A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved to me; he shall lie all night between my breasts.…
I. CHRIST JESUS IS UNUTTERABLY PRECIOUS TO BELIEVERS. Observe first, that nothing gives the believer so much joy as fellowship with Christ. In our esteem, the joys of earth are little better than husks for swine compared with Jesus the heavenly manna. I would rather have one mouthful of Christ's love, and a sip of His fellowship, than a whole world full of carnal delights. What is the chaff to the wheat? What is the sparkling paste to the true diamond? What is a dream to the glorious reality? What is time's mirth in its best trim compared to our Lord Jesus in His most despised estate? We may plainly see that Christ is very precious to the believer, because to him there is nothing good without Christ. Oh, what a howling wilderness is this world without my Lord! If once He groweth angry, and doth, though it be for a moment, hide Himself from me, withered are the flowers of my garden; my pleasant fruits decay; the birds suspend their songs, and black night lowers over all my hopes. On the other hand, when all earthly comforts have failed you, have you not found quite enough in your Lord? Do you remember when you were poor? Oh! how near Christ was to you, and how rich He made you! You were despised and rejected of men, and no man gave you a good word! Ah! sweet was His fellowship then, and how delightful to hear Him say, "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God!" As afflictions abound, even so do consolations abound by Christ Jesus. Nor should I be straining the truth if I say that the Christian would sooner give up anything than forsake his Master. If it came to this, that you must deny Christ, or give up the dearest thing you have, would you deliberate? I think we could go further, dear friends, and say, not only could we give up everything, but I think, when love is fervent, and the flesh is kept under, we could suffer anything with Christ. I met, in one of Samuel Rutherford's letters, an extraordinary expression, where he speaks of the coals of Divine wrath all falling upon the head of Christ, so that not one might fall upon His people. "And yet," saith he, "if one of those coals should drop from His head upon urine and did utterly consume me, yet if I felt it was a part of the coals that fell on Him, and I was bearing it for His sake, and in communion with Him, I would choose it for my heaven." One thing I know proveth, beloved, that you esteem Christ to be very precious, namely, that you want others to know Him too. The more your love grows, beloved, the more insatiable will be your desire that others should love Him, till it will come to this that you will be, like Paul, "in labours more abundant," spending and being spent that you may bring the rest of Christ's elect body into union with their glorious head.
II. THE SOUL CLINGETH TO CHRIST, AND SHE HATH GOOD REASON FOR SO DOING, for her own words are, "A bundle of myrrh is my Well-beloved unto me."
1. Jesus Christ is like myrrh.
(1) Myrrh may be well the type of Christ for its preciousness. It was an exceedingly expensive drug. We know that Jacob sent some of it down into Egypt as being one of the choice products of the land. It is always spoken of in Scripture as being a rich, rare and costly substance. But no myrrh could ever compare with Him, for Jesus Christ is so precious, that it heaven and earth were put together they could not buy another Saviour.
(2) Myrrh, again, was pleasant. It was a pleasant thing to be in a chamber perfumed with myrrh. Through the nostrils myrrh conveys delight to the human mind; but Christ gives delight to His people, not through one channel, but through every avenue.
(3) Moreover, myrrh is perfuming. It is used to give a sweet smell to other things. And surely, beloved, Jesus Christ is very perfuming to His people. Does not He perfume their prayers, so that the Lord smelleth a sweet savour? Doth He not perfume their songs, so that they become like vials full of odour sweet?
(4) Myrrh has preserving qualities. It was used to prevent corruption. What is there which can preserve the soul but Christ Jesus? What is the myrrh which keeps our works, which in themselves are dead, and corrupt, and rotten — what, I say, keeps them from becoming a foul stench in the nostrils of God, but that Christ is in them?
(5) Myrrh, again, was used as a disinfectant. And there doubtless is some power in myrrh to preserve from infectious disease. Well, brethren, certain I am it is so with Christ. You have to go into the world, which is like ,a great lazar-house; but if you carry Christ with you, you will never catch the world s disease.
(6) But myrrh was believed by the ancient physicians to do more than this — it was a cure — it did not merely prevent, but it healed. Certain it is that your Christ is the best medicine for the soul. His name is Jehovah Rophi — "I am the Lord that healeth them."(7) Myrrh was used in the East as a beautifier. The belief of Oriental women was, that it removed wrinkles and stains from the face, and they used it constantly for the perfecting of their charms. I do not know how that may be, but I know that nothing makes the believer so beautiful as being with Christ. He is beautiful in the eyes of God, of holy angels, and of his fellow-men.
