"Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out."
Song of Solomon 4:16
Anything is better than the dead calm of indifference. Our souls may wisely desire the north wind of trouble if that alone can be sanctified to the drawing forth of the perfume of our graces. So long as it cannot be said, "The Lord was not in the wind," we will not shrink from the most wintry blast that ever blew upon plants of grace. Did not the spouse in this verse humbly submit herself to the reproofs of her Beloved; only entreating him to send forth his grace in some form, and making no stipulation as to the peculiar manner in which it should come? Did she not, like ourselves, become so utterly weary of deadness and unholy calm that she sighed for any visitation which would brace her to action? Yet she desires the warm south wind of comfort, too, the smiles of divine love, the joy of the Redeemer's presence; these are often mightily effectual to arouse our sluggish life. She desires either one or the other, or both; so that she may but be able to delight her Beloved with the spices of her garden. She cannot endure to be unprofitable, nor can we. How cheering a thought that Jesus can find comfort in our poor feeble graces. Can it be? It seems far too good to be true. Well may we court trial or even death itself if we shall thereby be aided to make glad Immanuel's heart. O that our heart were crushed to atoms if only by such bruising our sweet Lord Jesus could be glorified. Graces unexercised are as sweet perfumes slumbering in the cups of the flowers: the wisdom of the great Husbandman overrules diverse and opposite causes to produce the one desired result, and makes both affliction and consolation draw forth the grateful odours of faith, love, patience, hope, resignation, joy, and the other fair flowers of the garden. May we know by sweet experience, what this means.
"He is precious."
1 Peter 2:7
As all the rivers run into the sea, so all delights centre in our Beloved. The glances of his eyes outshine the sun: the beauties of his face are fairer than the choicest flowers: no fragrance is like the breath of his mouth. Gems of the mine, and pearls from the sea, are worthless things when measured by his preciousness. Peter tells us that Jesus is precious, but he did not and could not tell us how precious, nor could any of us compute the value of God's unspeakable gift. Words cannot set forth the preciousness of the Lord Jesus to his people, nor fully tell how essential he is to their satisfaction and happiness. Believer, have you not found in the midst of plenty a sore famine if your Lord has been absent? The sun was shining, but Christ had hidden himself, and all the world was black to you; or it was night, and since the bright and morning star was gone, no other star could yield you so much as a ray of light. What a howling wilderness is this world without our Lord! If once he hideth himself from us, withered are the flowers of our garden; our pleasant fruits decay; the birds suspend their songs, and a tempest overturns our hopes. All earth's candles cannot make daylight if the Sun of Righteousness be eclipsed. He is the soul of our soul, the light of our light, the life of our life. Dear reader, what wouldst thou do in the world without him, when thou wakest up and lookest forward to the day's battle? What wouldst thou do at night, when thou comest home jaded and weary, if there were no door of fellowship between thee and Christ? Blessed be his name, he will not suffer us to try our lot without him, for Jesus never forsakes his own. Yet, let the thought of what life would be without him enhance his preciousness.
Shemaiah [Shĕma ī'ah]—jehovah is fame, jehovah has heard or obeys the lord.
Evidently this popular name was shared by many Bible men, and at times two of the following may be the same individual. It is not an easy matter to identify them exactly.
- A prophet sent by God to prevent Rehoboam from warring against the house of Israel. His part in the revolution and history are clearly defined ( 1 Kings 12:22; 2 Chron. 11:2; 12:5, 7, 15).
- Son of Shechaniah and father of Hattush, descendant of Zerubbabel (1 Chron. 3:22).
- Father of Shimri, perhaps Shimei, and head of a family of Simeon (1 Chron. 4:37). See verses twenty-six and twenty-seven.
- A son of Joel, perhaps Shema of 1 Chronicles 5:8, and head of a family of Reuben ( 1 Chron. 5:4).
- A Merarite Levite dwelling in Jerusalem (1 Chron. 9:14;Neh. 11:15).
- A Levite, father of Obadiah ( 1 Chron. 9:16). Called Shammua in Nehemiah 11:17.
- Head of the Levitical Kohath clan who assisted in bringing the Ark from the house of Obed-edom (1 Chron. 15:8, 11).
- The son of Nathaneel, a Levite, who recorded the priestly office in David’s time (1 Chron. 24:6).
