Song of Solomon 3

Song of Solomon 3  •  15 min. read  •  grade level: 6
VERSE I. "By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth; I sought him, but I found him not." The heart of the spouse is feeling the loneliness of the night while waiting for the dawn of the morning. She is thinking of the One who brings the morning with Him. But she has lost the sense of His nearness. This is failure. The conscience is awake-the affections are lively: " I sought him whom my soul loveth." Yet there is no joy-she is in trouble. Pray why is this, O my soul? How should this be? Hast thou discovered, in thy meditations, the secret spring of this strange condition? A lively conscience-ardent affections, yet in darkness! There can only be one cause for such a state of soul-the eye rests not on the Beloved Himself. Apparently, there may be other causes, but this is the real one. Her eye has wandered, and she is in darkness-in felt loneliness. She has rest as to salvation; " my bed "-a resting place: though for a moment, it is " night " with the soul.
It matters little, for the purpose of the enemy, on what the eye rests, if he can only get it off Christ. It may be occupied with the best of things, such as the work of the Lord, our brethren, brotherly love, the fellowship of saints. But even these things, blessed as they are, will lead to failure, if any one of them becomes the governing object of the heart in place of the Person of Christ. But what shall we say of self and the world coming in, in some of their ten thousand forms? Darkness, weakness, and sad confusion must follow.
Many have said, I know, with reference to such a state of soul, that it is the Lord hiding His face, that we may be tried, and that our affections may be quickened. We see no ground for such a conclusion as to the ways of the Beloved in the Song of Songs. Here, like the fine flour, He is perfectly even notwithstanding her changeableness. And certainly, such a notion would be contrary to the plainest teaching in the epistles. The same stroke of judgment that slew the Lamb, rent the veil; so that Christ and His redeemed entered into the " holiest of all "; and are in the light as God is in the light. Surely, Christ is in the light, never in darkness. And we are where He is, and as He is. " The darkness is past," as John tells us, " and the true light now shineth." And again, he says, "As he is, so are we in this world." The veil is done away in Christ.
The soul, I admit, may feel when in darkness as if He had withdrawn Himself and was gone. But in such a case it is the soul that has withdrawn itself from Him; not the Lord that has withdrawn Himself from it. Of course there will not be the same manifestation of divine love to the soul when it has lost sight of Him, as when it is closely following Him. As the Lord has said, " If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (John 14:2323Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23).) This is plain enough. The Lord is ever the same. He changeth not. When there is a change as to our communion-as to our enjoyment of Christ, it is entirely with ourselves. We may rest assured, that He will manifest to the fullest extent possible, the love that we can appreciate, so long as the eye is fixed on the Person of the Lord-so long as He is our object, our center; light, love, peace, and joy fill the soul. But when the eye wanders-when He ceases to fill the full vision of our souls, darkness comes in; then follows, through the craftiness of the enemy, the numerous train of perplexing, agitating thoughts and feelings. " The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." (Matt. 6:2222The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. (Matthew 6:22).)
Learn then, O my soul, from the experience of the spouse, this much-needed lesson, namely, " That nothing short of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ can ever satisfy the affections of the new nature." " Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?" is the natural, genuine cry of that nature, when Christ Himself is not seen. The form of the cry may be different in each one, but the cause of uneasiness is the same in all. A single eye, has not a double object. The bride has got occupied, during The night, with something besides her Beloved. It may have been the wilderness-the weariness of the way-or it may have been with the anticipated glories of the breaking morn. But, certainly, it was not with Himself, as on a former occasion when she said, " A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts." Then, peace and joy filled her soul, and the sweet fragrance of His name was spread abroad. Now, restlessness and trouble, and her own failure is manifested.
