THE WOUNDS OF A FRIEND: Sample Chapter From “Your Maker Is Your Husband”
The Wounds of A Friend
Taken From Chapter 60
“The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.” Sgs 5:7.
The Shulamite now arises, combing the city to find the One she loves, the One she lost. On her journey of repentance she begins to search through the city as she did in chapter three. Again, she is met with the watchmen who represent the special servants of God who have been commissioned to seek the lost and guide them back into the narrow road of life. These men had a short while ago helped the Shulamite find the one she loves after she had lost sight of Him in the discouragement of the night. The watchmen are those who are skilled in wielding the sword of the Word. They are keepers of God’s commandments and servants charged with shepherding the bride of Christ in the way of salvation. When our feet have wandered off of the path of life, the watchmen are there to bring us back to the road of redemption yet often the reproof that accompanies correction, wounds our pride. Yet correction is the way of life since our natural heart does not know how to choose the good. We must learn to yield our own ideas regarding what we deem as good and what our natural wisdom believes is best for us if we are to have the wisdom of God that leads to life. “There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.” “He is in the way of life that keeps instruction: but he that refuses reproof errs.” Proverbs 14:12; 6:23; 10:17.
The Shulamite testifies that watchmen “smote me, they wounded me.” However, her wounding is not the chastening of an enemy for her destruction, but it comes from a friend and if heeded will lead to life. For “faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” “The blueness of a wound cleanses away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.” Proverbs 27:6; 20:30. The chastening of the Lord is more desirable than flattery from those who cannot conceive of our highest good. Though the correcting hand of God may injure our flesh, wound our pride and challenge our natural affections to turn from our self love, should we receive reproof humbly it will be for the upbuilding of our strength in Christ. How often are we deceived into thinking that the road to follow Jesus is one that does no injury to our own cherished ambitions and worldly dreams. Often the subjects we have spent long hours in planning and hard effort in making a reality are objects that have lead us astray from God and have caused us to leave Christ outside the door of our hearts. Therefore, in our search to find Him again, He may ask us to surrender the very things that have caused our estrangement from Him. Yet God takes only to give. If we would yield our plans and preferences to Christ, He will remove those things that hinder us from developing true nobility of character, true greatness, true oneness with God. He places us in fiery trials only to show us what remains and what things will be destroyed. Feelings fade, circumstances change, love grows cold, but Christ endures forever. He is a never failing friend. Death cannot touch Him nor can the powers of this world overcome a ‘thus saith the Lord’. If He is for us, none can stand against us for He alone remains, He alone endures the fire and those bound to Him in the covenant of faith endure the bonds of darkness and death with Him. In learning to cherish Him supremely and to trust in His word above our own feelings and rationale, we will find that He Himself will be our highest joy and He shall provide our deepest satisfaction. “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3. Should we yield our pride in times of correction, we will find how true it is that “reproof enters more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.” “Withhold not correction from the child: for if you beat him with the rod, he shall not die.” Proverbs 17:10; 23:13. These watchmen who find the Shulamite in the city, lead her back into the way of life through the wounds of correction.
In their chastening, these watchmen also take away the veil from the Shualmite. This veil represents self-deception and the many ways we attempt to disguise evil under the cloak of morality, through a subjective standard of righteousness and through self-justification. Yet these are all a veil unto our own eyes for they deceive the heart and hinder it from understanding our true guilt in sin. Yet the Spirit of the Lord discerns all our motives. Our veil of self righteousness that hates correction, our mask of intelligence that despises to be shown our error, our tower of pride that is unwilling to be humbled with a knowledge of our blunders is a veil that is unceremoniously taken away when under the discipleship of Christ. In rejecting the Beloved, the Shulamite cannot retain her pride in the process of her repentance. It was truly her wrong in dismissing the invitation to fellowship with Jesus. Whether it was the heaviness of sleep that got the mastery in the hour of Christ’s call or whether it was the love of ease that appealed to her more than the inconvenience of attending to His bidding, there must be an acknowledgment that in loving her self more than the Beloved, she was in error. Apathy and self-indulgence are the sins that Shulamite must bear to hear reproved. Yet this discipline, though it feels injurious to the flesh is life unto the spirit.