Meditations on Song of Solomon

Song of Solomon 7:6-10
" How fair and how pleasant art thou, Ο love, for delights!" This, we doubt not, is the Bridegroom's voice. We perceive more depth of feeling and interest in this verse, than in the previous five. Others may admire her, but He delights in her. Through His patient grace, a moral resemblance to Himself has been wrought in her. This He now sees and delights in. The more perfectly Christ sees in us His own likeness, the more He will delight in us. This is necessarily true, yet a truth that is easily understood by all.
A strictly upright man can find no delight in one that is crooked in his ways. An honest man can find no pleasure in one who is dishonest. A morally pure person can have no fellowship with one who would drag him through all the impurities of a low and degraded nature. Assuredly not. The upright man can only delight in uprightness; the honest man in honesty; and the pure in purity. So the blessed Lord can find His delight only in that which resembles His own moral perfections. Oh! what a needed, practical lesson, thou mayest learn from this fact, Ο my soul! In what respect, let me ask, and in what measure, is thy moral resemblance to Christ? Think of His love, His holiness, and the perfection of all His ways; and then inquire—in what respect, in what measure, does He see His own moral image practically reflected in thee? And, consequently, how far can He find His delight in thee? Resist not these searching inquiries—abide in the light—let all thy practical ways be fairly examined there. And seek above all things, conformity to Him, who has left us an example that we should walk in His steps. How sweet to a soul that loves Him, must that word be from His own lips, " How fair and how pleasant art thou, Ο love, for delights!"
But before dismissing this subject, it may be well to notice for a moment the teaching of scripture on the blessed subject of our oneness with Christ—our completeness in Him; which is like the other side of the same subject. Practically we come infinitely short of Christ, yet, in spirit and in virtue of His finished work, we are one with Him, as risen and glorified. This is a glorious truth: is it plainly taught in scripture? Take the following texts as a sample of many that might be quoted. " He that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit." (1 Cor. 6:1717But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:17).) " For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Corinthians 12: 13.) " And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses." (Col. 2:1313And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (Colossians 2:13).) "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." Rom. 8:11There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1).
The blessed position of the believer in Christ, is abundantly taught in Scripture. And faith asks nothing more than the plain word of God. Our own frames and feelings would only mislead us on this all important subject; and doubts and fears would only be to doubt the work of redemption, on which the truth of our oneness with Christ is based. Being one with Him as risen from the dead and exalted on high, we are partakers with Him of the same life and privileges before God. It is plainly stated, for example, that Christ is our life. " When Christ, who is our life, shall appear." If, then, the question be raised as to whether we have eternal life, the believer may reply, by asking the question, " Has Christ eternal life? for the word of God affirms, that Christ is our life." Again, as to our oneness in righteousness. We are " made the righteousness of God in him." As to acceptance, we are " accepted in the beloved." As to position, we " sit together in heavenly places in Christ" Observe the form of the expression, "In Christ—in Him." And mark especially the fullness of the following verses. " But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." (1 Cor. 1:3030But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (1 Corinthians 1:30).) "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.'' (Col. 2:1010And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (Colossians 2:10).) " In Him," observe, who is above all principality and power," even the angels that never sinned.
Some, we are aware, speak of this heavenly character of truth as unpractical, and sometimes in less worthy terms. This we think a serious mistake, and one that must lead to serious consequences. On the contrary, we firmly believe, that the Christian's full assurance of pardon, justification, peace, acceptance, will be in proportion to the clearness of his apprehension, and the measure of his enjoyment, of these truths, as taught in the word of God. Salvation is nothing short of passing from death unto life. Then, where am I—what am I, if death is behind me? Associated with a risen Christ, and eternally one with Him, " We are members of his body." As the hand and foot, the eye and ear, are included in the man, so is the believer included in Christ.
So far from this character of truth being unpractical, we have no hesitation in saying, that our moral resemblance to Christ now, will be proportionate to our knowledge of, and fellowship with, our exalted Head in heaven. What made Paul so heavenly minded? His eye was fixed on Christ in the glory, and his heart breathed fervently after Him there. " One thing I do." Christ in heaven was the "one thing" before his soul. This, and this alone, will produce on earth, that in which Christ finds His delight—His own moral image reflected in us. Knowing this, may we set the Lord always before us, and ever seek to do the things which please Him.
