Snuggling with the King

There’s a strange verse in the strangest book of the Old Testament. Song of Songs 1:4 says “Draw me away and I will run after you. The king has drawn me into His chambers.”

I’m struck by the three main statements here: 1) I need God to draw me to Himself, 2) I will pursue God in response to His drawing me, and the key part: 3) where we’re going is into His place. He is taking me into His chamber, His private place, His bedroom. Hmmm. What happens in such a place: intimacy happens.

God is calling me, helping me, to come to a private place, an intimate place with Him, a place for His and me to be alone together.

That’s not really new news; God has been saying this for quite some time, and I’m convinced that it’s getting to the point that He won’t really let his kids help with the work of His kingdom unless we – unless I – spend time alone with Him.

A similar verse in the New Testament, in Ephesians, Paul says that God “made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” In other words, God has brought me to a private place with Him, where He and I can be together. He and I sit together. (“Would you like some tea?” “Yes thank you. So tell me about what’s on your mind today.”) When I sit down, I’m generally not working. I’m relaxing. It’s hard to sweat while I’m sitting together with someone.

(Now this is a little odd: it’s an intimate setting, but there are millions of us there. “God… made us to sit together…”)

The odd part is where we’re sitting, and how we’re sitting. We’re sitting together in heavenly places. We’re sitting with God, sipping tea, in the throne room of Heaven.

What do you call a place to sit in a throne room? (Answer: “a throne.”) We’re sitting with Jesus in His chair. What kind of chair is that? (Same answer.) What do you do when you’re sitting on a throne? (“You rule.”) How does a king on His throne implement his rule? (“He issues commands and decrees.”) So what do we do when we’re seated with Jesus on the throne of heaven? (“Uh.. Um... I don’t know!” Wrong answer.)

Our job, as we’re seated in Heaven, is to snuggle up to Jesus, and to issue decrees and commands (yes, in His name) to accomplish the thing He taught us to pray: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Change of scenes. Back to the Old Testament for a moment.

I watch the Old Testament prophets exercise authority in their words. Certainly, the church is growing in her understanding of the prophetic, but we still don’t have anyone that walks in the authority that Elijah or Elisha walk in. Between them, the Bible records more than 20 serious miracles. Time and time again, they’re saying, “The Lord declares this” or “As the Lord lives, that will happen.” They seemed to have a pretty good grasp on the decree thing.

Here’s my problem: very seldom does the Word record that God told them declare thus, or proclaim that. It’s apparent that God backed them up, because the thing that they declared came to pass with the result that people came to respect God.

Wait, they declared something, but there’s no record that God told them to? And God backed up their word with power? God put His reputation on the line to back up their words?

Sure looks like it.

I have got to look into that! I see a couple of possible reasons for why the Word doesn’t record God instructing them to say “thus says the Lord.” I work with the foundation that scripture is profitable and for our example, there’s profit in the example of the prophets. Some possibilities:

1) It isn’t important to God: God did not consider the example of His leading the prophet to be as necessary for our teaching as the prophet’s declaration. Maybe He did give them the instruction, but He didn’t instruct the authors of the scriptures to show that part to us because we didn’t need to see it, because there was no lesson in it for us. My initial reaction to this thought is frustration. As a man who is still growing in hearing and following God, I would have loved to have their examples to learn from.

But there’s another possibility:

2) God didn’t speak to them. Perhaps God didn’t record the story of how he told them what to say because He did not tell them what to say. In other words, God speaking to the prophet isn’t a significant part of the prophet’s declaration. This is a frightening thought my evangelical roots. I need to look more closely at this.

We, as God’s people and co-regents with Christ, have responsibility to declare the will of God on earth. We have at least two channels, two sources for determining what to declare:

The first is clear: We can do what God is doing, say what He is saying. We listen, we hear what He is saying and we say that. We observe, we see what He is doing, and we do that. Clearly, this is a biblical model.

The second is just as clear in the Book, but sometimes harder to wrap my mind around. Jesus has handed us a checkbook full of blank checks, already signed. He says, “Spend them any way you like.” The New Testament is full of places where Jesus is hammering on the issue: “What do you want? Ask! It’s yours!”

It’s apparent, from experience if not from the Book, that this freedom comes from intertwining ourselves with Him, from conforming ourselves to Him, so that our personality is free and unfettered, but our desires – our will – become intertwined with His. That’s the place where He can trust us with the blank checks. Come on, our models are Elijah and Elisha: the guys who really hung out with God, not some Joe Schmotz whose only knowledge of God comes from what reaches his back pew on Easter and Christmas Eve.

But at the same time, this is not some high and lofty place that only ascetics can attain to. This freedom to cash the checks of heaven, the “ask what you want, it’s yours!” is not limited to people with camel-hair robes who live in caves. This is for people who love Jesus. This is for you and me, but this is for you and me as we let Him draw us to the King’s chamber, as we’re intimate with Him.

I think that Elijah & Elisha caught on to this: they didn’t wait for God to tell them; they hung around with God well enough to know His heart, and so they spoke with His authority. Their heart beat with His heart’s rhythm. God hadn’t particularly spoken those particular instructions to them. They knew His heart, and they spoke what was on their heart because their heart was like His heart.

So I come back to where I started this whole thing: this all starts in the King’s chambers. If I let Him draw me, if I follow after Him as He leads me into His private chamber, if I lie down with Him and let Him impregnate me with His kind of life and power, then I’ll catch His heart like Moses did, like Elijah and Elisha did. And when I catch His heart, I can proclaim the will of God, because my will is the same as His will. And if I proclaim something that's in line with His will, it's going to happen.



Anonymous said...

Cool. I'm remembering that the King's chamber, His bedroom, is for rest as much as it is for intimacy. The intimacy is important (my, how it's important), but the rest is too.

David McLain said...

My friend Grace has an excellent article on the Gospel of the Kingdom. It's worth reading.