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Devotion for 7 May - A bride dressed in gold

Kia ora Cambridge Baptist and friends,

Yesterday Fiona and I celebrated our 25 Wedding anniversary.  I have to say celebrating in lock down wasn’t what I imagined or had planned, but its hard to complain when you get to spend so much time with the one you love.  But celebrating 25 years of marriage has made me think about our wedding and the preparations that went into it.  I remember the day before the wedding my brothers and friends helped me decorate the church hall where we held the reception.  Fiona and her bride’s maids festooned the church auditorium with flowers, and we all made final adjustments to our suits and dresses.  Even though we didn’t have a lot of money to spend on the big day, as I was still a student, I remember the sense of joy, anticipation and fun as we made the arrangements.  They are memories I will always treasure.

Today's devotion which I have drawn from Psalm 45 also describe wedding preparations.  Verses 8-9 say:

“All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; from palaces adorned with ivory the music of the strings makes you glad. Daughters of kings are among your honored women; at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.

However, in these wedding preparations we see things we wouldn't expect.  First, the writer describes the groom’s robes being fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. These are burial spices. You will no doubt remember that when the women went to the tomb on Easter Sunday morning, they carried with them a quantity of spices myrrh and aloes in order to wrap the body of the Lord and preserve it in its death. And yet here are these same spices are present at the wedding. What does this mean?

This marriage is made possible out of death; somehow out of death comes this fragrant incense that makes glorious the scene of the wedding. You can see how beautifully this fits with what the apostle Paul describes for us in Ephesians 5:25 when he says that Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. He died for it. He went into the bonds of death for us. Why? In order that He might present to Himself a glorious church, a beautiful bride, without spot or blemish or any such thing.

We then read of where this wedding is to take place: "From palaces adorned with ivory, the music of the strings makes you glad." What is pictured here is a place of beauty and joy. It reminds us of Jesus' words to His disciples before the cross. He said to them, I am going there to prepare a place for you (John 14:2). That place is being prepared now. It is a place of beauty and joy beyond any possible description. These terms used here are simply a way of suggesting to us what it is like: ivory palaces filled with music and gladness with a rejoicing company around.

And finally, the bride herself is prepared: At your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir. In Far Eastern custom, the bridegroom himself, who paid for the golden dress, always presented this golden dress to the bride.  Gold, in Scripture, is always the picture of deity. Why is this significant, because here we have a hint of what Peter speaks on 2 Peter 1:4 when he says we will one day will participate in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). In his glory.

Jesus Christ just like in a marriage is blending our lives with His and giving us all His position and all His privileges. All that belongs to Him belongs to us.

It so easy for us to forget about what’s in store for us in times like this, but we all need to remember that Jesus ‘ is preparing is church, is bride, ready to join Him, to be dressed in the gold that He has provided, and that the joy of the wedding feast is just a moment away.  As much as I enjoyed my wedding 25 years ago – this one will be so much greater.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, You are our beautiful King, and we long for you like a bride longs for her husband. Thank You for adorning us in Your own righteousness that we might dwell with You forever.

Amen



 

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