Chapter 7 The King And Our Spikenard

While the king sitteth at His table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof (Song of Solomon 1:12).

The highest honor given to man is to have access into the presence of the King of glory. It is an honor even to enter the presence of a king on earth. A single interview with a monarch of repute is highly esteemed, much to be coveted, and never to be forgotten. But we are naturally averse to drawing nigh to God. The Jews of old stood afar off. Even Moses trembled at God’s manifestation of His holy presence at Mount Sinai.

The King

The Lord Jesus is the Father’s appointed King. “Yet have I set My king upon My holy hill of Zion.” (Psalm 2:6). The rule over this world has been given to Him and to Him alone. But before He takes over the government of it, there is to be a successive and continuous demonstration of the failure of man to govern it. Indeed, every man who has grasped at the throne of universal dominion, such as Alexander the Great, several Caesars, Saladin, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, and the like, has ended his life in shame and disgrace.

Our Lord, whose goings forth have been from of old, and who existed from all eternity as the Son of God, is constituted the appointed King. He bore this title and character throughout all the Old Testament dispensations, so that believers in that period looked forward to His coming to establish His kingdom.

In the days of His flesh, our Lord rode into Jerusalem and presented Himself as the King in fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, “Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass” (Matthew 21:5). The wise men from the east sought for Him as “the king of the Jews.” This also was the title Pilate had written over Him on the cross. But now, having been raised from the dead and given all power in Heaven and in earth, He reigns in Heaven as “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” So these words, “The king sitteth at His table,” are very well suited to His present exalted state in Heaven, and that exalted state is abundantly manifest in that He is both Lord and Christ and sits at the right hand of God.

Our Spikenard

In the Old Testament dispensation, the high priest had access, once each year, into the holy of holies. Here God communed with him from above the mercy seat. Now with such a way open, and with such a welcome awaiting him, what would we have thought if the high priest had neglected to enter in? If he had ever done such a thing, the people would have been shocked at his impiety. They would not have been surprised had fire from God consumed him as it did those who offered strange fire.

But it is very common today, sad to say, that so many believers are guilty of this impiety. One can but wonder that such a freedom is so little prized and cultivated. Israel’s was only a sensuous worship—the ark most splendid—the mercy seat sublime—the cherubim majestic—the cloud of glory effulgent. But these were only “shadows of good things to come.” We may now behold the full glory of God in the face of our Lord and Saviour.

It is this vision of God’s glory in the face of the Lord Jesus Christ which causes the spikenard of praise to break forth from our hearts. It is the manifestation of His glories and beauties, and all that He has accomplished in the way of our redemption, which releases the praise of His saints. These praises, like spikenard, are a sweet-smelling savor unto the Lord—as David said: “Let my prayer be set forth before Thee as incense” (Psalm 141:2).

Spikenard comes from a very small plant. It was reckoned one of the principal spices because of its fragrance. It was this very costly ointment which Mary broke over the Saviour’s feet. The offering of our worship and praise has an efficacy of sweet aroma because all is perfumed with the merits of our adorable Redeemer.

Notice, too, that the King sits at His table with His saints. They feast together and nowhere more so than at His own remembrance feast. Though He is so great a King, and constituted so by the Father, yet we sit at His table as lame Mephibosheth did at the table of David. It is His blessed presence which draws our worship into exercise, even as the sun opens flowers and releases their fragrance. It is the King’s delight to sit at His table and view such graces in His people. There should be nothing wanting for His people. He is here and we are with Him. His Person, His grace, His sacrifice, His blood, His righteousness should all draw out our deepest adoration and worship.

O soul-inspiring story
God’s majesty and grace
In lustrous strokes of glory
Deep carved in Jesu’s face!
Hearts wrapt in contemplation
Of Godhead’s Image bright,
Break forth in adoration,
In wonder and delight!

There Manhood, all perfection,
The Godhead-fullness shine;
God’s love and man’s affection,
The human, the divine;
A life, a death, transcendent,
Revealing God as love:
Here, lowly Man, dependent—
God over all, above!

Unsullied blaze of glory!
O ever-radiant Face!
Thy rich, unfathomed story
Transfigures us in grace!
Made like Thee, soon, completely,
With love-lit eyes we’ll scan
God’s face unveiled sweetly
In Thine, Thou Son of Man!

Frank Allaben