SONGS OF SOLOMON 1:1 – 3:11 and 2 TIMOTHY 2:14–26
Here is another one of Solomon’s writing while at a young age. Here we have a developing love story that takes place between a Shunamite woman and a king. It is to serve as a picture of the love relationship between Christ and His church. It is a picture of how a true love relationship should develop and grow. As we journey through these chapters we will find that the love is strong from the beginning however it is easy to distinguish who is speaking. As we draw near the end it becomes more difficult since each sounds very much like the other. Isn’t this the way it is supposed to be? Should not a husband and wife look and sound more like each other as the years go by? It is sad to see how the love that Solomon had for God waned over time. This story is an account of what could have been. It is seeing Solomon in two extremes when looking at this book in contrast to Ecclesiastes. There is a turning point in this story that will be developed because it represents a line of demarcation seen in the church today.
SOS 5:6 I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him, I called him, but he gave me no answer.
This was a defining moment in the life of the Shulamite; it represents a defining moment in the life of a believer. This is the true test of what is in our heart; will we continue to serve and seek the Lord on our terms by waiting for Him to come into our arena or will we be intentional in our going out and seeking after Him? This portion of scripture helps us to better understand the man who went seeking after goodly pearls. It also helps to define the kings who seek out the hidden things of God (Math 13:45-46, Prov 25:2).
There are many interesting adjectives used in this book to describe the manner of love that existed between them. They help to better define the qualities of the Lord and of the bride. Solomon had great wisdom but he also had a great love for God in his early years and that love is reflected in this Book. The only way he can put such expression and meaning to a book like this is through revelation and experience. In verses 2-4 there are three different songs that were sung in the days of the charismatic movement. I would like to quickly highlight one of them. “His name is as ointment poured forth, Jesus…” This song had a slow tempo but it always carried an anointing that would bring a measure of healing to the body and or soul. It was a chorus that easily drew the focus and attention of the worshippers to the Lord. Perhaps this is why it always ministered; the focus was upon the name of Jesus and one could not help but get caught up in its flow. This measure of love bodes well for a developing love relationship. We need to have dove’s eyes for the Lord and in a marriage that same undivided attention is required for our spouse. Solomon lost this ability early on as he began to open his heart to other loves. The Lord was no longer the sole source of his joy. Once a door is open it is very difficult to close.
In verse 6 we see a very strong warning to ministers. We may have the responsibility to minister to people and help ensure that their vineyards are strong and fruitful. This should never be at the expense of our vineyard. There can come times when ministry becomes an excuse and a cover for not dealing with issues in our own life. There can be times when ministry gets in the way of our relationship with our spouses. We justify this by citing the fruit and help that we are able to bring to the lives of others. The Lord will hold us accountable and there is no excuse for not looking after our vineyards. This can speak of our responsibility to our spouses, children, employers and other close relationships. There is no denying the importance of ministry but never at the expense of our personal vineyards. This is a significant problem in today’s church world. In verse 7 the Shulamite desires to know where the king dwells and where he feeds his sheep. This speaks of her desire in wanting to be where he is. There is that well known course that speaks of wanting to be where the Lord is. Where does the Lord feed, where does He dwell? For some it may be a foreign field or a ministry to the poor; will we respond and follow? The king is more than happy for her to seek after him and to engage in her work alongside his. You already see a love and commitment in the Shulamite that goes beyond the normal boundaries. She is already exhibiting the qualities of seeking Him out. She can be likened to a new believer who takes to heart some of the familiar verses that refer to seeking first the kingdom of God. There is an attitude in her that is seen that will enable her to be a lifelong seeker of the king.
There are some spices mentioned in verses 13-14 that give a more enhanced description of the king. He has the equality of myrrh which speaks of meekness. The fruit of meekness is not only attractive to God it radiates an inner strength that draws the love and attention of the Shulamite. A man who exudes meekness is a man who is strong, purposeful and one who knows his identity. He also is characterized by camphire which speaks of joy. A man who has meekness and joy is a complete man and it’s no wonder that the Shulamite is drawn to him. These are some of the qualities of our beloved heavenly bridegroom. The king had the fruits of the Spirit working in his life and these fruits are proving attractive to the woman. As she seeks him and spends time with she soon becomes more like him. This is the lesson we as believers need to take away from this love story. The fact that the Shulamite desires to be with the king is causing his desire to increase for her. Do we have the level of love for the Lord that the Shulamite is demonstrating to the king? If not, we better seek to spend more time with him because this story not only sets the standard for how we should approach Him it shows us the way in which we can become His bride.
The love between them is continuing to grow. The king is singling her out among the others. His love is given to one who is like a lily amongst thorns. We know the parable of the sower who sows seed amongst the thorns. There is a measure of fruitfulness for a time but the love for the things of the world chokes that seed as thorns around fruit. The Shulamite is not like the others; she has set her love upon Him who is the fairest of 10,000. The spirit of the world is at constant war with the church and the people of God. The world presents its fruit and wares to the sons and daughters of God and works hard in seeking to lure them into its web. The world’s allurements can be subtle and seemingly harmless but all that is required is a veering of one’s attention away from God. The fruit we need to partake of is the fruit that comes from intimacy with God. If we be intentional in seeking God, we will be sure to draw His attention. In verses 7-9 we see the king delighting in the Shulamite and desiring to spend time with her. He calls out to her to “Come Away” into new heights and experiences with Him. This is the fruit of a strong devotional life; making time for the Lord and anticipating a feasting at His feet through the Word and time spent with Him. The Lord can speak fresh truths and open up opportunities as we commit specific time for him. If we are casual and not serious in our pursuit of God, we should not be surprised if we be likened to thorns amongst the lilies. It is clear that it all comes down to personal choice. The more we pursue Him the more we will be found of Him (Jer 29:13).