But in the midst of all our shortcomings, it is comforting to know, that in the day of His coming glory, He will be surrounded with that which He loves, and in which He delights, Then the heavenly saints shall be fashioned like unto His own glorious body—changed into the same image. " We know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." And then, too, of Israel, as a nation on the earth, it will be said, "Thou shalt no more be termed forsaken; neither shall thy land be termed desolate; but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, (i.e., my delight is in her) and thy land, Beulah, (i.e., married) for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married." (Isa. 62:44Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. (Isaiah 62:4).) Lord, hasten it in thy time, for thine own name's sake!
" This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes." The " palm tree," and the " clusters of grapes " may be considered as the emblems of victory and maturity—of uprightness and fruitfulness. The palm is much spoken of throughout scripture, and variously applied as a symbol. As to its natural form, its stem is slim, but graceful, erect and lofty; the type of uprightness. " They are upright as the palm tree." Though pressed, or bound downwards for a time, it refuses to grow crooked, and soon recovers its perpendicular form. Wondrous illustration of the long pressure that has been on the Jews, and of the way they will yet lift up their heads. The leaves and fruit cluster richly at the top, and have the form of a crown or canopy. Some kinds grow to a great height, so that the fruit is not easily reached, the stem being branchless. This circumstance may be referred to in the next verso; " I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof." The fruits of the Spirit are never beyond the Lord's reach. He gathers, and appreciates the fruits of grace in His people. It is said to be the sure sign of water in the desert—that sweet springs of water are always found near to the palms; so that no sight is more welcome to the eye of the thirsty traveler than the palm tree. This historical fact is most interesting and suggestive, and seems to agree with scripture. " And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and three score and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters." Exod. 15:2727And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters. (Exodus 15:27).
We have also frequent reference in scripture, to the branches of the palm tree as the emblem of victory. They were the sign of the feast of tabernacles to the Jews; a period of great rejoicing in Israel. "And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook: and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days." (Lev. 23:4040And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. (Leviticus 23:40).) The innumerable multitude which John, in vision, saw, before the throne, and before the Lamb, were " clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands." Many thoughts as to Israel's past, present, and future history pass before the mind, in meditating on the expressive illustrations before us, but we can only at present briefly apply them.
The fair spouse of the King has now reached her moral maturity. Blessed truth! Grace has triumphed! She is perfect in His sight—the delight of His heart—the reflection of Himself. The prayer is answered; and the promise fulfilled. "Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us." " The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree." Moreover, the feast of tabernacles is come! She waves her palm of victory—her joy is full. Elevated and upright as the palm, with its luxuriant crown, and living waters welling up, and flowing forth from its roots. Lowly, weak, and dependent, like the feeble vine, yet clinging to the Mighty One, and bearing much fruit to His glory. Loveliest of emblems of man's low estate, and of abundant fruitfulness through trust in God—abiding in the true vine. " For when I am weak, then am I strong." Fragrant also, she is, as the apple tree—the chosen emblem of the well-Beloved, she spreads abroad the sweet odors of His name.
From the ninth verse it would appear that the Bridegroom now reposes in the charms of His Bride. His heart is at rest. Wondrous truth! He sees in her of the travail of His soul and is satisfied. The desires of His love are answered. What love! What grace! What blessing! Happy Bride! Happy Israel! Perfectly, and forever restored; the Lord thy God rests in thee. He is revived, refreshed, and cheered, by " the best wine," which thou hast prepared for thy Beloved. " Causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak." Should there be the least doubt on my reader's mind of the full, happy, glorious, and blessed restoration of the Jews, let him carefully read the following beautiful prophecy. Surely no one could question that it is still unfulfilled. " Sing, Ο daughter of Zion; shout, Ο Israel: be glad and rejoice with all the heart, Ο daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy; the King of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee; thou shalt not see evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not; and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love; he will joy over thee with singing." Zeph. 3:14-1714Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 15The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. 16In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. 17The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. (Zephaniah 3:14‑17).
" For what though Judah's palm tree now is dry,
Withered and leafless, like a beacon-mast,
Though ' Raze it, Raze it,' is the taunting cry,
You pallid crescent-moon is waning fast;
'Twill soon be quenched. Then Israel's night is o'er,
Her sun shall rise, her moon shall wane no more.
Palm branch in hand, go forth to meet the
King Messiah comes! rejected once, and slain.
Daughter of Zion, loud " hosannahs " sing!
Who came to suffer once—now comes to reign.
Beneath the palm tree Israel's Judge shall sit;
Behold the people gathering at His feet."