- Oldest son of Obed-edom, a Korhite Levite and a gatekeeper of the Tabernacle in David’s reign (1 Chron. 26:4 , 6, 7).
- A Levite, commissioned by Jehoshaphat, to teach the people in Judah (2 Chron. 17:8).
- A son of Jeduthun who helped in the purification of the Temple under Hezekiah (2 Chron. 29:14).
- A Levite in Hezekiah’s time who was over the freewill offerings of God (2 Chron. 31:15).
- A chief Levite in the days of Josiah (2 Chron. 35:9).
- A son of Adonikam who returned with Ezra from exile (Ezra 8:13).
- A chief man under Ezra sent to Iddo to ask for ministers. ( Ezra 8:16).
- A priest of the family of Harim who married a foreign wife (Ezra 10:21).
- A person who helped to repair the wall (Neh. 3:29).
- A son of Delaiah hired by Sanballat and Tobiah to intimidate Nehemiah (Neh. 6:10).
- A priest , one of the twenty-four courses of priests that with Nehemiah sealed the covenant (Neh. 10:8; 12:6, 18,34, 35).
- A singer who took part in the dedication of the wall (Neh. 12:36).
- Another, or perhaps the same person as the previous one, who gave thanks at the dedication (Neh. 12:42).
- The father of Urijah the prophet who was slain by Jehoiakim for prophesying against Jerusalem and Judah (Jer. 26:20).
- A prophet called “the Nehelamite” who in captivity was actively engaged in reproving or opposing Jeremiah (Jer. 29:24-32).
- The father of Delaiah, a prince of the Jews to whom Baruch read the roll he had written under Jeremiah’s direction ( Jer. 36:12).
ON REVERENCE AND RESPECT
If you are looking for a set of values that will give dignity to your life, that will connect you with the life of God, and that will work at a practical level, you need not look any further than these: reverence and respect.
Reverence is what is supposed to happen in our hearts when we are exposed to the power and majesty of God. Reverence (Latin, reverentia) means awe. Wonder. Esteem. Even fear. Reverence is the prophet saying "Woe to me... I am a man of unclean lips" (Isaiah 6:5). It is the newly-called disciple of Jesus saying "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" (Luke 5:8). It is the submissive apostle saying: "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!" (Romans 11:33).
The purpose of worship is for us to be awe-filled (different from aw-ful!) to the point that we are driven to submission to God. The main word for worship in the Greek New Testament means "to bend the knee." So every act of worship: praise, prayer, offering, the reading and exposition of Scripture, baptism, the Lord's Supper, are all most effective when they lead to awe. And that awe is not confined to a church building. We can, and must, stay bowed before God in the workplace, at school, in our families. Even a professional football quarterback may go down on one knee when he feels grateful to God for being able to his job well-even though the brief act of submission will bring derision and ridicule down on him. People just don't get it. In our culture we like it when our leaders strut and brag. Reverence makes people uncomfortable.
And then we turn to the horizontal. Reverence (for God) leads to respect (for people).
The most important thing you can do for the people in your life-your family, your friends, your co-workers-is to treat them with respect. The reason we love is because we respect. We react to God's greatness with reverence, and then we turn around and look at these amazing creatures God has made in his own image (in his own image!)-men and women, boys and girls-and we treat them with respect because they are made in God's image. The alternative is unthinkable: to slap the image of God in the face is to slap God in the face.
One thing every person wants, is respect.
If we want people to grow-we will respect them. If we hope people will find security and confidence-we will respect them. If we long to see the people in our lives have a life-giving connection with God-we will respect them.
Respect is a choice we make. It does not come naturally to us. The easy thing is to use or abuse other people. After all, we're busy, we have things to do, places to go, goals to achieve. How dare other people get in our way or make our lives complicated. The word "respect" literally means to take another look. "Re-spect"-to look again. That has to be intentional.
Given the coarseness of our culture, it is time to stop and take another look.
It is never too late for us to take another look. To say to God: give me a new vision of the people around me. Help me to see them as you see them.
It is the reason Jesus said the whole Law is summed up in one simple truth with two parts: "Love the Lord your God [reverence]... and love your neighbor as yourself [respect]" (Luke 10:27). Jesus said: "do this, and you will live."
This does cost us a great deal. Looking at God with reverence takes away all our bragging rights (which we never had in the first place), and respecting people-taking another look-means our treatment of others will have to be more careful, more discerning, and more generous than we ever imagined.