Within the Song of Songs there are several places where a serious shift happens. The first real shift that we see take place is in Song of Songs 4:6 where the bride finally agrees to start ascending the mountain of God. The second shift takes place in Song of Songs 4:16 when the bride calls out to both the north and south winds to blow upon her life, so that her spices may flow out. And in Song of Songs 6:1-7, the verses that I will cover in this chapter, we are going to see another major shift start to take place in the life of the bride. As I have already mentioned, Song of Songs 1-4 is about the bride’s inheritance in Jesus; Song of Songs 5-8 is about Jesus’ inheritance in the bride. As we move into the latter half of the book we are going to see the bride start to move into a place of divine partnership with Jesus as He is busy working the harvest.
In this chapter we are going to see the daughters ask the bride where to find Jesus (SOS 6:1); the bride’s great Ah Ha moment (SOS 6:2-3); Jesus break the silence between the bride and Him (SOS 6:4); and the conquered heart of God as He praises her faithfulness in the midst of great pressure (SOS 6:5-7).In the previous chapter I covered the portion of scripture where the bride praises Jesus in the midst of her great two-fold test (SOS 5:10-16) as she listed the beauty of Christ Jesus from head to feet. And here in Song of Songs 6:6-7 Jesus is going to respond to the bride’s declaration of His beauty with an equally stunning description of the bride’s beauty. It’s the back and forth praise from one to the other. Jesus loves us, and His love for us awakens our love for Him.
The Daughters Ask the Bride Where Her Beloved Has Gone (SOS 6:1)
It was back in Song of Songs 5:8 that the bride was asking for help from the daughters of Jerusalem to find her Beloved. But here in Song of Songs 6:1 the daughters are now coming to the bride asking for help to find Jesus. They say to her “Where has your Beloved gone, O fairest among women? Where has your beloved gone that we may seek Him with you?” I believe that it’s clear from the text that the daughters are asking her for help finding Jesus because of the way that the bride responded to the question of her Beloved’s beauty in Song of Songs 5:9. Because she answered with such passion, clarity and an accurate description, it provoked them to search for Jesus with her. Her response to their questions caused them to search for Jesus along with her.
The goal of Christianity is that we have been touched with the beauty of Christ Jesus in such a way that it radiates from us both in the way we live and the way we answer those who are asking questions about Him. It is one thing to know about Jesus, but it’s another thing to actually know Jesus and be able to share Jesus from a place of intimate knowledge about who He is. This is available to every person and it’s something we should actually be desiring to do. This is what the Bible means when it says in 2nd Timothy 4:2 “be ready in season and out of season…” It’s not the passage that we use for “quick” witnessing to strangers, but a passage that we use for the relationships with people who don’t know Jesus, and for those around us in our social world. It’s meaning that we should be filled up with the knowledge of God and the revelation of His beauty, so that when people ask about Him our answer about Him provokes them, as it did for the daughters of Jerusalem.
Within this short verse I see three specific things taking place in the life of the bride. Firstly, it’s clear that she has come through this great two-fold test even though Jesus is still being silent in her life. She’s now on the backside, even though she’s still not out of the woods. The tables are turning from it being about her to being about others, as the Daughters are asking about her Jesus. Secondly, the Daughters have watched the bride walk through this recent season of testing. It is important that as Christians and those who love Jesus that we make a decision to follow Christ through the up’s and downs of life regardless of what those around us do or don’t do. Many will follow you and many will turn aside, but you can’t make your plans based on what others do. You must settle it in your heart and say “I will follow You until”(SOS 4:6). If you base your decision to follow Jesus throughout your life on constantly changing variables, you will be among the most miserable people on planet earth. And thirdly, as the bride has been faithful to Jesus throughout her journey, it has caused people around her who were once lukewarm to be engaged with Jesus also. The Daughters who were serving Jesus at a distance throughout the Song are still at a distance in this verse, but at least they are asking. The bride first asked them for help finding Jesus in Song of Songs 5:8, but now in Song Songs 6:1 they are asking her for help finding Jesus. The bride’s life shows us that you never know who is watching your life. It’s not just the people watching your life and hoping that you will fail that are important to keep in your mind, but it’s the ones watching you to see if your Jesus is real that you want to keep in mind. The bride made up her mind that she was following Jesus until, and because of that resolve, others around her are coming to her with questions. People are watching. What are they reading when they see your life?
The Bride’s Great Ah Ha Moment (SOS 6:2-3)
It’s here within these two verses that the bride is going to receive a powerful revelation about where Jesus is. In Song of Songs 6:2-3 the bride makes this statement “My Beloved has gone to His garden, to the beds of spices, to feed His flock in the gardens, and to gather lilies. I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine. He feeds His flocks among the lilies.” The bride is answering the question of the Daughters from Song of Songs 6:1 about where her Beloved had gone with this statement here in Song of Songs 6:2-3. If you remember, Jesus hasn’t spoken to the bride since Song of Songs 5:6 when He called her out of her bed to open the door and enter into the fellowship of His sufferings. But it’s here at the tail end of her crisis that she comes to the realization that He has never left her after all. She sees that it’s just His manifest presence that she hasn’t felt, but just because she doesn’t “feel” Him it doesn’t mean that He has left her. This is a powerful Ah Ha moment for her.
