SONG OF SOLOMON
As given in the devotional
New King James Version
A DEVOTIONAL JOURNEY:
(continue scrolling down to the appropriate date)
I have decided to commence another wander through the Song of Solomon, taking my time and savouring something new each day. Then I had the thought that you might like to journey with me, therefore each day I will post my days discoveries here on the web. If you can spare a moment I would just love to hear from you out there in cyber space as we travel together, otherwise I may presume that I am taking this journey alone. Never the less take it I will take it and I know that I will be blessed.
A word of advice….do not read this book as a human love story if you wish to gain spiritually. The point of this study is to turn the Song of Solomon into devotional prayer so that our emotional chemistry can be changed by the Holy Spirit. It is not enough to hear this as a sermon or teaching, for to grasp the full implications, it has to be turned into prayer. This book will not help us very much if the language of it does not get into our prayer life with God, because, that is the context where our emotional chemistry, our spirit, is changed dynamically by the Holy Spirit.
DAY 1. Song of Solomon 1:2 Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth
Each day this is where I begin my day’s journey, conscious that I need mouth to mouth resuscitation, where my spirit is made alive by His Spirit where His breath, His life is flowing through me afresh. Liken it to our mouth touched with hot coals from the altar as was Isaiah’s. He knows this is where we need to begin and He is waiting each day for me to sigh or cry, feebly or passionately, for Him to come.
She asks for the kiss, she is asking the Father. “let Him kiss me…..
Isai 6:6,7 says that the angel touched his mouth with a live coal from the altar. When you read 1 :2 do not think of kisses on your mouth as this is outside the boundaries of the Word of God. It is easier to liken it to a kiss upon your heart, His kiss touches our heart, the kiss of life, the touch of life bringing the release of the Word of God to our shrivelled up heart. As He touches our mouth His word is released within us and eventually out from us. For this is the word that reveals the romance of the marriage not for other skills such as for evangelism this is for relationships which need to come out of the touch of the God of love, to release our love for the Bridegroom, after which we will win people to the Romance. This awakens and woos our heart to think as a Bride. It is also known by the Hebrews as the kisses of the Torah which are the kisses of the Word of God for we are the people of the Logos, and it is the Logos which touches the mind, spirit and heart.
DAY 2. Song of Solomon 1:2b For Your love is better than wine
It is going to be good to mull over these words all day so that I fully believe and embrace this truth, that there is nothing in this world that can make my heart sing or laugh or even be truly happy or make the day glow, more than knowing His love.
I feel that it is important to get beyond thinking of His love flowing towards us because we are good or obedient or such like, which would be to bring Him down to our level. To not be caught up in petty specifics. Rather for us to be absorbed into the knowledge that He loves us because He is love. He just is, and then to rest in that. To just BE.
This would eventually eliminate any judgmental attitude and pettiness within us, just as He has none towards we ourselves.
DAY 3. S.of S. 1:3 Because of the fragrance of Your good ointments your Name is as ointment poured forth.
Your Name is as ointment poured forth. The word ‘poured’ has struck me. To be of pouring consistency means that it is liquefied. I am going to ponder upon the Lord being liquefied so that His life could be poured out upon the dry earth, upon my dry soul. If I was liquefied I imagine that my heart would melt rather than be fixed and stubborn. My will likewise, soft and malleable. The Bible say that His Name is a strong tower and the righteous run into it and are safe. I have 24 hours ahead of me to savour the Name of Jesus for within His Name is everything I could ever want or need.
DAY 4. S.of S 1:3b Therefore the virgins love You.
Virgins represent those who love the Lord above all else. I guess it is only those people who recognize all that His Name represents. Beauty, power authority and so much more that I shall meditate upon today, also who would embrace the great Romance for they understand and recognize His poured out life for mankind, for them. The response of love within these people would be all consuming, they would be focused. This is not just theory for me, for as I meditate this all-consuming desire for Him grows ever stronger. I see the Lords heart and desire to draw this response from me even from us.
Virgins are those who no longer look for satisfaction in relationships, drugs, drink, food entertainment and so on. They have learned that the God space within them can only be satisfied by knowing the Lord in a relational way.
DAY 5. S.of Sol. 1:3 Draw me away. We will run after you.
Draw me, and let us run after You firstly into intimacy and then let us run after you in ministry. Drawing is singular, running is plural and speaks of public ministry, running after You in ministry, whereas drawing is the private heart being wooed into the life of intimacy with the Lord.
We have travelled quite a journey already in only two verses. We began, as we need to do each morning, with asking the Lord to breathe life into us, deep within our Spirits. This was followed by a stirring and then a flood of fresh praise which turns to worship as we realized afresh who He is.
Ps. 42:1,2 as the hart pants for the water brooks so pants my soul for thee oh Lord.
Here is where we realize that, left to ourselves, we will not be consistent in our pursuit of Him, for we need to constantly be lifting our heart to Him and inviting Him to woo us and draw us, according to His desire and standard rather than ours. To draw us daily, moment by moment until we are seated with Him and feasting upon todays manna, fresh each day for it turns rotten at the close of the day if we have not digested it. It must be freshly gathered each day.
Now something else catches my attention and initially strikes me as strange. In this verse there is a switch from the singular to the plural, from me to we. Let us remember that this is not just an earthly romance, in fact I am not interested in seeing it in an historical view, rather the Lord wanted to show the romance between Himself and His bride to be, not the Church so much as those within the Church who respond to Him as a bride would to her Bridegroom, with love and focus.
So we see the Bride-to-be wooed, courted, she is awakening, will she respond fully, His help is always at hand? Perhaps we see also that as we respond to His love there will always be a few who follow our example. We certainly pray for that anyway, that we will show His worth and not belittle or demean Him.
DAY 6. S. of S 1:4 draw me away......the King has brought me into His chambers.
Surely we are in no doubt by now that the Lord is after intimacy with His people. Here we see in just a few verses that as soon as we desire His touch he awakens us, as we respond so that love surges within us and we find that quickly He brings us into that inner place of His heart, his chambers. A.W.Tozer wrote ‘Christian theology teaches the doctrine of prevenient grace, where before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man. Before a sinful man can think a right thought of God, there must have been a work of enlightenment done within him, Imperfect it may be, but a true work nonetheless, and the secret cause of all desiring and seeking and praying which may follow’. For it is true we pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit.
No man can come to Me except the Father which has sent Me draw him’.
It is by this drawing that God takes from us every vestige of credit for the act of coming. The impulse to pursue God originates from God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him.
Now we see that He has drawn us away that He might bring us into His chambers for our Lord has always had marriage upon His heart. Firstly with Adam, followed by the nation of Israel, it was Jeremiah and Hosea who spoke the longings of God's heart, saying that we shall call Him our husband, calling Him wonderful. We need to realise and experience that He is in the air that we breathe, for He is closer than hands and feet, so why would we deny Him. If at any time we find ourselves not responding to His longing heart we simply go back to the beginning and ask Him to give us the kiss of life. vs. 2. Never do it in our own strength, or try and work it up even by using something as precious as speaking in tongues. It will never be by our works, but always by His grace, just ask.
All over the world God's Holy Spirit is moving, to awaken lovers and bring them to Himself.
DAY 7. April S. of S. 1:5,6 I am dark, but lovely….like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. Do not look upon me because I am dark….my mothers’ sons were angry with me, they made me the keeper of the vineyards. But my own vineyard I have not kept.
Here we observe her doing what we all do instead of sitting and resting at peace, quietly contemplating the amazing wonder of all that He is. In His presence and in His chamber, where He has taken us, we allow our carnal emotions to come to the fore where we imagine that we should be vocal, stirred, intense and eventually strident. Even more we are easily satisfied, where a second in His presence and we take over the situation becoming self-focused. Our interest really is upon how we feel, how we look, act, or even fail.
We inform Him in fact we waste this precious time telling Him that which He already knows about us. ‘I am dark, I haven’t tended my own vineyard, I have been too busy helping others, it’s my brother fault, I couldn’t help it. Our emotions are so clamouring that we do not even register that He is responding to our distress by calling us lovely, likening our beauty and delight to the curtains of Solomon. Deep in the back of our minds we wonder how He can say such things about us, when we know that it isn’t true.
Today I choose to believe that He sees me clothed in His beautiful Son Jesus, and I shall rest in His glorious finished work and wear the garment of praise. Wow what a salvation.
Judson Cornwall wrote ....’she only sees at the beginning how wonderful was the person she is in love with, then when he takes her into his dwelling place and while she is exploring, she sees her reflection in the mirror, and she sees with a shock what He sees. Isn't that the truth that we all need to see ourselves as Jesus sees us before we recognise the darkness which has stained our own lives. Those areas of sin that we had never recognised, now our loving Lord gently exposes to our view .For someone not having a strong sense of being a sinner it comes as a shock. Besides this she plays the blame game and blames her mother's sons this to me sort of hints that they were her stepbrothers rather than blood relationship.
The paradox of grace is seen here where she is dark in her heart but lovely to God, where there is shame of sin but where she receives a fresh revelation of the beauty of God. As she begins the journey she is on fire for God, she wants the kisses of the Lord, where she wants to be drawn but she soon runs into a dead end road when she loses the original focus of her life.
Again when she bewails “I am dark but lovely” she also could be acknowledging that she is dark from fleshly desires yet lovely by the work of Christ in her life. When she refers to the curtains of Solomon, these were in the temple and were hidden from the common eye, they were only seen by the priests. Surely we can liken this to the beauty in us that cannot be seen except by the Lord for she could be feeling the shame from the judgment of others
DAY 8. S. of S. 1:7 Tell me O you whom I love where You feed Your flock,
There is such a desperate cry here to have more of Jesus. She cries “Jesus where do you feed your people, I want you to feed me, as you did in the early days before I lost my way in rejection and shame. Probably there is also a dulling of her newly awakened spirit which comes about by indoctrination and even life itself, she cries “I have to have more of you.”
