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Song of Songs – Christ Our Altogether Lovely One

OTI-22A

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These 8 chapters, 117 verses and 2661 words in the Hebrew Bible called Song of Solomon are the 5th of the Hebrew Wisdom Books called the MEGILLOTH. Each were read at one of the Jewish Feasts. Esther at Purim, Lamentations at unleavened bread; Ecclesiastes at Tabernacles; Song of Solomon at Passover and Ruth at Pentecost!

But what does this difficult book teach us? There are four enduring views:

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It sets forth the “glory of wedded love”; declaring the sacredness of marital relationship, and that marriage is a divine institution.

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It sets forth the love of Jehovah for Israel. The prophets spoke of Israel as the wife of Jehovah.

These two interpretations have been set forth by the Scribes and Rabbis of Israel, and have been accepted by the church. However, there are two other interpretations.

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It is a picture of Christ and the Church. The Church is the bride of Christ, a familiar figure of Scripture (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:27; Rev. 21).

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It depicts the communion of Christ and the individual believer. The soul’s communion with Christ is here set forth.

Many Christians would deny this little book a place in the canon of sacred Scripture, primarily on a charge of lack of modesty, Actually it is very modest when compared to Oriental poetry in general. It is insisted that there is nothing herein that would offend the most modest Oriental. We might add that neither will it offend the Occidental if they but come to see the aim and intent of the teaching therein.

Though there have been a variety of interpretations of “The Song,” we shall only take into consideration one, That those who are “accepted in the beloved” have a path to follow. A path that may bring joy or sorrow while here. It is a very PRACTICAL BOOK.

There are three outstanding characters in the book., that of the Lord Jesus, then those who belong to Him., and the “daughters of Jerusalem” who typify those who are professing but not possessing Christians.

This is a difficult book to OUTLINE., there being so many conversations in so short a portion. Let us take a simple though not entirely satisfying one. It is that of Hudson Taylor’s little book “UNION and COMMUNION”.

  • THE CHARACTERS ARE INTRODUCED (The Unsatisfied Life and Its Remedy) Section One (1:2-2:7) with the unsatisfied longings of an espoused one. Longings which could only be met by her unreserved surrender to the Bridegroom of her soul-we find that when the surrender was made, instead of the cross he had so much feared she found a King, e King of Love, who both satisfied her deepest longings, and found His own satisfaction in her.
  • First she talks about him and then she talks about herself. (1:3-4) These are the two most interesting persons in the world to one in love! Let there be a thousand people present, the lovers have eyes only for each other. The Shulamite reminds herself of the magnificence of his presence: “Because of the savor of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth.” Darby translates it: “Thine ointments savor sweetly: Thy name is as an ointment poured forth.” It is significant that God, for the most part and especially in the Old Testament, revealed Himself to men by means of His names. Elohim! Adonai! Jehovah! The Old Testament saints fell in love with those names, especially the name Jehovah; and in so doing they fell in love with Him of whom the names so eloquently spoke. They wrote them down under the guiding impulse of the Holy Spirit again and again, this way and that:
  • Jehovah-jireh-The LORD Who Provides (Genesis 22:14)
  • Jehovah-Nissi-The LORD Our Banner-The LORD Who Protects (Exodus 17:15)
  • Jehovah-Shalom-The LORD Who Gives Peace (Judges 6:24)
  • Jehovah-Tsidkenu-The LORD Our Righteousness-The LORD Who Pardons Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16)
  • Jehovah-Shammah-The LORD Who Is There-The LORD Who Is Present (Ezekiel 48:35)
  • Jehovah-Roi-The LORD My Shepherd-The LORD Who Pastors (Psalm 23:1)
  • Jehovah-Mekkadishkem-The LORD Who Sanctifies-The LORD Who Purifies (Exodus 31:13)
  • Jehovah-Ropheka-The LORD Who Heals-The LORD The Physician (Exodus 15:26)
  • Jehovah-Sabbaoth-The LORD Of Hosts-The LORD Of All Power (I Samuel 1:3)
  • Jehovah-Elyon-The LORD Most High-The LORD Who Is Preeminent (Psalm 7:17; 47:2)
  • To the Old Testament saints the name Jehovah was an ointment poured forth shedding its fragrance over all. New Testament saints think of Him as JESUS. If ever there was a name that, as ointment poured forth,” shed a fragrance over all of human life it is the name of Jesus!
  • It is the saving name: “Thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21)
  • It is the sanctifying name. We are to do all things, in word and deed, in the name of the Lord Jesus (c.f. Colossians 3:1 7).
  • It is the sovereign name. “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Philippians 2: 1 0). It is the name that charms our fears and bids our sorrows cease.” It is the name that, as “music in the sinner’s ears, brings life and health and peace.”