She tells the Daughters “He has gone to His garden (Universal Church) and to His gardens (Local Church).” Jesus has one garden or one universal Church that is made up of millions of Christians worldwide and those Churches throughout the world are called Local Churches made up of individual groups of people. It’s like the Church that I (Patrick) pastor, New Life. New Life is part of the whole, but we are not the whole part. New Life is one local Church in Raymond, WA that is actually a part of THE CHURCH which is the universal Church or the Church worldwide. The bride understands that Jesus hasn’t left her in a way that He’s forsaken her; it’s just that He comes and goes upon our hearts. It’s His manifest presence that she didn’t feel but that’s not the same thing as Jesus Himself leaving us. We know from the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 31:6 that “ God will never leave us nor forsake us.” Her great Ah Ha moment is that Jesus comes and goes upon the hearts of those He loves continually throughout our lives. It’s not that He forsakes us; He just lifts His manifest presence off our hearts from time to time as He is moving throughout the nations of the earth.
We know the bride is having this revelation, not only because I am saying that she is, but because the text tells us so. In Song of Songs 6:2-3 she says, “My Beloved has gone to His garden…I am my Beloveds and He is mine.” This is much different from her statement in Song of Songs 5:6 where she said “My Beloved had turned away and was gone…I sought Him but I didn’t find Him…I called Him but He gave no answer.” Remember, it’s not until the following verse that Jesus is going to break the silence and speak to her. So here in Song of Songs 6:2-3 she is still in the midst of her crisis, but it’s also here that she is receiving the revelation that He hasn’t ever left her; only His manifest presence had been lifted off her heart. She is saying that “Sometimes we feel Him and other times we don’t. Sometimes He’s near us and we can feel Him, but other times He’s not.” And so it is with all those who love Jesus; sometimes we feel Him and sometimes we don’t. This is her powerful Ah Ha moment.
The Lord Breaks the Silence and Their Separation (SOS 6:4)
The bride has now gone through a very difficult season where she has lost His presence upon her heart (SOS 5:6) and she has been wounded by the Church leaders of her day (SOS 5:7). Even though the bride has not felt Jesus’ immediate presence, Jesus has been feeling immensely and it’s here that He shares just how much He feels towards the bride. In Song of Songs 6:4 Jesus finally breaks the silence and says this to the young mature bride “O My love you are as beautiful as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, awesome as an army with banners!” It would seem because the bride had not felt Jesus’ presence throughout her great two-fold test that He didn’t have much to say, but that isn’t the case at all. Jesus is actually holding on to a flood of information about the bride. His silence wasn’t His rejection of her, but His approval of her. He was watching, and even though she felt nothing, He felt everything.
Throughout the Song, Jesus has been faithful to stay true to His pattern of first telling the bride how He feels about her before He says anything else to her. He breaks the silence by saying “O My love.” Jesus makes it clear with His first words to the bride since Song of Songs 5:6 that He loves her and He feels deeply about her. Jesus loves us in a way that we will never fully know, maybe not even in eternity. What God did in becoming a Man, living and dying as a criminal for the redemption of hateful sinners is something that will never register in my mind. He then says to her “you are as beautiful as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, awesome as an army with banners.” Jesus is praising the bride because she has worked out what He has worked in. She has submitted to His leadership through the dark night of her soul in such a way that she trusted Him in blind faith and He is now expressing His feelings towards her.
The Bible says in Isaiah 53:11 “He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied” and in Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus went through extreme pain to endure the Cross. It was pain that we will never know, only read about, pray about and look into, but never will we feel what He felt as He bore the sin of mankind. But that wasn’t the joy that was set before Him as the writer of Hebrews just said. That wasn’t the labor that made His soul satisfied as Isaiah the prophet wrote. What was the joy and what made Him satisfied? It was the understanding that on the other side of His pain and suffering was the freedom to an entire human race, that if they so choose, they could become slaves of righteousness and no longer slaves of sin. This was what sustained Jesus in the midst of His “dark night.” During the 1700’s in Hernhut Germany, there was a Moravian man by the name of Count Ludwig Von Zinzendorf who pioneered a night and day prayer meeting that lasted 100+ years. As this prayer meeting grew, it turned into a powerful mission movement that sent out hundreds of missionaries to preach the gospel in dark, unreached places of the known world. Many of these young missionaries died as they were sown onto the mission field. The saying behind all of their missions thrusts was “that the Lamb would receive the reward of His suffering.” They were passionate that Jesus would see the labor (crucifixion) of His soul and be satisfied. Jesus is seeing the work of His hands in the life of young bride as she has stayed faithful to Him in the midst of the dark night of her soul.
