Sunday after the Ascension – Saturday
I am black, but comely. – Song of Solomon 1:5.
Come, dear Christian, let us show you how to move the Savior, through His Word, to draw you after Him to heaven. True, His own compassionate heart moves Him thereto. But does He not also want to be asked? Just as the Lord knows all our thoughts and prayers afar off, even before we have even voiced them in prayer (Isaiah 65:24), even so He wants you to exercise the faith He has given you by calling upon Him and asking Him for the desires of your heart. He wants you to learn to recognize Him as the only source of grace and help and to act upon that recognition.
You, redeemed Christian, beloved of your Savior, look into the mirror, the mirror of God’s holy Law, and you will see that, of yourself, you are black, black with sin. Consider all that He did for you, what grace He bestowed upon you, and how He gave you His Holy Spirit through His precious Word. What you see in His marvelous Gospel will move you to say: “Thou, O Christ, art all I want; more than all in Thee I find; raise the fallen, cheer the faint; . . . Thou art full of truth and grace. Plenteous grace with Thee is found; grace to cover all my sin; let the healing streams abound; . . . Thou of life the Fountain art; freely let me take of Thee; spring Thou up within my heart” (Hymn 345, st. 4-5; TLH).
Yes, Christian, your Lord and Savior has clothed you with His own righteousness, so dearly purchased by Him (Romans 5:19), and has given you the gift of faith, for you to wrap yourself therein and therein to appear before Him. And so, so He loves you, and cannot leave you, and keeps drawing you, through His Word, until you are with Him in heaven. And the blacker you seem to yourself, the more firmly you will want to draw about you the folds of His righteousness, purchased for you and given to you; the more He loves you, all the more you may be assured that He cannot leave you; the more lovingly does He draw you, through His Word, to follow after Him. And when you say to Him that, in yourself, indeed, you are black, but that in His righteousness, imputed to you by faith (Romans 4:5), and in His beauty you are comely; then does His heart yearn for you, and He holds out His arms to you, and He draws you, again and again, through His Word, body and soul, after Him to heaven.
PRAYER – My Lord and Savior, I am altogether black with sin, and Thou can have no pleasure in me according to Thy holy Law. But in Thee, in Thy wonderful Gospel, in Thy righteousness, in Thy bloody merit, in which Thou hast clothed me, I am pleasant and beautiful in Thy sight, for there Thy righteousness is without a flaw; Thy merits without the least blemish. Arrayed with them, I am sure to please Thee, O Lord; arrayed with them, Thou lovest me and must love me. Come now, again and again, and, through Thy Word, keep drawing me to Thee and after Thee, until I shall be with Thee, as Thine own in paradise. Amen.
“Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more.
Open now the crystal fountain,
whence the healing stream doth flow;
let the fiery, cloudy pillar,
lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer be Thou still my Strength and Shield.
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death and hell’s Destruction,
land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises I will ever give to Thee.”
(Hymn 54, st. 1-3; TLH)