There is no name so sweet on earth
No name so sweet in Heaven,
The name before His wondrous birth,
To Christ the Savior given.

GEORGE W. BETHUNE

  • THE SUPPLY OF LOVE [1:7] “And where do You rest the flock?”
  • How we need food and rest. These two things are found with the Good Shepherd. “He satisfied them with BREAD from heaven” (Ps. 105:40).
  • He said, “Come unto me…. I will give you REST” (Mat. 11:28) “There remaineth therefore A REST to the people of God” (Heb. 4:9).
  • “Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.”; “Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what Thou art.”
  • EGYPTIAN CHARIOT HORSES 1:9 These wild horses from Egypt (which, as we know, is a type of the world) are now broken, trained, transformed and now pressed into royal service. In a study of I Kings 4:26 and 10:29 we observe that Solomon was quite a “horse-trader”. Evidently he loved horses. He had whole cities given over to stabling his horses (I Kings 9:19). Think of it, he bought 40,000 chariot horses from Egypt. That’s a lot of horse flesh! He paid high prices for those handsome animals – 150 shekels a piece. (I Kings 10:28,29). Four things may be stated about these chariot horses as we would gather lessons for our souls:
  • They Were A “Company” vs-9 Though the bride of Christ is “one” yet she is made up of “a company’…. 1 Corinthians 12:20 But now indeed [there are] many members, yet one body. (NKJV)
  • One Day These Horses Were Wild vs.-9 Since they were originally Pharaoh’s horses and from Egypt, they were from the world. In our lost estate we belonged to the world. Ephesians 2:1-3 And you [He made alive,] who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (NKJV)
  • But They Were Now Bought Having been redeemed at a high cost they came under a new Master. Bless God for redemption through the Blood! 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [who is] in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (NKJV)
  • Now Harnessed And Enlisted We, too, are in the chariot-service of our Monarch. “There is joy in serving Jesus.” Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: (NKJV)
  • HER COMPARISON 1:12-14 Now the conversation shifts and it is the Shunamite who is speaking. The verses of this section have to do with fragrance and beauty for here we have spices with a strong and very sweet aroma as well as beautiful camphire (which was the henna flowers so abundant in Palestine). Let us take a moment to examine these three fragrances that were meant for her Bridegroom as He “sat at his table” (vs.- 12)
  • SPIKENARD vs.-12 Spikenard was a fragrant ointment gathered from an East India plant. The spikenard was taken from its fibrous root. This spice is mentioned three times in the Song of Solomon (1: 12; 4:13,14) and twice in the New Testament (Mark 14:3; John 12:3). We recall that Mary brought her “very costly” box of spikenard to anoint the body of the Lord Jesus. Spikenard imported from India came in carefully sealed alabaster jars. Only when wealthy people had special guests would they break the seal of a costly jar to anoint their friends. What an act of devotion if was for Mary when she broke the alabaster box and poured it on His head (Mk. 14:3). Evidently this Shunamite broke her box of ointment “while the king was sitting at his table.”
  • MYRRH vs.-13 Myrrh is mentioned several times in the Old Testament (Cf. Gen. 37:25; 43:1 1). It is also mentioned in the New Testament. Wise men brought it as a gift to Jesus at His birth (Mat. 2). Our Lord, after His death was embalmed with myrrh (John 19:39). Myrrh was a fragrant gum that exuded from Arabian trees. It was used as a composition with anointing oil (Ex. 30:23-25). Sometimes it was used as a purifying cosmetic (Esther 2:12). It was also used by Mary as an anointing ointment for Jesus.
  • CAMPHIRE (also called “henna flower”) vs.-14. These flowers grew from a plant common in Palestine. The flowers were highly scented and yellow or white in color. The leaves of this plant were dried and ground into cosmetic dye powder. Women of Egypt dyed the palms of their hands a dark, dusky red with this. The powder was also used as an effective check to excessive perspiration – a deodorant, if you please! The dye from the yellow flowers was used to stain the hair and the beard.
  • What a wonderful lesson there is in all this for our own souls. [1:13-14] Let us, like the Shulamite, rejoice in our prospect! Let us hug to our hearts, like a bundle of myrrh, the treasured truths we have of the cross and the coming of our Lord, which point us back to His burial and forward to the bridal feast when we shall hold Him to our hearts, rejoicing in His person.

