Dear Beloved of Yeshua,
God rested after He created. I (Jamie) relate to that in a very real, personal way. After over three years of working on (creating) my second book on the Song of Solomon, Kiss Me Again, it is finally in our hands. I wrote it in obedience to God’s request to help Him prepare His bride. He let me know that the greatest preparation of the heart is LOVE, and that His desire is to immerse His bride in His passionate, unfailing love for her before His return. When we are covered by Love, secure in Love, and responding to Love, we enter into the rest that God has for each one of us. Bride and Bridegroom. Loved and Beloved. I pray that I have tapped into the Lord’s creativity in revealing His heart. While Kiss Me Again (covering chapters 3-5 of the Song of Songs) is a stand-alone book, it is a powerful combination with my first book A Kiss A Day (covering chapters 1-2 of the Song of Songs). The springtime of chapters one and two of the Song, where doves coo, flowers bloom, and the rain is over and gone, gives way to stormy weather in chapters three through five. But the Divine Lover, whose love caused His beloved to joyfully exclaim, “My beloved is mine and I am his” (Song 2:16), remains Faithful and True, even when His bride experiences testings, trials, and deep waters.
This month’s newsletter includes two of the daily devotions from Kiss Me Again which both touch on the theme of resting in the Beloved. The Lord wants to give you rest this month. We hear the Messiah saying, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).
The Easy Yoke of Yeshua
Yeshua was speaking to Jewish men, in this portion from Matthew, who were intimately acquainted with two kinds of yokes within Judaism: the Yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the Yoke of the Torah. Observant Jews symbolically placed these two yokes upon themselves daily (even today). The Yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven involved a commitment to obey Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” The Yoke of the Torah, or Commandments, involved a commitment to obey all 613 of the Commandments of the Law. There is a rabbinic saying that because of their love for God, pious Jews see this yoke as if it were woven of roses. Now picture the Rabbi from Nazareth. Yeshua encouraged His fellow Jews to take HIS YOKE upon themselves—an easy yoke. Yoked with Yeshua, they would find REST FOR THEIR SOULS!
Resting as God Rested
Yeshua was making a way for men to get back to the beginning with God—to return to rest in the Father’s love. God invented rest. It was His idea from the beginning. The first mention of rest is in Genesis 2:2, “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested (שבת) on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” The Hebrew word for rest in this verse is shabbat, a primary root meaning to repose, desist from exertion, cease, put away, be still and celebrate. The Lord didn’t rest because He was exhausted. He rested to set a pattern for us—of working (creating), then ceasing from work to celebrate Him and be refreshed and renewed. We encourage you this month, the month before the High Holy Days, to rest in the Lord. Enjoy His creation. Slow down a bit. Let God love you.
And now…Two days from Kiss Me Again.
Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him. — Psalm 37:7
Today’s verse, Psalm 37:7, expands upon the idea of finding God—through resting and persevering with patience. The seeking bride of Song 3:2 has not yet learned to really rest in her Beloved. The rest that our Father desires for each of us comes as we mature in our faith. Patience, a fruit of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), is involved.
It has been my experience that we often want to find God in the way that WE want to find Him! But God is God. He refuses to be put in a box. He has His own ways, as well as His own timing. We, Yeshua’s bride, must come to a place of total acceptance of this. Trust. Yes, and faith—and rest. Resting in the absolute omniscience and sovereignty of God does not come easily, nor all at once. We are told in Hebrews 4:11 (KJV), “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
Does it take “work” to enter into God’s rest? Yes. Just as the weekly Sabbath in Israel is entered into after much scurrying around, cleaning, cooking, and preparation, our Shabbat rest in Yeshua does not just “happen.” Our “work” is not physical, but spiritual. Yeshua said it this way: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent” (John 6:29). Faith ushers us into the rest of God—trust in our Father and our beloved Bridegroom. We must believe that NOTHING comes into our lives that is not filtered through God’s loving fingers. An important distinction needs to be made here. We labor to enter God’s rest, not to earn His love. We already have His love—unconditionally. What we desperately need is His rest.
Resting in the dark times, the night seasons of our lives, is usually very challenging. We want to DO something, anything, to change our circumstances, but our Beloved wants us to rest in Him. The God of the Holy Scriptures does His most awesome, creative, deep works in darkness. But He always ends in the light. We see this in creation, the Jewish calendar day, the crucifixion, and even our salvation. Didn’t we all begin in the darkness of sin? (Eph. 5:8; 1 Pet. 2:9).
Even in the dark times we must rest in the truth that our destiny is light. Some of us have great difficulty resting in the Lord, so our God has ways of forcing us to rest for our own good. At these times, He may treat us as if we are someone who is drowning. If a rescuer finds that a drowning man is struggling to save himself, he grabs hold of him in such a way that he is even more helpless and powerless, totally at the will and mercy of the rescuer. All striving ceases. The drowning man can do nothing else but yield and rest so that the rescuer can do his job!
My husband Neil (in dealing with prostate cancer) yielded to whatever God’s plan was from the very beginning. For many of us, it is a process of gradually letting go, of allowing God to take over. The sooner we stop struggling and thrashing, and obey Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God,” the greater our peace (and then our joy) will be. We can even turn the most difficult situation around by turning our umbrella upside down—expecting God to pour out blessings in the midst of a trial. He loves that kind of faith!
Here’s what can happen. A hospital like Johns Hopkins can write off your bill. This happened to Neil when our dear friend Rona made a call on our behalf and convinced someone that the hospital should not charge us because we minister to lots of people on television! A dear doctor friend, in the process of helping Neil navigate the many alternative ways of dealing with prostate cancer, was led to have himself checked, and found that he too had prostate cancer (with no symptoms). The strangest double date resulted, with the four of us flying to Maryland together and fellowshipping in the Lord at Hopkins and afterward. During Neil’s surgery, I saw a grand piano in the lobby and ministered at the piano the entire time, with people coming down from other floors to ask me questions. I rested and God blessed. He had His way. Cancer lost. God won. (Cancer NEVER wins when God is part of the battle, since our Messiah defeated even death. His love always triumphs.)