Verse 2, 3, "I will rise now, and go about the city; in the streets and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him but I found him not. The watchmen that go about the city found me; to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth 2" Her position and her action are changed, but rest is not found. Shy has shaken off the spirit of supineness Her cry is the language of a soul in earnest. But the streets and broad ways of the city, where watchmen are placed to maintain moral order, are not the places to find her Beloved. " He feedeth among the lilies." And this she well knew, only she is confused and agitated, as many have been in similar circumstances. The footsteps of the flock-the shepherd's tents-the budding grass—the mountain of myrrh-the hill of frankincense-the field-the garden-the bed of spices-the rural scenes, in contrast with the city, were His favorite haunts, and where He was to be found. But if her inactivity was failure, her activity was a mistake. Had humiliation and confession followed the former, the latter might have been prevented. But, oh! who could fail to admire the fervor of her love, the fullness of her heart, and the honesty of her confession? Four times in these four verses, she speaks of " Him whom her soul loveth." But she never pretends to have found Him until she has, or to be happy until she is. Would to God we witnessed in all cases of failure, such affection, earnestness, and honesty. It was through the fervor of her affections that her failure was exposed. Oh! that every case of backsliding from the Lord might be unveiled through the ardor of deep affection for the blessed, adorable Person of Christ!
But such are the affections of the spouse for her Beloved that nothing save Himself could for a moment meet the need of her heart. And had she been in heaven, in place of the city, and not found Him there, it would have been just the same. She must have continued her search. And as she passed from scene to scene, and from glory to glory, still her question would be, to all she met in the shining way, " Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?" Heaven, in all its brightness, without Him, would not have satisfied the affections of her renewed soul. It was Himself she was seeking, the Person of her blessed Lord-and nothing else, nothing besides, could take His place. Only the love of the Savior can satisfy the love of the saved-only the love of the Bridegroom can satisfy the love of the bride. This is the ordinance of heaven-the wisdom and goodness of God. Thus the blessed Lord becomes the object and center of all renewed hearts, as He is God's; and also the object and center of all their ways, as He has been, and ever will be, the one object, and sole center of all the ways of God.
A deeply blessed, and most practical lesson may be learned from this grand central truth. " Love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.... Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit." (r John iv. 7-19.) In the day of our regeneration, when " born of the Spirit," a new life is implanted in the soul, which finds its rest alone in Jesus. " Come unto me, and I will give you rest." This is the rest of God, and of our new life. Above the world, above the clouds, above the storms, above the heavens, it rests on the bosom of the Beloved. Then, why is y. it that so many true Christians are strangers to solid peace and rest, not to speak of joy and love? Simply because Christ Himself is not the one object before the mind and the heart; and in all their ways, both human and divine. The uneasiness, the restlessness, the disquietude of true Christians is to be accounted for on this ground alone. The moment Christ gets His right place in the heart, everything else, consequently, drops into its own right place according to divine order. But if anything be allowed to come between the heart and Christ, the Holy Spirit is grieved, the soul is darkened, weakness and confusion follow, and the whole moral being gets out of order.
" Jesus Thou art enough
The mind and heart to fill;
Thy life-to calm the anxious soul;
Thy love-its fears dispel.
O fix our earnest gaze,
So wholly, Lord on Thee,
That with Thy beauty occupied,
We elsewhere none may see."
Verse 4. "It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me." Great was the joy of the delighted Shelomith when she found her Beloved. " I found him." Blessed declaration! I, a poor weak, wandering, worthless one, " found him." " Found him "-who is the spring of all joy-the fountain of all blessedness. Her earnest, loving search is rewarded. It must be ever so. " He that seeketh findeth." When the heart is really turned to the Lord, it soon finds Him. It is His delight to reveal Himself to such, as He did to the loving Mary. He meets His bride in the way. She sees Him-she embraces Him-she holds Him-she will not let Him go, until she has brought Him into her mother's house.
But great as was her joy, it was as nothing compared with His. At first sight, the joy may seem to be all on one side. But it was not so. In the proportion that we love, will be our sorrow in losing, and our joy in finding, the loved One. Blessed truth, when seen in Christ! What a field for meditation! What treasures may be found therein! Here, much may be learned of the affections of the Lord, and of His deep sympathies with His people. Take an illustration.
Supposing the Bridegroom's love to be n hundred-fold greater than the bride's, would His disappointment, on the occasion of her wandering, be a hundred-fold deeper than hers who had wandered? Most assuredly. The affections characterize the disappointment or the joy. What was the proportion between the joy of the Father and the Prodigal when they met? Rather, what was the difference? Infinite! and so it must ever be, between the heart of the Lord and His people. Oh, how careful and watchful should we be lest we wander, and so grieve and disappoint the tender, loving heart of Jesus! And oh, what a motive to repent and return, when we have wandered from Him, and thereby grieved His loving heart and dishonored His blessed name!