I often begin my day by asking the Lord where in the world He is especially occupied at that moment. I get the thought from Zech 1:8-11 where we see the Lord waiting for His ‘Watchers’ to ride up and inform Him on what is going on around the globe. This way I can get the feel for where in the world there is special need for intercession, so that I can cry for what He is crying for etc. I know we have our list of needs but it is very special to tune into His list.
I want to know also where He is feeding His flock. Maybe I can tune in on the internet and receive also, or if it is in my country then perhaps I can attend and also receive, or maybe He will lead me to meet with someone today, or a book I can read. This way I am resting and not running here and there and I am receiving the best. To receive from someone who has also been fed by His hand so that I can eat at their table.
Perhaps I could recommend a book to you which I often pick up and refresh myself with, it is The Pursuit of God by A.W.Tozer. The Lord feeds His flock through the writings of this man in this book. Today in this book I read, ’To have found God and still pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love, scorned indeed by the too easily satisfied religionist….’
My thoughts also go to Psalm 23 King David shepherds psalm. Verse 1 where David who knows what it is to shepherd sheep speaks of the Lord. ‘The Lord is my shepherd’. I hear David say this with such pride even gratitude. Just as though the sheep is laying claim to having the very best shepherd. My heart is overflowing with that thought today, of His character, having such understanding, always concerned, forever gentle, naturally kind, brave, selfless in His devotion to the sheep. I know that sheep have mob instincts, and are classified as stupid and I thank Him for His patience.
DAY 9. S. of S. 1:7b….where You make it (your flock) rest at noon.. For why should I be as one who veils herself by the flocks of your companions.
I wish to begin today as I did yesterday where there is such a desperate cry to have more of Jesus. She cries “Jesus where do you feed your people, I want you to feed me, as you did in the early days before I lost my way in rejection and shame. Probably there I also a dulling of her newly awakened spirit which comes about by indoctrination and even life itself, she cries “I have to have more of you.”
Once again we need to come back to the Biblical way of sheep. As the shepherd leads them he makes sure that they eat their fill early morning and again late in the day, so that by noon they are filled and are able to rest in the shade during the heat. Therefore sheep should eat early when the dew is on the grass they should eat their fill so that in the heat of the sun they can rest in the shade and ruminate, that is chew the cud. Just as the manna was collected early in the morning, when it looked like a hard coriander seed which then needed to be ground, processed, baked and then eaten. Until that was completed the manna was little use to them and would eventually turn rotten. So it is essential that we meditate upon the food we have taken from His hand or gathered for ourselves. But in order to take this rest certain things are needed even as it was with natural sheep.
If all of the above is taken care of then they can sit at rest and ruminate – meditate as they chew and chew upon what they have consumed.
This is such a lesson for us. No struggling and striving for we are asking for something which is very close to our Shepherds heart. “Show me today Lord my resting place in You, and there I will focus upon what You are feeding me”. As He shows us our fears, torments, parasites, rivalries etc. just simply hand them over, let them go, look away to Him for it is much better to rather look upon Him, our Great Shepherd.
Next it says that she veils herself. The my margin in my Bible changes the word ‘veils’’ to ‘wanders’. I am inclined to opt for wanders, for if she is wandering at noon it will be because she has not, either fed and satiated her hunger earlier or those other things we have mentioned are bothering her. She is wisely questioning her condition, “why am I like this?” I do not need to be this way, He has provided the way. Throughout the day let us take our spiritual temperature as it were. Have I lost my way, my peace, my focus etc. If the answer is yes, it simply means that we did not eat sufficient earlier, we are not ruminating/chewing the cud, and so we have lost our focus. Do not become condemned, just wiser.
Is not our God amazingly good towards us!
DAY 10. S.of S. 1: 9-17 I have compared you…..behold you are fair my love….
He reveals himself to her with a tender answer, where He gives her the answer out of her dilemma by telling her that He knows, “you are beautiful and I love you, He says, even while you are in crisis and maturing I see the cry in your spirit”. This way He reaffirms her sincerity and this is a very important principle for us to see when we are in a spiritual crisis, therefore what the Lord wants to communicate to us is that He loves us in spite of ourselves. This is the very thing Satan does not want us to believe, Satan wants us to become hopeless and despairing, so that we run from Him instead of too Him. What we see here is a very important strategy of the Lord, where He reveals the counter strategy of Satan. If God’s answer in this our time of crisis is “I love you, you are beautiful”, then Satan is exactly the opposite, “you are a hopeless hypocrite, God has lost interest you, and you have no sincerity of heart”.
Here love is flowing freely between them. There is so much imagery and Eastern expressions of ardour here. Maybe our culture does not fully appreciate the flow of words and love between them. I recall one time in Asia I was ministering and so desiring to awaken hearts to express their love to their Lord. Afterwards a dear friend said to me that the concept I was sharing was shocking to them, that they did not use such expressive words of love even to their husband. But how I appreciate how one song writer puts it as he names the Lord ‘the darling of heaven’. We possibly need His help for love expressed is what He is desiring from us. I am not talking about the hype during a gathering when it becomes more mass hysteria than personal aching and longing of the heart.
I am talking about a love language that flows day and night, through thick and thin, until it is as natural as breathing. It is possibly helpful if we use songs, as long as we are aware of the words of the song. It is even better to use scripture, be creative and put a tune to King David’s psalms for example. Even google Ray Watson for simple and sweet soaking music, you can even google Allen Hood to hear some messages on extravagant love for an extravagant God. There is another book I strongly recommend ‘In the footsteps of Jesus’ author is Bruce Marchiano. I wept my way through this book as I met with an exquisitely beautiful and deeply loving Lord Jesus.
Vs. 15 You have doves eyes
There is a huge key here if we want to know the Lord according to His desires. You see doves are different to all other birds, their eyes can only fix upon one object at a time. Here indeed is our only hope for success, it’s to be focused as we fix our hearts longing upon our future Bridegroom.
Phil. 3:10 the Apostle Paul said “O that I might know Him’.
DAY 11. S. of S. 2:4 He brought me to the banqueting house. And His banner over me was love.
Today I feel the need to have a little Bible study, laying down some ground rules, hope you do not mind. Perhaps it is the teacher in me, but also my understanding that my Bible is an Hebrew/Jewish book translated into English as best as they understood. Therefore I do not take the translation at face value, but I look into the Hebrew or even further. Let me explain myself. In order to understand Jewish/Hebrew writings we do as the Hebrews always do.
To understand scripture the Hebrew people filter it through the above test looking for the midrash, never taking an isolated thought or something out of context, for us it would mean also not filtering the scriptures through our own culture, or even our church culture. Finally the Hebrews say that scripture is like a diamond with 70 facets. Each scripture has 70 different ways that the light can go through and 4 levels of meaning, shining through the 1-8 test above. Scripture is living, active, sharper than any two edged sword.
All of the above does not make understanding the Bible harder, rather it urges us not to be lazy or passive. This is how I am reading Song of Solomon, not in a sentimental or fanciful manner, I am searching for the truth by filtering it the way the Hebrews did. Now back to our devotion.
A progressive expression of two way love brings her into the house of wine, I use this expression rather than banqueting house which infers eating, for this is what the Hebrews say. Drinking wine might mean something different for us but for them wine was safer to drink than water.
Ps. 104:15 wine that makes glad the heart (or elsewhere) wine to make the face shine’.
Rather than imagining drunkenness think as they would. At rest, convivial company, one of heart, true love given and received, joy between us, true joy spreading from deep within until it touches our entire being. He brought me to the house of wine.
His banner over me is love…….
The English word ‘banner’ is used many times throughout this book and each time it has a different Hebrew meaning. In this instance the banner is an ensign, such as the flag which each tribe of Israel owned as their signature, their identity.
Now to sum up the above. ….He has brought me to the house of wine that love and joy might spread and fill my entire being. I am identified by His love for me, this is my covering and my characteristic. A joy that is deep and eternal, not dependent upon externals. May we live in this knowledge all day long.
DAY 12. Song of Solomon 2:6 His left hand is under my head and His right hand embraces me.
As always I wish to go beyond the obvious. The first thing I notice is that the Lord is specific in detail regarding both left and right hand and which one is placed where in this part of the story. Therefore I feel that it must be important. I know that throughout scripture there are many illustrations which draw the conclusion that the left hand indicates judgment, whereas to the right points to mercy. Am I to see myself here in the ‘house of wine’ with judgment and mercy coming together in great love, and so releasing us into a freedom that is not ‘make believe’, hyped up, and so increasing a true joy for us. Sin known or unknown causes us to live under judgment and then He comes and embraces us to life again and again as I rest in His presence. As the scriptures say ‘Be anxious for nothing’.
My thoughts have gone right back to 1963 when we were newly and vibrantly filled with the Holy Spirit where there was just a small group of us meeting together. Our first guest speaker was about to visit with us, and what is more, he was a ‘prophet’. It was definitely the first time we had ever knowingly met a prophet. We were in awe, and I know for myself I was seriously checking my hearts condition, with no un-confessed sin lurking ready to be uncovered by our visitor. Except for one this that is, there was one lady I wanted to continue to feel angry towards, even at the risk of being exposed. So the Sunday service arrived, and I positioned myself behind a taller person so that I could not be spotted and maybe be pounced upon. The song service ended and up stood ‘the prophet’. The very first thing he did a he stood in front of the congregation, he looked around the person in front of me and pointed his finger at me then called me out to the front. Out I walked knowing I was in trouble also realising that everyone was about to be told how unforgiving I was. I knew that I deserved this and walked out to receive my punishment. I stood before the speaker, he told me to put out my hands, and then he dropped a bombshell He told me that the Lord wanted to give me a gift, to place it in my open hands. But I knew I didn’t deserve this gift, I deserved punishment not a gift. I was so disarmed, so amazed by His grace that at this moment I would have forgiven anyone anything at that point, and the Lord knew that was the best way to envelop me. Judgment yes, for sin has to be judged, but judgment married together with mercy is His way.
