Have you ever smelled death? Morbid question to ask, I know. But I ask it nonetheless: have you ever smelled death?
In the Song of Solomon, there is a part of this greatest song-story where the beautiful, vibrant Shulamite woman wakes up in the night to the sound of her beloved one knocking on her door and inviting her to come to him. As she goes through her heart journey to get up and meet him, she finally reaches for the door to open it and let him in. It says in Song 5:5, “I arose to open for my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, on the handles of the lock.”
Her hands dripped with myrrh.
Myrrh is a spice that has historically been used as an embalming ointment, a burial oil, something to stifle the stench of death. It represents loss; an end; sacrifice; death.
Why did her hands drip with myrrh? What was she ending? What was she losing? What was being sacrificed? What was dying?
As she prepared herself to rise and meet her beloved one, she made the decision to walk away from her comfort. She prepared herself to leave her home, sacrificing the solace of safety and ease. Leaving behind the four walls of her stable dwelling, she allowed herself to lose the security of her pleasantly predictable shelter. She realized that her desire to be with her beloved one superseded all other desires for comfort. She considered those things empty and dead compared to the gain of love. Thus, her hands dripped with myrrh.
Do your hands drip with myrrh? Do you hear the Beloved One coming? Do you hear the call to open the door to Him and to go out to meet Him?
To go out into the night to meet Him–and to gather more with you–requires sacrifice. It requires that something must die.
Do you want to be a messenger, a forerunner of the Son of Man? Well, look at your life and search your heart. Are you willing to take hold of the oil of surrender and loss? Are you willing to smell like death?
A messenger of the kingdom of God is one whose hands flow with myrrh, one whose life smells like Jesus on His way to Golgotha, on his way to be laid to rest in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. A messenger is one who has seen the glory of where this story is headed–the glorious One this is all for–and has risen from the bed of comfort and pleasure that this world offers believing in the promise of something better. They have risen and have opened the door of their life to follow the One whom their heart longs for. Their hands drip with myrrh as they reach for the One who has promised resurrection life for those who lay theirs down.
They are ones who are willing and ready to not belong to the ways of this world, the comfort, the mindsets, the behaviors, and all the accessible pleasures.
Are you willing to not belong?
Consider all those who answered the call who have gone before us. Consider Abraham. He followed the ways of his father and forefathers before him, worshiped the gods of the nations, and engaged in the pagan ways of the people around him. He belonged to this world until the Lord called him, and he said yes. He chose to become a foreigner in a foreign land, believing he would be a part of a people–a kingdom–not yet seen. His hands dripped with myrrh. In fact, the entire “great cloud of witnesses” is full of stories of myrrh-scented lives.
Forerunners–those who carry the message of Christ ahead of His glorious return–are those who have great opportunity to belong to this world but instead say yes to something different. To Someone different. Their lives carry the foreign aroma of one who has walked away from the home of comfort, ease, and pure earthly pleasure. Meanwhile, that unfamiliar scent is repugnant to the world that searches for those who align with their foul agendas, plans, and values. Paul said that we are a pleasing aroma to Christ, but to the world, we reek of death (2 Cor. 2:15-16). To the One we love, our aroma of sacrificial love is beautiful and attractive and carries components of His own aroma, the perfume of One who laid down His life for the sake of love. To the world, our fragrance of sacrificial love smells like the pungent fumes of death.
What are you willing to leave behind in order to belong to the One your heart desires? What are you willing to sacrifice, to give up, or to even let die to pursue the One you love?
Do you want to be one who loves the Beloved One no matter what? Do you hear Him knocking, beckoning you to come to Him, no matter the cost? Do you believe that He is worth the loss, the sacrifice, and the death of anything and everything that would keep you from wholehearted love?
Do your hands drip with myrrh?