COMING UP FROM THE WILDERNESS
“Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved??” [Song of Solomon 8:5]
To come up from the wilderness, is to come up out of OURSELVES; for we are ourselves the wilderness. It is our wilderness heart that makes the world
what it is to us . . .
our own barren frames;
our own bewildered minds;
our own worthlessness and inability;
our own lack of spiritual fruitfulness;
our own trials, temptations, and exercises;
our own hungering and thirsting after righteousness.
In a word, IT IS WHAT PASSES IN OUR OWN BOSOM THAT MAKES THE WORLD TO US A DREARY DESERT.
Carnal people find the world no wilderness. It is an Eden to them! Or at least they try hard to make it so. They seek all their pleasure from, and build all their happiness upon it. Nor do they dream of any other harvest of joy and delight, but what may be repaid in this ‘happy valley’, where youth, health, and good spirits are ever imagining new scenes of gratification
But the child of grace, exercised with a thousand difficulties, passing through many temporal and spiritual sorrows, and inwardly grieved with his own lack of heavenly fruitfulness, finds the wilderness within.
But he still comes up out of it, and this he does by looking upward with believing eyes to Him who alone can bring him out.
He comes up out of his own righteousness, and shelters himself under Christ’s righteousness.
He comes up out of his own strength, and trusts to Christ’s strength.
He comes up out of his own wisdom, and hangs upon Jesus’ wisdom.
He comes up out of his own tempted, tried, bewildered, and perplexed condition, to find rest and peace in the finished work of the Son of God.
And thus he comes up out of THE WILDERNESS OF SELF, not actually, but experimentally. Every desire of his soul to be delivered from his ‘wilderness sickening sight’ that he has of sin and of himself as a sinner. Every aspiration after Jesus, every longing look, earnest sigh, piteous cry, or labouring groan, all are a coming up from the wilderness.
His turning his back upon an ungodly world; renouncing its pleasures, its honors, its pride, and its ambition; seeking communion with Jesus as his chief delight; and accounting all things but loss and rubbish for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus his Lord as revealed to his soul by the power of God; this, also, is coming up from the wilderness.