Back to our story as again we see she allows Him to bring her to the table to banquet. Afterwards as she digests the meal His left hand (which is the hand of judgment) and His right hand (which is the hand of mercy) are upon her. In other words the word/food she is digesting is balancing both judgment and mercy within her life/mind/heart. His left hand depicting judgment holding her still, so that she doesn’t squirm
We should add that judgment alone is not God’s nature, but then neither is mercy. The two married together is what is available in the Banqueting House, the House of Wine. Therefore let us come to Him in true honesty, trusting Him with the things in our lives that require His full scrutiny, allowing His gift of repentance to work its way through the dark recesses of our lives, and to then receive fully and totally His mercy. It has got to result in a GOOD day.
DAY 13 S.of S. 2:7 I charge you o daughters of Jerusalem…do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.
I see so many levels here…
On the one hand I see that she is staying in that place with Him at rest and content, but then in the following verse when she awakes and realises that they are no longer together, she is here and he is over there, it becomes obvious that something has happened between verse 7 and verse 8 to cause love to be put aside.
But verse 8 is for tomorrows reading let us linger here in vs. 7 awhile longer. Do our conversations with the Lord go something like this…….” I like it here with you Lord, the joy I feel is something I have always wanted. But I still want a life of my own choosing, I still have my own plans. It’s not good for me to be too intense for no one would understand. Also I am so busy and I need my sleep”. I imagine that we can all recognise something of ourselves here, or even insert our own musings. What will it take before we ….
‘love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength’.
One thing we will need is to realise that the empty lonely place deep within us can only ever be satisfied by Him, for He created us that way. Therefore what is the necessary response at this moment? It should go something like this….
“I recognise myself here Lord in this verse, but this knowledge does not shock You for You have always known this and yet it has not diminished Your love for me. I surrender my weak heart into Your hands to be moulded according to Your desires for me. Whatever it will take I want to love You and so satisfy Your hearts’ desire, amen”.
Before I close today’s devotion may I add one more thing. The verse above which I quoted has a second clause.
Luke 10:27 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind……..
and your neighbour as yourself.
I have deliberately divided the above verse in two sections, purely because I find that many within the Church do the same thing. I suggest that the focus in todays’ gospel is upon loving your neighbour and most certainly loving yourself. So much of the Churches energy is focused upon this level, for the majority of the messages we hear delivered are all centred upon how we can love ourselves and how we can serve the lost. All I am saying is that as good as this may be it still comes secondary to loving the Lord. When He becomes our total focus the 2nd clause will automatically fall into place and correctly and effectively.
DAY 14. S. of S. 2:8,9 the voice of my Beloved , he comes leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills…….He stands behind our wall, He is looking through the windows, gazing through the lattice.
As I mentioned yesterday one moment they were together, and the next verse separated. She is in bed resting and He is out on the high places leaping, skipping. For those used to the Bible, the imagery here is very clear, but so that we can all understand let us itemize what we see here.
She awakes and realizes that He has gone. Hearing His voice dimly, strong and free unencumbered with the needs of an earthbound life, exultant, full of power and joy. A part of her would wish that she had accompanied Him but then bed and sleep were a safer bet by far. Then she catches sight of Him by her wall, then near her window. That would be a far better option for her, Him coming into her space, where she is already comfortable and secure. She waits for Him to re -enter her space, to meet her requirements on her terms. She does not even stir, waiting for Him to make all the moves, drowsy with sleep, at ease, safe in the comfort of familiarity. But it is all an illusion as she is about to find out.
I think that it is at this point that we get our theology all wrong. We presume that we have to ‘press in’, ‘hype ourselves up’, speak in tongues for an hour, just like the pagans who have to wake up their god, babbling and cutting themselves. We think that this is what the previous paragraph is saying. But let us go right back to the beginning of this song. She began with a gentle reaching out, kiss me to life, draw me, which is just great for beginnings. What is happening here is that He is gently asking her to grow up, so gently, step by step to ensure that she gets her theology right. That she does it in a way that will not harm her in the end.
A moment ago she sees Him bounding over hills and mountains, she says “your standing behind the wall looking in” and the Lord answers “no you’re the one locked in, not me”, Jesus is now being revealed as a sovereign king who leaps over walls and mountains effortlessly. Every obstacle, human or demonic is no obstacle to Him. He is pictured as boundlessly, effortlessly subduing nations, nothing can stand before Him. He is operating under the mandate the Father gave Him, to disciple the nations. Human and demonic obstacles are as nothing, for He leaps and bounds over these things. He is coming as a king to her this time. She is used to being fed with grapes and raisins, under the shade tree on the bed, she is not used to mountains. The Lord is saying “come with me, rise, let us leap on mountains together”. She says I don’t like heights. He is challenging the comfort zone. He is invading her space, He is disrupting her right now. This is real. But most Christians do not want to go this far. When this comes they back away, “get out of the boat and walk on the water with me” He says. “Leave the house and come climb mountains with me”.
DAY 15 S. of S. 2:10 My Beloved spoke and said to me, “rise up my love my fair one and come away. For lo the winter is past the rain is over and gone, the flowers appear on the earth. The time of singing of birds has come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in the land. The fig tree has put forth her green figs, and the vines with her tender grapes give a good smell. Rise up my love my fair one and come away.
The nation of Israel has always been God’s time piece to the world. Things which happen to Israel serve as a road map or a barometer even a calendar, the Lord’s calendar for He has a time table.
Luke 21:8 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.
Therefore when we see Him use seasonal signs in this book to indicate to her that it is time to move on and grow and not to linger on her bed or secure in the place of her conception, we should link the two. One deciding factor is that the seasons mentioned are indicating growth, new birth a new beginning. She needs to respond though, that must be her choice, to go or stay, to rest and be at ease or to step out and follow. To trust Him to write her life’s story so that she can be caught up in His.
Things are still a true picture of our spiritual lives be it personal or be it to do with the Lord’s business, more especially the business of His return to earth the 2nd time. For this is very much on the Lord’s heart even as He expects it to be on ours.
Hebrews 9:28 to those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time…..
Once we are alerted to such matters the information out there abounds. There are many web sites written by experts on such matters, and we possibly should not remain deaf or blind to such things, otherwise we too may be tempted to be at ease in Zion. There is too much proof out there pointing to Old Testament prophecies in the process of being fulfilled regarding Israel and end times and therefore us. The Bible is dramatically being acted out before our eyes once we start looking, with obvious acceleration towards the Lord’s soon return and His longed for wedding. But why do we need to arise and follow, what is wrong with life as normal?
Life is never to remain static, growth is always a factor. There is a personal goal before us which we will never reach unless we move forward. The Lord is not averse to tipping us out of bed if necessary but if this should happen it will be due to somewhere sometime we have shown Him our desire to follow Him. In the following verses she has a lot to experience before she can be all He desires her to be, that is by His side at all times and to be a partaker of all His journeys and experiences even battles.
As we meditate upon this today may we, even tremulously, give Him permission to stir us to move forward and respond. Permission is required from us for He is a gentleman and therefore will never force His presence or His will upon us.
DAY 16 S. of S. 2:14 O my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs/cliff. Let me see your face let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely.
It is significant that He likens her to a dove at this time. Not only is there reference to a dove, but this dove is hidden in the clefts of the rock or in the secret place. In fact this entire verse is so poignant with imagery that it is exquisite. He is also expressing His desire to hear her voice and to see her face. Each of these are linked together as one they cannot be separated. Surely we recognise ourselves in these words.
How often have we come into ‘our closet’, into the secret place, for one on one time with the Lord, our ‘quiet time’ if you will, where instead of our hearts and therefore our faces freely lifting heavenwards, our heads follow our hearts slumping upon our chest in heaviness, guilt even. This is followed too often with a hasty retreat into the activities of the day, whilst hoping that tomorrow it will be easier, when it probably will not. I do suggest though that the hasty retreat, though not satisfactory, would be a better choice than to hype up a response, until we become purely soulish and strident. Here in this verse there is a helpful key. His use of the word ‘dove’ is our clue for a dove is the only bird which can only see in one direction at a time, focus is the key here. Single eyed. Jesus called it ‘being about His Fathers business’. For the way to instantly being at one as we fellowship in intimacy with our Lord is to have Him at the centre of our focus. This has to include ‘keeping short accounts’. Not waiting for our quiet time to check our spiritual temperature, rather choosing to be constant, recognising in an instant any disquiet within our spirits, and jading of our love, tarnishing of our heart. Walking in such sensitivity we learn the things which sully, possibly our attitudes, the company we keep, things we hear or even see, even things which we have no control over. But we do have control over our hearts response to these things.
Prov. 4:23 Keep our heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.
DAY 17 S. of S. 2:15 Catch us the little foxes. The little foxes that spoil the vines. For our vines have tender grapes.
This verse always appears at first glance to be totally out of synch with any of the surrounding scriptures. It is the only time that foxes are referred to in this book, therefore we have to ask why foxes and what have they to do with the entire story. An understanding of the Jewish culture and countryside will help. The scene is a vineyard, at the time when the grapes are not only on the vine but they are sweet and tender and vulnerable. Therefore it must be near harvest. Now at this time the keepers of the vineyard, even the entire family would move in and set up residence in the central watchtower. To be on hand for the moment the grapes were at their sweetest as it is then that harvesting needed to be swift, but also close by to watch out for predators. We notice that they specifically infer that the little foxes are to be mostly watched for at this time, why we should ask. This is the time when the vines would be flourishing, with fruit nestled amongst the foliage. As was the custom the vines were growing horizontal across the ground, raised by a large stone here and there to allow the air to circulate. Looking down from above it was almost impossible to observe the little foxes which were easily hidden under the foliage.
There is no mention of storms, wind, or heavy rains because when these came some damage would be expected, and the owners would go out looking for where they could rescue and bind up the damaged limbs. But not so with the little foxes they could come and go totally undetected. Besides this there would be no visible damage to the vine for the little foxes would simply nibble on the soft underbelly of the branches, bruising and thus inhibiting the essential flow of goodness from the main stock to the fruit. At the time of harvest the owner is looking for fruit, that is where the value is, fat juicy fruit, with the sugar level at its peak. To discover small, even shrivelled up grapes would be a tragedy. Therefore the little, undetected, unseen, seemingly harmless, cute tiny animals could bring a huge loss.
