In this Chapter we are going to look at the second half of the bride’s journey in Song of Songs chapters 5 through 8. It’s here in this chapter that the bride starts to understand that not only does she have an inheritance in Christ, but that He also has one in her. This truth for the bride is something that much of the Church and most of Christianity has yet to really connect the dots between. What I mean by connecting the dots is that I have heard lots of conversation about my personal inheritance in Christ, but have heard so little about Christ’ inheritance in me.The truth about us having an inheritance in Christ is the reality that everything I need is in Him. This isn’t a bad message; in fact it’s the first most amazing message. But it’s only half of the message. The other half of the message is that Christ also has an inheritance in me. Now, His inheritance in me is that He is looking for an equally yoked partner to share the vast expanse of His Father’s Kingdom.
The story of the bride is just that kind of a story. Here, as we discuss the second half of the Song of Songs which is chapters 5-8, we see the bride making the shift from life being all about her, to understanding that Jesus is also looking for something in her. Here in Chapter 3 we are going to discuss God’s ownership over the bride, the great two-fold test of the bride, His response to her great two-fold test, their fruitful ministry together, the bridal seal of fire and the bride’s final intersession. Once again, I am going to be writing this specific chapter just like I did the pervious chapter, in narrative form. It’s very important for us to see the story as a whole, and not just the parts. We will look at the parts in the following chapters, but for Chapter 2 and 3 we are looking at the narrative storyline of the bride.
The Ownership of God Over The Bride and Her Two-Fold Test (5:1-16)
At the close of Song of Songs 4:16 we seen the bride calling out for the north and the south winds to come and blow upon her life.Song of Songs 4:16 is the close of what I call the first half of the Song of Songs. When we open up into Song of Songs 5:1 the book is going to take a wild turn as God is going to assert His ownership over the bride. This may sound strange to you to think about Jesus having ownership over Christians, but it is totally Biblical and totally Christian. When you were forgiven by Jesus that forgiveness came at the exchange of our life for His. We gave up our rights and gave them over to Jesus. This is what it means to be bondservant or a slave of Christ. But who wouldn’t want to be a slave of the only true God that became a Man, was crucified by His creation for the sake of redeeming those that say yes to Him?
In Song of Songs 5:1 Jesus breaks in on behalf of the brides request for the north and south winds to come and He tells us 9 times in one verse, you’re Mine! Seriously, in just one verse He boldly declares that the bride fully belongs to Him and it’s this ownership over her that is going to lead her into the darkest night of her soul. He comes to her in Song of Songs 5:2 as she is asleep and calls out to her to join Him in the place of suffering. He is coming to her as the Suffering Servant of Gethsemane, who endured the long night of prayer until His sweet became like great drops of blood. That verse says that “His head is covered with dew, with the drops of the night.” That is a shadow of what Jesus would endure during that long night of His trial. What He is doing is calling out the bride to once again get off her bed and go out into the city and join Him in the stigma of belonging to Him. Many people don’t think about the stigma that comes along with belonging to Christ. There is a certain stigma that we carry when we connect ourselves with Christ. As amazing as He is, as loving, as truthful and compassionate as He is, most have no need for a Savior. This is something that you might have touched a little bit in your lifetime, but it is something that many of us will touch to a much higher degree in the weeks and months to come.
Her first response to Him was 100% obedience but there was a slight hesitation in her voice. Now that hesitation in her voice to get off her bed and join Him in the place of suffering wasn’t a hesitation because she didn’t want to obey Him, but rather a little bit of confusion as to why He would call her out into this kind of a place. In SOS 5:3 she says “I have taken off my robe; how can I put it on again?” Some commentators assume that the bride is in sin right here, but this isn’t at all what’s taking place. The bride, just like us, is struggling to understand why Jesus would be calling her outside to join Him in the place of suffering. She had already been there, she had already taken that robe off, and why would He be having her put it back on again? She is confused, not in sin or rebellion. We too, find ourselves in the same place when we are in such a circumstance. Things happen suddenly with God and others, and it’s there that we struggle to make sense of the hardship in our lives. We can’t connect the dots very well to our present hardship and the safe leadership of Jesus. Though this test for the bride is going to be most trying, she is going to come forth as gold, but not without pain and injury.
