Often times in Christianity we have been raised within a culture that speaks, sings and preaches much about the love of God, but my experience is that many never actually experience that love. It’s one thing to know that God loves you, but it’s something totally different to live in the experience of His love for us. This is why Paul prays in Ephesians 3:18 that we might encounter the Lord of God by saying “that you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of God which passes knowledge…” It’s the experience of the love of God that has and will continue to empower the bride to continue journeying along with Jesus through that which is yet to come.
Here in Chapter 15 Jesus continues His praise of the faithful bride as she has come through the recent season of testing underneath His leadership. He is lavishing great love upon her for her faithfulness to Him. In this chapter we are going to look at Jesus’ praise of the bride as the favorite of Church history (SOS 6:8-9), the bride’s maturing glory (SOS 6:10), the brides sudden growth in the second commandment (SOS 6:11-12) and two different responses to the bride from the Church (SOS 6:13).
Jesus Declares The Bride To Be Among The Favorite Of Church History (SOS 6:8-9)
Here in Song of Songs 6:8-9 Jesus is continuing His praise of the bride from Song of Songs 6:4-7 by saying to her “There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and virgins without number. My dove, My perfect one, is the only one, the only one of her mother, the favorite of her who bore her. The daughters saw her and called her blessed, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.” The approach I have taken through this entire book is that of an allegory. What I mean by allegory is that I am using Solomon as a type and shadow of Jesus and the Shulamite as a type and shadow of the bride of Christ. In the natural love story of Solomon, he was a man who had many wives and many concubines. But when he looked at the many women he had around him, he said that “His dove, his perfect one, is the only, the only one of her mother, the favorite of her who bore her…” Jesus continues to refer to the bride as His dove, or His love of purity, single-mindedness and devotion. When He says that she is perfect, He doesn’t mean perfect as in sinless like Jesus, but rather perfect here refers to being mature or growing up in the faith. Paul said it this way in Ephesians 4:13-15 “…till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children…but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.”
The goal of Jesus’ heart is that He would a bride on the earth that would be equally yoked with Him in love, understanding that she has an inheritance in Him and that He has one in her. This is what we mean by an equally yoked relationship. It’s the reality that Jesus can share His Kingdom with her as she shares her life with Him. It’s a partnership between humanity and divinity. God has determined not to work on the earth without humans. Even in the age which is yet to come, during the 1,000 year of Christ on the earth, Jesus will still be delegating authority to the redeemed. It’s this bride in the Song of Songs that is becoming an equally yoked partner with Jesus. Solomon says of his bride here “…the only one of her mother, the favorite of her who bore her.” I have made clear who the mother is in pervious chapters and this is the main verse that clearly helps us understand that the mother is her who bore her, or in our allegory, the Church. It was John Calvin who rightly said “If God is our Father, then the Church is our mother.” What Solomon is saying through this passage is that there are many people who love him and even at different levels (queens, concubines ect…) but his dove, or his perfect one is the favorite of her who bore her.
It’s my personal opinion that in the Kingdom of God, we get out of it what we put into it. Now I believe that the Bible presents this same idea, but because it doesn’t come outright and say it, I will keep it as my personal opinion. It’s true that all of us have been given a measure of faith or grace, and what we do with that grace is up to us. In Matthew 25 Jesus tells a story about 3 different people who were given talents. The receiving of the talents in the story is Jesus’ gift to those 3 people, but what they do with them is their gift to Jesus. So the saying is true, we have all been given something and what we do with what we’ve been given is up to us, through partnership with the Holy Spirit. Paul says something very similar in 1st Corinthians 5:10 when he says “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me wasn’t in vain; but I labored more abundantly then they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” I love how Paul starts and ends this statement. He starts out by saying “I have labored more abundantly than they all.” Paul was saying, what God gave me wasn’t in vain, I worked hard to wring out everything that was given to me. But he finishes his statement by saying “yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” Paul was saying, I worked hard, harder than the other people around me, yet it wasn’t I who was working but the grace of God which was given to me. We have all been given a measure of grace, and it’s up to us through the power of the Holy Spirit to put that grace to work.
It seems that there are many in the body of Christ, but few who strive to love Jesus in the way that He has loved them. And though Church history is filled with millions of Christians, it only has some that stand out among the many as the favorites. Watchmen Nee is one of those who stands out among Church history as a favorite. Watchmen Nee lived in China in the midst of great communism which was very hostile towards Christianity. And instead of moving to west where he could’ve lived in religious freedom, he chose to stay there and risk his very life to take the Gospel to his countrymen. It was there that Watchmen wrote a commentary on the Song of Songs. This was one of the first commentaries that deeply impacted me concerning the Song of Songs. What become even more powerful to me about this commentary that Watchmen wrote, is that Watchmen was imprisoned and this commentary on the Song of Songs wasn’t published until after his death in prison. Nee had no idea about the impact of his writings and because he said no to so much, he has become a favorite among Church history. The bride is in this place of being one of the favorite’s because of the way that she is living her life and making Jesus the priority of her life.
The Bride Is Praised For Her Maturing Glory (SOS 6:10)
Jesus continues His praise of the bride by describing her glory as a mature saint. Jesus says to her in Song of Songs 6:10 “who is she who looks forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, awesome as an army with banners?” If you remember back in Song of Songs 4:6 when the bride finally agreed to ascend the mountain of Myrrh she made a powerful statement by saying “until the day breaks and the shadows flee away…” What she was saying there is “ the shadow areas of my life are not gone, so instead of waiting here for them to go, I will rise up and follow You until they do.” So here in Song of Songs 6:10 Jesus is praising the bride because though the shadows aren’t completely gone, the light of day is starting to break over her. She made a prayer in Song of Songs 4:6 that she is now reaping the fruit of in Song of Songs 6:10. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 4:18 “But the path of the just is like the shinning of the sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” The goal of our lives in Christ is that our life reflects the life of Christ to the world in which we live. Solomon is letting us know that our goal is to have a noon day sun shining over our lives for the purpose of sharing Jesus with the others that we come in contact with.
