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Guest Column-Post-midnight meditations 1

February 2005 | by Bob Rodgers

It has been another crowded day and very late night and my mind is in turmoil. So much has been pressing in upon me, so many things demanding my attention, that now, in the early hours of the morning, I cannot sleep.

What am I to do? Count sheep? Of course not! I recall the words of the psalmist: ‘I remember Thee upon my bed and meditate on Thee in the night watches!’ (Psalm 63:6). Remember and meditate. That’s what I will do – and experience blessing instead of restlessness and anxiety.

I remember the lovely words from the Song of Solomon: ‘I am my Beloved’s…’ (6:3). The ‘Beloved’ is my Lord and Saviour and I belong to him! I am his! How has that great claim been made real in relation to this guilty, hell-deserving sinner?

Redemption and creation

I am his because of the covenant of redemption. Before ever time began, God the Father set his love upon a multitude that no man can number – and that number, praise God, included me.

God the Son, as my representative, undertook to meet all my obligations. Therefore, he is my representative and my Redeemer. God the Father ‘presented’ me to God the Son and therefore I am his!

I am his, too, by virtue of creation. Paul writes of our Lord Jesus Christ as Creator when he addresses the Colossian believers (1:15-17): ‘[Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature. For by him were all things created … and by him all things consist’.

Jesus Christ is the Creator and sustainer of all things. I am included in the ‘all things’ and therefore he is my Creator and sustainer and I am his!

Then I remember that Paul links creation and redemption in that letter to the Colossians. Both ideas are centred in Christ, ‘in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins!’ (1:14). Christ is my Redeemer – what a precious thought!

Happily, ‘redemption’ is one of those ‘pictorial’ words that I can ‘see’. I ‘see’ the twin ideas of ‘ransom’ and ‘release’. Jesus Christ has bought me with his precious shed blood. He has purchased me at infinite cost – and has set me gloriously free.

Free from the thraldom of sin and Satan, I now belong to Christ. I am his possession. I am his. How precious is the cross of Christ to me!

I looked upon the cross of Christ and from my back the burden rolled;
O wondrous thought to think upon – I looked and lo! My sin was gone.

The ground of confidence

Another very powerful statement of Paul’s comes to mind in these post-midnight meditations. In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul writes: ‘let no one glory in men, for all things are yours … and ye are Christ’s and Christ is God’s’ (1 Corinthians 3:21-23).

Paul tells those believers that they are not to glory in men. Men cannot be the source of blessing nor the ground of confidence. We are to glory in Christ!

Because we belong to him, the universe is ours and we adore our Saviour and Lord. By God’s grace, I am a member of the church of the firstborn (Hebrews 12:23), Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant (v. 24) and I belong to him!

I seem to hear a choir singing:

Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief and pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide.
In every change he faithful will remain.

I am my Beloved’s! That thought has indeed brought peace and calm to my heart and soul and I am thankful. But my meditation continues because I remember the rest of that lovely verse from the Song of Solomon: ‘And my Beloved is mine’ (6:3).

House of wine

I have been thrilled to realise afresh that I am my Beloved’s – but how can I describe my thoughts and feelings when I focus on the idea that he is mine? How reassuring it is to know that I belong to Christ.

But I can scarcely comprehend this wonderful further statement that he belongs to me! It seems I hear the choir again. It is singing Anne Cousins’ rendering of the dying words of Samuel Rutherford:

O I am my Beloved’s and my –
    Beloved’s mine;
He brings a poor, vile sinner
    into his house of wine.

Christ not only gave himself for me but to me! Paul said of the Lord Jesus Christ that he ‘loved me and gave himself for me’ (Galatians 2:20). But here the emphasis is on Christ giving himself to me.

The verse bringing such delight to my soul just now is saying exactly the same thing as an earlier verse (Song 2:16), though in a different order. The earlier verse says, ‘My Beloved is mine and I am his’.

Didn’t George Burrowes draw attention to the order of the statements in 2:16? In his commentary on the Song of Solomon he writes, ‘It is not said, “I am his and he is mine”, but first, “he is mine” and then “I am his” – in as much as Christ’s being ours is at the foundation of every blessing’.

Drawing strength

Indeed, I recall another lovely word of Burrowes to do with the covenant: ‘The whole of the covenant is simply this: Jesus says to us, “Give yourself to me and I will give myself to you”.’

What a blessing! He is mine! Strength may be drawn from this consideration. I listen now to Anne Steele:

Art thou not mine my living Lord?
And can my hope, my comfort die?
Fixed on thy everlasting word,
that word which built the earth and sky?

God has said it and it is so! He is mine! Here is a truth now clear to my heart and I draw strength and comfort from it – such as I could not have imagined. I have peace of mind and heart, the gift of God, through meditating on his word.

I am calm and I am thankful. I know that others have experienced similar blessing when dwelling on such teaching. When the great Robert Candlish knew that the end was near he said, ‘Pray for me. I do not want deep experience or great rapture, but just to rest on the facts that Christ died and that he is mine’.

Of course, it hasn’t been a structured study of God’s Word but God has graciously enabled me to remember and to meditate in the night-watches. I hear the choir sing gently:

Loved with everlasting love,
led by grace that love to know;
Spirit, breathing from above,
thou hast taught me it is so.
O this full and perfect peace!
O this transport all divine!
In a love which cannot cease,
I am his and he is mine.

Dr Robert Rodgers is founder of the King’s Christian Research Institute in Hungary.

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