This study of the spikenard begins in the Song of Solomon
Spikenard contains highly aromatic oil in its flower head, the leaves, stems and roots. In other words, the oil is to be found in every part of the plant.
It is fitting that spikenard is the first spice mentioned in the Song of Solomon. It is from the new born heart that true worship flows. The aroma of spikenard is released by the worshiper and from this, all the other spices will spring.
The release of worship by seeing God as He is
Song of Solomon 1 v 12
While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.
Spikenard is released during a time of fellowship with the King.
There is a relationship between the king at His table and the spikenard sending out an odour. Here we have cause and effect. As we gaze upon Him in adoration – the scent of the spikenard is released.
We sit at His table in fellowship with Him and in this fellowship we worship Him. Table here is Masav in the Hebrew. This gives the idea of something circular. Sit is taken from a verbal root word Savav and this root has the idea of something surrounding or shrouding. This shows us that we are His guests and that He is all-encompassing us with His presence and fellowship.
Isaiah 40:22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.
This is all glorious in that God, who is mighty over all, has enabled us to have a place at His table. But what is this table? Psalm 23:5 tells us Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
These enemies are those things which cause us distress, that bind us and put us in a position that we cannot move.
The cross of Christ gives us the victory!
The finished work of the cross furnishes God’s table. When the Lord Jesus Christ paid for our sins upon the cross he dealt with every wrongdoing that we had ever done, but he also dealt with every problem we could ever face! The cross of Jesus Christ is our place of victory where all our enemies are defeated!
In fact, with the Apostle Paul we can say:
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15)
The bridegroom knocks on the door in the Song of Solomon
In Revelation 3:20 Jesus says, Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
The word sup here signifies the evening meal – this is the principal meal which is lengthy and time is taken over it. It is the meal taken after a hard working day when we need to be sustained and refreshed. This reveals at least one of the reasons why the Lord Jesus wants us to fellowship with Him. He wants to sustain, refill and enable us to continue to bear fruit for the Father.
In the Song of Solomon 5, the Bridegroom knocks and we see similarities to Revelation 3.
2 I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.
3 I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?
This word knocking in the Hebrew (daphaq) means to press severely and sincerely drive at something. The word only appears 2 other times in the scriptures: once to drive flocks hard and once when the wicked men of Benjamin were beating on a man’s door. Revelation 3:20 bears some resemblance to this. The word for knock means to rap at the door heavily, a bit like you would when you are trying to wake a sleeping person.
The bride makes excuses
We often see pictures of gentle Jesus tapping on the door of our heart, but this is not actually the true picture. This is not a gentle tap. Jesus is pressing earnestly for us to open our hearts to Him and commune with Him. This is important since our Lord is saying to us – wake up! Respond!
In verse 3 above the bride makes excuses. I am afraid that it is so like us all – the call to prayer and worship takes us away from other distractions, the television or internet, our mobile phones, social media sites and so much more that vie for our time and attention.
To be honest, this is not an easy process – but it isn’t meant to be.
This can be seen by looking at how spikenard is made: It is gathered by collecting the root. The roots are found by climbing into the Himalayas and digging them up from the ground. What is gathered is then crushed and distilled under heat to create oil.
Think of the effort of collecting the roots and the preparation of the oil – think of the crushing and heating processes.
There are many times when we may not feel like worshipping God but we must still give ourselves to His service in this.
The sufferings of Job
This reminds me of Job – in all his trials: crushed and pressed in heat of affliction and bodily ill-health, deserted by all those around him, suffering disaster which took his beloved children to the grave, and having his wealth diminished, yet he still worshipped God and gave him glory. This crushing deepened the act of worship. The refiner’s fire deepened his experience and revelation of who God truly is.
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
I am come into my garden my sister my spouse. The Lord walked in another garden at the beginning of the Bible but its occupants hid away from Him because they had sinned. Jesus himself entered into a garden called Gethsemane; in this garden, He was betrayed and arrested and led to His death for us, fulfilling His Father’s will.
As the Lord calls us to this new garden of intimacy, let us press on in fellowship with Him and make no excuses.
An outpouring of Spikenard in the New Testament.
John 12: 1-3 Then Jesus six days before the Passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
Notice here again that they have had supper. Mary is living the verse – While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof. As she falls at His feet she pours forth worship.
Since the woman wipes Jesus’ feet with her hair, this reveals something deeper of what worship truly is.
1 Corinthians 11;15 tells us that hair is given to the woman as her glory. This woman is willing to take that which is glorious to her and offer it up at the feet of Jesus.
What is your glory
Let me ask you – what is your glory? Are you willing to lay what is important at the feet of Jesus? Here we see true worship: humbly approaching God and laying our self before Him, showing that we love nothing more than Christ our saviour.
So, her act of worship was not a brief encounter. She did not count the cost either, financially – a year’s wages, or socially – as it opened her to ridicule.
Worshiping the Lord released this fragrance, spikenard, through devotion to the Lord and it did not go unnoticed by those around.
Thus, in this way, the Apostle Paul beseeches us to lay our whole lives at the disposal of our Lord.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
In the Greek, the word for service (latreia) means to worship in regards to sacred service. So our worship is not just what comes out of our mouth, but a life lived in sacrifice.
What smell does it send forth – an aroma that fills the house when Jesus is worshipped! This gives an aroma of life or death.
And so the scripture informs us:
2 Cor. 2:14-17
14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life.
A Word of Warning
There is an account we read within scripture which warns us and we should examine ourselves in the light of it.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23)
These foolish people are the kind who think they have a relationship with God but who run around to get their ‘anointing’ from others. They run consistently to people for ‘blessing’. They are the type that pays others for a ‘blessing’ or those who will ask for a seed of ‘blessing’ – often money. God has told us to, ‘come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.’ (Isaiah 55:1)
Don’t substitute this false anointing, these lies, for the intimacy of fellowship with God, in His Son: The Lord Jesus Christ, through the Holy Ghost. That false anointing will be the deception that will ultimately, one day, destroy your very soul. Forsake these foolish people and flee to Jesus. What tragedy are the words of Jesus – depart from Me – I never knew you!
What does all this mean for us?
Intimacy with the Lord in worship.
John 4: 23-24 says
…the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Note in Song of Solomon that she tries to find who her soul loves.
Let’s have a seeking heart to meet with Him.
If you are reading this and you don’t have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, turn to Him with all your heart for the forgiveness of your sins because ‘whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ (Romans 10:13)
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
This verse is often quoted to unbelievers, but originally it is written to believers. As such let’s go to the Lord in worship to fellowship with Him. This is the starting point before we can look at what the other spices mean for us.
Very soon we may be ushered into His presence. Let us be intimate all the more with the Saviour as we see the Day approaching.
All scripture quotations are taken from the KJV of the Bible.
Strongs Concordance and https://www.blueletterbible.org/ have been used in the preparation of this Bible study