by Zac Poonen
The Song of Solomon is a picture of Christ and the church. All believers – both married and unmarried can study the book and deepen their relationship with the Lord. A personal, loving, devoted relationship with Christ is the spring from which all true service for the Lord flows – whether it be evangelism, church-planting, Bible-teaching, social work or whatever. We must first learn “The Song of the Bridegroom and the Bride” – the song that our Lord sings to us, and that we sing back to Him
One mark of spiritual growth is that we learn to listen to the Lord more than to talk ourselves.
In Chapter 4 of Song of Solomon, we hear a long appreciation of the bride from the Bridegroom. The bride finds her Bridegroom expressing his admiration of her. He admires every part of her and then concludes by saying, “You are altogether beautiful, my darling” (4:7). Then he invites her saying, “Come with Me from Lebanon. Look down from the summit of Amana, from the summit of Senir and Hermon, from the dens of lions” (4:8). This is an invitation to live in the heavenlies. The Lord says, “Don’t look at things from a low, earthly standpoint. Come with Me to the heavenlies and look at everything from that standpoint. The things of earth will then become small, dim and worthless, as you look at them from there.” The Lord wants to lift us to a higher plane. True, there are lions there – demons, evil principalities and powers. But we will be with the Lord there and together with Him we will overcome
all those evil powers. The bride is now being invited to spiritual warfare.
The Bridegroom calls the bride “a locked garden” (4:12) – an exclusive garden, exclusively for the Bridegroom. She doesn’t belong to anyone else. She belongs exclusively to her Lord. Is your relationship with the Lord like that? Can the Lord say to you, “You are My private garden, exclusively Mine”? There are many things out in the world that can attract us like opportunities to make more money than we need, to get earthly power and fame and to earn a name for ourselves etc. Such temptations can be compared to other men trying to seduce the bride. But the bride here is not attracted. She is taken up with her Beloved alone. She belongs to her Bridegroom exclusively.
Very few believers live in such a relationship with Christ and that is why they don’t know Him intimately and don’t understand His word. The secret of understanding the Bible is to have an intimate relationship
with the Lord first of all – who better than He can explain to us what His Word means. Walk with Him like the early disciples did and long to hear Him speak to you. Then your eyes will be opened like theirs and your hearts will be set aflame like theirs. This is what I have discovered in the last fifty years that I have walked with my Lord.
The bride then invites the north wind and the south wind to come and blow over her garden (4:16). The north wind is the cold wind of suffering, adversity and trials, and the south wind is the wind of blessing, encouragement, prosperity and happiness. It doesn’t matter which of these winds blow. The result will be the same – a fragrance wafted abroad. Whether we have a comfortable easy life or have a life full of difficulties and trials, the grace of God can make the aroma of Christ to come forth from us. Thanksgiving, praise and worship to God will come forth from our life, irrespective of our circumstances.
“May my beloved come into his garden and eat its choice fruits” (4:16). Everything that is produced in our life (our garden) is for the Lord – not to impress other people with how spiritual we are. When you give testimony about your life, don’t try to show others what a wonderful person you are. Instead let them see what a wonderful Saviour you have! Otherwise your fruit will be for men and not for the Lord. Here the bride says, “Everything in my garden is for my beloved alone.”
Did God use you to bring someone to Christ? Don’t rejoice in what you did. Rejoice with the angels that a sinner repented. He is the Lord’s convert not yours. If you made a sacrifice for the Lord, let no-one know about it. Why should we advertise our sacrifices? Does a wife who loves her husband deeply tell the world about the sacrifices she makes for him? There are so many loving secrets between a wife and a husband. There should be loving secrets between us and the Lord too. You may be spending time alone with the Lord. Good. But why should anyone else know about that. A wife who is in love with her husband will not want anyone to know about their times together. That was why Jesus told us to shut the door when we pray. Nobody should know about the times we spend with our Beloved.
But it is rare indeed to find Christians like this. Most of them are eager to let everyone know about their sacrifices and their service for the Lord – in a way that glorifies them! That is the clearest proof that they lack a love-relationship with the Lord. Song of Solomon is an important book for all such Christians. I am deeply thankful to the Lord that He led me to study this book first, when I began my Christian life. This love-relationship with the Lord should be the basis of all our service for the Lord.
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