In all reality we are nearing harvest time, for in the Kingdom of God the angels are preparing to come and harvest the Great Harvest of our Lord. Fruit is what He is looking for, fat, juicy, healthy, abounding and flowing with a high sugar sweet content. Is there need for concern? The concern is that human nature will get away with anything if they can. Especially the unseen, hopefully undetected, everyone does it, type of sins. I am doing no one any harm, God is a God of love, He has forgiven my sins even before I commit them therefore I do not need to come under condemnation. He is my Father and He loves me regardless. The excuses go on and on. We are the focus, life our way and when and how we please, with no thought to the yield or inheritance that the owner of the vineyard, our Creator and Lord deserves.
If we truly believe that he could possibly return at any time. Or if, as some choose to believe, the 2nd coming is a long way off, we would still have to acknowledge that He could come for us individually anyway. If we believe His words when He said ‘be holy even as I am holy”, plus if we love Him as He longs and even deserves to be loved, then let nothing stop us going after those little foxes and seeing them as the vermin they are, cuddly and cute as they might appear.
THE HARVEST IS UPON US! THE REAPERS/ANGELS ARE WAITING WITH THE SICKLE IN THEIR HANDS FOR THE COMMAND. IF ONLY WE WOULD BELIEVE HOW CLOSE IT IS WE WOULD NOT DELAY.
DAY 18 S. of S. 2:16,17 My Beloved is mine and I am His . He feeds His flock among the lilies. Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away. Turn my Beloved and be like a gazelle or a young stag upon the mountains of Bether.
They are together and things appear all good. At least He is here, in her space, she is acknowledging the joy of having Him all to herself, and on her terms. She will make the most of it at least as much as she is able, for her immaturity is evident. It is evident in her expression of possession. He is all mine, the fact that I am His is secondary. This does not become evident until she allows Him, even makes the suggestion, to depart to do what He needs to do.
At a cursory glance we miss a key point. Where does He go? To the mountains of Bether. In Jewish studies the understanding of names is of paramount importance, be it names of people or places. Bether, why specifically Bether, what is the significance? Bether means ‘separation’. He has not simply departed from her presence, just a simple parting of the ways for a moment. They are separated for she refuses Him her company, she turns Him away and says “no, you go leap on the hills without me”.
This crisis is different to ch. 1 where it was the crisis of rejection by people and self and blatant sin. This compromise is rooted in fear, it is not rooted in rebellion at all. These are the little foxes of vs. 15 the little areas that keep her from mature partnership with the Lord. Her fear is that 100% obedience might demand too much, might cause her to lose something. For example martyrdom has filled the church throughout history, what is more Jesus says that it will increase in the last days but martyrdom will bring us to end up in mature love but you might say that this unspoken feat paralyzes her. The fear of losing our identity, or comfort on the earth, the fear of going without some things is far more powerful than the actual discomfort of going without them. Where we cannot fathom a lifestyle of not doing what all of our friends are doing and yet the reward is that it will bring us to where we can touch the Lord in a way that we cannot touch Him without. The fear of 100 fold obedience paralyses the church. They feel that God who gave Himself is somehow going to hurt us and deny us.
A cry ascends from my own heart at this point. “Beloved, when the space between us is separation rather than a gap for convenience, alert me”. For my fickle heart will deceive me into thinking all is well, when in fact the coldness of separation has begun its stealthy journey upon my heart. I keep in the forefront of my mind at all times the Lord’s last prayer and cry to His Father. At the close of the Gospel of John 17 He says, and this is paraphrased…..
Jesus cried “Father, that they would love Me the way that You love Me”.
May our hearts respond “Oh yes”.
May our hearts respond “Oh yes, nothing less”.
DAY 19 S. of S. 3:1 By night on my bed I sought the one I love. I sought Him but I did not find Him.
Inevitably she awakes, it is still dark when the realisation hits her, He is not there, He is absent. What is more she realises that she allowed him to go, even encouraged Him to leave, with never a thought of any sense of loss she might feel later. It is possible she imagined that even if He left now He would return and be present when she was ready once again. Remember 2:7 when she expressed that no one was to awaken love until love pleases. Is that tantamount to saying, “I will dictate when and how much love is desired at any moment”. It is on my terms. But He is helping her to grow up therefore He knows when to go and how long to stay away. For He wants to stir love within her, and it is working. She suddenly realises that she misses Him.
In this section she experiences divine chastisement, but it comes out of the heart of a loving Father, that promises to pry our fingers off the things that hold us in bondage. The Father loves us too much to allow us to come up short of being the bride. Our destiny is to go on mountains and to conqueor the lions and the leopards of ch. 4. which speaks of spiritual warfare. He is not angry with her the tender heart of the Father needs to chastise her but it is a correction and not a rejection. God’s correction is the opposite of rejection for it operates out of desire, for us. He hides His face from her here in this part of the story, this is a brand new experience. The sweetness of ch. 2 has gone, and so she says “I can’t find Him anymore, what happened. What happened to the sweetness and the delight and the shade tree”? What the Lord has done is just how He handles us, for after we touch the sweetness of God’s presence then we are forever discontent to live without it. And that’s what the Lord was doing.
In Jer. 20 Jeremiah says “the Lord has deceived me, the Lord in my youth wooed me to Him, then He told me to do a difficult assignment, and I did and all I got was trouble”. They even threw him in prison, where Jeremiah cried, “I am going to quit the difficult assignment”, and then the Lord lifted His presence until he said “I can’t stand it, for You have hooked me, You tricked me, You set me up, and now I can’t take life without Your presence anymore”. We must realise that the Lord isn’t angry, or isn’t breaking us in a ruthless manner, instead He is hooking us because our destiny is in Him. He says to her and so to us, “My inheritance for you is on mountains with Me, come you will rule the whole universe together with Me.
My passion has been to develop sensitivity towards the Lord, His presence and His desires. To recognise when the business of life has pressed in and forced Him into the background. Many times I have realised that I was dull, or stale spiritually, at those times I would express “Lord I am missing you, I am missing the close intimacy”. Seeing that this is just what He longs for He is quick to respond to my cry, and my spiritual pulse begins to beat stronger once again. Now this has to be followed by my feeding into that otherwise the day will snatch it away once again.
DAY 20 S. of S 3:2 “I will rise now” I said, “And go about the city in the streets and in the squares, I will seek the one I love”. I sought Him but I did not find Him.
Yesterday we left her realising that He was gone and so she begins to do something about it. This time she leaves her security to search for Him, but this time she is required to make some effort. There is a lesson that she obviously needs to learn here. It is that He is not at her beck and call. That she cannot just click her fingers and He appears, as would a servant. He is not a puppet, a robot a servant, His longing is to be her husband her Lord.
For us the tragedy is that ….
She goes to the city, but He wants her on the mountain. He wants her to say yes to trust Him in the difficult assignment, is the point. It’s an issue of trust as opposed to fear
The beauty of this book shows us that each stage is in God’s plan to help us grow up, or to seek Him the right way, to bring us to where we ‘miss His presence’ and are prepared to do something about it. Old writers often speak of the ‘dark night of the soul’ and it is a term which we have revived, which is acceptable providing something eternal is being worked during that experience, and not just a pity party
DAY 21 S. of S. 3:3 The watchman who go about the city found me, I said ”have you seen the one I love?”
Watchmen are spoken of frequently throughout the Bible in fact they have a good reputation, seen as someone worth having around. They know stuff, and are sensitive to the situations.
In the book of Ezekiel 3:17 God said to Ezekiel “I have made you a watchman”. He proceeded to prophecy and warn Israel of Gods impending judgment and displeasure. The prophet Isaiah was the same chapter, 62:6 “I have set watchmen upon your walls”, God told him. “Watchman what of the night” is where the people of Idumea were afraid to go to bed at night before they checked with the watchman whether he thought that it was safe, or was trouble brewing.
The watchmen’s duty was to be out and about, checking and rechecking, allowing nothing to go unnoticed, and then to warn and prepare others. Here we see her checking with one of them and enquiring as to whether they knew the whereabouts of the one she was seeking. As we apply this to ourselves we must take personal responsibility to keep abreast of what is happening around the world, prophecies, information, there are watchmen everywhere, available even on the internet. It is never acceptable to be an ostrich and bury our heads, simply hoping that we will make it through. If you personally are interested in some of these web sites just send us an e mail and we shall supply you with a list. God has placed watchmen in the church let us not be ignorant, for if we know then would we not prepare?
Matt. 24:37-39 As in the days of Noah before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood took them all away. So it will be at the coming of the Son of man.
Today so many are living as though it is life as normal, with many churches shunning giving any kind of warning. We could not be more deceived living this way, for things are far from ‘life as usual’. Every way He can the Lord is urging us to awake. Come on watchman stand on the walls and shout the truth for we are living in the days when ‘if it were possible even the very elect will be deceived’.
DAY 22 S. of S. 3:4,5 6 Scarcely had I passed by them when I found the one I love. I held Him and would not let Him go, until I had brought Him to the house of my mother, and into the chamber of her who had conceived me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem…..do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases. Who is this coming out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the merchant’s fragrant powders?
You can see that today I have included 3 verses, simply because I am not sure that she has learned anything. Nothing appears to have changed. She finds Him, she brings Him into her space, and she allows the sentiments of love to dictate as to her response, stay or go, just do not stir me too much. It is not that all of the above are necessarily wrong it’s more that nothing has changed. I only see one thing different and that’s in verse 6 where she refers to His perfume, specifically myrrh and frankincense. Two perfumes which in the Bible are associated with death and suffering. Is this why she is loath to extend her horizons? Out there in un-travelled places (by her) she senses that danger and even death waits. It is worth mentioning though that He never forces her, or rails upon her, but woos and waits. It is best that love does its work, that love draws her out and beyond herself.
