Searching for Her Love

Song of Solomon 3:1–5 (NKJV)

THE SHULAMITE

3:1 By night on my bed I sought the one I love;
I sought him, but I did not find him.
2 “I will rise now,” I said,
“And go about the city;
In the streets and in the squares
I will seek the one I love.”
I sought him, but I did not find him.
3 The watchmen who go about the city found me;
I said,
“Have you seen the one I love?”

4 Scarcely had I passed by them,
When I found the one I love.
I held him and would not let him go,
Until I had brought him to the house of my mother,
And into the chamber of her who conceived me.

5 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the does of the field,
Do not stir up nor awaken love
Until it pleases.

Desire is the theme here in this song describing the bride seeking out the groom in a wedding prelude.  They seek for one another, and once she finds her beloved, she held him close and brought him to her mother’s house.  Again, she advises the daughters of Jerusalem not to awaken love before its time, or before it is right.  This is the description of the Shulamite’s struggle emotionally.  Whether she is imagining this journey or whether it is real, she is strongly desiring her lover and seeking the day when they will be united in love and marriage.

Young love should involve attraction, and it should be a time of heightened emotions and desire.  However, the admonition at the end of this section of Scripture makes it clear that one should not cross the threshold of sex until the time is right.  In God’s law, desire is not enough.  There must be commitment as well to a life of love and faithfulness.  Even though she is longing for her beloved, the time must be right.

Catch Us the Foxes

Song of Solomon 2:14–17 (NKJV)

14 “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
In the secret places of the cliff,
Let me see your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your face is lovely.”

HER BROTHERS

15 Catch us the foxes,
The little foxes that spoil the vines,
For our vines have tender grapes.

THE SHULAMITE

16 My beloved is mine, and I am his.
He feeds his flock among the lilies.

(TO HER BELOVED)

17 Until the day breaks
And the shadows flee away,
Turn, my beloved,
And be like a gazelle
Or a young stag
Upon the mountains of Bether.

The Shulamite continues her adoration of her beloved by describing him as a dove in the cleft of the rock.  She even loves to just hear him speak and look at his face.  She is smitten!  She then later declares her devotion to him in saying he is mine and I am his.  She finally describes his athleticism by telling him to run and jump like a gazelle or a deer.  There is some suggestion here that she is sending him away at night because they cannot be together until daytime.

The most well-known Scripture in the passage, though, is the 15th verse.  This Scripture may be the brothers of the Shulamite trying to get their sister to handle the responsibilities of their vineyard, as she has been doing for some time.  However, this is also an analogy of how little things can create big problems.  The little foxes can spoil the vines of the vineyard.  In the same way, little sins, slight slips, stumbles may not seen like a big deal one at a time, but they lead to fissures, leaks, breaks in the vine that cuts off the fruit, lowers productivity, destroys the lifeline to hope.  Don’t let the little sins stack up and create huge problems.  Don’t go down the rabbit hole.  The old famous saying is, “Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”  It is true!

Come Away

Song of Solomon 2:8–13 (NKJV)

THE SHULAMITE

8 The voice of my beloved!
Behold, he comes
Leaping upon the mountains,
Skipping upon the hills.
9 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Behold, he stands behind our wall;
He is looking through the windows,
Gazing through the lattice.

10 My beloved spoke, and said to me:
“Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away.
11 For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
12 The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell.
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away!

The Shulamite opens this passage by describing the details of her lover coming to woo her.  She compares him to a deer or gazelle, virile and strong, leaping over the mountains.  This is her way of pointing out his youth and strength, her lover’s virility.  She describes him as seeking her out, looking through windows and calling to her.  It is springtime, and the flowers are blooming and birds are singing.  This is a beautiful picture.  He calls to her to come away with him.

This is a beautiful analogy of the Savior, Jesus Christ, calling to those He wishes to have as part of His bride.  Jesus is the strong, powerful Savior who rescues those who believe in Him will be saved.  Winter is past, and the rain is over.  Spring is here, and the time is always right to enter into relationship with Him!

