Lectures on the Song of Solomon

Song of Solomon 6-7
And in the chapter (6) that follows, we come to another point to which I have not yet called your particular notice; but I must do so briefly. The word had come: "My beloved is gone down into His garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies. I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: He feedeth among the lilies." You will observe that just as there are charges followed by the announcement of His coming, which are a very important help to the understanding of the different parts of this book, so also there is the expression of the bride's affection to the Bridegroom. In the latter part of the second chapter, she did not say this. There it was another word-"My beloved is mine." That is in the 16th verse. "My beloved is mine, and I am His: He feedeth among the lilies." Here in this chapter we have what is better: "I am my beloved's"-it is the converse.
And this marks a very decided progress in her soul-in the affections of Jerusalem-when we come to apply it, not personally, but to the object of the book. And the difference is this. The first thing-and this is equally true of a renewed soul -the first thing that the soul wants is to know what we find in the second chapter-that Christ is mine. And Jerusalem will go through a similar experience, and very justly. It would be a poor thing to know that I am His, if I did not know that He is mine. Necessarily, where the Spirit of God works in power, the heart does not begin with my being Christ's. I know very well that you will find the contrary of this among many godly persons, and they put it into verse too, that is to say,
"Am I His, or am I not?"
But that is not at all the first thing that the Spirit of God according to the Word produces in a heart that is subject to it. When one is occupied with oneself, this is the first thing. The first thing then is, I want to know whether "I am His," because I begin with "I," but this is just what is bad for me- just the very thing that we want to be delivered from. And what delivers us from this? Is He mine?-that treasure, that object of God's delight-is He mine? Is Christ mine? And this is exactly what Christ does give, for that is the point. It is not, as people constantly say, that the first thing is for me to know that I am saved. The first thing is to know whether I believe in Him. That is, it is what Christ is to my soul, and not what my soul has got through Christ. You see, false theology always puts self forward-always makes that the first thing.
Now do not mistake me. I do not at all mean that there is not the fullest comfort for our own heart. It would be a poor theology indeed-it would be, above all, poor faith-for that is what it really comes to-it would be poverty indeed in divine things-if there were not the fullest satisfaction for the renewed heart. But then the first thought that God has, and the first thought therefore that, as a believer, I ought to have, is this: not whether "I am His," but whether "He is mine." That is what the bride is here brought to confess-what she does confess. We must remember, beloved brethren, that in this book we have not the bungle, if I may so say-the bungle of men- in making out a science of theology from Scripture. What we have in the Word of God is the guidance of the Holy Ghost- the perfect, sure way of God in dealing with souls according to Christ. The first thing therefore is, "My beloved is mine," but then she adds, "And I am His"-this follows. That I have got eternal life is very true, but the first thing is that I believe in Him.
Let me repeat-the first thing is not what I am to get, but whom I am to believe in-whom does God propose to my soul? Have I bowed to Him? Have I submitted thoroughly, simply, implicitly to Him? This then is the first thing-to believe in Christ, and not merely to believe that I am forgiven. My forgiveness is a consequence of knowing that I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. But the first thing of all, I say, is not the salvation of my soul, but bowing to the Son of God; and it makes a great difference in which way we put it. I could not give a more important lesson to a young evangelist than that-always to hold that before him, that the first thing is not the soul in relation to Christ, but Christ in relation to the soul. And if he settles that and keeps that forward, I am persuaded that God will use it not merely for the soul, but above all for the glory of Christ; and, after all, Christ ought to be more to me than all the souls in the world. It is not that one will love the souls of the world less, but, I say, Christ has the foremost place. The bride does not suffer for this. Far from it. She is more blest because she gets the blessing in God's way.
Well then, the next point of progress in this 6th chapter, which has given occasion to these remarks, is this-just the converse. "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine." Now would it have the same force to us thus-"My beloved is mine, and I am my beloved's"? No, not so. Now, you see, she knows Him. She is perfectly satisfied that He is hers. The consequence is that there is a new thing that is permanent. Wonderful to say, "I am my beloved's." My beloved has been speaking to me; I have been speaking to Him. There have been those passages of affection by the spirit between us; and now, "I am my beloved's." It is not, therefore, merely the expression of spiritual desire, but here there is a growing apprehension of this relationship, although it be not yet a formally established one; but still there is the spiritual preparedness for it. That is what God is working in her soul. "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine." The one is just as much in season as the other, only the one takes necessary precedence of the other.
And this is followed by another and very beautiful unfolding of the love and delight which the Bridegroom has in the beauty of the bride. "Thou art beautiful, 0 My love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as the army with banners. Turn away thine eyes from Me, for they have overcome Me." vv. 4, 5. A wonderful thought that is, of the Lord finding such attraction in Jerusalem that cost Him so many tears-that Jerusalem that has so slandered Him from that day to this. For Jerusalem is still the same Jerusalem that was, the same guilty, Christ-rejecting Jerusalem, but not always to be so. The Lord will make true these words, and give Jerusalem to believe, in the day that is coming. Of course, when I speak about Jerusalem, I mean the people; but still it is that very object and that people connected with that very city in the day that is coming.
So the Lord pursues this, and He adds at the close, "I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley" (v. 11) because He desired to see what were the fruits of the humiliation that Israel had passed through. Jerusalem had gone into the greatest humiliation, and He wanted to see what were the effects of it, whether there were spiritual fruits of that humiliation. And what did He find? "Or ever I was aware, My soul made Me like the chariots of Amminadib." That is, "of My willing people." That is the meaning of the word, and I presume that it ought to have been so rendered rather than put as a proper name. "The chariots of My willing people." That is His people who are made willing in the day of His power. Now we know that when the Lord was here in the days of His flesh, it was the day of His weakness. He was crucified through weakness, but He lives by the power of God; and we know Him accordingly in resurrection. They will know Him when He comes forth, and this shows what the Lord's feeling about His people is. And immediately this is followed by, "Return, return, 0 Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite?" That is the object of His love. It is Jerusalem that is to be "as it were the company of two armies." That is, just as when in the days of Jacob's dealings there was the same—the company of two armies when the angels protected him in the hour of his distress and fear—so it will be with Jerusalem in the day that is coming. They will be like the angels of God in their might and power.
In the next chapter (7) the Lord gives a fresh expression of His love to Jerusalem. On this I need not say much. It is, I repeat, what He saw in herself. It is not glory; that would be a small thing. It is in her possession. It is not power. It is not what she has to do in the world or anything of that kind. I have not the slightest doubt that Jerusalem in the day that is coming is to be made the metropolis of the earth. I have not a doubt that the Lord is going to accomplish a most wonderful work by the converted Jew after that day, but that is not the point. It is herself viewed as a person—the object of His love. This again comes out in a most striking way, and it is followed by what we have for the third time in the bride's answer, "I am my beloved's" (v. 10). There is not the arriving at a settled sense of love—the possession of His love. "I am my beloved's, and His desire is toward me." It is not necessary to say, "He is mine." "I am my beloved's, and His desire is toward me." She began with, "My beloved is mine," but now she rests in this. It is no longer necessary to say that He is hers. It is so perfectly plain.
He has made it so manifest by all these expressions of His affection and all the beauty that He finds in her. "I am my beloved's, and His desire is toward me. Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages." And this ends the proper course of the Song of Solomon.