The light of the moon is much different from the light of the sun. The reason for that is because the sun generates its own light, but the moon on the other hand is only a reflection of the sun’s light, so it actually has no light of its own. Jesus continues His praise of the bride by saying to her that “she is as awesome as an army with banners.” This becomes a powerful praise for the bride in the context of her recent season that she has just come through. During Song of Songs chapter 5 the bride entered into the dark night of her soul. This was an incredibly dark place for her as she lost both His presence and her place of ministry among the Church. But because she didn’t give up, and throw in the towel, she came out on the other side. This is why Jesus likens her to an army with banners. When armies were going to war the most important thing they could carry was weapons. But when an army was returning from war, the most important thing they could be carrying was banners. These banners meant that they overcame their enemy and were returning victorious. Jesus in the same way is declaring the bride to be an overcomer who conquered the difficult season and her own conscious. This is truly a beautiful bride.
The Brides Sudden Growth In The Second Commandment (SOS 6:11-12)
In Song of Songs 6 we seen the bride’s powerful revelation that Jesus had never left her, but had only withdrawn His manifest presence off her heart as He was working in His many vineyards. The bride found Him once again as she also moved into His vineyards and started working with Him tending the gardens. Here in Song of Songs 6:11-12 the bride is going to a have a powerful and very right transformation of her soul concerning the second commandment. The bride is now talking and she says “I went down to the garden of nuts to see the verdure of the valley, to see whether the vine had budded. Before I was even aware, my soul had made me as the chariots of my noble people.” The bride has gone down into the vineyards to serve others in the second commandment and something powerful happens to her own soul. Up until this point the bride has mainly put her focus on serving Jesus in the secret place, though at times her life has been very public. But now, more than ever she is moving into a place where she is serving others in the second commandment. And it’s here in service to others that she says “…before I was even aware, my soul had made me as the chariots of my noble people.”
During the time when this was written there was only several ways to travel. You could take basically take a camel, a horse, walk or a chariot. The chariot was the best of them all because it enabled you to sit on something comfortable while you traveled. What the bride was saying is “as I got involved with people in the many gardens of God, my soul, the internal life of me got caught up with them. I was transformed towards them and I fell in love with them as I served them and worked with them.”
It seems that much of the Church gets worried about loving Jesus as if no work will ever get done. It’s so easy to put much effort and energy into the building of the ministry without spending equal amount of time on loving Jesus and spending time with Him. We often build great ministries that reach the masses, but fail to connect with Jesus at the heart level. It’s hard and nearly impossible to build a deep relationship with Jesus on the run. I have heard many say that they don’t pray for more than 15 minutes at a time. That’s good. More prayer is better than less prayer, but we must take time to sit before Him. It’s not about the amount by any degree. But there is also the reality that we often spend much time doing things that help put our mind in neutral when it could be engaged with Jesus. But what the Bride’s life is showing us here is that when we get busy loving Jesus in the place of intimacy, it’s just a matter of time that our souls become transformed and we start serving others in the second commandment or in the place of ministry. Ministry to others is the fruit of intimacy with Jesus. We often forget that the Chief Intercessor is also the Chief Evangelist. We must do the 2nd commandment through the power of the first commandment. It’s not one or the other, but rather both.
Two Different Response To The Bride From The Church (SOS 6:13)
As you endeavor to serve Jesus and get involved with building His Church you will quickly experience the difficulty that is connected with it. The bride is here in a place where not only Jesus is praising her, but also the daughters around her. They have watched the bride for a long time now, and see the fruit and wisdom of her decisions to follow the King forward in radical obedience. Because the bride is starting to move into the place of fruitful and powerful ministry with Jesus the daughters cry out for her to stay with them. Here in Song of Songs 6:13 the daughters first say “Return, Return, O Shulamite; Return, Return, that we may look upon you!” After the daughters say this to her the watchmen speak up and say “What would you see in the Shulamite—as it were the dance of two camps.” The bride is becoming more and more busy with ministry in her bridal partnership with Jesus and she is moving on. But the daughters don’t want her to move on because they are just starting to come alive and they want to keep looking at her.
Jesus had the same situation happen when He was moving on to other villages and so also did Paul when he was moving on to other places (John 16:5-7; Acts 20:37-38). The first response from the daughters is very endearing towards the bride. They see the fruit of her personal choices and the wisdom with which she made decisions. But the second response from the Watchmen is a sarcastic response to her wholeheartedness. The truth is, your commitment to follow Jesus will encourage some and it will bother others, stay faithful anyway. There will always be some that are excited about what you’re doing and others who say your into legalism, and what you’re doing isn’t needed. The watchmen didn’t care about the bride wholeheartedness, but the daughters did.
Make up your mind like the bride to serve Jesus regardless of what others do or don’t do. You have to make the commitment to move forward and love God in the way that He has loved you. It seems that these two camps in the body of Christ have always been here and will always be there. It’s not trying to change one camp or the other, but rather continue to change as your with Jesus. The Bible is your commission to go deep in God. Take it and run with it. Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back from following Jesus through the many seasons of life, even if the watchmen around you don’t agree with what you’re doing!