Problem here is that I hate the way Satan forces his presence, and invades ones space, whereas The One, namely Jesus, who is so utterly pure and beautiful waits and oh so gently draws us. Evil is so incredibly insidious, invasive even subtle until we are duped into believing in it. Few begin to understand that the plan Satan has been working on from the beginning is working, and that is to rob and steal our great inheritance, in its place Satan offers so little and yet we grab it with both hands. All around we see minds dulled by work and play, present Jesus and there is no or little response. I feel heavy with grief about this situation for mankind is missing out so badly but what is worse, so is our Lord the Creator.
DAY 23 S. of S. 3:7,8 Behold (look) it is Solomon’s couch, with 60 valiant men around it, of the valiant of Israel. They all hold swords being expert in war. Everyman had his sword on his thigh, because of the fear of the night.
Firstly we need to connect these 2 verses with the previous one where she recognises Him coming out of the wilderness, smoke and perfume surrounding Him. Besides this it would be good to itemise each salient point.
Now we need to take each aspect and apply them to ourselves otherwise it is just a story.
In this story/song He is wishing her to grow beyond kindergarten or the need to be weaned by her mother, to leave her security blanket behind. He is not only seeking her company at all times but He wants her where He is occupied, therefore to become effective together with Him in His battles. So that it becomes less and less all about her, inert, inactive, focused mainly upon herself alone and more and more about the big picture, which is the picture that our Lord views day and night.
Footnote: To live a miserable even futile Christian life then remain selfishly focused, a toddler, needing our nappies changing and our face washed. Sufficient to say adventure, success, battles fought and won awaits us. Scary but satisfying! Worthwhile rather than wasted!
Day 24 S of S. 3:9-11….silver….gold….purple….love….crown….wedding….gladness of heart
Have you noticed the string of nouns she is using in this section compared to where she began, indicating how hugely changed she is becoming. Everything she now views she is seeing Him surrounded by royalty and associated with marriage. What is more, the more she sees Him in this way the more she will absorb this environment, and less and less will she desire to return to former days and experiences.
We too require nothing less, for whatever we focus upon we shall become in its image. That is what the Bible means when it says that the Word is like a mirror, firstly we read it and are supposed to see ourselves, our image truly as it is, complete with spots and blemishes. At this point we are not to run from the mirror and foolishly prefer to see ‘prettier’ images, rather to keep reading the Word until now we see His image and the more we look upon His face the more we desire and slowly become more and more like Him. Couldn’t be easier! So why do we make it so hard?
Note the result, ‘gladness of heart’. Which of us would not like this feeling, a day of pure joy? The truth is it is only possible when we are in His environment for that is how we were created by our Creator. It makes complete sense really. Little wonder the Bible likens us to sheep, for sheep are one of the dumbest animals, plus the most labour intensive.
Day 25 S. of S. 4:1-11 (vs. 8, come with me…look from the top of Amana, from the top of Senir and Hermon, from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards)
In these verses the extravagant words He is using is possibly more than we can cope with therefore it is best to leave them to private interpretation. Except for vs 8 which is very easy to understand. For here He is inviting her to accompany Him right into enemy territory. He has never specifically invited her before to such places of danger, and as we read further we discover that she does not accept His invitation readily. He is simply dropping a seed, a thought and gentle suggestion with no pressure attached, and no feelings of guilt or recriminations intended or imposed. His longing for her company will not diminish, but He only wants that to happen if she is driven by love.
Up on the mountain you will find the lion’s dens, plus it is where the leopards roam. Devouring beasts of the wild, devouring beasts of prey are up there, and it speaks of spiritual warfare. The Lord wants us with Him ruling and reigning and combating against the powers of darkness. He wants a bridal partner this is the first time He calls her His wife. Remember though it is He who is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, this is His habitat, Satan is all about bluff and pretence and lies and he goes about roaring ‘as a roaring lion’. We see mountains with names, and as we have discovered previously the meaning of names are of extreme importance. There is Amana which means covenant, and Senir, this means ‘seclude’ and finally Hermon means ‘consecrate’, ‘to devote’, ‘a sacred place’. Now we understand that she is being called in covenant, to a life of seclusion and consecration.
The following words of the Lord are never far from my mind as He quotes from the Torah….
‘Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength, and your neighbour as yourself.’
These words fall easily into two separate groups which I will call phase one and phase two. Your neighbour as yourself is phase two. It often appears that this phase is the churches emphasis as we endeavour to patch up hurting humanity. It would seem that there is an epidemic of folk who do not love or even like themselves, and in order to free them there are all manner of seminars, methods, styles, emphasis’, groups, institutions geared for this purpose. They do not love themselves let alone anyone else. Because there is so much need in this area we have little or no time or even less inclination for phase one. Isn’t it always the case that the very area we neglect is the one area where we should begin and even concentrate on. It can even be said that if we focus on phase one, fully and totally then phase two will look after itself. It almost goes without saying that phase one is the answer to all mans’ ills, and yet it needs to be said again and again, for we are slow to grasp this.
HE COMES FIRST IN EVERYTHING.
Not only is this His right but it is also health for ourselves. Living in covenant, living a life of seclusion and consecration.
DAY 26 S. of S. 4:12 A garden enclosed…is my wife, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.
Let us look back to remind ourselves of the steps she/we have taken to bring her/us to this garden.
After a time of togetherness and expressions of love she enters into a new place where He likens her to a garden, enclosed. She may not be ready or willing to accompany Him yet but as she recognises this fact she will at least begin to do something about it. So she sets herself apart for Him, she withdraws, builds a wall, seals up the spring and in this way she is allowing a deeper work of separation to be worked deep within her. Typically the gardens in the Middle East would be enclosed by a high wall, and they would be a place of serenity and order and extreme serene beauty. They would be a place for meditation, and a place where couples would be free from everything external, a place for growing love. For her to be likened to such a garden He must be finding many excellent attributes burgeoning within her, she has become a place for His enjoyment. Rather than their times of togetherness being all about her and her needs, now she is a delight for Him, for her focus has changed direction.
But there is even more here, He says that her heart is a locked garden, recognising that in the ancient world a garden of a king was locked, it could not be polluted by all the beasts and any passing travellers. In that part of the world everyone would go to the well or a place where there was water, quickly it would become soiled and disease ridden, but the kings garden was locked it was completely undefiled. When He said “you are a locked garden” He is recognising and saying “you have reserved yourself totally for me”.
It must be time for us to take stock or as I often say, we need to take our spiritual temperature, is it high or low are we hot or cold. I also frequently suggest that we pray out aloud, so that we can hear with our ears how we sound. Below are some suggestions or phrases as to how we could or should sound.
“Enable me to bring pleasure to you today Lord”.
“Whatever it will take to change me, I would like my life to be all about you”.
“Lately my life has become busy until I recognise that I am missing you Lord, missing our times of face to face encounter”.
“How is your world today Lord? Where is your focus today? I desire to be together with you in weeping or interceding for your burden today”.
Note: here is a response to these devotions from a friend received today, she writes……’I am taking photos from my iPad of each days devotion and putting them into an album of its own for reading at any time!’ What a good idea.
DAY 27 S. of S. 4:13-15 Your plants of pomegranates, saffron, calamus, cinnamon, frankincense, myrrh, aloes
Here she reflects upon all the different plants that are just waiting to be planted in her garden. They are all His kind of plants which are needing to grow at this time. If we do not do a Bible study here we shall miss some valuable truths. To remind ourselves that the Bible is a Hebrew book, therefore every name has a meaning and that meaning defines its character, we need to take some of the flowers and spices that she refers to so that we can discover each ones character. This is easily done by using Strong’s Concordance, which I shall leave you to do. For our devotion I simply wish to take the meaning of the names of the spices which were crushed and mixed together to be used for God’s benefit in the Tabernacle at the altar of incense.
Therefore taking the meaning of the spices used, as found in .Ex. 30:22-33, not adding or taking away, but simply arranging those names to make a meaningful flow we have the following, and we can see that it is speaking of the anointing which we shall enter into when we do it correctly. The anointing is to cause us …..
To bow the heart in deference to our Lord and Master
As the anointing drops, it will cause the bitterness to be scraped from our spirits
Then He will lift us up
In an appointed time
When our hearts and minds are fixed in God.
We shall bring forth by inspiration, a prophetic sound
With the heart of a lion.
The Lord is referring to the anointing and what it will work in our own lives. This is the anointing God’s way, not using man’s methods or fanciful ideas. In fact Ex.30 goes on to say that we were not to use the anointing for the pleasure of our own flesh. Counterfeits can smell the same, but which one will point to Jesus.
Dead flies in the anointing oil, makes it stink Ecc. 10:1
Is it interesting that Baalzebub, which is another name for Satan, is known as the lord of the flies. Baal – Lord, zebub – a stinging fly.
How we need to long for the anointing in our own lives, providing it comes God’s way. Maybe we should add that the anointing oil, oil – shaman in Hebrew and the place where the oil is pressed out – Gat, this give us the place of the olive press – Gat Shaman, or Gethsemane as we know it. We know what happened at Gethsemane, the suffering, the preparation for the cross. Besides this, olive trees only grow well in barren rocky soil, and the oil didn’t come out unless it went through the press. Does all of this reveal why the true anointing is so often lacking.
Yet there is a desperate need for the anointing, without which we shall not reach our destiny, or take new ground. The anointing is necessary to protect us from seduction, and to enable us to take the next mountain also to enlighten the word of God to us, and prepare us to meet the Groom. Even for greater authority in service.
This time locked away in the garden, with even the springs tightly sealed there are such spiritually valuable things happening, she is being prepared to roar as a lion. Let us remind ourselves that Satan goes about AS a roaring lion, but that Jesus Christ is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He is the real thing.
DAY 28 S. of S. 4:16 awake oh north wind, and come oh south, blow upon my garden that its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come to His garden and eat its pleasant fruits.
In chapter 4:16 we recognise the switch where her focus changes from herself to Him where she now prays awake oh north wind etc….that my beloved may come to HIS garden and eat. That is the turning point of the whole book, right there. She cries out to the God whom she was afraid to obey, she says “send the north winds, the cold bitter winds of the north, difficulty and blessing, I trust You with the combination because I want my spice, I want the fragrance of God to emanate out of my heart. She says “I am not in it for me now, I am in it for You, I am now Your garden, I don’t care what happens to me on the earth, I am yours and only yours and I want You to come and eat the fruits out of my life to please your heart, to bring joy to You to satisfy the Fathers plan to bring Your inheritance. Send what you might send, I am your bond servant. We are not talking about letting the devil walk all over us, this is a different. She is not stressed or intense in prayer or even dictating to the Lord the conditions she wants, rather she is at peace.