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold,
I’d rather be His than have riches untold, I’d rather have Jesus than houses or land,
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand;
Than to be the king of a vast domain
And to be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.
GEORGE BEVERLY SHEA

  • The Lord Jesus laid aside His glory, the glory that He had with the Father before the worlds began, and stooped to be born into the human family by way of the virgin’s womb. He entered His ministry in the face of ridicule, opposition, and unbelief to face Gethsemane, Gabbatha, Golgotha, and the grave. He was spat upon, beaten, scourged, crowned with thorns, and nailed to a cross. He died beneath the wrath and curse of God. He laid in death for three days and three nights while the entire universe held its breath. But He came bursting forth from the tomb! We ask ourselves why He should come thus, in all the enormous energy of His deity, to pay such a price for us. There is only one answer: He loves us!

Love found a way to redeem my soul,
Love found a way that could make me whole;
Love sent my Lord to the cross of shame,
Love found a way! O praise His holy name!

CONSTANCE B. REID

  • The Provisions of Love in 2:3-4:
  • Matchless Rest “sat” as Christ promised in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all [you] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke [is] easy and My burden is light.” (NKJV)
  • Total Security “shadow” as we are told in Psalm 91:1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (NKJV)
  • Overflowing Joy “delight” as we find in his presence Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence [is] fullness of joy; At Your right hand [are] pleasures forevermore. (NKJV)
  • Abundant Supply “fruit” as Christ said in John 15:5 “I am the vine, you [are] the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (NKJV)
  • Individual Guidance “brought me” v. 4 as our Good Shepherd always will Psalm 23:3-4 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You [are] with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (NKJV)
  • Glorious Fellowship “banqueting” Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (NKJV)
  • Consistent Victory “banner” (Conquest, Protection, Enlistment) as promised in 2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks [be] to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. (NKJV)
  • THE LOVER COMES (Communion Broken, Restoration) The second section (2:8-3:5) showed failure on her part. She was lured back gain into the world, and soon found that her Beloved could not follow her there. Then with full purpose of heart going forth to seek Him and confessing His name, her search as successful and her communion was restored.
  • I found him,” she cried, “I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go” (3:4). Again she begs Solomon’s women to leave her alone, particularly to cease from their efforts to awaken affection for their chosen lord. All this speaks vividly to us. Our best defense against the approaches of the world is to talk openly and freely about the Lord Jesus. Others will soon get the message.
  • As C. F. Weigle puts it:

I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus,
Since I found in Him a Friend so strong and true;
I would tell you how He changed my life completely,
He did something that no other Friend could do.

All my life was full of sin when Jesus found me,
All my heart was full of misery and woe;
Jesus placed His strong and loving arms around me 
And He led me in the way I ought to go.

C. F. WEIGLE

God spoke, inspiring Solomon to record three books of the Bible. This was his first. Still young, asking the Lord for wisdom, he tells us of 1st love. Love unforgettable and unforgotten. When he was young and full of life Solomon writes a Song about the beauty of 1st love. Love that transcends all others. Love that captivates and holds. It is a special treasure and one we must hold close. Never lose that first love. The Loveliness of Christ, His beauty is the treasure that we must never misplace in our hearts. We need to come back again and again to our first love!

Dr. H.A. Ironside says the key to the story is found in 8: 11. It is the recounting of a poor family of Ephraim in which there is a girl who is a sort of’ Cinderella. The poverty of the family forces her into the vineyards where she meets the young shepherd. The story of their love is first told. Then he leaves her with the promise that he will return. He is absent for a long time, and she despairs of his return. One day the electrifying word is shouted along the way that King Solomon is coming by. She is not interested, and takes no further notice until word is brought her that King Solomon wants to see her. She is puzzled until she is brought into his presence where she recognizes him as her shepherd lover. He takes her to his palace in Jerusalem where most of the song takes place.

ILLUSTRATION: BOX OF TREASURES

One father wrote about this once, he said there is a box in the corner of his attic. The cardboard box is marked “the good stuff.”(4) 

One of the keepsakes in the box is a small paper bag. Lunch size. Though the top is sealed with duct tape, staples, and several paper clips, there is a ragged rip in one side through which the contents may be seen.