His Banner Over Me is Love

Song of Solomon 2:1–7 (NKJV)

2 I am the rose of Sharon,
And the lily of the valleys.

THE BELOVED

2 Like a lily among thorns,
So is my love among the daughters.

THE SHULAMITE

3 Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods,
So is my beloved among the sons.
I sat down in his shade with great delight,
And his fruit was sweet to my taste.

THE SHULAMITE TO THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM

4 He brought me to the banqueting house,
And his banner over me was love.
5 Sustain me with cakes of raisins,
Refresh me with apples,
For I am lovesick.

6 His left hand is under my head,
And his right hand embraces me.
7 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the does of the field,
Do not stir up nor awaken love
Until it pleases.

This couple continues their love banter, describing each other in terms of beautiful flowers, a truly sappy, but beautifully romantic exchange.  She describes herself as a rose and a lily.  The Beloved responds by affirming that she is a lily among thorns.  This is the highest praise, describing her as far more excellent than others.  The Shulamite describes him as an apple tree among others, with great shade and sweet fruit.  She goes on to describe a date with him, where he gave her a great banquet.  She described his embrace, and then warns the daughters of Jerusalem not to awaken love before its time.

The famous passage concerning the banqueting house tells that “his banner over me was love.”  Songs have been written about this passage, and it signifies his covering or claiming her as his love.  This is an image of Jesus covering His bride with His love, feasting with us at the marriage supper of the Lamb.  What a great moment that will be!  One last thing that the Shulamite says is that no one should awaken love before its time.  This is a warning against those who date allowing themselves to be caught up sexually before the time of their wedding.  Be holy, be chaste, be righteous.  The sanctity of marriage is sacred.  Keep yourself until then.

My Fair Love

Song of Solomon 1:13–17 (NKJV)

13 A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me,
That lies all night between my breasts.
14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blooms
In the vineyards of En Gedi.

THE BELOVED

15 Behold, you are fair, my love!
Behold, you are fair!
You have dove’s eyes.

THE SHULAMITE

16 Behold, you are handsome, my beloved!
Yes, pleasant!
Also our bed is green.
17 The beams of our houses are cedar,
And our rafters of fir.

The Shulamite describes her beloved as a bundle of myrrh and a cluster of henna blooms, speaking of his pleasant scent and overall pleasantness.  He responds to her by telling her how fair she is, with dove’s eyes.  Finally, she speaks of how handsome he is, and how they will have a strong and beautiful home together.

This love exchange is a romantic discussion that speaks to young love and attraction.  This is a common dance seen with many young couples in love.  They cannot stop complimenting each other and speaking of each other’s nice looks and their favorite features.

While this seems like so much everyday love story material, it is a very powerful analogy of the excitement of a new convert upon meeting Jesus Christ as Savior.  The thrill of knowing the greatest Lover of our Souls makes many new converts downright bubbly.  Perhaps believers should remember that post-conversion giddiness and go back and make an effort to fall in love with Him again.  He’s worth it!

Come to My Tent

Song of Solomon 1:7–12 (NKJV)

(TO HER BELOVED)

7 Tell me, O you whom I love,
Where you feed your flock,
Where you make it rest at noon.
For why should I be as one who veils herself
By the flocks of your companions?

THE BELOVED

8 If you do not know, O fairest among women,
Follow in the footsteps of the flock,
And feed your little goats
Beside the shepherds’ tents.
9 I have compared you, my love,
To my filly among Pharaoh’s chariots.
10 Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments,
Your neck with chains of gold.

THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM

11 We will make you ornaments of gold
With studs of silver.

THE SHULAMITE

12 While the king is at his table,
My spikenard sends forth its fragrance.

In this passage, we see the beginning of the dance between lovers, a couple interested in becoming husband and wife.  The Shulamite asks the Beloved where he will be watering or feeding his flocks so that she can come visit him, feed her goats along with his sheep.  He either toys with her or else asks her to follow him because he does not know where he is going.  He then goes on to tell her how beautiful she is.  Her friends then offer to make her jewelry to even further enhance her beauty.  She speaks of wearing fragrant perfume to smell nice for her lover.