As the bride rises up immediately to go after Him she is unable to find Him anywhere. She heard Him, felt Him and smelled Him, but now as she is up and moving at His call she can’t find Him anywhere. SOS 5:6 tells us this reality when she says “I opened for my Beloved, but my Beloved had turned away and was gone.” She has now lost His manifest presence and this in itself is going to be a huge opportunity for personal growth. Though she doesn’t understand now, she will fully understand that though she loses His manifest presence upon her heart, she never loses Him. Just because she can’t feel Him doesn’t mean that He’s not with her, for He has promised to never leave us nor forsake her. After losing His presence upon her heart she is then wounded by the Saul watchmen (Leaders in the body of Christ) that are around her. You can feel the pain in SOS 5:7 when she says “The watchmen who went about the city found me. They struck me, they wounded me…”
The reason this two-fold test is so great for the young maturing bride is because all the way back in SOS 1:4 she made clear what she was looking for in her relationship with Jesus, to be drawn away in intimacy with Him and to run with others in ministry. What is happening with her in SOS 5 is actually the outworking of that very prayer. In fact the entire Song of Songs, in my personal opinion, is the attaining of the 1st and 2nd commandment. So, the great two fold test the Lord is taking her through is for the purpose of finding out if the bride is really in it for Him, or just using Jesus as a stepping stone for ministry. And it’s her place of utter brokenness that she asks for help from the daughters of Jerusalem who represent the luke warm believers around her that love God, but just serve Him at a distance. In SOS 5:8 she tells the daughters that she is lovesick and they respond in SOS 5:9 by asking her why she loves Him so much. Her response to the daughters gives us insight of what an un-offended bride, who is trusting Jesus in the midst of great difficulty, looks like. What follows their question to her in SOS 5:10-16 is a power packed 6 verse response about the beauty of Jesus’ physical body and His leadership specifically over her life. On a side note, I would encourage you to take time reading through SOS 5:10-16 and asking the Holy Spirit to open it up to you and help you understand what He wrote and why He inspired it. As Chapter 5 in the Song of Songs comes to a close, the bride is still in her place of hardship and her Beloved hasn’t spoken to her since SOS 5:2.
Jesus’ Response to The Bride’s Faithfulness In Testing and Her Heart Change (6:1-13)
As the bride enters into the first 3 verses of SOS 6 she is still in the midst of testing and without His manifest presence or His voice in her life. But through it all she has come to the understanding that He has never left her, but actually comes and goes from the hearts of those that have fully loved Him. Those who have known God the best have also known the darkest nights of the soul when His manifest presence lifts from their hearts. But it’s also in the SOS 6:4 that Jesus is going to break His silence between Him and bride and once again unveil His heart towards her and let her know how this past season has conquered His heart. It is here in this passage that He says “O My loved, you are as beautiful as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, awesome as an army with banners! Turn your eyes away from Me, for they have overcome me.” This is poetry at its highest form. Some commentators have taken this phrase from Solomon (Jesus) to the bride to be that He doesn’t want to look at her because of disappointment, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. He is telling her to turn her eyes away, because they have overcome Him. The uncreated, eternal, all powerful, all knowing God isn’t conquered by anything in hell, or in natural creation, but the heart of a human who trusts His leadership over their lives in the midst of great testing, leaves Him undone.
It’s so important that we catch these large glimpses of how God feels about us in the place of testing. What we must come to see is that what’s true for the bride is also true for us. So if this is how God feels about the bride in the midst of testing, then it’s also true of us in the same situation. God is no respecter of person’s, only principle. And when we walk through the trials of life and uphold the same principles that the bride did, or any other Bible figure for that matter, we can receive what they received. God’s words over the bride are profoundly stunning. What a picture into the heart of God that we see. The bride must have been overcome with such emotion as God would declare over her that she has conquered His heart! What are the implications of humans conquering the heart of the eternal uncreated God? As you can tell, I am having a hard time wrapping my head around this reality. But if I am not ever fully able to understand it, I will believe it and leave it at that.
It’s here in the midst of the divine interchange that is taking place through SOS 6 that the bride is going to raise her voice and talk about the internal, personal transformation that has now taken place. In SOS 6:12 the bride says “Before I was even aware of it, my soul had made me like the swift moving chariots of my most noble people.” You can clearly see by the words the bride is using that this is happening suddenly and with great surprise to even her who is saying it. The bride is saying that as she gave herself to loving God with all of her heart, to be drawn away in to the secret place of intimacy with Him, suddenly her soul has become impassioned to serve her fellow man. The chariot was the best way to move in her day. It was much more comfortable to be transported by Chariot as opposed to a horse, or a camel. The bride understands that when she touched the Chief Intercessor, she also touched the Chief evangelist. As she gave herself to the first commandment she ended up fully committed to the great commission. The bride has thrown herself first in the great commandment and as she has done that, she got seriously caught up in the great commission. This is and always will be the Kingdom pattern. We are to do the great commandment first for the purpose of doing the great commission second and with full maturity we do both at the same time. Chapter 6 comes to a close with bride overcoming the dark night of her soul and also finding her identity as a lover first and a worker second.
