In 2006 Jennifer and I (Patrick Walton) had a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit at City Bible Church in Portland, OR. During this encounter the Holy Spirit wrote the first and second commandments upon our hearts in a sovereign way. What I mean by sovereign, is that God did something in our hearts, joining us together that we had never intended for. This was my first understanding that Jesus had labeled something in the Bible as the first and second commandment. It’s not that what I received from the Lord was new, it was just new to me. Now that I have looked at those two commandments, I can see that God not only placed them into the cannon (the Bible), but He has also unlocked them with many of His servants throughout world history. In my personal opinion, the Song of Songs is split, literally in the exact middle of the book, between the first commandment and the second commandment. When I seen the two commandments in the Song, I was blown away because of the life mandate that God gave Jennifer and I in those two commandments.
As I mentioned in Chapter one, the Song of Songs is a very special book (not the best book), but a very special book because of the way it lays out Passion for Jesus. This book covers what Isaiah called line upon line, precept upon precept and thought upon thought on the subject of how Jesus feels about us, and what happens when that truth touches our heart. When we feel loved from Jesus we live like a lover, not a beggar. The power of the Song of Songs is that it’s an eight chapter love story of both Natural and Spiritual love first between Solomon and then from Jesus to His bride. In this Chapter we are going to look at an overview of Song of Songs chapters 1-4. In this overview I am going to be sharing with you an overview of the storyline of the Song of Songs, not a commentary. It’s very important that you see the eight chapter love Song as a story, and not just random encounters with Christ. For the rest of the series, starting with session 4 we will be looking at the Song of Songs in a verse by verse study, but for Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 we will be looking at an overview of the storyline as a whole. I will be doing both Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 in narrative fashion, working to paint the overall picture and it’s my passion that you encounter the heart of the Bridegroom God as you read and study this marvelous progression of Holy Passion, called the Song of Songs.
The Brides Two-Fold Life Vision And Her Personal Discovery (SOS1:1-14)
The Song of Songs opens up in SOS (Song of Songs) 1:1-2 with her stating her passion for God to speak to her. She uses the words “kiss me with the kisses of Your mouth” but it’s best if we translate that word “mouth” with the “words.” She was calling out to Him who has authority over her life and asking for Him to speak to her the tender words of the great Uncreated God. He journey is starting with hunger for God because she sees the fragrance of Him being good. A fragrance that draws her near Him, as opposed to a fragrance that repels her. Its only when see smells the good fragrance of His name that she starts to understand why the Church (virgins) have loved Him. As she gets close first to Him and then to the Church, see is going to now state what I call her two-fold life vision. In SOS 1:4 she is calling out to Him and asking that before she runs in the place of ministry that He first draws her away. This is the first glimpse that we get into her passion for the first and second commandment, and even they are even in the right order, the first, first and the second, second. Simply amazing.
The bride realizes that she’s not just speaking into the open air, but to the heart of Him who loves her. See she’s a listening God. We know this because in the same verse (SOS 1:4) the King answers her and takes her into His chamber. The chamber was a place of intimacy, something like what we would call the secret place with God. It’s here in this very encounter that the bride emerges with a clear understanding that the virgins (Church) has rightly loves Him. This was a huge Aha moment for her. Because As she steps out of His presence in SOS 1:5 she’s says “I am dark but lovely.” Because she is so excited about her new found romance and the house in which He dwells (the Church) she starts serving and saying yes to everything. This serving quickly leads her to a place of burnout and separation from the One she originally signed up for in SOS 1:4. In her place of desperation and separation she calls out to Him in SOS 1:7 and ask Him for help to be reunited with the one whom she loves. Ministry isn’t her passion or first love, Jesus is.
Because He is a tender Shepherd He speaks to her in SOS 1:8 and gives her wonderful instruction in her place of brokenness. He challenges her to not pull away from the other sheep, to only do the things that He has for (not all the other things the Church would love to put on her) and to remain under authority, under the shepherds tents. As she listens to Him, she becomes reunited with Him and the passion between them starts to take off.
It’s in SOS 1:12 that she is now being pictured as sitting at the Kings table. It’s here at His table, that she sees Him as He really is and it causes worship in her to arise, nearly effortlessly. She says “my spikenard sends forth it’s fragrance.” Not only does she worship Him, but she also sees Calvary in Him. She says in SOS 1:13 “a bundle of Myrrh is my Beloved unto me, that weighs heavy upon my breasts (heart).” It’s here that she is starting to get a glimpse into what He endured to make her His own. It’s not that He went through a little sacrifice, but He’s a bundle of Myrrh. This encounter would start what I like to call the “Divine Interchange.” He is going to start this one off by speaking over her and telling her that He loves, He likes her and that she’s beautiful to Him in SOS 1:15. This of course causes a deep response to the same level of passion from her towards Him. In SOS 1:16 she says “Behold, You are handsome…” He tells her how He feels about her, and it causes her to respond, describing how she feels about Him. As SOS 1 is coming to an end, it’s clear that the two of them are walking in deep, and growing place of intimacy.
