Up From The Wilderness
“Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?” (Song of Solomon 8:5)
He is one made alive unto God by regenerating grace—one who knows something of the entrance of the word into his conscience, laying bare the secrets of his heart, and discovering the guilt, the filth, the evil, and the miserable consequences of sin. He is one who knows something of the deceitfulness, hypocrisy, and wickedness of his own fallen nature. He is one who is separated from the world, whether dead in sin or dead in a profession, by a sovereign work of grace upon his heart. He is one who has been led to see the emptiness of a mere ‘notional knowledge’ of the truth, without knowing experimentally, the healing power of Jesus’ love and blood. He is one who has been stripped of creature wisdom, human strength, and a fig-leaf righteousness—and been made to see that unless he has a vital saving interest in the blood and obedience of Jesus, he must perish in his sins.
He is one whom God the Spirit has blessed with a living faith that works by love—purifies the heart—separates from the world—delivers from the power and practice of sin—overcomes the wicked one—receives grace and strength, life and power out of the fullness of Christ—and the end of which is the salvation of the soul. He is one who is blessed also with a good hope through grace—who has had some discovery of the Lord Jesus to his soul, so as to raise up in his heart a hope in His mercy, enabling him to cast forth that anchor which is both sure and steadfast, into that within the veil, where he rides secure from death and hell, and where, through upholding grace, he will outride every storm. He is one who is blessed with a vital union with the Lord Jesus—for he is said in the text to lean upon Him—which implies that he has such a union with Jesus as enables him to rest wholly and solely upon Him, and upon what He is made unto him.
He is one who is also blessed and favoured at times with a measure of sweet and sacred communion with the Lord of life and glory—for to lean upon Jesus implies that he is favoured with some such holy nearness as John had when he lay in His bosom. He is one, too, who is not ignorant of trial or temptation, for the wilderness finds him enough of both. Nor is he one who is ignorant of sufferings, afflictions, and sorrows—for this is the distinctive character of the present wilderness condition. He is not unacquainted with spiritual hungering and thirsting—for the wilderness in itself affords neither food nor water. Nor is he a stranger to the fiery flying serpents that haunt the wilderness—nor to the perils and dangers that encompass the traveler therein from the pestilential wind, the roving Arab, and the moving columns of sand.