" I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me." This, we may truly say, is the highest note in the Song of Songs. And yet, we may as truly say, it is the lowest. Now, the soul is done with itself, and entirely occupied with Christ. It expresses, we believe, the highest apprehension of Christ. His desire is toward me—He delights in me. Consequently, self is lost sight of. Grace has done its perfect work—the soul is established in grace. This is the perfection of beauty in the people of the Lord; and always that in which He delights. So long as a soul is under law, it never reaches this place of confidence, rest, peace, and joy. It never strikes so high a note. No matter who, where, or when, the soul that is under law, must be troubled with doubts and fears. Not but that the law is good, but we cannot keep it, and we cannot remain always here, for leave this world we must; then the solemn question arises, how shall it fare with me at the judgment-seat? A dark cloud hangs over the future. The troubled soul believes not, though plainly written, that by grace, through faith, it has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death unto life. John 5: 24.
Grace alone can bring the soul into this blessed, happy state. Law never can, because it condemns those who break it, and shows no mercy. Besides, if I have fear now, I have torment. But "perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." This " perfect love " expresses itself in perfect grace, and grace alone establishes the soul in the perfect love of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the perfect work which He has accomplished for us. Israel sang praise to God on Canaan's side of the lied Sea, where grace flowed without rebuke in their complete redemption; but at the foot of Sinai, where they heard the thunders of the law, there was no singing; it was all fearing and trembling. Ever since then, Israel has been under law, and must be, until their Messiah come again. At the same time, we know, of course, that those who now repent, and believe in Jesus, give up their Jewish ground, and become members of the Church of God—the body of Christ; and are brought into all the privileges and blessings of a present salvation.
The condition of the Jews, as such, and especially as having crucified the Lord, is strikingly presented in the case of the man-slayer under the law. He was compelled to remain in the city of refuge, until a change took place in the priesthood. (Numb. 35) In this significant type, we see Israel's fall deliverance when their Messiah comes in His Melchizedec glory. Then He will set them free from the pressure of law, under which they are suffering; and deliver them out of the hands of all their enemies. He will also meet them according to the ancient type in Gen. 14, and refresh and cheer their fainting hearts with the bread and wine of the kingdom. Then their long blinded eyes shall be opened to see their own Messiah, and that He is all for them. This will be the relief, the rest, and the joy of their hearts.
This is a character of experience which the Spirit of prophecy does not present in the Song of Solomon It would not be in harmony with its object. Here, it is more the exercises of the heart—the affections, that are given. In the Psalms, for example, it is chiefly the exercises of conscience that we find the remnant passing through.
If we look back to chap. 2: 16, we find the Bride expressing the joy of her heart in that she had found the Messiah—in possessing Him. " My beloved is mine, and I am his." In chap vi. 3, we find her experience considerably higher. Her heart finds sweet satisfaction in knowing that she belongs to Him. "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine." But in the verse under our immediate meditation, she reaches the highest point in a soul's experience, she rests in the happy assurance that His heart delights in her. u I am my beloved's and his desire is toward me." This is the happy fruit of His own patient, perfect grace; she is all beauty and perfection in His sight—she is clothed in the comeliness of grace. She knows this, and this is the perfect rest of her heart. " His desire is toward me." Higher than this, the soul never can rise; better than this, the soul never can find. It is finding all in the love—the changeless love of Christ. This must ever, and only be, the heart's deepest joy, and sweetest peace. Oh! happy state for a poor sinner saved by grace to be in, and to be in now.' To find all its fresh springs in the love of Jesus! To be able to say, "He knows me thoroughly—He knows what I am in myself—what I am in Him. Yet, nevertheless, He not only loves me, but delights in me." There is nothing beyond this. Oh! wondrous truth! Here pause for a moment, in thy meditations, Ο my soul. And may I venture to ask of thee, " Has thy harp ever been tuned to take this note? And canst thou take it easily? Is there no strain in reaching it? And hast thou learned to dwell upon it—sounding it long and fully? " This ought to be the key note of all our praise—the uniform condition of our souls. We start, if we start aright on our Christian course, with the knowledge of the love of Jesus—of the efficacy of His sacrifice—of the completeness of redemption—of the certainty of glory. And should the song of His love ever become feeble on our lips? Surely it should become stronger and stronger, as we near the bright realms of glory, where the same Jesus, and the same love, shall be our happy song forever.
" Ο how I thirst the chains to burst,
That weigh my spirit downward;
And there to flow, in love's full glow
With hearts like thine surrounded!
Lord, haste that day, of cloudless ray, -
That prospect bright unfailing
Where God shall shine, in light divine,
In glory never fading."