For all things work together for good to them who are in Christ Jesus.
Whatever comes will waft and spread the perfume of the work that has been going on deep within. There will be response instead of reaction. She calls Him also to come and taste and enjoy the beauty that is being worked within. It is all a work of His Holy Spirit and she rests at peace in this knowledge.
All that it leaves me to say is that in and through it all just keep the Beloved at the centre of our focus. After all He is the Alpha and Omega, which is the beginning and the end. Do not allow anything to take His place. We have no understanding how far, we as humanity have fallen from this, and the journey back to where Adam was in the Garden of Eden will take time and focus. Constantly make a check of what or who is crowding Him out. We do this by keeping our garden beautiful, a place where the Son of God can come at any time and fellowship with us. Our days are jam-packed with situation or incidents that draw us away from our eternal focus. Obviously there is much we need to do, but let that which is natural become spiritual, by bringing Him into everything.
DAY 29 S. of S. 5:1 I have come to my garden my sister my wife, I have gathered my myrrh with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey. I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat oh friends, drink, yes drink deeply oh beloved ones.
He responds and comes to her garden, and enjoys the herbs and spices that have been cultivated there. Even the sweetness of the honey for this is a well-developed garden, and there is a harvest to be both gathered and enjoyed. This garden is not just happen-chance, she has worked hard and long with a harvest in focus, and here it is, it is time for reaping and enjoying. But the ultimate is that He has come to enjoy it together with her. The same as in Adams time in the very first garden, when the Lord came down in the cool of the evening to enjoy the garden together with Adam. Evening time for Adam signifies the end of a busy fruitful day, harvest time for her signifies the end of a busy time of weeding, planting, watering, pruning, on and on whatever it took, but the reward is at harvest time. Again and again we see here the Lord takes ownership as He says “You’re my garden, My bride, My love, My dove, My perfect one”.
Not only is her Beloved here to soak up the beauty but he even calls to His friends to come, notice that she as well and taste and drink and be satisfied. Is it significant that it is He who invites the guest? She was not the one to go out rounding them up, it was not in her programme to invite others so that she could receive acclaim from many, or so that she looked successful with plenty of friends, even though she had a harvest, and it could go to waste with no one there to enjoy it. She left it to Him to invite others or not, to share her with others or not. It sometimes might appear to some that the Lord acts in a contrary manner with us at times. When we wish to be busy in the harvest He sometimes keeps us for Himself, and when we do not wish for the crowds He thrusts us out. Oh well….
Be it unto me according to Your will, or to quote Mary the mother of Jesus “Let it be to me according to Your word”. Luke 1:38
What will today bring for each of us, may we walk quietly but purposefully, and as we commit our day into His hands may only those He sanctions cross our path, and when they do may we recognise Who has sent them.
DAY 30 S. of S. 5:2 I sleep but my heart is awake. It is the voice of my Beloved. He knocks saying “open for me……….
Did you immediately notice the change? Now when she is asleep her spirit is alert and her mind is sensitive to that which her spirit is experiencing, so that however the Lord communicates to her she will pick it up in an instant and will be quick to respond.
Two such occasions come to my own mind. One is of a prophecy spoken to me from a complete stranger quite a few years ago. He said that the Lord wanted to tell me that He really does come at night and stand beside my bed and put His fingers into my brain, or words to that effect. What He was confirming is that the dreams I wake with are from Him. Those were precious words for me at the time for I had been taking those dreams by pure faith and acting upon them. The second time I am recalling is when I awoke at about 3am in the morning and knew that I should get up to pray, but I sure didn’t feel like it. I struggled and fussed, even told the Lord that I needed Him to tip me out of the bed. Eventually I got up and went into the room in the house where I usually prayed. As I stepped into the room I heard Him speak so clearly, He said “I was hoping that you would come”.
I see these incidents as similar to what she is experiencing, for although she is asleep her spirit picks up His voice and she awakes in an instant to immediately open the door. I expect you to have similar incidents, and they are so precious to us, more precious than food or drink, true? These are to be cultivated.
Recently I visited with a lady in her 80s who is in a home suffering from Alzheimer’s. She used to be an amazing prayer warrior, such a battler in the Spirit realm that in former days when we were together this is all we talked of, although we chatted easily on this visit her recall of the Lord, the Word or prayer was zero, it was just not there. It has caused me to intensify my spirit development. Even more so when I read or hear so much about how the population in the USA is being dumbed down by chem. trails and chemicals in the drinking water, which is more than conspiracy theories. There is the increase of Autism at an alarming rate, Satan going about as a roaring lion is so evident, he is in a race to snatch as much of humanity as he can, he wants company for eternity. On every level our minds are being swamped, crowded out, let alone indoctrinated. For many many years as I read of saints imprisoned for their faith, reading of how they would recall and recite the scriptures, I would wonder how I would fare. But that is when I have all of my faculties, how about if my faculties are dulled or taken from me completely, how strong would be my spirit. I strongly am convinced that the world has changed, and on every level, as the 2nd coming of Jesus is coming so very close. As I was ministering yesterday I said to them “you can consider me a crazy old woman, or you can become angry that you are not going to see old age, or you can seize the time with both hands and see it as the most exciting time there ever was, and become equipped for the biggest all-out battle for mankind’s souls. All I am trying to say is that we are running out of time to decide which choice to make.
DAY 31 S. of S. 5:3 I have taken off my robe how can I put it on again. I have washed my feet how can I dirty them?
Oh dear! The sad thing is we can identify with her can’t we. How many times have we found plenty of excuses as to why it is not convenient to intensify our focus upon Him at any given time. But He knows how to bring her to a place where she is desperate for Him. If ever we have indicated that His presence is what we long for, from that time He will pursue us and position us always working at bringing our hearts and minds to where our spirit is longing, albeit dimly.
We can identify because we too are easily satisfied, as crazy as it will seem to some of you I can remember early in my Christian walk thinking that it was not good to become too spiritual, or too focused. How could I live in this world if I was too over the top in my spirituality. Well He has certainly changed my thinking on that score. But as I was saying we are too easily satisfied, one second of ecstasy (this is a word the old saints often used), and I deliberately used the word ecstasy, together with the word second, because in this generation it is becoming so rare. But one second of ecstasy, or perhaps I should say, as soon as WE feel satisfied, we close the book and are up and off to pick up life where we had left it moments before, with no thought to whether He is satisfied or not or even if what we have experienced has made any permanent impression upon our spirit.
If you have heard me teach you will have heard me say regarding the Temple in the Old Testament, the following. Each night the massive doors were to be closed, only to be opened next morning. These doors, and there were two of them, took fifty priests, twenty five on each door, to push and pull them open so that Temple life could commence for the day. The Lords insistence that this is how it was to be is to show us that each new day we begin afresh. Yesterday’s worship and manna were for yesterday only , today we begin at the beginning again, firstly by opening those doors and it will take some effort. Yes it will take time and effort but we are talking of eternal issues, what could be more important than eternity? Yes some days it will appear futile, wasted time and energy, but then there will be the days when He warms our hearts with a consciousness of His presence, or the moments when we are infused with Him alone. There is nothing greater on this earth and we are in preparation for an eternity with Him, besides this all the signs point to there not being much time left on this earth for preparation for eternity.
All that is left to say is yet another often used expression, but it is apt, and that is ‘seize the day’.
DAY 32 S. of S. 5:4,5 My Beloved put His hand by the latch of the door and my heart yearned for Him. I arose to open for my Beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh on the handles of the lock,
I imagine that if you have reached day 32 in our devotions you can identify with her when she said that her heart yearns for Him. Anyone who does not know this feeling would never have persevered this far surely. So how does it feel for your heart to yearn, can you identify with any of the following?
I am left wondering what you are adding to this list.
When she arose her hands were covered with myrrh. Throughout the Bible myrrh is associated with death, which is showing us that she has been experiencing death, but death in what way?
If Jesus is about to return, and I believe He is, perhaps for us it feels something like what she is experiencing at this point. His hand is almost on the latch of the door, you are so tired of this world the way it is, and just long to see it governed by Him, and look the way He planned for it to look all along. For His arch enemy to be cast out, so that He can take up His Kingship. For righteousness to be normal everywhere we look, and for the world populace to acknowledge and honour Him. For life to hold meaning and fulfilment and for the world’s governments to bow to His superiority, and without a doubt I would like to be on the cutting edge of this new order. No drugs, no sick perversion, no lost mankind, gone the former unsatisfactory satisfactions with which we fill our days. Instead our days filled with a holy purpose, we shall have come home. For me this is sufficient impetus, if His hand is on the latch, for me to grab that door, swing it wide open and shout “even so, come quickly Lord Jesus, do not delay one moment longer”.
But this is her story and she is too late opening the door as we shall see tomorrow.
DAY 32 S. of S. 5:6,7 I opened for my Beloved but He had turned away and was gone. ….I could not find Him, I called Him but no answer. The watchmen who went about the city found me, they struck me they wounded me. The keepers of the walls took my veil away from me.
We may find some difficulties with these two verses, such as why do the watchmen strike her, why do they take away her veil and why does He not answer when she calls. Plus you may find that I do not answer satisfactorily for you. For myself I am able to be consoled with the knowledge that He wants my best, and that He desires my company, and that He is often working under the cover of the veil which I shall not fully understand until He removes my veil. This is faith, and providing I put myself before Him in all openness then things are happening, as we shall see with the girl in our story.
As for the actions of the watchmen and the keepers of the walls, is it sufficient for me to say that after all they are human, and in their humanity they can become exasperated with her. Maybe they misunderstood her motives, thinking her a woman of the night, thus the removal of the veil. Like the girl in our story let us not allow such situations deter us from pressing on to find Him. For they will happen and do, and even other folks unacceptable and misguided actions will work good in us if we respond and not react.
