Part VIII – The Everlasting Covenant
Even as God declares this horrible judgment that He is about to bring on Israel (See Part VII), He speaks a word of hope. Ezekiel 16:60, says, “Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee and everlasting covenant.”
God does not forget. He does not go back on His word. His redemption, adoption and salvation are both complete and eternal. Even when we have turned our lives into shambles and trampled over all that He has done for us, His promises still stand. But how much more joyous to stand before Him knowing that we have walked in fellowship with Him all along the way. That we have not turned aside to false gods, that we have raised our children in His ways, not sacrificing them on the altars of the ways of this world and of sin.
Knowing that we have lived in the presence of the King, not just in the security of our position in the King, brings a joy with which nothing else can compare. There is a difference, you know. If a man and a woman declared their love for one another, were married and then went on to live separate lives, they might soon forget that they even had a spouse. But when someone is constantly dropping their shoes in your pathway and leaving their dishes in the sink and snoring all night and bringing you flowers and whispering sweet nothings, it is hard to forget that they are there and that they love you. Living in the presence of our King is much the same. If we get up each morning content to simply be secure in our position in Him, but never seeking to spend time with Him, eventually we are in danger of forgetting what it was that drew us to HIm in the first place. But if we are continually in His presence, reading His Word, remembering and following His commands, talking to Him in prayer, carrying out the plan that He has for our lives, then we are in no danger of forgetting who He is and how much He loves us.
The opening verses of Psalm 45 describe the glory of the King. (See Part I.) It says that his clothing smells of myrrh and aloes and cassia. We mentioned in passing that myrrh was used to make a special anointing oil that was used in the tabernacle. This, anointing oil, is the primary usage of this spice as describe in the Scriptures, but there are a couple of other usages that are of importance.
One is found in Proverbs as part of the description of the strange woman and her preparations for her adultery, it is very similar to Ezekiel 16.
Proverbs 7:17-19, “I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. Come let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey…”
Ezekiel 16: 17, 18 “Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them, and tookest thy embroidered garments, and covered them: and thou hast set mine oil and mine increase before them.“
In these passages we are remind of how that which is holy can be used for that which is perverse, but there are sweeter uses for this spice.
In the book of Esther, during the first six months of purification the maidens were to use the oil of myrrh. And in Song of Solomon we have an altogether beautiful picture. In Old Testament times, women would take myrrh, put it in a little bundle and hang it about their neck. By so doing, the fragrance would go with them wherever they went. In Song of Solomon 1:13 the bride, a picture of the believer, says of her love, “A bundle of myrrh is my wellbeloved unto me.”
When Jesus died, the veil into the Holy of Holies was torn in two and we now have access through Christ by prayer to the Throne Room of God, into that place anointed and fragrant with myrrh and other spices. We have the opportunity to live in the presence of God on a daily basis. But we must take the opportunity. We must hold Him precious, remember His work in and for us, and continually live as though He was that bundle of myrrh about our neck, that sweet smell that reminds us that “I am His, and He is mine.”
Fragrance is an interesting thing, or odor as the case may be. Have you ever gone to a bonfire and not really noticed the smell, then the next day, you pick up the clothes you wore and find that they are permeated with the smell of smoke. Even as I write this I am sitting on my front porch, absorbing the smell of several wildfires that are burning around the state. I can’t see the fires, I can only barely see the haze of smoke that is hanging over us, although I keep having to wipe ash from my computer, but I can smell it. (Probably should go inside, but that’s beside the point!) The point is, odors have a way of sticking to us and traveling with us. Have you ever been hugged by someone who has just perfumed themselves and found that the fragrance transfered from their clothing to yours? That is the way our relationship with Christ should be. In Acts 4:13, we see that Peter and John had been with Christ so much that, though they were obviously “unlearned and ignorant men”, the religious leaders could tell that they had been with Him.
Near the end of Song of Solomon, the bride is compared to a garden in which grow a myriad of sweet smelling spices and plants, including myrrh. Her desire is for the wind to blow through her garden and to draw her beloved to her with its sweet fragrances. We know that the sweetness of her fragrance comes only as she is in His presence and allows His beauty to rest upon her.
What sort of fragrance are you sending forth? Is it the the putrid smell of the gall of bitterness, is it the perverted smell of sacrifices made at the wrong altar? Or is it the sweet fragrance of walking in the presence of the King as from a woman who continually wears a bundle of myrrh about her neck?
Up Next: Part IX – Conclusion
Additional Food for Thought:
Here are some things that I discovered after writing the above:
1. The word translated “gall” is most commonly considered to be referring to bile, however, there are some who believe it could also refer to myrrh. Interesting. Have you ever smelled the perfume in a bottle that is twenty or more years old? Not very nice is it? Makes me wonder about the link between myrrh and bile. Ever been around someone who was once a sweet smelling Christian, but whose bitterness has over the years turned that sweet smell into a stench?
2. Myrrh is taken from an extremely thorny tree. The tree has to be wounded in order for it to bleed so that the resin can be harvested. I don’t think I have to expound on the many, many analogies that can be drawn from those facts!
3. Oh, and one other thing, at times myrrh has been so highly valued that its price has gone above the price of gold!