But who, it may be asked, is the mother, and what are we to understand by the mother's house? We have the answer plainly given in the prophecies of Hosea. " Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi: and to your sisters, Ruhamah. Plead with your mother, plead." Israel as a nation is the mother. And when the long-broken relations between the Lord and His ancient people are re-established, He will have entered the mother's house. But on these points we have already dwelt in our meditations more than once, and need not here further refer to them.
The spouse, or godly remnant of the nation, knowing His Bridegroom love, falls into His embrace. She could find no resting-place until she found Him. And now, worn and weary with her wanderings, like the prodigal in the far country, she finds perfect repose in His changeless love. His heart is the only resting-place of hers. " I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love till he [she] please." This charge was considered in our meditations on chapter 2:7. The same charge occurs in chapter 8:4. Each time it is given the coming of the Lord immediately follows. In chapter 2:7, it is the revelation of Himself. " The voice of my beloved, behold he cometh." It is Himself, personally, that is here thought of. In chapter 3:5, it is the Messiah coming in royal procession, as the true Solomon, crowned King of Israel by the heart of the nation. "Behold King Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother [Israel] crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart." In chapter viii. 4, the bride is seen leaving the wilderness as united to Him. This is marked progress. " Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?" This is all that the heart desires. It is the consummation of all happiness. To be with Him-one with Him-and like Him, is the full, perfect, and eternal blessedness of all His people.
From verse 6, to the end of the chapter, we have a prophetic view of the Bridegroom, coming out of the wilderness with His bride. " Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant." The Jews rise not, like the church, to meet the Lord, in the air. He goes to where they are. The spirit of prophecy tells us that they were in the wilderness together. It was there that He revealed Himself to her, in His unchanging love as the true Messiah. " Behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her." " And to the woman [the Jewish remnant] were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." (Hos. 2, Rev. 12)
And now, according to the prophecy under meditation, these " times " have run their course. The great events crowded up in these truly eventful years have been rapidly disposed of. The old serpent has been shut up in the bottomless pit, the beast and the false prophet have been cast into the lake of fire, and the rebellious nations have been judged. " The besom of destruction " has swept the empire of Antichrist. What man is, has been fully proved. He is set aside forever as a vessel of testimony, and Christ now comes to take the place of the faithful and true witness for God in the earth. The scene being thus cleared, the throne of the Son of David, the Prince of Peace, is set up. The bride of the King is brought from her hiding-place in the wilderness with royal honors. The sight is glorious The morning breaks The rising sun sheds his beams over the land. Jerusalem is filled with joy! Now they shall say, and the rapturous shout shall not die on their lips as it once did, " Hosanna Blessed is the King that cometh in the name of the Lord."
" Resplendent Bridegroom, venerated Lord
Prince of all kings! Eternal Sovereign!
Rich, wise, and royal. Solomon indeed!
Of thee-exclusively of thee and thine-
This Song of Songs, this hallowed Canticle!
Its thrilling tones, too little understood,
Treat not of earth's affections, but in type,
And shadowing forth of holy mysteries,
It speaks of the Beloved-the King of Peace-
Salem's Great Architect; it speaks of One
Who builds a temple to Jehovah's praise,
Which the descending glory shall pervade
And fill eternally-It speaks of One
Whose enemies shall all be clothed with shame,
While on Himself the universal crown
Forever radiates-It speaks of One
At whose high throne of peace and equity
Prayer shall be made, and happy nations bend,
Rejoicing in His sway of righteousness."
The royal procession moves on. The wilderness is left behind forever. Verse 6 may be descriptive of the graces that shine in her. The smoking incense and the sweet spices give us the idea of praise, thanksgiving, and other fruits of the Spirit. Verse 7-10 may be more especially descriptive of the dignities, excellencies, and glories that belong to the King. The " bed " or " chariot " is the royal carriage. But mark, especially, it is the King's own workmanship. " King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon." Christ provides everything, and prepares everything for His people. He leaves nothing for us to do, save to enter into that which He has finished. The cedar wood is typical of fragrance and incorruptibility. The " pillars," of strength. The " silver," of purity. The "gold," of divine righteousness. The "purple," of royalty. "Love" is the spring of all-God is love. "The daughters of Jerusalem " and " the daughters of Zion " many refer to the cities and tribes of Israel, for all which divine love has paved the way for their national dignity and millennial glory.