Perhaps her motivating force as she pressed on into the unknown was that she kept in her mind the memory of His hand on the latch of the door. So near, almost here, therefore what else matters. For me I shall not dwell upon todays reading, if it has triggered memories or old resentments I shall deal with them quickly and then meditate upon yesterday’s thoughts.
For if Jesus is about to return, and I believe He is, and His hand is upon the latch of the door then I wish to be dressed and ready to go, for I am so tired of this world the way it is, and just long to see it governed by Him, and look the way He planned for it to be all along. For His arch enemy to be cast out, so that He can take up His Kingship. For righteousness to be normal everywhere I look, and for the world populace to acknowledge and honour Him. For life to hold meaning and fulfilment and for the world’s governments to bow to His superiority, and without a doubt I would like to be on the cutting edge of this new order. No drugs, no sick perversion, no lost mankind, gone the former unsatisfactory satisfactions with which I filled my days. Instead my days filled with a holy purpose, for I shall have come home. For me this is sufficient impetus, if His hand is on the latch, for me to grab that door, swing it wide open and shout “even so, come quickly Lord Jesus, do not delay one moment longer”.
In verse 7 He wants to show her His face as the sufferings Saviour, the man of Gethsemane. He is going to stand before her here with His head drenched with the dew of the night. It pictures Jesus alone through the night in the garden of Gethsemane, it is Hebrew imagery. Some of the medieval teachers call it ‘the dark night of the soul’ which is the place where things don’t seem as they should. Here the Lord stands before her with an entirely new face, He has been through the dark night alone, his hair is soaked with the dew, the dampness of the night. He is standing before her as one who has endured the sufferings, it is as though He is saying to her, “you love me as a safe saviour, but will you love me, will you say yes to me when you see me as a suffering servant. Will you enter into my sufferings Col. 1:24. Paul said “I want to fill up my part of the sufferings of Christ, I want to enter into that intimacy with the Lord that very few ever enter into. This is what is going on here.
DAY 33 S. of S. 5:8,9 I charge you O daughters of Jerusalem if you find my Beloved that you tell Him that I am lovesick. What is your Beloved more than another Beloved O fairest among women?....
The daughters appear to be a little bit troubled at her, they question, “why is it you love Him so much”? His presence is lifted from you, He allows the people to wound you, you have no ministry, no anointing for service, you are free-falling, you are pure and simple, you are nothing. Why do you like Him? And that is the voice of Gods people/servants when things are seemingly not happening as they think it should. They don’t understand the season
Also when we read that the daughters wanted to know why He was better than anyone else, the fact that they had to ask this means that they were not convinced themselves. That He was not their God, their choice, or not their only choice anyway. That He was not their Beloved they had not recognised His worth. Now these were daughters of Jerusalem meaning that they were citizens. In our terminology they would be church folk. If they were not convinced then they would not appreciate her intensity, and her growing passion for Him and a life living together with Him.
Here we can see that the Lord is watching her, even though He is not answering. Previously in ch. 3 the Lord lifted His presence to chastise her to obey Him but in ch. 5 it is very different, He lifts His presence to cause a deep reality of intimacy of the sufferings of Christ to be established. The Lord looks at her, like He looked at Abraham and He says, “now I know you fear me without any exception, now I know you do belong to me, there is nothing that can buy you, nothing can pull you off the track”.
5:10-16 is full of Middle Eastern expressions of ardour, too much for me to handle here, and so again I will leave it to your interpretation, except to notice how freely the love and ardour poured unashamedly from her heart. These were not cold structured well thought out words or phrases, she was heedless of the hearers’ reaction. This should cause us to question ourselves, how abashed, fearful, ashamed or inhibited even stilted are we in pouring out expressions verbally of our love, to our fellow Christians let alone the unsaved, perhaps sometimes holding fears of being misunderstood or even embarrassed? Do we share Christ in a religious manner with words that are merely repeated from others or quoted out of a book?
6:1 where has your Beloved gone O fairest among women…..that we might seek Him with you.
It would seem here that the daughters have been drawn even persuaded by her words because now they wish to accompany her in her search for Him. I imagine that what we discover from this is that with all the sharing and expressing we do, with seemingly little to no feedback, we just have to leave any ‘fruit’ bearing to the Lord.
DAY 34 S. of S. 6:2 My Beloved has gone to His garden, to the beds of spices to feed His flock in the gardens and to gather His lilies.
Before we glean anything spiritual from this verse we need to gather data. We have seen the Beloved both on the mountains and in the valleys, up there on the mountains He skips and leaps strongly up where the lions have their dens and the leopards roam, whereas down in the valley the lilies’ and spices grow and the sheep feed. Previously in chapter two He says ‘I am the Rose of Sharon’ and she is the lily of the valley.
I also notice that in 5:1 it differentiates between His garden and 4:12 it is her garden. Spices also play a prominent role for obviously spices are used in every area of their lives. Not forgetting that spices are also very evident in both The Tabernacle and The Temple, both being Gods dwelling place on earth. Earlier in the Bible God made it very clear that a certain blend of spices was to be used during worship of Him and never to be used for man’s pleasure. In order to extract the perfume from any spice there was a necessary process some were crushed, or ground even burned, of course even during growth the flowers brought pleasure to man.
Previously there was mention of the daughters being called thorns whilst she was referred to as a lily. I immediately recall Jesus saying that wheat and tares would grow together in the church, advising us against removing the tares lest we uproot the wheat in the process, rather allowing them to grow side by side.
Now to return specifically to verse two and with all the above understanding let us allow the Bible to speak to us. At this time He is not on the mountains but in the valleys where the flowers grow and He has taken His flock to feed amongst these same flowers and spices. Besides this He has gone to gather lilies in this valley. Thus this is two-fold, for not only is He allowing His flock to satisfy themselves He is also able to satisfy Himself. She is not part of this scene, for He has ‘gone’ to ‘His garden’. The thing which stirs in my heart is that if He is desiring her to be on the mountains together with Him wouldn’t He also want her to be with Him wherever He goes even in the valley. Obviously I cannot be thinking of practicalities here on earth, distance and time would play a factor there, but what does come to my mind is that whatever He is ‘doing’, however He is moving by His Spirit, I wish to be a part of this, and that would be possible. That would depend upon our desire though wouldn’t it? For I too wish to be fed with the valley food that is available. In one of Heidi Bakers books where she was writing of her hundreds of orphans she mentioned how the starving reacted when they saw food. They forgot all niceties and manners but plunged in and gorged, and I compare this to Christians, right or wrong I consider that we are picky when it comes to Spiritual food, we choose this and leave that just to suit ourselves. This is true that we must guard against being deceived, nevertheless I am asking the Lord to guard me also against missing out of feeding and yes even gorging on what He makes available, where He is leading His sheep. Once again it will entail my walking closely and sensitively in the Spirit/spirit which is how I should be walking and living anyway.
DAY 34 S. of S. 6:3 I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine. He feeds His flock among the lilies.
Look how she has changed causing us to believe that there is hope for us all!!!!! In 2:16 she said My Beloved is mine and I am His, it was all about her at the beginning. But this time in 6:3 she is putting Him first and she is second. This time it is what she can be for Him.
I imagine you are laughing along with me, for it is so glaringly obvious isn’t it. Initially we are so totally self-focused we are the centre of our own universe. It is all about how we feel and what we want and when we want it. We have a picture of life as we want it and then expect the Lord to make life fit that picture. Of course this never happens and never will. He has a picture of our lives and if we do not change to fit that picture life can never work satisfactory for us. But have courage and hope, there is some distance between 2:16 and 6:3, with many lessons and a definite change of heart and perspective in between. The Beloved has been working with her to bring her to a new identity in herself. Firstly it was about her and hers, next it was about the ministry, what she was doing, now her identity is in the fact of what God said about her and who she was to God , and she came through brilliantly. He feeds His flock, it is all about Him and His people and His work in His way.
It is worth noticing that in both 2:16 and 6:3 He is feeding His flock among the lilies. This is to remind us that there is food all along the way, and good food at that. So often though we sulk and refuse to eat or lift our eyes to appreciate the scenery.
Ps. 23: 5 He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
Yes, whoever the enemies are, for they can sometimes be our own selves, our personalities, and yes when we are in the midst of it things can appear insurmountable. But then I have read the end of the book! And it is fantastic.
Sometimes in Christian literature or thought we liken the valley in our own experience as negative. A flat spot, difficult, troublesome and just plain hard, and not what we expected of the Christian life, whereas by comparison the mountain top experience is always imagined as the heights in God. But interestingly here we see a different slant. The valley is where the pure white lilies grow and the spices varied and in abundance, where the sheep also feed in abundance, gorging with very little effort. Whereas mountains are associated with danger, interesting! Perhaps it is merely ones perspective, guess the answer is to see as the Beloved sees.
DAY 35 S. of S. 6:4-10 O my love you are as lovely as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, awesome as an army with banners…..fair as the moon clear as the sun awesome as an army with banners.
Wow, she is now a warrior, not only are the banners she is bearing written upon with many names revealing that which she has imbibed. Such as Jehovah Nissi, Jehovah Shalom, Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Ramah on and on for she walks in His peace and provision, health, blessing on and on. This is what she is portraying and she is fearsome in this mode, glorious, awe inspiring and yes, awesome. His delight in her is joyous, for this is what she was made for. Now not only will she remain safe in this new role because she is not fighting in her own right or fighting under her own name and in her own strength, in fact there is none of her old self visible instead she is bearing Him aloft, she will also cause some damage amongst the enemy whatever form he reveals himself for the Son of Righteousness will arise to stand beside her.
He also likens’ her to Jerusalem the glorious city, the mother city, the city of the Great King, the city with its twelve gates, each one significant and different in it beauty and function. She is no mere maiden now. He likens her to Tirzah, which is a Hebrew girls name and means ‘delight’ and ‘pleasantness’.
Fair as the moon and clear as the sun is also what He likens her to. I am reminded of what is said in Genesis…..
