As the old maxim goes, indeed our April showers have brought forth May flowers. A colorful cornucopia of proof is displayed at Albany’s annual Tulip Festival the first weekend of May. In the midst of May’s flowers let us not forget the vital contribution of those many long rainy days of April! Let your delight in the flower include a deeper appreciation for the role of the “fluid fuel.”
This old maxim about the connection of rain to flower can also lead to greater appreciation of the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yesterday morning in my devotions I read comments by Charles H. Spurgeon, the ‘prince of preachers,’ on a text from the Song of Solomon. Initially the selected verse did not grab me, nor did Spurgeon’s opening lines of 19th century “flowery prose” (no pun intended). But as I read on, my eyes were opened to the legitimate path of meditation this preacher was traversing.
I felt rebuked within. It dawned upon me that our culture’s preoccupation with pragmatism had crept into my devotional style causing me to devalue such lines of poetic, spiritual reflection — and even to discount the value of scripture meditation itself. It was as if my devotional life had to stick to some pragmatic script: “get in, grab a spiritual insight, and get out.” It was as if my mind said, “Cut the flowery language, just give it to me straight.” And indeed, I felt rebuked for such a superficial approach to my devotions, my personal time of worship and the Word.
Then, with fresh resolve to relax and reflect on this verse along with Spurgeon, the initial comments themselves (the showers to flowers connection) confirmed my discovery — that devotion, worship and meditation take time to cultivate properly. Needless to say, as I read on, I more carefully thought about all that “rained down” upon Christ and the sweet “flowering” of His saving work.
I meditated; and my soul felt so good. As I did so, I worshipped Christ afresh.
My friends, how are your daily devotions going? Are they mere time-slots for superficial Bible reading, or, heartfelt rendezvous for personal reflection and worship? Do you make time for the Word to soak in (like an April shower), or do you just sprinkle yourself with a few verses (as superstitious drops of spiritual holy water)? Well? Ask the Lord to use HIs Word to plow open the hard ground of your heart, and then to graciously rain down a fuller measure of His Spirit to help you. Let us be as devoted to Him as we ought to be. It can begin by stopping to smell the roses ‹ in particular the Rose of Sharon, our dear Lord Jesus Christ.
Yours by divine mercy,
Pastor Dave Bissett
PS – What follows is the very May 2nd devotional writing by Spurgeon, which I referred to above. I urge you to read it carefully. Consider Christ afresh. You can read all his morning meditations online at: http://ccel.org/s/spurgeon/morn_eve/this_morning.cgi?
If you make this link your home page your web browser will automatically open with the current day’s text and reading.
“His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers.” — Song of Solomon 5:13
Lo, the flowery month is come! March winds and April showers have done their work, and the earth is all bedecked with beauty. Come my soul, put on thine holiday attire and go forth to gather garlands of heavenly thoughts. Thou knowest whither to betake thyself, for to thee “the beds of spices” are well known, and thou hast so often smelt the perfume of “the sweet flowers,” that thou wilt go at once to thy well-beloved and find all loveliness, all joy in Him. That cheek once so rudely smitten with a rod, oft bedewed with tears of sympathy and then defiled with spittle ‹ that cheek as it smiles with mercy is as fragrant aromatic to my heart. Thou didst not hide Thy face from shame and spitting, O Lord Jesus, and therefore I will find my dearest delight in praising Thee. Those cheeks were furrowed by the plough of grief, and crimsoned with red lines of blood from Thy thorn-crowned temples; such marks of love unbounded cannot but charm my soul far more than “pillars of perfume.” If I may not see the whole of His face I would behold His cheeks, for the least glimpse of Him is exceedingly refreshing to my spiritual sense and yields a variety of delights.
In Jesus I find not only fragrance, but a bed of spices; not one flower, but all manner of sweet flowers. He is to me my rose and my lily, my heart’s-ease and my cluster of camphire. When He is with me it is May all the year round, and my soul goes forth to wash her happy face in the morning-dew of His grace, and to solace herself with the singing of the birds of His promises.
Precious Lord Jesus, let me in very deed know the blessedness which dwells in abiding, unbroken fellowship with Thee. I am a poor worthless one, whose cheek Thou hast deigned to kiss! O let me kiss Thee in return with the kisses of my lips.
— by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Morning & Evening,
morning meditation for May 2