What wonderful words of the bride concerning the Bridegroom: “He is altogether lovely” (Song 5:16). Of course this expression rightly applies to Jesus Christ, our Beloved. The two words “altogether lovely” represent one Hebrew word machmad, meaning “a desirable thing.” It is used of Ezekiel’s wife, “the desire of thine eyes” (Ezek. 24:16). It is used concerning Ephraim’s children, “the beloved fruit of the womb” (Hos. 9:16). It is also used of God’s sanctuary where it is translated “desire” (Ezek. 24:21). It is applied to highly esteemed material possessions and translated as “pleasant things” (1 Ki. 20:6; Isa. 64:11; Lam. 1:7), and “goodly” or “precious” (2 Chr. 36:19). In every case it signifies that which is of supreme worth to the possessor.
When we say, “He is altogether lovely,” we are saying that our Lord is to us all that Ezekiel’s wife was to her husband, all that the children were to their parents, what the temple was to a Jew and what the choicest earthly possessions were to an Israelite – and much more. Our infinitely attractive Bridegroom is the only supremely satisfying object of desire. There is no sinless desire of which the human heart is capable that cannot find its perfect fulfillment in Christ! Moreover, there is something else striking about the word machmad: In every case other than Song of Solomon 5:16 the greatly desired object is removed! Ezekiel’s wife dies. Ephraim’s children are slain, the temple is destroyed, all life’s pleasant things are robbed.
What are we to learn from this? Is it not that since all other objects of our desire will ultimately pass away, if we make anything less than Christ our object we shall surely be disappointed? Only He will eternally be what He is today, “altogether lovely.” Can we honestly echo the words of the psalmist, “There is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee”? (Ps. 73:25). How much do we know of His beauty?
By Carolyn C. Gibb
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org