God is All-Knowing. He is never caught by surprise. Years ago I learned a very powerful confession from the sisters of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary: “My Father, I do not understand You, but I trust You.” Can you say that with me? I love what one of the sisters wrote in her booklet, God, Where Are You?: “God knows how to deal with each one of us, so as to bring the most out of our lives. When adversities come, God hasn’t allowed them because He wants to destroy us. Precisely the opposite—His purpose is to make us more fully His own.” Now rest. Trust. Have Faith. Cease struggling. Wait on the Lord, bride of Messiah. God has all the answers, as well as blessings too many to number! Receive a final reassuring word from your Heavenly Father. “Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart; wait, I say on the LORD!” (Ps. 27:14).
I choose to let You be God. I want to enter Your rest through faith in my Bridegroom, whom You sent into the world to save me from my sin, my sickness, and myself. Please give me the grace to obey You and to wait patiently as You work all things together for my good. I trust Your love to uphold me and take me through even the most difficult circumstances. I believe that miracles are coming my way in the mighty name of Yeshua.
Your beloved bride,
Behold, it is Solomon’s couch, with sixty valiant men around it, of the valiant of Israel.
Song of Songs 3:7
Yeshua, the Bridegroom, is our Solomon, our Shlomo. His couch, bed, chariot, litter, or palanquin (depending on the Bible version) implies togetherness, intimacy, comfort, security, touching, and closeness. The bride is seated in the chariot with her bridegroom. She is being carried through the wilderness, and she is not alone.
Where are you seated today? When I wrote today’s devotional, I was sitting on a lounge chair overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. My husband Neil had brought me to the beach for four days of undistracted time with Yeshua, in order to write. I was there on July 25th 2013, my 40th spiritual birthday, and had prepared ten special seashell messages to “cast” onto the waters of needy humanity. I did something different because of the special anniversary. The telephone numbers on the back of the shells were the telephone numbers of the ladies from my weekly Bible study. Each woman chose a shell, prayed over it, and prepared her heart to answer a call from the person who would find her seashell message!
While I was seated physically on a beach chair, I was seated spiritually on another level with Yeshua. Since July 25th 1973, my soul has been carried by my Messiah in a chariot paved with love. Just as the Israelites carried the Aron HaKodesh, the Holy Ark, through the wilderness, Yeshua has carried me. (We are now the ark since His Spirit dwells within us.) He is carrying you, too! Spiritually, we are seated in another realm, the realm of God’s presence. Ephesians 2:1-2, 4-6 expresses beautifully the bride’s position in Messiah: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience… (That was me until 1973!) BUT GOD, who is rich in mercy, because of His GREAT LOVE WITH WHICH HE LOVED US, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Messiah…and MADE US SIT TOGETHER IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES IN MESSIAH YESHUA….”
We are in this world, but not of it. Our citizenship is in Heaven (Phil. 3:20). We are strangers and pilgrims on the earth (Heb. 11:13). We are merely passing through the wilderness of this world. Heaven is our real home. As we, Yeshua’s bride, acknowledge Him moment by moment, we become aware of His presence. We have eternity in our hearts and can flow with His Spirit, doing those things that He has ordained and that are pleasing to Him.
It’s time to relax. Cease striving. Rest in the arms of your Beloved. You are secure in Yeshua. One traditional Jewish commentary says of Solomon’s couch, “Behold (He-ney) the resting place of God, the King to whom peace belongs.” Yes, indeed. We find rest and peace in Yeshua, the Sar Shalom, the Prince of Peace. This is only the second time that Solomon (Shlomo) is mentioned by name in the Song. The bride is focusing on the Bridegroom. He has done so much for her (for us)! She wants to exalt Him, to lift Him up. Worship should be the lifestyle of the bride. We praise the Lord for covering us, for being in us and for carrying us.
You are protected. The sixty valiant men of Israel who surround Solomon’s couch are Giborey Yisrael (related to El Gibor, Mighty God). The number sixty indicates sufficiency for any possible emergencies. Your Bridegroom has you covered! The Giborey Yisrael surround Solomon’s couch. Surrounding is an image of protection as in Ps. 125:2, “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds His people from this time forth and forever.” We are surrounded by the army of God. He gives His angels charge over us (Ps. 91:11). Be comforted by this reassuring truth. Let it be a kiss from God for you today.
You are traveling through life with Yeshua, but Yeshua is also in you. He is the Captain of the Lord’s army and has angels guarding you day and night—lots of them. Fear not. Enjoy the ride!
P.S. The seashell that I cast upon the waters on July 25th 2013, was found by a 20-year-old Jewish tourist from Illinois. He called me three weeks later while at a family celebration, where his relatives were curious about the shell that said, “Love Never Fails. God is Love.” Kevin kept commenting, “This is so cool.” I shared Yeshua with him and sent Kevin a Bible and materials to further explain the truths about Messiah. We may be seated in heavenly places, but God sure knows where each one of us can be found down here!
Dear El Gibor (Mighty God),
Thank You for carrying me, for covering me and for surrounding me with angelic protection. I want to rest in You today—to cease striving—to experience Your peace and security. You know where I am, and You know what I will face today. Help me see myself seated with my Messiah in His chariot. Love surrounds me. Love touches me. Love protects me. Please put a song in my heart that will help me praise and worship the One whose love has transformed my life.
Your beloved bride,