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Black yet Comely
"I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon." Song of Solomon 1:5
"The spouse was black as the tents of the wandering Arabs, but comely as the magnificent curtains in the palaces of Solomon. The believer is black, as being defiled and sinful by nature, but comely, as renewed by Divine grace to the holy image of God. He is still deformed with remains of sin, but comely as accepted in Christ. He is often base and contemptible in the esteem of men, but excellent in the sight of God." --Mathew Henry
In the Song of Songs we have one of the most beautiful things ever written signifying Christ's love for the church and individual believer. As believers in and of ourselves we carry little worth, being tainted by the fall. The only correct view we are to have of ourselves is as being black for the sins we have committed in thought, word and deed. I don’t know another’s heart by I can personally testify of myself to be pitch black as the night sky, nothing but one crimson stain after another for the past 31 years of living. Though I know God is working his good in me and loves me through the cross, this verse and the meaning of it has become very dear and true to me. I once came across an article about a child puppeteer cannibal. It literally made my stomach sick and queasy and still does. My sins have made God sick in the very same way. We are all vileness and not as bad as we could be in and of ourselves that is. In Christ we are comely (meaning attractive) and only in him. Our beauty and worth as believers are summed up in Christ alone. What a contrast--black in ourselves yet comely/attractive in Christ. I have noticed God flips the idea of beauty on its head. We fallen humans value looks and youth as beautiful but God goes much deeper into the soul. I have noticed the not so beautiful in the eyes of the world become as radiant stars before me, such light, such beauty radiating and sparkling in their eyes--it's the very beauty of Christ himself that he bestows on them, that radiates through them. This is kind of embarrassing to admit but some of the people who I’ve seen shine the light of Christ-- I become so in awe and enamored with them, they take on celebrity status in my heart. I say it’s embarrassing because I know it’s wrong to make an idol of other people, that I need to remember to give honor and glory where it’s due and that’s to Christ alone. It’s not their light I’m seeing it’s Christ's. But those glimpses gives me somewhat of an idea of what heaven will be like-- the church in all her splendor--no spot, no blemish. I see it dimly down here-- a flicker here, a flicker there. When I do see it, I get excited because it points me to spiritual realities that are yet to be. That Christ would take black-hearted vile sinners and bestow the ultimate form of love upon them to make them one day flawlessly beautiful (in him) is mind-blowing. Often times the enemy of our souls tells us we are beyond hope because of our very blackness, but truth is it's our blackness that Jesus came to save us from. That is why they call him the savior. Another truth is we will always be black in and of ourselves while on the earth, even as believers, that's why we need to look to Christ continually for his light to shine through us and in that he is glorified.