GO, BEHOLD, REJOICE
Mr. Ernest Roe
January 2, 1967
“Go forth, 0 ye daughters of Zion, and behold King Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.” Song of Solomon 3, 11.
It is quite a familiar thing at the Coronation of any Royal Personage for crowds of people to attend and watch proceedings. Here, King Solomon (in the Antitype, King Jesus), is to be crowned; indeed He is crowned and His people are here exhorted to go forth and to behold Him crowned.
There is so much that God’s Own living people have need to go forth from, but they cannot put one leg forward successfully to do what they are enjoined to do. We make the effortÂ—that shews willingnessÂ—it shews the mind is in the right stateÂ—but, how to perform that which is good, we just do not know. This is profitable education for us, friends. It is not very pleasurable when you are all the time struggling to be what you are not, to do what you should do and to do what you really wish to do for the sake of honouring Jesus Christ. The sense of frustration comes upon one and the tendency at that time is to say “Well, it is no good; I will give it up” but you do not give it up, and you cannot, and you will not either. Why not? There is life and, where life is, there will be the exertion made which so often proves to be useless, as we judge. But, when the Lord draws near to you in and through His Divine Word and says right into your heart “Go forth” you can go, you can act. It is like that man with the paralysed arm to whom the Lord spake “Stretch it forth” and, with the word of command, went the power. The otherwise helpless man stretched forth his arm and it became whole immediately. It is good to think of that case, if you are a spiritual paralytic. The Lord did not send him out
of the way, no. He picked him up; He healed him; He did him good, and He always will.
What would you like to go forth from just now if you could obey this instruction of your King?
Let me tell you two or three things I would like to go forth from, and I think that may be helpful to you.
I would like to go forth, right away from Sinai. You know what Sinai representsÂ—God speaking in His most holy law. I wish God would say to me at times, “You have dwelt long enough in this Mount; just come out of it, walk away from it.” You may say, “What are you up to at your time of life hanging round Mount Sinai?” I do not know. I want to get away from it. Are you away from it? I wonder is there not something of the spirit of a workmonger in you? There is in me. When your conscience talks to you (and God will make it talk if you are a living soul), of things that you dare not deny (no-one knows but God and your conscience), and so your conscience becomes charged at once with guilt, now what do you do? “Ah” you say “I cannot pray like this. Oh no; I cannot; I must not; I am shut up; I cannot come forth. I know what I will do. I will wait a little while. Perhaps it will wear down a bit. I will go to chapel. I will hear someone preach. Perhaps that will tone it down a bit”, and so we begin in some form something of the doing, the working system, which is Sinai all over, something, as we imagine, of a debt that we owe we will try and pay. Ah! it is hard work to call upon God, to go forth to God in real prayer when your conscience is deeply stinging youÂ—hard work. But one thing will alter the situation completely. What is that? If you get a sight of King Solomon, that is the King of Peace, Who made peace, preaches it, brings it near and applies it to your conscience, your guilt will not stop you a scrap. It will not hinder you, will not make you afraid. You will say.
“A guilty, weak and helpless worm,
On Thy kind arms I fall,
Be Thou my strength and righteousness.
My Jesus and my All.”
That’s the language. Well that is how, usually, it is come at, not just reading it from a book, though that can be helpful, but passing through the sentence of Sinai in some measure and then enabled by the Divine Spirit to go forth from Sinai, shall I say, to Calvary?
Well, that is one thing I would like to go forth from and never go back. I would like to shake the dust of Sinai off my feet once and for all. I wonder really whether God’s people ever do get totally, fully free from the law while they are here. I wonder. It is not for me to set up a standard, of course, I am quite incompetent to do that. One does not know people’s hearts (and that is a mercy) but I have a doubt in my mind as to whether even they who have
walked the longest and the deepest and the richest and the closest in fellowship with Jesus Christ, so that doubt and fear seem to have been a long time held away from them, do not hear Sinai saying even to them “Pay what you owe”, and legality comes up and attempts to do it, only to fail.