Genesis 1:14 God said “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs and seasons…and to give light
Here the sun and moon were to give light also they were to be signs and to show seasons. Is this what she has become here, and is this what we are called to be? To be lights in a darkened world and to differentiate between God’s seasons and become signs of what He is either doing or about to do?
Shane Willard writes…."There is a flow, a wave-length flow, of the Spirit of God and inside this flow there is a supply of everything you could possibly ever want, need, or ask for. The key, then, to prayer is not moving this flow of God over my life - the key to prayer is moving myself into the flow that is already there."
DAY 36 S. of S. 6:11,12 I went down to the garden of nuts to see the verdure of the valley, to see whether the vine had budded and the pomegranate had bloomed. Before I was even aware my soul had made me as the chariots of my noble people
Not only has she left the security of her own home but she has also gone beyond merely searching for Him, before there was always the focus upon herself and her own needs and wants. Instead she is now mature consequently she is out and about checking on and inspecting the condition and readiness of the harvest. She has discovered that not only is harvest time imminent but the gathering of the harvest is very close to Beloveds heart. She was interested, but more she was concerned, she must have even considered that she could become involved, she could do something. Gone is the need for sleep, the need even for wandering the streets, now she has real purpose. For us it’s a case of knowing what is on the Lord’s heart, where are His thoughts and intercession directed, over whom is He grieving, nations, Churches, the unsaved, His own? The potential list goes on and on. Can we help, become involved? Not merely busy because it is the right thing to do, but because the harvest is near and the labourers are few and we want to be where He is and at His side. His eyes, His hands and His feet, after all this is the culmination of everything she has gone through, this is what it was for, to be an extension of Himself, leading those who would follow in the right ways.
Are we deeply concerned at the huge surge of evil right across the many layers of society? Are we stirred beyond measure at the deliberate wilful blindness of so many Christians to the signs that God has put all around us regarding His soon return? Do we lie awake at night over the things about to come upon an unprepared world in spite of continual warnings from the heavens. Do we ever want to rage, to weep from despair at the utter hopelessness of it all for in our humanity our voice seems so puny? Yes I walk amongst the vineyard, sometimes hopeful, and at times aghast for today I do not see a bountiful harvest ready for the angels to gather and present before the Lord of the Harvest. Today I do not see myself as a chariot of my noble people, I am not even sure I see the noble people.
DAY 37 S. of S. 6:13 Return, return O Shulamite, return, return that we might look upon you. What would you see in the Shulamite as it were the dance of the two camps?
Others desire, even want her presence now, they wish to look upon her. It can only be speculated upon what they are hoping to see and she recognises this for she responds by asking them. “What would you see in me, the dance of two camps”? What an interesting expression, ‘the dance of two camps’ this immediately sparks my interest.
It is true people see only what they want to see. They may choose to see the glaring carnalities in a person, the weaknesses, she knew that to some she will appear unchanged, little different than before. For with some she would always be the self-centred girl who made everything about herself, others will choose to never forget the nights she walked the dark streets like a deranged ‘woman of the night’. But thankfully this is not only what she is about, she also belongs to another camp, for she also keeps the company of the ‘noble’, she has also danced the dance of the brave and free, and folk will never know her secret inner life. Never the less people will choose to see what they wish and nothing will convince them otherwise.
Her comfort is not to be found in this stanza, but she will have found it in the next
DAY 38 S. of S. 7:1-10 How beautiful are……I am my Beloved and His desire is toward me. 11-13 Come my Beloved let us go forth to the field let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards, let us see if the vine has budded, whether the grape blossoms are open and the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love. The mandrakes give off a fragrance and at our gate are pleasant fruits, all manner new and old which I have laid up for you, my Beloved.
It is lovely to note the specific times He is overcome with love and tenderness toward her.
Also we cannot miss the fact that here she is all about belonging to Him and there is no mention of Him belonging to her.
One of my favourite verses in the Bible is the last Prayer of the Lord Jesus to His Father, it’s like His last will and testament before He is to die. Amongst other matters He cries out His longing into His Fathers ears “Oh Father that they would love Me the way that You love Me”. I believe that we can see that she has reached that point as we hear her sigh “I am My Beloveds and His desire is toward me”.
As vitally important as this time in each-others presence is, focused and delighting in love, the aftermath needs always be the outworking. Here she is inviting Him to accompany her to where the very air is perfumed with love. She is inviting Him to enjoy her in the very place which will warm His heart. Where He will see the travail of His soul and be satisfied, yes this is a scripture….
Isai 53:11 He shall see the travail of His soul and be satisfied.
….and it is a promise that He can depend upon. Somehow, one day, He will know that it was all worth it. Now in anticipation of that day we can offer Him the first fruits, as we pour out our love as an offering of what is to come.
The 1st 4 chapters focus on the brides inheritance in Jesus.
The 2nd 4 chapters focus upon Jesus inheritance in the bride.
He wants us to understand that as we seek something from Him, He is also seeking something from us. He has an inheritance in us too.
DAY 39 S. of S. 8:5 Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning upon the arm of her Beloved? I awakened you under the apple tree. There your mother brought you forth.
Here is the climax of this story for here she is coming out of the wilderness from the mountains leaning upon His arm. There appears to be no place now where she will not accompany Him and by His side. In the valley or on the mountain, in times of love or times of warfare, her intentions purely to satisfy Him where at the same time she will find utter satisfaction for herself. What is more she is leaning upon His arm, taking strength from His nearness. She remembers fully how it feels to walk alone, even to run and hide, I imagine she can recall the comfort of her childhood bed, even though by now she would not desire those former days.
He awakens her under the apple tree, where her mother brought her forth. Even when she was in the womb He knew her name, from her birth He began to woo her. This brings me right back to where this song began…
1:4 Draw me and I will run after You.
How we need to run in His direction, perhaps with the knowledge that the hordes off hell are on our heels. Run as though our life depends upon it, for it does.
Isai 55:6 Call upon Him while He is near
Jer 33:3 Call unto Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.
How we can hear the Fathers heart in those words penned by Jeremiah, the longing, the urging and then the promise.
DAY 40 S. of S .8:6 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm. For love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave. Its flames are flames of fire a most vehement flame.
So we see her coming out of the wilderness, from the mountains, leaning upon His arm and they are sealed upon each other’s heart. This is not one sided, the seal is two-fold, the marriage is consummated, and in this position she will be more able to bring others to maturity.
These words from her are very significant, for love and death are linked together in her vocabulary indicating that something major is breaking through penetrating beyond her focus upon herself only.
Rev. 12:11 and they overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives unto death
This subject of suffering, martyrdom, death has been uppermost on my mind for some months now as I recognise another polarization in the church, this time its grace versus suffering. It goes without saying that the grace message is proving more popular and that usually suffering is more relegated to those it is forced upon, as opposed to being willingly welcomed. It is just yet another lie of Satan, another lie that we would prefer to hold on to than the truth. An all-consuming love for The One who gave so much and still offers much more is not only the least we can extend, it is also the only thing that will keep us focused and true, and if our death, physical as in martyrdom is not what we shall face, at the very least let it be a death to our own self focus, which in the end will destroy us anyway. I am imagining that love and death hand in hand is what we are all going to need in the end anyway, especially if we are going to exit this world with honour. In my imagination I see Satan surrounded by hoards of hangers on swarming all over him bowing and scraping in adulation. By contrast I see The Saviour, imperial in His solitude, serene and glorious, I see Him through the swirling mist, and I weep. My tears are my heart melting at such beauty, I want to absorb as much as I am able, perhaps my tears also are because I know how easy it is for this vision to dull, recede and even disappear. My tears are also for those both in the church and outside who are not captivated by Him, I do hope that I am not appearing elitist or proud, just His passionate subject.
It bears repeating For love is strong as death.
DAY 41 S. of S .8:7 Many waters cannot quench love nor can the floods drown it. If a man could give for love all the wealth of his house it would be utterly despised.
Maybe one thing should be mentioned, and that is a word for leaders of Gods people. Be it parents or pastors or leaders of people on any level. If this is how the Lord deals with us, that is wooing and waiting, is this not how we should treat others. I have heard it quoted many times, that the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts, this is His role. Then my question is, why do we so often feel that we should be doing the Holy Spirits job? Lead, guide, instruct yes, but not rail or condemn or harangue and even berate, followed by the silent treatment if they still do not comply.
For many waters cannot quench love, this is our hope. This is so important to our own emotional health and spiritual health, to understand how God thinks of us, feels towards us, especially in our times of weakness or failure, so that we can open our spirits to Him instead of shielding our spirit and running and hiding, which we do if we have a condemned heart, a closed spirit, instead to know that we can safely run towards Him, and not from Him. Because of the waters and even floods that tend to swamp us we have a quenched heart or even a drowned heart. So much opposition and danger lurks beneath the waters, opposition that comes from friend or foe, intentionally or unintentionally. A love that is not drowned is what He is able and desires to grow within us, deep at the heart of us.
The final generation will have the greatest emotional brokenness due to Satan’s final onslaught, and for them to find help they will need to be met by a people who do not have a drowned heart.
DAY 42. S. of S. 8:13,14, You who dwell in the gardens, the companions listen for your voice. Let me hear it! Make haste my Beloved and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountain of spices.
This is her final statement the brides final intercession and revelation of herself, of who she is before the Lord. The Lord says “you who dwell in the gardens, in the midst of the body ministering and touching the companions. The multitudes are listening for your voice, look at you, many of the young ones are feeding of you, they hang on every word from your mouth”. But He is also saying, “in the midst of everyone listening to your voice, let me hear your voice also. Don’t get so caught up that you forget whose you are. You are my bride first and a disciple of others second”. She cries out and she says the great romance prayer, the Maranatha prayer, she says “make haste my Beloved, come to me”
Rev. 22:17, 20 And the Spirit and the bride say come. And let Him who hears say come, even so come Lord Jesus.
”Oh conquering stag on the mountain of God come to me, come from the mountain of spices”, and so she ends the journey fully in love, romanced in truth, looking for the return of the Lord. She is where she should be and right where He longs for her to be.