The believer is fragrant and fruitful. He says, “Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates, with precious fruits, henna with spikenard plants, spikenard and saffron, cane and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices (vs13-14).” These spices are the fragrance of the gospel produced by us through the Spirit; it is our love, good works, and our faithfulness that He commends. He gives it, but He says, “You are beautiful”, like a husband looking upon a wife that he’s redeemed from a pimp! She is no longer slaving away, drug addicted, fulfilling the lusts of sinners; Now she is washed, wearing white garments, the wife of one man, and she is upright. She’s what he made her, but she’s beautiful, and he credits her with it. He says, “You are absolutely beautiful, my darling, with no imperfection in you (vs7).” This is God saying that we are faithful, loving, and the delight of His heart: He’s looking upon what He’s done for us in Jesus Christ, making us like the Son of God, His bride.
Do not fear how you look to God WHILE you suffer. The north wind and the south must breathe upon you. He says, “Awaken, north wind–come, south wind. Blow on My garden, and spread the fragrance of its spices (vs16).” Some cold, some hot must come your way. Some trials and disappointments, and some afflictions of Satan are your lot in life, because these produce the fragrant sufferings of Christ. He hasn’t left you in hardship, but He delights in your steadfastness under persecution. He says, “You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matt 5:11-12).”
Men may hate you, but He is pleased. Sinners may turn against, and your brethren may not understand your zeal and discernment, but it is for the house and glory of God (Mark 11:17). Our Master turned over tables, and He was no wallflowering coward, but He risked it all for God’s glory, even bearing our sinfulness, and in this, even when accursed, He pleased God. He suffered GLORIOUSLY, and Paul calls us to fellowship in His sufferings! He says, “My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (Phil 3:10).” We don’t only want the resurrection life but the sufferings also, because we want to be faithful, no matter what.
Brethren, don’t step back! You please the Son when you stand for Him. Moses went up the mountain to get the word of God, but when he came back, the people were in idolatry. So, he destroyed the idol and said, “Whoever is for the LORD, come to me.’ And all the Levites gathered around him. He told them, ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘Every man fasten his sword to his side; go back and forth through the camp from entrance to entrance, and each of you kill his brother, his friend, and his neighbor… Afterward Moses said, ‘Today you have been dedicated to the LORD, since each man went against his son and his brother. Therefore you have brought a blessing on yourselves today (Ex 32:26-29).” God was not angry at his counsel or those who slew their brothers! He was pleased, so let this be us, suffering all manner of hatred because we stand for Christ, and we will not compromise, no matter who it offends. We haven’t been charged to change the gospel or lower the standards, but to STAND for Christ. Paul says, “Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, and righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace.” We preach peace but the truth of it, and we never give the impression that a false gospel can save.
True, you must be hated, but God is pleased. You bring up the fragrance of Christ, whether people hear you or not.