The Garden Seat

 

 

garden-heartmercy-seatWelcome Readers! Last week I shared about summertime gardens and three specific scriptural gardens while introducing the concept of our hearts being gardens. I base the idea of the heart being a garden upon scripture found in the Song of Solomon. Let me quote a few verses as if these words were a personal conversation I was having with the Lord. In Song of Solomon 4:12, the Lord (the Lover) tells me (the Beloved), “You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.” I appreciate that the Lord considers me His garden and I extend a personal invitation to Him to be sure He knows I desire a personal relationship with Him by speaking the words of Song of Solomon 4:16, “Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.” The Lord then assures me of His presence within my heart by the words of Song of Solomon 5:1, “I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride.”

Several years ago the Lord inspired me to write a short praise chorus that I entitled The Garden of My Heart. Essentially, this chorus is a continuation of the dialogue I just shared from the Song of Solomon. However, my conversation with the Lord in this chorus is on a more personal level. Let me share it with you because it will be the basis of my blog for the upcoming weeks.

Jesus, unlock the garden of my heart;
awaken love in me.
I want to sit at Your feet, as the great mercy seat,
in the garden of my heart.
I want to laugh; I want to sing;
I want to dance with the King
in the garden of my heart.

Jesus, unlock the garden of my heart;
awaken love in me.
I want to gaze in You eyes, so that faith may arise,
in the garden of my heart.
I want to laugh; I want to sing;
I want to dance with the King
in the garden of my heart.

Jesus, unlock the garden of my heart;
awaken love in me.
I want to feel Your embrace, and receive Your grace,
in the garden of my heart.
I want to laugh; I want to sing;
I want to dance with the King
in the garden of my heart.

Each stanza of this song begins with my plea for Jesus to unlock my heart and stir up new growth of love in me. Then the next two lines describe what I wish to do while in the presence of the Lord. The final three lines portray the interaction I yearn to experience through a vital relationship with Jesus. Today, I want us to focus primarily upon the first stanza of this song.

What I desire to do in the first verse is to just sit at the feet of Jesus. I want to sit with Jesus because He is the guest in my heart. I do not want to ignore Him by being preoccupied with “stuff.” In humility, I choose to sit at Jesus’ feet and to give Him the seat of honor. Where is the place of honor? It is the mercy seat!

Many gardens have a bench where one can sit down and enjoy the surroundings. I describe the bench in the garden of my heart as being the mercy seat. The mercy seat in scripture is not actually a bench for me to sit upon but it gives a good analogy. In the Old Testament, the mercy seat is the solid gold lid or cover on the ark of the covenant. It is described in Exodus 25:17-22. At each end of this gold lid is a cherubim. Their outstretched wings provide a throne from where God would mediate on earth. It is a representation of His true throne in heaven. Exodus 25:22 says, “There I will meet with you; and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, I will speak to you about all that I will give you in commandment for the sons of Israel.” The mercy seat is the place where the blood of sacrifices was sprinkled. The word for “mercy seat” is the same root for the word “atonement”. It means to cover, cancel, appease, or cleanse. In the New Testament, the Greek word for Mercy Seat is ‘hilasterion’. Paul literally says that God presented Christ as a propitiation or ‘mercy seat’. Romans 3:25 NET says, “God publicly displayed him at his death as the mercy seat accessible through faith.” This means that Jesus Christ is the mercy seat! I am humbled knowing that I can sit with Jesus, who is the actual mercy seat in the garden of my heart!

Knowing that I can share the garden of my heart with Jesus, what do I want to do? I give three responses in the last two lines of the praise chorus, but today I am going to only focus upon the first action of laughing. I want to laugh because of what the psalmist says in Psalm 126:2, “Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy…. ‘The LORD has done great things for them.'” Laughter expresses joy and I like the image of Psalm 47:1, “Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.” I think there was laughter heard among with the cries of joy unto the Lord.

I come to the conclusion that it is only in humbleness that I can sit at the mercy seat with Jesus in the garden of my heart. According to  Lamentations 3:22, the Lord’s mercies are new every morning. According to the first line of my chorus, I ask Jesus to awaken love in me. I desire to be awakened every morning to the love and mercy of the Lord!

My Reader, will you invite Jesus into the garden of your heart today? Are you willing to humbly sit with Him at the great mercy seat?

Joyfully,
Cheryl
gold apple new

Note: Next week we will continue our time in the garden of the heart by looking at the second verse of this praise chorus.

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