This particular lunch sack has been in my care for maybe fourteen years. But it really belongs to my daughter, Molly. Soon after she came of school age, she became an enthusiastic participant in packing the morning lunches for herself, her brothers, and me. Each bag got a share of sandwiches, apples, milk money, and sometimes a note or a treat. One morning Molly handed me two bags as I was about to leave. One regular lunch sack. And the one with the duct tape and staples and paper clips. “Why two bags?” “The other one is something else.” “What’s in it?” “Just some stuff– take it with you.” Not wanting to hold court over the matter, I stuffed both sacks into my briefcase, kissed the child, and rushed off.

At midday, while hurriedly scarfing down my real lunch, I tore open Molly’s bag and shook out the contents. Two hair ribbons, three small stones, a plastic dinosaur, a pencil stub, a tiny seashell, two animal crackers, a marble, a used lipstick, a small doll, two chocolate kisses, and thirteen pennies.

I smiled. How charming. Rising to hustle off to all the important business of the afternoon, I swept the desk clean — into the wastebasket — leftover lunch, Molly’s junk, and all. There wasn’t anything in there I needed.

That evening Molly came to stand beside me while I was reading the paper. “Where’s my bag?” “What bag?” You know, the one I gave you this morning.” “I left it at the office, why?” “I forgot to put this note in it.” She hands over the note. “Besides, I want it back.” “Why?” “Those are my things in the sack, Daddy, the ones I really like — I thought you might like to play with them, but now I want them back. You didn’t lose the bag, did you, Daddy?” Tears puddled in her eyes. “Oh no, I just forgot to bring it home, ” I lied. “Bring it tomorrow, okay?” “Sure thing — don’t worry.” As she hugged my neck with relief, I unfolded the note that had not got into the sack” “I love you, Daddy.”

Oh.

And also — uh-oh.

I looked long at the face of my child.

She was right — what was in that sack was “something else.”

Molly had given me her treasures. All that a seven-year-old held dear. Love in a paper sack. And I had missed it. Not only missed it, but had thrown it in the wastebasket because “there wasn’t anything in there I needed.” Dear God.

It wasn’t the first or the last time I felt my Daddy Permit was about to run out.

It was a long trip back to the office. But there was nothing else to be done. So I went. The pilgrimage of a penitent. Just ahead of the janitor, I picked up the wastebasket and poured the contents on my desk….

After washing the mustard off the dinosaurs and spraying the whole thing with breath-freshener to kill the smell of onions, I carefully smoothed out the wadded ball of brown paper into a semifunctional bag and put the treasures inside and carried the whole thing home gingerly, like an injured kitten. The next evening I returned it to Molly, no questions asked, no explanations offered. The bag didn’t look so good, but the stuff was all there and that’s what counted….

To my surprise, Molly gave the bag to me once again several days later. Same ratty bag. Same stuff inside. I felt forgiven. And trusted. And loved. And a little more comfortable wearing the title of Father. Over several months the bag went with me from time to time. It was never clear to me why I did or did not get it on a given day. I began to think of it as the Daddy Prize and tried to be good the night before so I might be given it the next morning.

In time Molly turned her attention to other things … found other treasures … lost interest in the game … grew up. Something. Me? I was left holding the bag. She gave it to me one morning and never asked for its return. And so I have it still ….

So the worn paper sack is there in the box. Left over from a time when a child said, “Here — this is the best I’ve got. Take it — it’s yours. Such as I have, give I to thee.”

I missed it the first time. But it’s my bag now.”When you and I came to Christ He gave us His treasures. We may not know how precious they were until time shares that reality with us. He gives His name, His forgiveness, His provision of every need. Are you running so fast that the wonders of His love, those treasures are being swept off the desk of your life?

When reading the Song of Solomon, take off the shoes from the natural man, for the ground on which you stand is spiritual ground.

But what does this difficult book teach us? There are four enduring views:

  • It sets forth the “glory of wedded love” declaring the sacredness of marital relationship, and that marriage is a divine institution.
  • It sets forth the love of Jehovah for Israel . The prophets spoke of Israel as the wife of Jehovah.
  • It is a picture of Christ and the Church. The Church is the bride of Christ, a familiar figure of Scripture (2 Cor.11; Eph. 5; Rev. 21).
  • It depicts the communion of Christ and the individual believer. The soul’s communion with Christ is here set forth.
  • HAVE YOU FALLEN IN LOVE WITH JESUS CHRIST? (1:2)
  • HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE BEAUTY OF HIS NAME IN THE OLD TESTAMENT? (1:3-4) These are the two most interesting persons in the world to one in love! Let there be a thousand people present, the lovers have eyes only for each other. The Shulamite reminds herself of the magnificence of his presence: “Because of the savor of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth.” Darby translates it: “Thine ointments savor sweetly: Thy name is as an ointment poured forth.” It is significant that God, for the most part and especially in the Old Testament, revealed Himself to men by means of His names. Elohim! Adonai! Jehovah! The Old Testament saints fell in love with those names, especially the name Jehovah; and in so doing they fell in love with Him of whom the names so eloquently spoke. They wrote them down under the guiding impulse of the Holy Spirit again and again, this way and that:
  • Jehovah-jireh-The LORD Who Provides (Genesis 22:14)
  • Jehovah-Nissi-The LORD Our Banner-The LORD Who Protects (Exodus 17:15)
  • Jehovah-Shalom-The LORD Who Gives Peace (Judges 6:24)
  • Jehovah-Tsidkenu-The LORD Our Righteousness-The LORD Who Pardons Jeremiah 23:6; 33:16)
  • Jehovah-Shammah-The LORD Who Is There-The LORD Who Is Present (Ezekiel 48:35)
  • Jehovah-Roi-The LORD My Shepherd-The LORD Who Pastors (Psalm 23:1)
  • Jehovah-Mekkadishkem-The LORD Who Sanctifies-The LORD Who Purifies (Exodus 31:13)
  • Jehovah-Ropheka-The LORD Who Heals-The LORD The Physician (Exodus 15:26)
  • Jehovah-Sabbaoth-The LORD Of Hosts-The LORD Of All Power (I Samuel 1:3)
  • Jehovah-Elyon-The LORD Most High-The LORD Who Is Preeminent (Psalm 7:17; 47:2)
  • HAVE YOU EVER SMELLED THE FRAGRANCE OF HIS NAME IN THE NEW TESTAMENT? To the Old Testament saints the name Jehovah was an ointment poured forth shedding its fragrance over all. New Testament saints think of Him as JESUS. If ever there was a name that, as ointment poured forth,” shed a fragrance over all of human life it is the name of Jesus!
  • It is the saving name : “Thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
  • It is the sanctifying name . We are to do all things, in word and deed, in the name of the Lord Jesus (c.f. Colossians 3:1 7).
  • It is the sovereign name . “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Philippians 2: 1 0). It is the name that charms our fears and bids our sorrows cease.” It is the name that, as “music in the sinner’s ears, brings life and health and peace.”

There is no name so sweet on earth
No name so sweet in Heaven,
The name before His wondrous birth,
To Christ the Savior given.

GEORGE W. BETHUNE

  • HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED THE SUPPLY OF LOVE ? [1:7] “And where do You rest the flock?”
  • As His sheep we need food and rest.
  • These the Good Shepherd gives us. “He satisfied them with BREAD from heaven” (Psa. 105:40).
  • He said, “Come unto me…. I will give you REST” (Mat. 11:28) “There remaineth therefore. A REST to the people of God” (Heb. 4:9). Remember the wicked are like a troubled sea! Isaiah 57:20.
  • “Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.”; “Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what Thou art.”
  • HAVE YOU ENTERED THE SERVICE OF HIS OWNERSHIP ? (1:9)
  • A LESSON FROM HORSESThese wild horses from Egypt (which, as we know, is a type of the world) are now broken, trained, transformed and now pressed into royal service. In a study of I Kings 4:26 and 10:29 we observe that Solomon was quite a “horse-trader”. Evidently he loved horses. He had whole cities given over to stabling his horses (I Kings 9:19). Think of it, he bought 40,000 chariot horses from Egypt. That’s a lot of horse flesh! He paid high prices for those handsome animals – 150 shekels a piece. (I Kings 10:28,29). Four things may be stated about these chariot horses as we would gather lessons for our souls:
  • WE ARE CHOSEN vs-9 Though the bride of Christ is “one” yet she is made up of “a company’…. 1 Corinthians 12:20 But now indeed