The Brides Vindication From The Daughters Of Jerusalem and Jesus (7:1-13)
As we are nearing the end of the Song of Songs the bride is now being pictured as progressing into full bridal partnership with Jesus and starting to enter into fruitful ministry with Him. The Song of Songs paints a clear picture that in order for us to sustain longevity in fruitful, dynamic ministry we spend the first part of our life in Christ with Him and in Christian community for the purpose of filling ourselves with both present relationship with Jesus and a history of trusting Him. It’s the law of sowing many years for often a short time of fruitful reaping. The bride, again, is in just that kind of a place. At the close of SOS 6:13 the daughters call out for her to stay with them, much like the people who were healed by Jesus longed for Him to stay with them instead of going to the next village. But when the Saul watchmen in the Church of her day hear of the daughters request for the bride to stay they respond in SOS 6:13b with “What would you see in the Shulamite—as it were the, the dance of two camps?” This is pointed question, a mockery of the life that the bride is now living with her Beloved. They aren’t really inquiring, but rather allowing their own envy and jealousy to seep from their hearts and lives with this rhetorical statement/question. But in SOS 7:1-5 the bride is going to be vindicated by the watching daughters. Because of the brides faithfulness to Jesus and the call that He has placed upon her life, the bride has been empowered to trudge through 6 pervious chapters of personal growth, pain, perplexity and promotion and come through the dark night of her soul un-offended at His leadership over her and more in love with Him then when she first started. The entire Song pictures the daughters as being around the bride, watching the bride and asking questions of the growing and progressing bride. And it’s here in SOS 7:1-5 that the bride is vindicated before the Saul watchmen for the life of faith that she has lived.
Though many of you might struggle with the language that is spoken when describing the bride, it’s important that you put into context when this was written. Solomon is using lots of agricultural analogies that we are thousands of years disconnected from. With that being said, it takes a little bit of study into these many terms that are used, but once you have looked at those terms, the phrases themselves will come alive in your hearing and cause your heart to soar. So it’s here that the bride is vindicated for her life of faith by the luke warm Church that has observed her life, but hasn’t chased the Beloved in the same fashion as the bride. It’s not that the bride was better than them, or that Jesus loved her more than them, it was just that the bride didn’t quit when things were hard and difficult and she stayed the course through the many up’s and downs of Christianity.
At the close of SOS 7 we see the bride entering into fruitful ministry with her Beloved as they are working in His many vineyards building up His community of faith that we call the Church. She is expressing diligence in her labor of love with the Lord. It’s also here in SOS 7:11-13 that we see the bride no longer referring to what she is doing in the grace of God as her work, but as their work. This is another very important transition that the bride has made during this journey of loving God first and others second. The reality is that anyone who has labored in God’s vineyard fully understands the foolishness of attempting to do it without Christ. It’s a sure key to future burnout, attempting to serve in the vineyard of God without Him, or more in you than by His Spirit. The bride is very clear, that she wants to do it with Him, in Him and through Him. Oh, the joys of a heart that’s fully alive in the grace of God, loving Him first and working with Him second producing the life of God in others.
The Victorious Bride’s Ascension Of The Wilderness and Her Final Intersession (8:1-14)
We have come to the climatic closing of the Song of Songs. What I have come to enjoy so much about this book that the Holy Spirit has given to us, is that the flame of love that’s burning in the heart of the bride doesn’t diminish from chapter 1 to chapter 8, but it rather grows and burns brighter and brighter. Again, what’s true of the bride is also true of us. Meaning that our lives should also be burning brighter and brighter the more we go and the more we grow, increasing brightness from our lives as we get closer and closer to Christ.
Well it’s here that bride is being pictured as longing to fully enjoy her Beloved, in public like she does in private. In SOS 8:1-3 she is described as desiring to follow Him and fully trust Him and show affection to Him in public like she does in the private of her secret place. She is seeing that not everyone love’s Jesus in the same way that she does and it’s causing her some personal separation in the public place. In SOS 8:3-4 the bride repeats a phrase that she has spoken several times saying “His left hand is under my head and His right hand embraces me…” She is saying that His left which represents the unseen work of God in our lives has deeply impacted her and she’s eternally grateful for it. She thanking Him for the little things that He has done for her and through her that she has never seen. I have often found joy-unspeakable in telling the Holy Spirit thanks for all His unseen work in my life. The many things that He has done through me and done for me that I have never known about. And then she says that His right hand embrace’s her. The right hand represents the visible work, the divine empowerment that God gives us in Him.
