When the bride in the Song of Solomon spoke of her lover, “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love” (2:4), she voiced a truth which characterizes all who know the heavenly Bridegroom–the Lord Jesus Christ.
Regale your soul with me. Our blessed Saviour has taken us from the trackless wastes and brought us to His hall of plenty. The desert of sin long since ceased to offer even the semblance of satisfaction. The world apart from God was the place of famine, of starvation, of want. Here was no abiding satisfaction, no provision for the deepest yearnings of our hearts. Our testimony parallels that of the psalmist’s: “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and the hungry soul he filleth with good” (107:9).
The need of our souls was deeper than our need for material sustenance–though God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Our need was for what the kingdom of God alone can supply: “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:!7). So now we sing,
“Now none but Christ can satisfy,
None other name for me;
There’s love, and life, and lasting joy,
Lord Jesus, found in Thee.”
Yes, that is it. He is our satisfying portion. We came to Him, we believed in Him, and He became the bread and water of life to us (John 6:35). Said He, “I am the living bread which came down out of heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever” (John 6:51). As we feed on Him in contemplating His wonderful person as revealed in the Word of God, our souls are satisfied–for all that He has done and that He does. A line spoken by the minister in one of the old forms of service for the Lord’s Supper puts it succinctly, “Feed on Him in thy heart, by faith, with thanksgiving.”
What a banquet He has spread! Every need is met. Every legitimate desire is satisfied. Think of it: “He brought me to the banqueting house.”
But there is more: “His banner over me was love.” Bless God, that is what is behind His mercy and His grace, “God commendeth his own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “Herein was the love of God manifested in our case, that God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9, marg.). “He loved them to the uttermost” (John 13:1, marg.).
The banner is a continuing reminder of the way He conquered us: by love! It serves to keep before us His right to possess us: “the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20). So the Word says, “Ye are not your own; for ye were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). That banner is a pledge of His protection and care: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). And do not forget, that banner has its application to us, for the same Word teaches, “The love of Christ constraineth us; . . . [we] . . . should no longer live unto [ourselves], but unto him who for [our] sakes died and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).
Keep the banqueting house and the banner ever in view!
(This article first appeared in For Times Like These: Personal Glimpses by William Culbertson, Moody Press, 1972.)
2ProphetU is an online magazine/website, started by Warren Wiersbe and Michael Catt, to build up the church, seek revival, and encourage pastors.