[there are]

many members, yet one body. (NKJV) WE ARE TRANSFORMED One Day These Horses Were Wild vs.-9 Since they were originally Pharaoh’s horses and from Egypt, they were from the world. In our lost estate we belonged to the world. Ephesians 2:1-3 And you [He made alive,] who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (NKJV) WE ARE INDWELT But they were now bought having been redeemed at a high cost they came under a new Master. Bless God for redemption through the Blood! 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit [who is] in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (NKJV) WE ARE NOW BOUND TO CHRIST We, too, are in the chariot-service of our Monarch. “There is joy in serving Jesus.”Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: (NKJV) A LESSON FROM SLAVES Ex. 21 PUBLIC PAINFUL PERMANENT HAVE YOU BEGUN TO TREASURE HIS LOVE ? (1:12-14) Now the conversation shifts and it is the Shunamite who is speaking. The verses of this section have to do with fragrance and beauty for here we have spices with a strong and very sweet aroma as well as beautiful camphire (which was the henna flowers so abundant in Palestine). Let us take a moment to examine these three fragrances that were meant for her Bridegroom as He “sat at his table” (vs.- 12) HIS LOVE WAS COSTLY LIKE SPIKENARD vs.-12 Spikenard was a fragrant ointment gathered from an East India plant. The spikenard was taken from its fibrous root. This spice is mentioned three times in the Song of Solomon (1: 12; 4:13,14) and twice in the New Testament (Mark 14:3; John 12:3). We recall that Mary brought her “very costly” box of spikenard to anoint the body of the Lord Jesus. Spikenard imported from India came in carefully sealed alabaster jars. Only when wealthy people had special guests would they break the seal of a costly jar to anoint their friends. What an act of devotion if was for Mary when she broke the alabaster box and poured it on His head (Mk. 14:3). Evidently this Shunamite broke her box of ointment “while the king was sitting at his table.” HIS LOVE WAS PAINFUL LIKE MYRRH vs.-13 Myrrh is mentioned several times in the Old Testament (Cf. Gen. 37:25; 43:1 1). It is also mentioned in the New Testament. Wise men brought it as a gift to Jesus at His birth (Mat. 2). Our Lord, after His death was embalmed with myrrh (John 19:39). Myrrh was a fragrant gum that exuded from Arabian trees. The tree is hacked, cut and beaten. Myrrh then exudes from the wounds! It was used as a composition with anointing oil (Ex. 30:23-25). Sometimes it was used as a purifying cosmetic (Esther 2:12). It was also used by Mary as an anointing ointment for Jesus HIS LOVE WAS BEAUTIFUL LIKE CAMPHIRE (also called “henna flower”) vs.-14. These flowers grew from a plant common in Palestine. The flowers were highly scented and yellow or white in color. The leaves of this plant were dried and ground into cosmetic dye powder. Women of Egypt dyed the palms of their hands a dark, dusky red with this. The powder was also used as an effective check to excessive perspiration – a deodorant, if you please! The dye from the yellow flowers was used to stain the hair and the beard.

Love found a way to redeem my soul,
Love found a way that could make me whole;
Love sent my Lord to the cross of shame,
Love found a way! O praise His holy name!

CONSTANCE B. REID

  • WE SHOULD BE EXPRESSING OUR LOVE: What a wonderful lesson there is in all this for our own souls. [1:13-14]

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold,
I’d rather be His than have riches untold, I’d rather have Jesus than houses or land,
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand;
Than to be the king of a vast domain
And to be held in sin’s dread sway;
I’d rather have Jesus than anything
This world affords today.
GEORGE BEVERLY SHEA

  • HAVE YOU FOUND THE PROVISIONS OF HIS LOVE ? (2:3-4):
  • Matchless Rest “sat” as Christ promised in Matthew 11:28-30“Come to Me, all [you] who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke [is] easy and My burden is light.” (NKJV) OVERLOAD
  • MEASURELESS Security “shadow” as we are told in Psalm 91:1He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (NKJV)
  • BOUNDLESS Joy “delight” as we find in his presence Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence [is] fullness of joy; At Your right hand [are] pleasures forevermore. (NKJV)
  • ENDLESS Supply “fruit” as Christ said in John 15:5 “I am the vine, you [are] the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (NKJV)
  • Individual Guidance “brought me” v. 4 as our Good Shepherd always will Psalm 23:3-4 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You [are] with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (NKJV)
  • Glorious Fellowship “banqueting” Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (NKJV)
  • Consistent Victory “banner” (Conquest, Protection, Enlistment) as promised in 2 Corinthians 2:14 Now thanks [be] to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. (NKJV)
  • ARE YOU TESTIFYING ABOUT FINDING CHRIST? (2:8-3:5) with full purpose of heart going forth to seek Him and confessing His name, her search was successful and her communion was restored
  • I found him,” she cried, “I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go” (3:4). Our best defense against the approaches of the world is to talk openly and freely about the Lord Jesus. Others will soon get the message.