There is a second thing I would like to come forth from, and perhaps you would too, and that is my own carnal reasoning about the matter of salvation. You may say “Surely you have got beyond that.” I wish I had. I know carnal reasoning should not be indulged in, but, if you can stop it, you are a more able person than I am and further on the road than I am, but can you stop it? I will tell you not long since it got me down, more or less, for days together. How could the blood of one Person atone for the sins of unnumbered millions? I do not want to poison your minds, but it may be some of you walk in that street. I said of course “He was a Divine Person”. “Nothing at all to do with it” says reason. “It is not so much a question of the Divinity of the PersonÂ—that can be admittedÂ—the root of the whole question” said reason “is how can it be that the blood even of Him Who is God over all can put away the sins of unnumbered millions?” I thought of one’s own sensible sin, what a lot that is to carry. I imagined that multiplied by 100, then by 1,000 and then by tens of thousands, and reason said “It is just absurd and it is just impossible that one Person could bear the intolerable load that was put upon Him to make an atonement for the sins of such a number of people.” And there I was, and reading the Word did not seem to make any difference, and trying to call upon God in prayer did not seem to alter the case, but, do you know, would you believe it, so quietly those words came in :
“There is a FountainÂ—there is”
Â—never mind if you cannot understand itÂ—
“There is a Fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.”
Oh! the value of the gift and exercise of faith!
Â“There isÂ—there is”.
Ah! You go forth then, you get away from carnal reasonings a bit. The same with Providence too. Reason will argue perfectly contrary to Divine providence. “How can these things be? Why should such things be?” You keep on and on and on till you tie yourself up in such a knot that no-one can get you out. Indeed, the more you try to solve it by reason the tighter the knot becomes. Would you not be glad to go forth from that lot of mischief? I am sure you would. How can it be done? By the King putting in with the command a little of His oil, in other words, a little of His love and that oils the wheels and makes them move in the right direction. I am certain of it.
Ah! There is so much we would like to go forth from. It is all summed up in that one little word “self”. Oh if only I had not a “myself”. If I could shake that off, get rid of that, lay that at the feet of Christ and trample on it, what a difference it would make. Well, there are times when a child of God is enabled to do that in some measure. He can lose sight of his sinful, corrupt self, his carnal reasonings and Mount Sinai experience and he can say that “Were my sins ten thousand times greater than they are” (and he is not saying it lightly) “there is still hope.” How is that? “All manner of sin”. Let the devil get you arguing about your sins then remember that word, “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men.” “It shall be.” You say, “Ah but I have committed the great sin, “But whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven him neither in this world nor in the world to come” (Matt. 12, 31/32). And what is that? Well, according to the context of its occurrence it is attributing unto Jesus Christ that He was in league with the devil, and that it was by His being in league with the prince of the devils, Beelzebub, that He cast out devils. As He said, it was by the Spirit of God which He calls “the finger of God” in another Scripture, that is, “By the Spirit of God I cast them out.” Now if a man says “No you did not; you cast them out because you are in league with the devil” it is speaking against the Holy Ghost, the blasphemous sin which has no forgiveness, and are you worried about that? A good thing too. Why? Because those who have committed it are never worried about it. They are hardened. It is no anxiety to them at all. They do not see what it means, not one bit, nor are they troubled by it, so they who are troubled by it have a clear evidence, in their very trouble, that their soul is alive unto God through His grace.
To go forth from Sinai, from all carnal reasonings, and to go forth from myself, and where am I to go?
I am to go and “Behold King Solomon” to behold Him. That is a big word, to behold King Solomon. It embodies so much, such as to study Him, to look narrowly at His Person, narrowly at His words, narrowly at His deeds while He was here, narrowly at His death, into His grave, into His resurrection, into His ascension, into what He is doing now, into what He will yet do when He comes again. “Behold” and contemplate, study. “Give thyself wholly to these things.” I wish we could. He is worthy of it. He is a Subject to study that one will never exhaust, never. Why, in point of fact. He is to be the Object of study, or beholding, to all eternity. “They shall see His face” there. That will be their work there, to “See Him as He is.” What mysteries of grace and glory will stream forth in the other world through Jesus Christ to the hearts of His redeemed and glorified people! Well, I would behold Him a little bit here below in the following way.
I would like to behold Him believingly. To look at Him and believe in Him and to believe in Him with all my heart and with
all my mind, and with all my soul, to have my whole personality absorbed in HimÂ—that is to behold Him, to study Him. I would do so most admiringly, to behold Him and admire Him in every aspect in which I could see Him, for you know He is to come and to be glorified presently in the eyes of all those who admire Him, and I think, sometimes, though one would say it very tenderly, and softly and soberly, I think sometimes we have admired Him. Have you not, in your heart of hearts, inwardly admired Him? Christ has stood out before you as the Bright and Morning Star, the altogether Lovely. “If only He were mine!” your heart has said, “If only I could get at Him, or He get at me, if only He would hide me in His Own heart.” Oh you admire Him, so lovingly, so beautifully. Well, that is a step in the right direction. It proves something more than nature, does it not? The work of the Spirit.