The Bride’s Identity And The Divine Disruption And Separation (SOS 2:1-17)
SOS 2 starts out with her speaking her new identity in Him over herself, almost as if she is understanding it as she is speaking it. She says in SOS 2:1-2 “ I am the lily of the valleys.” She is discovering that in a world of so many, so few have said yes to Him. But she has, and that makes her beautiful in such a dirty world that’s filled with such personal passions and a lack of regard for the Knowledge of the Holy. In SOS 2:3 She sits down under His shade tree and finds great delight. She is starting to understand the importance of sitting with Him under the finished work of the Cross, because it’s only in this place that she finds real rest for her soul. The encounter underneath His shade leads her into what’s called the Banqueting house, or the house of wine (SOS 2:4).
Lovesickness has now laid hold of her in such a way that she is overcome with emotion because of His emotions for her. It’s here, in the secret place that she is so enjoying the sweet communion that they are sharing. She was overworked, burnout, separated from Him and she has now been rejoined with the One whom her soul loved. She is drinking in the sweet water of unbroken fellowship with the Shepherd who loves her. But this isn’t going to last forever as it is right now. In SOS 2:8 He comes to her in a new way. She sees Him leaping upon the mountains and skipping upon the hills. She sees Him as being boundless, the Great Conquering Stag of the ages, who is bound by nothing, held by no one and answers nobody. This is a new face of her Beloved. She is seeing the God who stands on the top of the difficult places in life, and is skipping over them, leaping upon them. It’s here that He calls out to her and bids her to come away with Him to the tops of the mountains SOS 2:10-13.
Though the young maiden loves Him, would never want to be separated from Him, she also has deep internal fears of losing what she has gained in the close of SOS 1 and in the start of SOS 2. The mountain tops represent the public life she has in God. It’s the place of ministry, the challenge that being in front of people and the demonic world as we partner with Christ reaching the nations presents to us. It’s not that she doesn’t want to go on with Him, she truly does, but she’s fearful of losing what she has already lost and now regained, intimacy with Him. She is going to ultimately answer no in SOS 2:17 to His request to come out of the secret place and with join Him on top of the mountains. See, Jesus can’t only have His Church in the chamber of encounter and not also doing the work of the ministry. Jesus is calling her away because He longs for a bride that He can fully empower with the Holy Spirit so that she not only loves Him well, but partners with Him. Chapter two comes to a close with the bride staying in the chamber of encounter and the Beloved moving on, back to the mountains from which He was calling out to her.
The Bride Experiences God’s Loving Discipline And His Passion For Her (SOS 3:1-11)
The maiden is about to learn a powerful and painful lesson; it’s safer to be with God on the mountain tops if He is there, then to stay in the chamber if He has moved on. Remember He called out for her and she said no. She said “I’m staying here, but You my Beloved, You move on.” And move on He did. Know we understand that God never, ever forsakes us, but often times we lose His manifest presence, and this is exactly what happens in SOS 3:1. It’s here that she says “By night on my bed I sought the One I love, I sought Him but couldn’t find Him…” The young maiden was hooked on His presence, and He is going to use that reality to motivate her to get off her bed and come after Him. Well it works perfectly. The bride get’s off her bed and heads out into the streets, looking for other Christians, Church leaders or anyone who can help her find her Beloved. She is not seeking power, fortune or fame, but the One whom she loves. Finally, in SOS 3:4 He allows her to find Him and they are reunited, in the streets. It’s not the mountain, but that’s not important to Him right now, because at least He got her moving and now He will be able to continue leading her. When they are reunited she sees another new face of her Beloved that takes her back. In SOS 3:6 she sees Him as the risen Savior who suffered but overcame. This is the Jesus that the Bible calls “Scented Savior.” She sees Him “coming up from the wilderness.” He is not only being pictured as the God who ascended from the grave, but He is also coming for her with a royal procession.
He is coming to Shunem from Jerusalem with a giant chariot to take her to where He is. What’s so powerful about this Chariot is that Solomon himself made it. Now, Solomon had many wives and many weddings and had many chariots built to transport brides later on in his life, but this one is special. In SOS 3:9 it says that “Solomon himself built a palanquin (chariot).” The many chariots that Solomon had built, he didn’t actually build them, but this he personally built it. He didn’t just “have” it built. Because the maiden is just a poor peasant girl, she could’ve never paid her way to get into the Palace so she needed someone to pay the price for her. She needed something to take up her case and make a way for her to be there and this is exactly what Solomon has done. The idea is that God couldn’t redeem us from a distance. He had to become a Man, endure the punishment of wicked men, be hung up on a Cross, suffer the wrath of God and be raised from the dead to convert our hearts. Here, the bride is seeing that God has paid the price for her and gotten personal involved in the transportation of her life from earth to eternity with Him through a wooden Palanquin called the Cross. SOS 3 end with the bride challenging the daughters of Jerusalem (Christians living at a distance from God). She is telling the ones around her to “go forth and see the King” (SOS 3:11). She sees that this wedding that He is preparing for her is the “day of the gladness of His heart” (SOS 3:11). She’s understanding that it’s not the wedding ceremony that He’s jazzed about, or the food, or the cake or all the decorations, but it’s the bride that He is longing for. The bride is the gladness of His heart. This awakens her to how He feels not only about all people, but about her as an individual.
