Since it seems we’re on a roll with who we are, it looks like it’s continuing for at least this post. I used to own a Jack Russell, and when he went up a tree after a possum, that was it, the possum was all he thought about. Yes, Jack Russells do climb trees.
It’s probably a good idea to take things out of the existential and into the practical. So I thought I might share one of my identity verses. Father gave this particular one to me many years ago, while I was in one of the blackest periods of my life, with no way up out of the filth.
A little later on He showed me what it meant, and I’ll explore that here too. I’ve talked about identity and purpose and living present-future, but neither of those are any good if you don’t have anything to ground it in.
You are as beautiful my love, as Tirzah, as lovely as Jerusalem, majestic as troops with banners. Turn your eyes from me; they overwhelm me.
Song of Songs 6:4 (NIV '84)
It’s a corker! For a woman who was lost in the deep of torment and being loaded up with more every day, this was so outside of who I knew myself to be, that it took me many, many years to understand that it was even ok for God to actually say something nice, let alone mean it.
I am aware that this may be a challenge for some people.
As you read these posts, you’ll start to hear some repetitions, one is that I have become aware how much we lose in context through translation and cultural mindsets. Both between east and west, and simply because a lot of us don’t get to have to experience of visiting the places we read about.
Part of that is never going to be resolved. Not all of us can be Hebrew and Greek scholars – I am not either one. Also, as much as we might be able to visit the places in their modern context, that context may be a far, far cry from what it way in the time of the writer (or experiencer). This is where we must rely on both the knowledge of those who have gone before, and on the Knowledge of God Himself. What He chooses to reveal to you in your secret place of prayer and intimacy with Him, may be a key piece in the puzzle for you and for others. It is important to be in relationship with seasoned people to keep yourself sharp. I thank God for my mentors and friends!
Anyhoo. Down to the technicalities of this particular verse. It’s the first part that’s the really important part to get.
As I understand, the original Tirzah was an oasis place. A place of particular beauty in an area that we mostly associate with desert conditions.
Again as I understand, within Israel itself; Jerusalem is the place which all Jewish people consider to be home. Whether they have ever lived there or not…
When an army is advancing towards you, the first thing you see of them are their banners. That is the signal that tells you who they are, and is all the sign you need to understand who you’re up against. Roughly translated, the word ‘majestic’ here could also be interchanged with ‘gorgeous and amazing but freaking terrifying’.
When you add all that up, what a picture Jesus was presenting me with of how he saw me. Even in the state I was in at that time.
He was telling me that I was an oasis, that I felt like home to Him. That He considered me gorgeous and amazing but majestic and terrifying. That when I looked at Him, He was overwhelmed.
I am still undone.
This is not just a picture of me, but a picture of how He sees His whole Bride. It is important not to rationalise our understanding of the Bride of Christ into an almighty generality. To ensure there is safety in numbers and we do not have to face the personal nature of our relationship with the Bridegroom. This is one of those paradox I talked about in a previous post. He whispers to us collectively and individually, and it can make us uncomfortable sometimes, but it’s important to learn how to be that intimate with the God of All Things now.
What part of the identity of the Bride of Christ is yours? Who does He say you are? What verses does He give you to help frame your identity? Your true identity may sometimes feel significantly different to your current experience, or it may click with something inside you that has been waiting to be activated. It may be something that you have needed His validation on.
Whatever it is, write it down and ask Him to teach you what it means in its fullness. I’d love to hear how you go!
God Bless You Very Much!