It’s here in SOS 8:5 that the daughters and the brothers around her see her coming up from the wilderness leaning upon her Beloved. When they look at the bride walking with her Beloved, they can’t tell if it’s two or if it’s one. The two have become one flesh. The bride is in full sync with the Beloved and they are pictured as a team. Now it’s important that note that this isn’t an equal team. It’s not like the bride is contributing to the team equal of that as the Beloved is giving. You might ask how I would know that. Because it says that she is leaning upon her Beloved. Though she is coming up from the wilderness, though she is being pictured as victorious over her sin and the lives of others, she isn’t doing it on her own, but rather because she is leaning upon her Beloved. This is what I call a loving and a leaning heart.
Jesus then breaks in over her and asks her to place Him as a seal upon her heart and as a seal upon her arm (SOS 8:6-7). Jesus is calling out to the bride and asking first for the place of preeminence upon her heart and then upon her arm. This is the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to walk out the first and second commandment in a real way. This is the burning heart that the disciples encountered in Luke 24 as Jesus both talked to them and opened up the scriptures. This is the burning heart that Jesus talked about when He mentioned John the Baptist, who was a burning and shining lamp. This is the Matthew 25 reality and the burning bush that Moses experienced. What a well of truth to mine out when we think about God asking for us to set Him as the seal upon our hearts and the seal upon our arm. It’s one thing to ask something of God, but it’s another thing to be asked something of God. Sheesh!
The bride then walks through another short season of vindication, but this time it’s not through the daughters but from the brothers. In SOS 8:8-9 they come to the bride and ask her for help in the raising up of a new covert. They don’t have anything to give her, and they have witnessed the bride’s life of love towards God and they are asking her for help. Talk about going full circle. The brothers who gave her such a hard time and overworked her in SOS 1:6 are now asking her for help. Oh the vindication of God. Something that we must remember is that when the bride is vindicated it’s not until chapters 7 and 8. It took many years to hear the apology and the brokenness of those who were so hard on her in the start. It takes a life time to develop a Joseph’s heart. To be able to emerge from a dungeon that your brothers have sold you into and forgive them and help them, takes time. But this is exactly what she has done. She offers help to them, from her own personal experience in the Gospel and what help it is.
This causes the bride to make one of my favorite statements in this entire Song and it’s here in SOS 8:12. Here, in this one verse, she says “My own vineyard is before me.” If you remember it was at the hand of the brothers in SOS 1:6 that she had become overworked serving other people’s vineyards and she lost her own heart in the process. Now, at the tail end of her life and ministry she is able to say with such passion and confidence that her own vineyard is now before her. She is saying that she is serving other people, tending the flock of God but it’s not being done in such a way that it’s causing her personal burnout. There is a way to serve the people of God in a powerful, busy and dynamic way and still have a deep, vibrant inner life with Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and this is where the bride is. She’s not burnt out, or looking for a break. She’s fully alive living out through the joy of having the first commandment first and the second, second. This is truly a pleasant life in the Godhead! This is what Jesus experienced in John 4 when He said that His food was the do the will of Him who sent Me.
As we approach the final verse in the Song we can see the ever living flame of Love burning brighter and brighter in the life of the bride. Here in SOS 8:14 the bride makes her final petition of intersession to her Beloved. She says “Make haste My beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spices.” The mountains from SOS 4:6 which were mountains of hardship, pain and trial have now become the mountains of spices. That place which she was so afraid to originally go with Him in SOS 2:8-17 is now the place of spice. Those things that were so bitter and hard for her to swallow, have now become the place of her delight as she has been trained through discipline to overcome those obstacles that stand before her. And the bride calls out for her Beloved to come to her. Can you hear Revelation 22:17 in her prayer? The prayer that John heard from the “Spirit and the bride asking for Jesus to come?” Can you hear that in her tone? And lastly, remember, that in the first chapter and the second verse the bride expressed her hunger for God to come and speak to her. And now in the final chapter and the final verse she is once again calling out to Him, asking for Him to come to her. What this shows is that our passion for Jesus should never be fading, but only growing more and more. We should be shining and shining until we are taken from life in this age and transported into the age to come.
It’s my prayer and labor of love for this chapter and the entire series that you would first see the complete storyline of the bride and then that you would find yourself in the story making the same journey form a place of immaturity to maturity. I hope that this chapter has deeply impacted you and that it impassions you to sign up once again for wholeheartedness with your Beloved. Jesus is using you to write the story of His heart, so that through you He can feed the cities of the earth with truth, goodness, love and compassion. Take time right now and sign up to love Him in the way that He has loved you. The Holy Spirit is at work in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Enjoy your journey with Christ and we will pick up in the following chapters with a verse by verse study of the Song of Songs which is Solomon’s.