In studying and meditating upon this book I am amazed as to how expressive the king’s love is for his future bride. This should help us to appreciate the passionate love that God has for us, especially when we put Him first in all things. He is and will be the judge for all men but He is also the lover of our soul. Perhaps we need a good dose of understanding as to how much He truly loves us. This may help to give greater self-esteem and identity.
In verse 15 we see a verse that we have referred to on several occasions as it pertains to Solomon. It is the little foxes that spoil the vine. Our vineyard must be kept especially when the fruits are yet tender and vulnerable. One little fox, one undealt with offense or issue of the heart is all it takes for potential destruction. Our heart and vineyard must be zealously guarded so that there is no room given to the enemy to do his work. A very small sliver, if not extracted can result in an infection that can render great damage; so it is with the little foxes. A close walk with the Lord that is daily nurtured will help immune us from potential damage and harm. A close relationship will aid in discernment so that we can detect and be sensitive when danger beckons. May we partake of butter and honey each and every day so that we can discern between evil and good (Isa 7:15).
In the early stages of this relationship you see the king as the one initiating the overtures. As the love between them develops it is the woman who is now taking greater initiative in seeking after the king. Once again, this is what is it like when we first come to know the Lord. It is the Lord who meets us, finds us where we are while giving opportunity for us to respond to His great love. The measure of our response to Him will be based on how much we truly love Him. If a love is only one-sided it will not have the chance to reciprocate into a relationship that becomes stronger and more meaningful. We see the Shulamite responding and slowly coming out of her comfort zone for the purpose of finding her beloved. It is important that the king withdrawals a bit so as to see the intent of the woman, is she merely a recipient only in this developing relationship (like many Christians are with Christ) or is she desperate to do whatever it takes to find him? True love that grows and becomes stronger is one that must reciprocate. She is demonstrating that her love for him goes beyond any prescribed boundaries; she steps out into unknown territory in her search for the king. This is a beautiful picture of the developing stages of a person who has come to know Christ. The woman stepped out into the broad ways in her search for the king. This signals a shift in her priorities as she lets go of that which is familiar while stepping into more of the unknown (vs2).
God wants to instil a “hunger and thirst” capacity within us for Him and His righteousness (Math 5:6). If we are always full there would be no desire to eat. A hunger and thirst gets our attention; it causes us to realign our schedule so that we can satisfy that inward craving. The question comes down to how we will fill that hunger and thirst. A hunger and thirst brings forth a void from within and how we satisfy that longing will say everything about us. Do we see Him as the only one who satisfies or do we seek to fill that inner void with other substitutes? The woman at the well sought to fill her inner longing in the form of marriage relationships. Jesus provided her a far greater source of fulfilment which she responded to (John 4:24).
In verse 3 the watchmen speak to the woman who was going about the city seeking for her king. In our walk as believers there will come a time where we need to learn to hear from God on our own. We cannot always rely on the pastor or elders to be our sole source in hearing His voice. Do we have a strong and consistent devotional life? Do we make the Lord a priority in our daily life or do we only bring him into the picture at times of need? These things reveal how much God has a place in one’s heart. The Shulamite here is publicly declaring her love for the king and they can see that she is serious in her love for Him. This is the same with many believers today. After a time, you can gauge how hungry and desperate certain people are for God. The Shulamite is distinguishing herself from the others in much the same way devoted followers of Christ are doing today.
In verse 4 we see that it was not long before the Shulamite was able to find her beloved. We must see this relationship as a characterization of a believer’s developing love for God. In the beginning it is God who does all of the initiating. After a time, we come to see how appreciative the new believer is for God when he seemingly withdraws a bit placing us into the position of seeking Him. Is He really a priority? This is characterized by the journey of Israel through the wilderness. It was God who initiated the Passover and release from Egypt. It was in the wilderness where their hearts were proven.
Deu 8:2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
This was an experience that the woman was not going to let go of. She recognized the value of her love relationship with the king and she was determined to let her companions and household members be aware of it. It can be likened to Jacob at Peniel when he recognized a defining moment in his walk with God. This encounter resulted in a divine exchange; taking away the nature of deceit while giving a greater authority with God and man as well as a new name. This was testing moment for the Shulamite and she passed with flying colours as she broke beyond boundaries to find the one whom she so loved. Can we say the same for our love and zeal for God?
In verse 5 the Shulamite capitalizes on this moment by insisting on spending quality time with her beloved; to be saturated with Truth and His presence. The king is content now and she does not want to do anything that would jeopardize this moment. Do we have recognition of such moments and do we make time and provision to take advantage of such times?
In the next few verses we are going to be introduced into truths concerning spiritual warfare. The purpose of the wilderness is to see what is in our hearts but it is also an opportunity for us to learn how to fight the forces that are opposed to God. All of Solomon’s mighty men were experts in war (vs 8). God has already overcome the foe but He gives us the privilege and opportunity to war alongside Him as we encounter the enemies of God. Through God we can triumph valiantly. The bride of Christ is called to be a warrior bride and it is a quality that the Lord loves producing in the lives of His beloved ones. The arsenal and equipping of the bride consists of spiritual weapons of war that are gained through wilderness trials and experiences. It is through those who have an ability to see God in all workings of life. It is seen in those who do not murmur or complain but learn to be thankful at all times. The Shulamite is qualifying herself as a warrior bride by seeking the Lord through pre-defined boundaries. She shows a willingness to seek and pursue at a time when others become frustrated or give up. The king is revealing Himself as a man of war and it puts the woman into the position of determining if she will be a part of His company. The time of intimacy spent with the king (vs 5) is a revelation of the call to warfare that all of us as believers must undertake.
2 TIMOTHY 2:14–26 – Read day 270 commentary