The Prophetic Heart Of God And The Winds Of Testing And Blessing (SOS 4:1-16)
In SOS 2 and 3 we see mainly the bride speaking but SOS 4 starts out with the voice of the Bridegroom. In SOS 4:1-5 He is going to share with her 8 budding virtues that she is reaching for internally, but doesn’t possess externally. He is showing Himself as the great Prophet who sees beyond the exterior and fully knows the interior of His creation. These things that He is going to share with her are going to cause such a fountain of passion for Him to arise from deep within. It’s important to remember that He is telling her these things even though she still hasn’t said yes to the call to join Him on the mountain tops when He called to her in SOS 2. She has at least got off her bed and went into the street, but she hasn’t yet agreed to go to the mountains with Him. But these five verses (SOS 4:1-5) will change all that.
After she hears from Him how He feels about her, that He sees such passion and a vibrant inner life she can’t help but say yes to His invitation to the mountains. And in SOS 4:6 she says “Until the day breaks, and the shadows flee away, I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh, and the hill of frankincense.” This is her surrendered yes to Him to go and be with Him on the mountain tops. She says that she will go her way. She realizes that she can’t go someone else’s way, but she has to go her own way, the unique way that God has laid out for her. What happens right here during what I call “The divine interchange” is going to blow your mind. In SOS 4:9-10 the heart of God is unveiled and we get a glimpse into how He feels when the bride says yes to Him. His response to her yes is “you have ravished My heart.” The heart of God is ravished over her weak but sincere yes. That word ravished means to be undone, conquered, and overcome with emotion. The heart of the uncreated God is overcome with emotion when the weak and struggling bride only says yes to Him. Remember she hasn’t actually gone to the mountain yet and she won’t until SOS 5, but right here we get a glimpse into what happens in the heart of God when we simply say yes to Him. Her yes, to His leadership and His safe track record over her life and the lives of others leave uncreated God totally undone.
What follows the after the ravished heart of the great Bridegroom God in SOS 4:9 is another series of truths about the brides secret inward life that’s progressively growing. From SOS 4:10-15 Jesus speaks over her different things that are alive within her and that she’s reaching for in Him. In SOS 4:11 He praises her for her speech and the depth of truths that are within her yet at bay, underneath the tongue. He says to her here “…honey and milk are under your tongue…” What He is saying is that she has the ability to feed the older ones in the Lord and the younger ones in the Lord but it’s all underneath her tongue. The Lord knows how hard it is to tame the tongue and He is praising her that she isn’t a babbling brook of information, revelation and personal experiences in Him. He is telling her that there is great depth within her but it’s under control and at the will of the Holy Spirit to use it as He sees fit. He also praises her for her purity and her passion to keep her garden (heart) in order through a vibrant life in the Holy Spirit.
It’s here in this chapter that the entire song takes a shift from one thing and into another thing. It’s here that the bride comes to a powerful revelation about her life and what Jesus is looking for in her. And her response to Him is just that, a response. Remember she hasn’t actually gone up to the mountain yet, but only said yes. But after she sees His ravished heart from SOS 4:9 and the other things that follow from SOS 4:10-15 it cause her to respond with SOS 4:16. SOS 4:16 is the exact middle of the Song of Songs for both chapter and verse. It’s here that the bride says “Awake, O north wind, and come O south! Blow upon my garden…let my Beloved come to His garden…” This may not seem like anything great to you, but you mine out the truths that are locked up inside, it becomes a well of eternal depth. You must understand that the north winds were a very bitter, cold wind and the south winds were warm, refreshing winds. After the bride heard from Jesus’ heart how He felt about her, it caused her to arise and say to Him “Come what may. Do whatever You have to do in me, through me or around me, I want to be fully Yours. I will go anywhere, I will do anything, just don’t leave me the way that I am. I know Your fire can hurt, but I would be worse off here without You. Come!” This is the great cry from the bride to fully belong to Christ. I call this the brides Galatians 2:20 moment because it’s the first time in the Song that she no longer refers to her life as her own. Paul said in Galatians 2:20 that he had be crucified with Christ and it was no longer he that lived, but Christ that lived in him. The bride was making the same statement.
Wow, what a cliffhanger to bring this chapter to a close. When you venture into the depths of this book and the Bible as a whole you will find yourself longing to see more, read more and understand more. This book along with the other 65 books that God the Holy Spirit has inspired are considered a treasure chest that’s been given for us to search out. In the following chapter I will cover what happens to the bride based on her cry to fully belong to Jesus and we will see how Jesus responds to her. I encourage you to take time and read the Song of Songs from the Bible and get acquainted with it so that you can start to get an understanding of the book as a whole, not just parts. It’s a very short 8 chapter love story between God and man and I believe that if you spend time reading, writing, praying and turning what you read into dialog with God that your heart will be encountered and you will never be the same again.