While this is typical behavior for lovers, it also describes the way the Lord calls for His people.  When we ask where He is, Jesus tells us to follow Him.  When we want His presence in our life, He instructs us to dwell near His tent, His tabernacle, in order to find Him.  Fortunately, God tabernacles with us today through our pursuit of Him in praise.  We do not necessarily need to go to a tent or a building to find His presence.  Instead, we can find Him anywhere we seek Him and praise Him in obedience, love, and worship.  While this is a picture of young love, it is also a picture of how Christians can find the presence of the Lord.  When you do, you find His adoration and care for you as well.  What a powerful blessing!

I’m in Love!

Song of Solomon 1:1–6 (NKJV)

1 The song of songs, which is Solomon’s.

THE SHULAMITE

2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
For your love is better than wine.
3 Because of the fragrance of your good ointments,
Your name is ointment poured forth;
Therefore the virgins love you.
4 Draw me away!

THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM

We will run after you.

THE SHULAMITE

The king has brought me into his chambers.

THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM

We will be glad and rejoice in you.

We will remember your love more than wine.

THE SHULAMITE

Rightly do they love you.

5 I am dark, but lovely,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
Like the tents of Kedar,
Like the curtains of Solomon.
6 Do not look upon me, because I am dark,
Because the sun has tanned me.
My mother’s sons were angry with me;
They made me the keeper of the vineyards,
But my own vineyard I have not kept.

This passage begins the great Bible love story, the Song of Solomon (aka the Song of Songs).  There are many interpretations of this writing.  Some say that this is meant to be an analogy of the relationship between Jesus and His church.  Others say it generally a description of the love between God and His people.  However, it is just as valid to see this as a celebration of young love leading up to marriage.  The almost graphic nature of the desire each one has for the other in this love story demonstrates the sexual attraction between a man and woman that leads them into a powerful and healthy sexual relationship within the confines of marriage.  This describes the righteous and holy aspects of true marriage between a man and a woman in a monogamous, committed relationship.  For too long, the church has been guilty of stifling any talk, much less celebration, of the sexual component of humanity that is holy in a marriage.  God teaches His people to procreate, and gives them a desire for sexual relationship that makes obeying Him fulfilling and pleasant.

Therefore, when the Shulamite expresses her desire to her friends for her lover to kiss her, and giddily discusses how great his cologne smells, she is fulfilling a righteous desire leading up to the fulfillment on her wedding night.  She touts his good looks and says that she knows that the other girls all think he is a catch…her catch!  Her friends celebrate her relationship and vow to follow along as she and her husband unite joyfully at their wedding.  This is good theater, a powerful expression of how God desires that a husband and wife anticipate the greatness of their life together in the days leading up to their wedding.

There is a slightly difficult passage in the last few verses, discussing her tanned skin, caused by her brothers forcing her to keep their vineyards.  She bemoans the fact that she was unable to keep her own vineyard because of her forced labor on behalf of her brothers.  Her “vineyard” may well refer to her complexion, because most of the women thought to be desirable had creamy complexions rather than tanned ones.  However, she defended herself by saying that she was dark, but lovely.  This means that her beauty was not compromised by her color.  It is important to remember that looks are not the only indicator of beauty, and that God’s plan and purpose for your life is the most important factor in choosing a mate.  See the beauty, even if it is not conventional, in the man or woman your love.  That beauty, whether it lines up with the cultural conventions of the day or not, will last in your mind and your heart regardless of how culture changes.

Fall in love.  Celebrate it.  Enjoy it within God’s plan and the bounds of His holiness.  Be giddy and silly at times, and enjoy the spouse you love and desire!