.
These holy ordinances are
The pastures of my grace :
There feast thyself, nor thence debar
Thy little tender race.
Bring children, servants, all thy kids
Along to feed with thee ;
Thy Lord all comers welcome bids
In offers full and free.
Make all within thy charge to haunt
These goodly tents of mine ;
For there my feasts of love I grant
To nourish thee and thine.
Thus, that thy feet no more appear
With other flocks to roam,
In these my best inclosures here
Stay till I bring thee home.
Matthew Henry on Song 2:1
What Christ is pleased to compare himself to; and he condescends very much in the comparison. He that is the Son of the Highest, the bright and morning star, calls and owns himself the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys, to express his presence with his people in this world, the easiness of their access to him, and the beauty and sweetness which they find in him, and to teach them to adorn themselves with him, as shepherds and shepherdesses, when they appeared gay, were decked with roses and lilies, garlands and chaplets of flowers. The rose, for beauty and fragrance, is the chief of flowers, and our Saviour prefers the clothing of the lily before that of Solomon in all his glory. Christ is the rose of Sharon, where probably the best roses grew and in most plenty, the rose of the field (so some), denoting that the gospel salvation is a common salvation; it lies open to all; whoever will may come and gather the rose-buds of privileges and comforts that grow in the covenant of grace. He is not a rose locked up in a garden, but all may come and receive benefit by him and comfort in him. He is a lily for whiteness, a lily of the valleys for sweetness, for those which we call so yield a strong perfume. He is a lily of the valleys, or low places, in his humiliation, exposed to injury. Humble souls see most beauty in him. Whatever he is to others, to those that are in the valleys he is a lily. He is the rose, the lily; there is none besides. Whatever excellence is in Christ, it is in him singularly and in the highest degree.