They shall behold Him, specially in two circumstances I would mention. To behold Him in the day and hour of trial. You have no-one else to help you out, you know. ‘Oh’ you say ‘I know that.’ I dare say you do, but you might forget it, or you might lose sight of it somewhat through the pressure of other things. If some new and unthought-of trial should come upon us any time this year, well, our only remedy will be, not to look at Tom, Dick or Harry, or at somebody else’s door as possible hopes of help, but to behold Him in the hour of trial.
The second great thing would be, of course, to behold Him in the hour of one’s death. Now that will follow, I believe. As far as we are helped to behold Him in life, He does not fail us in death, not because we have been beholding Him, but because we are His people. Ah! that is an ugly monster, death. People use very nice terms nowadays to smother up the ugliness, the ghastliness of death, but it is an enemy, a rank enemy, and he cannot come in any nice form whatsoever. There is one thing and one thing only that can transform the misery, the sadness and the ghastliness of death, and that is, to behold Christ, the King of Death, pardoning all our sins in our dying hour. In such a case it will be but going Home. That is not a bad place to go to, is it when you think of it rightly? It is the Father’s Home which Christ has gone to prepare and He will not leave it to angels to prepare; they are not good enough; they cannot make it glorious enough for His people. He is doing it Hmself. It must be a wonderful place. Ah! to behold Him in death will mean going home.
But here it is, to behold Him crowned. I believe it was customary to crown kings on their coronation day, not merely with the symbol of the State, but other people gave them garlands and what not.
Now, here is a particular time mentioned in the text, “Wherewith His mother crowned Him in the day of His espousals, and in the day of the gladness of His heart.” First, who is doing it? His mother. The mother of the King, King Jesus. Of course, literally,
He had a mother, Mary, but that is not intended, although she did crown Him and she is crowning Him now. “My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour”, she said. That is not quite the thought here, though, “My mother.” That was why I read that portion in Matthew 12. An interrupter told our Lord that His mother and brethren desired to have a word with Him. “Who is My mother, who?” He soon answered the question, stretching forth His hand unto His disciples. He said “For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister and mother,” not literally, of course, but spiritually, figuratively. “They are as near and dear to Me and I will be as kind and as tender to them as to a mother and to her children.”
What is it to do the will of My Father which is in heaven and so prove that I have this relationship? Jesus said, “This is the will of My Father which is in heaven that whosoever believeth in Me shall have everlasting life.” To do the will of God is to believe in Him with all my heart. That is what His children are enabled to do. That is where their faith does centre and cannot but centre there. Every time, therefore, friend, your heart and mine goes forth in movement to Christ we are crowning Him. Why does not the heart in its affection and faith go forth to a human being? For the simple reason we know very well they cannot help us. Why does your heart look to Christ, plead with Christ, beg of Christ to look upon you and give you blessings? Just because He is your King and you are crowning Him in that act in your heart. Probably you are unaware of it, nevertheless it is so. Every time also that He brings you from darkness into His light the same thing happens, and you will have some dark spells. You will walk in darkness. There is such a thing as Egyptian darkness. Bunyan had an experience one day did he not and he said “Sure, as long as I live, I shall never forget this.” If my memory is acting rightly, it was when he was walking on the road from Bedford to Elstow, and he had such a manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ as his Righteousness that, to use his words he said, it was as if, with the eyes of his mind, he saw Jesus at the right hand of God as his Righteousness. He wrote. “I said ‘Oh methought, Christ, Christ, Christ. I saw that He was my Righteousness, that God had not to look at me at any time for His righteousness, but that He had it by His side all the time, in the Person of His dear Son.’ ” Beautiful? that is the Gospel in a nutshell. I think it was at that time that he said he would never forget it as long as he lived, or to that effect, but he said that within a very short space of time it seemed as if it had passed away, and you will find many a thing like that in Bunyan’s “Grace Abounding”Â—the clearest of evidences given him, the sweetest of assurances given him and then a few days after he is questioning the lot. Blame him if you like but, if you get into some strait yourself, you will not blame him. You will be thankful that Bunyan did have such an experience. We can understand it being so with himÂ— God had a great work for him to do and he had many cases to point out in his preaching later on, and so God was preparing him accordingly. The point is still true; you may have the clearest of
proof in your own soul and the sweetness of it will do you a world of good and you say ‘I shall never forget this’ but you can. But when you are turned back from that fit of infidelity and the old love is revived, oh then what do you do? Why, you crown Him King of Kings and Lord of Lords once more.
