“I have compared you, O my love, to a steed in Pharaoh’s chariots. 10 Your cheeks are lovely with plaits of hair, your neck with strings of jewels. 11 We will make you plaits of gold with studs of silver.” vs9-11
We are astonishingly beautiful in the Lord’s sight. We know that we are sinners, but we also know by faith how He sees us. Not only are we recovered from falling, but He’s made us useful in the salvation of others, being instruments of good in His hand. We are people that He loved from the foundation of the world, clothed in Christ, and made beautiful within (Ps 45:13).
We are the object of His desire, even though we’re filthy and undeserving of anything but hell. He should have cast us off long ago, but covenant mercy would not let Him: it compelled Him to make us righteous by grace. Hear the Beloved’s good word toward you, and it will stir you up to good works! He says, “For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age (Titus 2:11-12).”
1 The more that He loves us, the more that we’re broken by grace. We can’t handle it, and our resistance withers. While the works monger is persuading people with the whip, we use grace to promote all godliness, using godly fear to bring us to Christ for warm embraces, using even faults and failures to increase our love, as they are forgiven (Rom 1:14). The gospel is unfathomably rich and powerful with the sweet persuasion of love, so that we say, “I can do nothing else but love One so beautiful.”
It is true! He sees us strong, like a “steed in Pharaoh’s chariots”, holding on to Christ by faith and obtaining promises, even though we’re unworthy (vs9). He says, “Your cheeks are lovely”, because we preach Christ and testify of Him, slaying the Lord’s enemies by the gospel’s quickening (vs10). He sees long “plaits of hair”, voicing our submission, as we are ruled by the gospel, willingly. He sees our neck decked “with strings of jewels”, holding up the Head, glorious for this purpose, as we honor Christ in thought, word, and deed (Col 2:19). He sees us fit for beautification, heaping rewards upon our submissiveness, even using us to save others.
2 Brothers, don’t doubt what He sees, but let grace renew you. Admit your faults, as she plainly does in vs5-6. Admit your need as clearly expressed in vs7-8, but DO NOT deny the gospel remedy! Let it shake and stagger you, but do not pull back from free justification by faith, nor the permanence of your righteousness. Let it be known that salvation is God’s gift to whom He pleases, and rejoice that it is yours – not because you keep up the good life, not because you are faithful, and not because you’ve shown yourself deserving of anything. “Take and eat” because it is given and commanded (Matt 26:26). Take because it is best, and proclaim it to the face of this dying world – that God loves SINNERS and saves us, making us righteous and holy by only believing. “Just as Abraham believed God,and it was credited to him for righteousness (Gal 3:6).” Add no merit, not “but” or “if”, and take the whole gospel, though you deserve none of it. Be filthy rich, as you are in Christ, with every spiritual blessing the moment that you believe (Eph 1:3).
Do not be afraid of what grace will do! It will not destroy you, but it’ll make you love with a deep reservoir of indebtedness, looking upon others favorably because Christ looks upon you. Grace will do us good. Take it by faith alone, unto good works.
3 This beauty isn’t for everyone – only those who believe His gospel. We cannot change it, He won’t deny it, and it must not be diminished! We’re not trying to agree with anyone who doesn’t love the gospel, but we’re proclaiming it openly and abundantly, not allowing human works to touch it (1 Chron 13:10). It is the goodness God predestined before the world, and men must yield allegiance to the message.
Preach it, knowing that GOD WILL make everyone bow who’s been chosen in the Book of Life! He has all power in His hands, and man’s unbelief has no power against Him! Praise the blessed Lord: All the Father gave to Christ will come at the trumpet blast, and they’ll trust Christ for who He is. Never compromise, and do not go in fear. The angels are inquiring into your message, dear preacher, and they love every word in the power of the Spirit. Peter says, “It was revealed to them [prophets] that they were not serving themselves but you. These things have now been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Angels desire to look into these things (1 Pet 1:12).” The Lord is on your side, and He’s with you, even if you stand before the ungodly, and His sovereign Spirit does as He pleases. You are outnumbering the whole world of unbelievers when you boldly proclaim the message, preaching Christ according to Scripture (2 Kings 6:16).
We are pleasing in God’s sight: Let us believe it!