(8) Myrrh might well be used as an emblem of our Lord from its connection with sacrifice. It was one of the precious drugs used in making the holy oil with which the priests were anointed and the frankincense which burned perpetually before God. It is this, the sacrificial character of Christ, which is at the root and bottom of all that Christ is most precious to His people. O Lamb of God our sacrifice, we must remember Thee.
2. Christ is called a bundle of myrrh, or, as some translate it, a bag of myrrh, or a box of myrrh. There were three sorts of myrrh; there was the myrrh in sprigs, which being burnt made a sweet smell; then there was myrrh, a dried spice; and then, thirdly, there was myrrh a flowing oil. We do not know to which there is reference here. But why is it said "a bundle of myrrh"?
(1) First, for the plenty of it. He is not a drop of it, He is a casketful. He is not a sprig or flower of it, but a whole bundleful. There is enough in Christ for my necessities.
(2) A bundle again, for variety; for there is in Christ not only the one thing needful, but "ye are complete in Him; there is everything needful.
(3) He is a bundle of myrrh again, for preservation — not loose myrrh to be dropped on the floor or trodden on, but myrrh tied up, as though God bound up all virtues and excellences in His Son: not myrrh spilt on the ground, but myrrh in a box — myrrh kept in a casket. Such is Christ. "Able to save unto the uttermost them that come unto God through Him," is He still unto this hour.
(4) A bundle of myrrh again, to show how diligently we should take care of it. We must treasure up His words, prize His ordinances, obey His precepts, tie Him up and keep Him ever with us as a precious bundle of myrrh.
(5) And yet again, a bundle of myrrh for speciality, as if He were not common myrrh for everybody. No, no, no; there is distinguishing, discriminating grace — a bundle tied up for His people and labelled with their names from before the foundation of the world. Oh! blessed people whom the Lord hath admitted into His secrets! Oh! choice and happy people who are thus made to say, "A bottle of myrrh is my Well-beloved unto me."
III. With a sense of Christ's preciousness is combined A CONSCIOUSNESS OF POSSESSION. It is "my Well-beloved." My dear hearer, is Christ your well-beloved? A Saviour — that is well; but my Saviour — that is the best of the best. What is the use of bread if it is not mine? I may die of hunger. Of what value is gold, if it be not mine? I may yet die in a workhouse. I want this preciousness to be mine. "My Well-beloved." Have you ever laid hold on Christ by the hand of faith? But that is not the only word. "A bundle of myrrh is my Well-beloved unto me." He is not so to many. Ah! my Lord is a root out of a dry ground to multitudes. They would sooner go to a play or a dance than they would have any fellowship with Him. They can see the beauties upon the cheeks of this Jezebel world, but they cannot see the perfections of my Lord and Master. Well! well! well! Let them say what they will, and let them think as they please, every creature hath its own joy, but "a bundle of myrrh is my Well-beloved unto me" — unto me — unto me, and if there is not another who finds Him so, yet "a bundle of myrrh is my Well-beloved unto me."
IV. A SENSE OF POSSESSION AND A SENSE OF ENJOYMENT WILL ALWAYS LEAD THE CHRISTIAN TO DESIRE CONSTANT FELLOWSHIP. The Church does not say, "I will put this bundle of myrrh on my shoulders" — Christ is no burden to a Christian. She does not say, "I will put this bundle of myrrh on my back" — the Church does not want to have Christ concealed from her face. She desires to have Him where she can see Him, and near to her heart.
1. It is an expression of desire — her desire that she may have the consciousness of Christ's love continually. Do not you feel the same desire?
2. But then, it is not only her desire, but it is also her confidence. She seems to say, "He will be with me thus." You may have a suspension of visible fellowship with Christ, but Christ never will go away from His people really. He may close His eyes and hide HIS face from you, but His heart never can depart from you.
3. This is also a resolve. She desires, she believes, and she resolves it. Lord, Thou shalt be with me, Thou shalt be with me always. I appeal to you, brethren, will you not make this resolve in God's strength this morning to cling close to Christ?
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: A bundle of myrrh is my wellbeloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.