There are three phrases that Jesus speaks over the bride in Song of Songs 6:4 and we are going to look at them in brief detail. Firstly Jesus says to her “…you are as beautiful as Tirzah…” Tirzah was the capital city of the Canaanites and the word actually means delight, favor and good. The commentators have much to say about this little city and its comparison with the mature bride, but for this chapter I am not going to get into any of them. Jesus was using the city of Tirzah to speak about her natural beauty, and the perfection that she was both reaching for and attaining. Secondly, Jesus says to her “…you’re as lovely as Jerusalem…” Jerusalem was the earthly worship capital of the world and it shadows the Heavenly Jerusalem which will descend from heaven to the earth after the first earth and the first heavens are done away with. When John sees this city coming down in Revelation 21 he says that it’s like a bride adorned for her husband. This heavenly city speaks of perfection in the grace of God and it is being used to describe the bride’s beauty among life in this fallen age. Spiritually she is perfect or beautiful before God. And thirdly Jesus says that “…she is as awesome as an army with banners.” Here God is using a military term or event to describe the victorious bride as she has come through this dark night. When an army went into battle the most important thing to have was weapons. But when returning from a battle the most important thing to have is banners. Banners represent your victory over your enemy. If the winning team from the super-bowl returned with only their uniforms to the citywide parade, we would wonder what happened. We love the team and their uniforms, but where is the trophy (banner) to prove that you won. She is being pictured as a conquering bride who overcame the test: to become offended at God, and throw in the towel. Instead of surrendering her banners, she held onto them and came out victorious.
The Conquered Heart of God and His Praise of the Bride’s Maturity (SOS 6:5-7)
The most important thing about the Song of Songs is not only understanding all the little phrases and seeing some of the revelation that there is to be had. The most important thing about the Song of Songs is that you take the actual words and situations and turn them into an active dialog with Jesus, so that you also encounter Jesus as the bride does. Her experience can also become your experience. It’s free for the taking and God is no respecter of persons. Jesus here continues His praise of the bride and actually reveals the depth of His heart and his emotions towards the victorious bride. In Song of Songs 6:5-7 He says to her “Turn your eyes away from Me, for they have overcome Me. Your hair is like a flock of goats going down from mount Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of sheep which have come up from the washing; every one of which bears twins, and none is barren among them. Like a piece of pomegranate are your temples behind your veil.”
As far as poetic language goes, this statement from Jesus toward the mature bride is among the greatest from His lips. It is here that we don’t just get a glimpse, but a very clear view of just how much Jesus feels when we stay faithful to Him in the midst of hardship and pressure. He says to her “turn your eyes away from Me, for they have overcome Me…” In some of the commentaries I have looked at, they assume that Jesus is making a statement of disgust and disappointment in the bride, but this is so far off base it’s not even funny. This isn’t a statement of disappointment but rather a statement of a conquered heart. Jesus is saying to her “Turn your eyes away from Me. I can’t even look at you. O My love, the way that you have stayed faithful to Me in the midst of such intense pressure, while not feeling My presence, has left Me totally overcome and undone. You have conquered My heart, My love. I am so overcome with emotion as I look at your weak but steady heart. I love you in a way that you might never know.” This is the ravished/conquered heart of God. The mountains don’t move Him, the devil and all the demons of hell and even His own creation don’t move Him, but the steady gaze from the struggling heart leaves Him totally undone. He’s conquered.
From this powerful phrase about how He feels about her, He then moves describing three different things that are going on in the life of the bride. In Song of Songs 4:1-5 Jesus spoke about 8 budding virtues that were deep within the life of the bride, but hadn’t yet manifested externally in her life. But here it’s a totally different story. Here Jesus is going to speak to her about some of those very same things from Song of Songs 4:1-5, but now instead of them being just internal longings, they have become eternal realties for the life of the bride. What she was only reaching for internally has become what she owns externally in her life. This is the beauty of following God in the midst of the mundane areas of our lives, throughout the many seasons that come and go. If we will stay faithful to Jesus over time, He will make those things that we are reaching for a reality in our lives.
Paul closes out his letter to the Galatians with this truth from Galatians 6:7-9 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Paul says that we have whatever we sow. That could either be really good news for you right now, or really bad news. It could be really good news if you’re sowing good things, but it could also be really bad news if you are sowing bad things. Whatever you are sowing, you have. If you are sowing good things, then Paul assures you that in due time you will reap a harvest if you don’t quit. One of the powerful themes from the life of the bride, in the Song of Songs, is that we see a picture of a person who refuses to quit and become bitter due to the pressures of life and the many ups and downs. As the bride has been faithful to Jesus throughout the many seasons, she has begun to possess externally the things she was longing for internally. In order to emerge with the passions and dreams of your heart becoming a reality in your life, you must not quit. You must stay the course and walk through the dark night of your soul. Don’t stop now. You have made it this far and there is so much more to receive in the grace of God. If you have taken yourself out of the game, put yourself back in. Don’t sit any longer on the sidelines when Jesus has called you to be a starter in His game. This is your time. Stick it out and play through the side-aches and other difficulties that are going to come your way. Remember, whatever you’re reaching for you will soon possess, but only if you don’t quit.