As C. F. Weigle puts it:

I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus,
Since I found in Him a Friend so strong and true;
I would tell you how He changed my life completely,
He did something that no other Friend could do.

All my life was full of sin when Jesus found me,
All my heart was full of misery and woe;
Jesus placed His strong and loving arms around me 
And He led me in the way I ought to go.
C. F. WEIGLE

  • HAVE YOU PONDERED BEING ENGAGED TO CHRIST?(3:6-5:1)
  • As our groom he is listening for our voice (4:3) “Thy lips [are] like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech [is] comely:” Where, in all this wide world today, can the Lord Jesus find words to fill His loving heart with joy, unless those words come from the lips of His own? Our beloved Lord listens to the babble of noise that ascends on high from this earth in a thousand tongues. He is listening for those who speak His language, the language of Heaven. He is listening for someone who will say from the heart:

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine, 
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou! 
if ever I loved Thee, Lord Jesus ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow,
If ever I loved Thee, Lord Jesus ’tis now.
A. J. GORDON

  • As our groom he is securing our lives (4:4)The shepherd saw around the neck of his beloved a string of coins, such as eastern women wore to symbolize betrothal. Certainly a string of such coins around the neck, shining in the sun, would look like an array of shields hung on the wall of an armory. In Bible times marriages were arranged. As soon as the assent of the bride’s parents was obtained, the suitor gave the bride a betrothal gift. The bride-to-be wore this gift to act as a protection. The coins, like the engagement ring of today, warned other would-be suitors that her heart and her hand have been pledged to another. Unwanted or improper advances can thus be warded off. Our great Shepherd’s betrothal gift to His Bride is the Holy Spirit. He is called “the earnest of our inheritance”. (Ephesians 1: 14). The thought behind that word “earnest” is exactly the thought behind the idea of an engagement ring. We are to display the Holy Spirit before the world to signify that our affections have been engaged to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead” (Romans 7:4).
  • Have you been autographed by THE SPIRIT ? THE SPIRIT SIGNS HIS OWN! 2 Corinthians 1:21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, (NIV); As the Holy Spirit is poured out on us “Anointed” is our signature of God = security of authenticity, divine.
     John 1:12 – he gives graciously
     John 3:34 – he supplies inexhaustibly
    – I John 2:20 – he annoints personally
  • Have you been sealed by THE SPIRIT ? THE SPIRIT SEALS HIS OWN ! “Seals” us = security of divine ownership . He is our precious possession. 2 Corinthians 1:22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (NKJV) The ancient world recognized the sealing of goods. This was the pressing of a signet into soft wax across the opening of a document, tomb, sealed box and so on. The seal assured three things:
    – authenticity Certified the contents as authentic.
    – security Signified the presence of the owner.
    – destiny At the end of the journey the impressed image of the signet verified the delivery pla e.
  • THE SPIRIT SECURESThe Holy Spirit also given to us as a pledge. God delivered us our ‘engagement ring’ = the security of divine protection. 2 Corinthians 1:22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (NKJV)
  • As our groom he is waiting for us! (4:6) Song of Solomon 4:6 Until the day breaks And the shadows flee away, I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh And to the hill of frankincense. (NKJV) The Shulamite responds to her shepherd speaking about the morning and the mountain. The morning-What a fantastic morning it will be. Her heart is occupied with the coming day.
  • it is our hope! One day the shadows will flee away and the bright and blessed day will dawn. That is her hope, and that is the great hope of the Church.

On that bright and golden morning 
when the Son of man shall come, 
And the radiance of His glory we shall see; 
When from every clime and nation 
He shall call His people home,
What a gathering of the ransomed that will be!

FANNY J. CROSBY

  • It is our joy! 5:1 Song of Solomon 5:1 I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. (TO HIS FRIENDS) Eat, O friends! Drink, yes, drink deeply, O beloved ones! THE SHULAMITE (NKJV) The great truth here is that of rapture. The Lord is coming for His Church. He does intend to catch it up into His arms and take it to be forever with Himself He says, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself-, that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3). Under the symbol of marriage the Lord constantly sets before us the bliss we are going to enjoy with Him in a coming eternity. More than that we cannot say. After all, nobody speaks much about the honeymoon! Some moments are too sacred to be shared with anyone but the beloved.
  • It is our remembrance ! “I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.” What can this mean but the glory of His sufferings? Never will those sufferings be forgotten. The hymn writer beautifully refers to the wounds of the Lord Jesus as “rich wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.” And so they are.
  • It is our delight! “I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey.” What can this mean but the glory of His sweetness? Who in all the universe is sweeter than the Lord Jesus Christ?

Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before,
Every day with Jesus, I love Him more and more;

Jesus saves and keeps me, and He’s the One I’m waiting for, 
Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.

ROBERT C. LOVELESS

  • THE LOVERS DESCRIBE ONE ANOTHER (Communion Again Broken. Restoration) The fourth section (5:2-7:10), however, shows again failure; not as before through worldliness, but rather through spiritual pride and sloth. Restoration now was much more difficult, but again when she went forth diligently to seek her Lord and so confessed Him as to lead others to long to find Him with her, He revealed Himself and the communion was restored, to be interrupted no more.
  • REJOICING IN LOVE (Unrestrained Communion) The fifth section (7:11-8:4), as we have seen, describes not only the mutual satisfaction and delight of the bride and Bridegroom in each other, but the recognition of her position and her beauty by the daughters of Jerusalem.
  • It is through the bride that attention is drawn to the Bridegroom; their union and communion are now open and manifest. For the last time the wilderness is mentioned; but sweetly solaced by the presence of the Bridegroom, it is no wilderness to the bride. In all the trustfulness of confiding love she is seen leaning upon her Beloved. He is her strength, her joy, her pride, and her prize, while she is His peculiar treasure, the object of His tenderest care. All His resources of wisdom and might are hers; though journeying she is at rest, though in the wilderness she is satisfied, while leaning upon her Beloved.
  • THE CONCLUSION OF LOVE [8:13-14] As John Phillips said: Paradise has been regained. The shepherd uses a word for “dwellest” which literally means to “abide permanently.” Never again will his beloved be in peril from the world or its prince. She has come into his garden at last, there to remain in a paradise of bliss forever. He has no higher hope of happiness than to hear her voice. Whatever can she say to him? She can tell him again and again, “I love YOU! 1 love you, I love you.” That is all the music he desires.
  • THE HEIGHTS OF HIS LOVE: The Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, the uncreated, eternal Son of the living God, He who has had the shining seraphim to be His slaves, who fills all Heaven with His praise-He says to us, “Cause Me to hear thy voice.” Can thoughts soar higher than this?
  • THE DEMANDS OF HIS LOVE: There is too much here to try to sum it all up in a paragraph, Let us instead just look at one verse Song of Solomon 8:13 Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear [it]. (KJV). Here we see a picture of a yearning God and Savior
  • GOD LONGS: The blessed Lord, with Whom we have been eternally united desires to fellowship with us !
  • GOD BUYS: He purchased us out of sin’s slave market for that purpose, yet we seem not to consider it at all.
  • GOD WAITS: We busy ourselves with our “companions.” We are more interested in conversing with them than with the Lord of all the universes.
  • GOD DESERVES: They “hear and understand” our voice. He desires that He hear it directed toward Him in loving communion,
  • THE PLANS OF HIS LOVE: He has so arranged the ages that, at last, He will bring us into a Paradise much fairer than that which He planted eastward in Eden. There He will say to us, “Now then, let Me hear thy voice.” We cannot explain it, we cannot enter into it, we can hardly believe it! We borrow the language of the psalmist and say, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, it is too high.”
  • THE RESPONSES OF OUR LOVE: He longs to hear our voices even today. He loves to hear them raised in songs of adoration and praise. He loves to hear our words of worship. But what can we possibly say to Him, to Him whose word can create stars and suns?

Take my love; my Lord I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
FRANCES RIDLEY HAVERGAL

  • WE HAVE THE SHEPHERD’S LAST REQUEST: “Cause me to hear thy voice! Tell me you love me!” [8:14] Then comes the Shulamite’s last reply: “Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices” (8:14).
  • What would our Shepherd want us to say to Him that could exceed that? Why, nothing at all! “Lord Jesus, come
  • Come in all Your vigor and in the splendor of that boundless life of Yours! Come! Leap over all obstacles!
  • Let nothing ever come between us again, even the most pleasant things we could imagine, mountains of spices, let nothing ever come between us again!
  • The love song ends where the book of Revelation ends, where the Bible itself ends: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus”‘

  1. Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970), p. 35. 
2. Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970), p. 35. 
3. Scofield says that there is no revelation in this book, just accurately recorded words of Solomon. 
4. Swindoll, Flying Closer, p. 37-39.

 
 
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