Tag Archives: Intimacy

The Provision and the Passion


As I was sitting under a beautifully blossomed apple tree in our garden, my thoughts turned to the teaching on intimacy with God that I had been sharing in our church.

We had been looking at the various degrees of intimacy which God illustrates through wonderful metaphors – almost sacraments, in His Word. We are his “workmanship” – from the Greek “poema”, his listening and learning “sheep”, his obedient “child” and beloved “bride.”

The last two images of relationship lead us to the intimate embrace of the Father receiving back His repentant son, but also to the passionate embrace of the Bridegroom for His Bride.

I suddenly began to wonder in whose embrace I was in?

For many years I had been cultivating a growing experience of the “Father heart” of God. Like the son in Luke 15:20, I had learned to receive grace, provision and restoration in the loving arms of my Heavenly Father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

But it was harder for me to feel the tender touch of the Bridegroom. I had discovered something of this a few years previously when I realised that my heart needed to deeply submit to the love of God. This submission is still leading me on a journey of discovery – limited of course by the now/not yet tension of experiencing God’s Kingdom in this fallen world, a journey of intimacy into the embrace of the Beloved.

“His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me.” Song of Songs 2:6

“But who is embracing my soul?” I wondered. The Father or the Bridegroom Jesus? That’s at least 2 embraces in one God!

I found a measure of answer in coming back to a Trinitarian God. God is indeed three in one. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You have the Father and you have the Heavenly Bridegroom Son Jesus. The Holy Spirit applies their embrace to our heart in the appropriate context.

The context of intimacy with the Father leans more to that of Provision – The Father knows what you need, He provides for all creation, He sacrifices the fattened calf, the Isaac, the redemptive ram – He is Yahweh Jireh, my loving Provider.Baptism-of-Christ

We see the Holy Spirit bringing this intimacy to Christ Himself at His baptism in Luke 3:22 –

“…and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

The context of intimacy with the Bridegroom is very much with a revelation of the resurrected Son. The Beloved in the Song of Songs is no “pièta” at the bloody foot of the cross. She is an ecstatic worshipper, enthralled with the beauty – as was John in his Revelation vision of Christ, of an eternal King. Compare Song of Songs 5:10-16 with Revelation 1:13-16 – Obviously the earthly Solomon is no match for the truly divine but the key here is to fall in love with the vibrant, eternally living love in Christ which transcends all things.

The context is that of Passion as the Holy Spirit once again applies this intimacy to the heart of the Church – both individually and universally, as she cries out for the Bridegroom in Revelation 22:17 –

“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”

We indeed tread on holy ground as we explore such things. Both “embraces” are important, but it seems that there may well be a whole new paradigm to discover in the embrace of the Bridegroom Son. For example:

A passionate view of mission.

The Father/child paradigm, as in Matthew 21:28, says “Son, go and work…”

The Bride in Song of Songs 1:4 doesn’t need asking: “Take me away with you – let us hurry!”

A passionate view of identity.

1 John 3:1-3 talks about how the Father has lavished His love upon us calling us “children of God.” Such hope calls us to “purify ourselves” in Holy obedience.

The Bridegroom’s perspective on His Beloved Church/Bride – she with no stain or wrinkle, takes us into a whole new dimension concerning our identity.

“All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” Song of Songs 4:7

embrace_II_1A passionate view of my prayer.

As the Prodigal son I have the privilege of “metanoia”, thinking again and turning back to the Father. The essential component of repentance is often found in our prayers and liturgies. We beat our breasts and say, “I have sinned…I am no longer worthy…” Luke 15:18-19. All very necessary and edifying this side of heaven. But while genuine repentance is useful, beware of getting locked into a repetitive ritual of superficial religious repentance which brings no lasting change and no living hope.

And if heaven should suddenly invade our human space? If the Holy Spirit applied the Bridegroom’s embrace in the midst of our everyday encounters? What might we pray?

“I am faint with love.” Song of Songs 2:5



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The goal of intimacy


 “David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!”…” 1 Chronicles 11:17

 How does a pioneer work begin? What are the staff qualifications and what do the facilities look like?

1 Samuel 22: 1-2 gives us a hint of an answer. David is running from Saul and having to make a new start.  His first “mission’s base” is a hole in the ground – the cave of Adullam! A team of folks are drawn to him. At first glance they do not seem to be the most promising of people. Here we have the principle of “3D” pioneer teams. Do you have this vital “3D” qualification?

 “All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him and he became their leader.”

 Distress, debt and discontent also make you more desperate for God. God uses desperate people! The successful “happy clappy” folk never really change the world!

So team life may be a bit stressful with such a group of folks! You have a cave, people in debt, distressed, discontented…and something else. You have David’s holy anointing! You have God’s heart, vision and passion residing in the cave as well. This is a transforming anointing. It changes “3D” Christians into “mighty men and women”. You may have a cave of problems but you will make it through if you have the passion and purpose of the “Jesus” anointing with you.

1 Chronicles 11: 10-47 shows us how these desperate folks were transformed into mighty warriors. One of the keys to such transformation is intimacy with the king. Our intimacy with “King Jesus” will effect positive change in our lives.

Some of David’s key men were so intimate that they could hear his longings. The Philistine garrison had occupied Bethlehem making it enemy territory. So what was David’s longing? What indeed is the longing of Christ?

He is thirsty to drink water from the wells of occupied lands!

 It is a missionary longing, a longing to see the living water of life springing up in the occupied hearts of the nations. Jesus longs to drink living water from Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu hearts.

Like the three mighty men, our intimacy with Christ, if it is genuine, must lead us to heed his apostolic passion.

This “hearing” of longing goaded them into concrete action and adventure.

 “So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David.”

True intimacy leads to breakthrough!

Courage rises, apathy is cast out and pioneer, persistent “breakthrough” prayer rises from faith filled hearts!

People become “risk takers”, fear is cast out and bold action in enemy territory undertaken.

False intimacy lacks missionary passion. It leads to more and more sterile meetings in comfortable halls and hotels. We soak in the stench of our hedonistic comfort zone, never taking an inch of territory in the real world.The “bridal paradigm” becomes an impotent wedding – the hotel was nice, the beach pleasant, the food good….but no real action!

True intimacy leads to personal sacrifice and “risk”.

 “Because they risked their lives to bring it back…”

The Three mighty men undertook bold action in a dangerous place which could have cost them their lives. The longing of their King inspired their wild dream! They truly lived on the edge, enjoying the fellowship of the bold and the “sold out”.

True intimacy leads to “poured out” worship.

 “But he refused to drink it; instead he poured it out before the Lord.”

 All the glory of the missionary endeavor of the Church goes back to Christ. No prominent heroes only prostrate worshippers.

So the goal of intimacy is to overhear the longings of Jesus to “drink” from occupied lands. Intimacy will give us a missionary heart willing to take risks to satisfy our King.

He also longs to drink from the wells of your own heart which may be occupied by the enemy in sin and unbelief. Come close to Him and breakthrough into fresh anointing and grace. Allow Him to drink deeper in your own life.

 “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”    John 7:37-38

 May new streams of worship and love pour forth from you to satisfy the thirst of Jesus.

 So, I wish you a very happy “Bridal Paradigm”.

Enjoy your intimacy and take territory!