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If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the latest Fire On Your Head podcast I did with Dave Edwards, I highly recommend doing so. It’s not necessary before proceeding, but this post is basically a write-up or a follow up to some of the stuff I got spontaneously discussing with Dave when we were discussing renewed or repentant thinking.
Our Scripture passage, to start with, is found in Song of Solomon 4:3, which states
Your cheeks are like halves of a pomegranate behind your veil.
In Scripture, the temples — or cheeks, depending on the translation you’re reading from — represent the seat of man’s thoughts. In describing the temples as a sliced pomegranate, we see that the thoughts of the Bride are opened and exposed before the Bridegroom, God.
In Jewish culture of that time, women would typically have their face veiled in public and only their husbands could see their face at home. Letting the man see their face was personal, therefore, notice that the temples are veiled from the outward world, but in this description they are open and laid bare before the Lord. “Behind the veil” speaks of the Bride’s humility, as well as her secret life in God. Her veil also represents her submission to her Lover.
The Psalms repeatedly describe writers who desire to have their inner lives searched and found to be acceptable and pure before the Lord (see Psalm 19:14, and 139:23-24 for a few examples).
The seeds of a pomegranate are crystal seeds, tinged with red. In describing her face, her inner private most personal thoughts and appearance like this, Solomon is saying the thoughts of the Bride have been cleansed and made purified. Her thoughts are pure and red as crystal, allowing the light of God and His wisdom to shine through them. Her thoughts have been redeemed, as signified by the color red used in this description, signifying redemption, similar to the way the blood of Jesus has redeemed us and made us pure.
Becoming Strong Pillars in the Temple of God
As I mentioned previously1, Solomon was an incredibly brilliant man and knew what he was doing when he wrote this, and when he designed his temple:
The capitals were on the two pillars and also above the rounded projection which was beside the latticework. There were two hundred pomegranates in two rows all around, and so with the other capital. (1 Kings 7:20, emphasis mine)
I find it very fascinating that he had designed the pillars in his temple in a fashion that involved latticework resembling this fruit hanging from it, and we can obviously glean from this the idea of pure and exposed thoughts. But what other practical significance can this hold for us as believers?
I believe the answer is found in the following;
if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. (1 Tim 3:15)
The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. (Revelation 3:12a)
It should be noted then that the ones who are overcomers — whose thoughts have been made pure by the blood of the Lamb, Christ Jesus–who know how they ought to behave in the house of God, are the ones who are made pillars in the temple of God, the Body of Christ. I find it interesting to also note how the very image of a pillar in Solomon’s temple involves each one of them bearing fruit, so to speak, in terms of having the two hundred of them woven into the framework towards the top. Each of us are members of the Body of Christ and are expected to bear fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives (see Gal 5:16-24). If we’re not in intimate fellowship with Christ, we won’t produce the corresponding fruit. It’s as simple as that.
Those Who Hear the Voice of God
Also of significance is the crown of lilies that tops it as described a few verses later in 1 Kings 7 verses 19 and 22.
Consider then what Solomon says in chapter 5 verse 13 of his song:
His lips are lilies, dripping liquid myrrh.
Myrrh is one of the most fragrant perfumes and casts an intoxicating odor. One characteristic of a lily is that it has a very sweet smell. The lips tend to represent speech or words that proceed from the mouth. As believers, we don’t live on bread alone but from every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matt 4:4). Jesus’ words are sweet, intoxicating and powerful; and Solomon had this depth of revelation when writing this, knowing fully well how he designed the temple to have this ‘crown’ of lilies above the fruit-like latticework.
Man is the crowning glory of God’s handiwork, and will be adorned with the words of the Lord — worked into their spirits will be the comfortable familiarity that comes through intimacy with God, of that still small voice, penetrating our spirits.2 Overcomers are ones that are intimate with the Lord and who know their God. Jesus, our Bridegroom King and Shepherd has sheep who follow him, and his sheep know his voice (John 10:27).
Jesus also said in Matthew 6:28-29 that even King Solomon was not arrayed like the lily when he was in all his glory. In his case, his glory was his wisdom and understanding. Even though he was the wisest man who ever lived, we now have Jesus Christ Himself who is the source of all wisdom and understanding, above and certainly beyond any wisdom the man Solomon ever had or wrote from.
I also believe his lips speaks of the power of His words. It can refer to the affirmations of His heart as written about in the Scriptures, as well as the words spoken directly to our hearts by the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, as our Bridegroom, has the ability to speak lovingly and precisely to the needs of our hearts (see Psalm 45:2; John 6:63, 7:46). The phrase about his lips “dripping liquid myrrh” signifies that Jesus’ lips speak of His words which are sweet and pure like lilies. They contain myrrh which refers to exhortations to embrace death to self. His words are motivated by the incredible sacrificial love that He has for us, His Bride. Everything Jesus says to us comes from a heart of kindness. Even when He corrects us, we need to see it as coming from a heart of a sacrificial love.
Loving correction is never to be taken as rejection.
I hope some of these brief insights into a few of the phrases used in this song can develop a hunger for you to become someone whose intimacy with Christ makes you into a strong pillar producing fruit for others in the Body of Christ and resulting expressing the voice of God as an overcomer.