Here, it was a particular dayÂ—the day of His espousals. The day when Christ is married to the soul and the soul married to Christ. In simpler terms, at the day of spiritual adoption when Romans 8, Galatians 4 and other Scriptures have become real in your own soul, delivered from the spirit of bondage into that of the spirit of a son, the Holy Ghost bearing witness with your spirit or to your spirit (there is some argument among the learned as to which way that should be, but, never mind, take it either way it will be good) that you are a son of God. Oh! man, you will put the crown on His head straight awayÂ—that you will.
In the Epistle to the Galatians we have an allegory of two people representing two covenantsÂ—Hagar and Sarah, and the Apostle argues from it that Sarah, representing the new covenant, is the mother of us all. We are born of the new covenant of grace, the spiritual meaning of Sarah the free-woman, and that is where we sprang from if we are born of God. Not from Sinai, no, but from the Lord’s Mount Zion; and, being the mother of us all, she is freeÂ—freedom is in that new covenant. There is not a black mark against the people of God in that blessed covenant. It is ordered in all things and sureÂ—nothing omitted, nothing forgotten, and you have a summary of it in Jeremiah 33, 8, and Hebrews 8, 12. It sweeps the deck, friends, “I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and their iniquities (not merely one nor two nor ten thousand millions of them) will I remember no more.” Ah! that is the Gospel that does you good. That is the covenant; that is where freedom lies; that is when the day of espousals is likely to come to you. When God brings that near to you, why you will go forth in the spirit of the returning prodigalÂ—that you will, and you will find the Father put a robe on your back and a ring on your finger and a kiss on your cheek and say “Do you ask ‘why me’ “? “Why, this is My son. My daughter, that was dead and is alive, was lost and is found”, and the merry-making struck up, spiritual merry-making, of course. The Father was merry, the poor prodigal was merry. I should think he was. Look at the ring, the token that God had taken him as His Own child, married to him in bonds never to be brokenÂ—enough to make a man merryÂ—yes. Well, do you remember that day? Have you ever had that day? Perhaps you have not, but perhaps some of you would like it and are seeking it. God will give it you.
When His people crown Him in the day of their espousals. God looks upon it, you know, as an act of kindness on their part. He does. We look at it as a supreme act of His kindness to us, and, indeed, it is so, but He looks at it as an act of kindness on our
part. In Jeremiah He says “I remember you, I remember you in the day of your youth, in the day of your espousals, your kindness to Me, you ran after Me in those days, even into the wilderness. There was no difficulty too much for you then. It did not matter how it rained, you could go then. Whatever hardship you went through to get there you would do it.” Why? Love, love, that is the thing, that is the cord that makes a child of God go merrily along.
There is another point here, and with that I will end. “And in the day of the gladness of His heart.” That is the crowning bit of all. You know we have the feeling (and it sticks to us like glue) that it is an extreme act of mercy on God’s part to forgive us. So it is, but He is extremely glad to do it. Do not forget that. It is the gladness of His heart. That word “gladness” might even mean “gleefulness”. He is joyful with a spiritual happiness that no tongue can describe. Wonderful, is it not, that God should be delighted with the returning man. He brings a beautiful figure in Isaiah 62, 5, where He says “You know what it is for the Bridegroom to rejoice over the Bride, well, that is just how I rejoice over you.” Who would believe that if He had not said it? Ah, me, a sinner. What did the Church in the Song of Solomon say about herself? “I am black,” not foul, “I am black”. She was foul, but she was worse than that she was “black”. “I am black,” and yet He says “Thou art all fair My love, and I am pleased to say so, and it gives Me gladness to say so and you and I are married now and we shall never be parted, never no never.” Oh there is gladness on both sides. It is a spiritual honeymoon that shall never be broken and never be spoiled, never no never.
Will these want to be told Who to crown when they get home? No fear! The chariot will bring them there. A labouring man in Suffolk, to whom I was talking one day, in his own country style said to me “God does not take His people home to heaven in a muck cart.” I could not but smile, of course, but that was the language with which he was familiar, and his idea, which was perfectly correct, was that God takes His people home in a right royal way. Yes! The Lord will take His people home like what they are. His Own royal inheritance, “Ye are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people” (that is, a special treasure). “My darling. My Own for ever and ever.”
What we owe to sovereign grace, no tongue can tell.