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Chuck Smith :: Song of Solomon

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Tonight we want to look at the Song of Songs which is Solomon's. By the title it indicates that Solomon felt that this was the finest of the one thousand and five songs that he wrote. This is the excellency of the songs that he has written. Of the thousand and five songs, this one is it as far as Solomon is concerned.

In Ecclesiastes, we had a theme: vanity of vanities. In this we have, song of songs. The vanity or the emptiness of the world apart from God. The emptiness of the world in achievement, any achievement that is apart from God. Now he speaks of the song of songs which is Solomon's and the song of songs is a song of love.

Now there are some people who consider the Song of Solomon no more than just an erotic, oriental love song and feel that it has no place in the scriptures. But others have found tremendous inspiration in the Song of Solomon by looking at a spiritual allegory, seeing it as a spiritual allegory. Now to the Jews, it became a spiritual allegory of God's special relationship to the nation Israel. As God is seen in the figure of Solomon the king, and Israel as the favorite choice wife, and as they express their love of each other, so God's expressions of His love for Israel and Israel's expressions of their love for God.

And of course, through a lot of the prophets we find the same theme as God addresses Israel as His wife. And God tells of His love, His deep love for His people. And the espousals of the youth. "When you first discover Me. Where is that love that we had in the beginning?" God said. "Why have you turned away from the love? Who has drawn you away?" And as Israel turned their hearts from God and began to worship Molech and Mammon and Baal and some of the gods of the Canaanites, God spoke out against it as having forsaken Me, your first love, the true love. And you've taken up with these other paramours that are going to leave you desolate. And so to the Jew it became a beautiful spiritual picture of the relationship of the nation Israel, the special relationship the nation Israel experienced with God.

To the church, because the church is often seen in the New Testament as the bride of Christ, it became a picture to the church of the bride of the church, her relationship to Jesus Christ, her bridegroom, her coming King who we look forward to. And so the spiritual allegories are then made applicable to Christ and His love for the church and the church's response to His love.

John Gill, one of the great Puritan preachers, preached to his congregation a hundred and twenty-two sermons out of the Song of Solomon. So for those that are looking for sermon material, seeking to find it in the spiritual allegories, there's just a lot of material here. He preached a hundred and twenty-two sermons out of this book. Bernard of Clairvaux preached sixty-two sermons to his congregation just out of chapter 1. So the book is filled with imagery and possible allegorical applications.

Now, I am not one who really goes into the mystic allegorical applications of the scripture. Though I do see here many beautiful allegories, and you can take the text and spiritualize upon them, that just hasn't been my method of ministry of taking a text and seeking to spiritualize the text. Because different people can see different things in an allegory. And even in the Song of Solomon, there have been various interpretations of the Song of Solomon.

The basic interpretation of the Song of Solomon is that this is a young Shulamite girl that Solomon has fallen deeply in love with. And she is in love with him. And he addresses himself to her declaring his love and declaring her beauty, and she responding to him. While the daughters of Jerusalem are there asking questions of the young girl concerning her love for him, asking Solomon of his love for her, and so the... Actually, again, it's a song, so you see it's set up in a dramatic kind of an opera. You have Solomon standing there singing in his rich baritone voice of his love for his bride. And she with her high soprano answering him and singing, "Come, my beloved into my garden and drink. Taste of its fruits," and so forth. And then you have the chorus over here, the women's chorus, the female chorus. And they every once in a while sing in, "Tell us of thy beloved. Where is he grazing his flocks and so forth at this time?" And they are interjecting.

Now there is another interpretation of the Song of Solomon, basic overall interpretation. And this one is followed in the Amplified Bible and suggested in the Amplified Bible. And that is, that here is the same beautiful young Shulamite girl that Solomon has fallen madly in love with. And he is seeking to make her a part of his harem, for Solomon had a harem second to none. And he is seeking by his wealth, by his grandeur, by all of the gifts and the wealth to cause her to become a part of his vast harem. Seeking to woo her and to seduce her. And she is brought in with the other virgins and she is telling them, they wonder why she isn't responding to his love and she is telling them that she has a true love, a shepherd. And she doesn't respond really to Solomon's love because her heart is after another, her shepherd lover who she longs for, who she seeks after.

And in the spiritual allegories to this other way of looking at the Song of Solomon, Solomon in this other allegory represents the world. The Shulamite woman, the Christian, and how the world is seeking to allure the Christian away from her love for her Shepherd, Jesus Christ. And she has this deep fervent commitment to her shepherd, even Jesus Christ, and cannot be allured by all of the wealth and the glory and the grandeur of Solomon as he seeks to seduce her and draw her into his harem and all.

And so this is another possible interpretation. But this is the problem, the basic problem of spiritualizing the text and seeing it in an allegorical sense, because as you go through the book, either one fits. But surely they are diametrically opposed to each other as far as an interpretation goes. And yet, you can see and you can read it so that either way it fits. Solomon is the one she loves and they are expressing their love for each other. Or, she is sort of rejecting the love of Solomon because of her true love for her shepherd lover.

The Song of songs, which is Solomon's (Sgs 1:1).

It begins with the first singer who is this young Shulamite, beautiful girl, and she sings.

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. Because of the savor of your good ointments [or your perfume] thy name is as ointment [or perfume] poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee. Draw me, we will run after thee: the King hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee (Sgs 1:2-4).

Now speaking of herself, she said,

I am black, yet beautiful, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, and as the curtains of Solomon. Look not upon me, because I am black (Sgs 1:5-6),

It doesn't mean that she was an Ethiopian, but she says,

because the sun hath looked upon me (Sgs 1:6):

She was well tanned.

my mother's children [my step brothers, actually] were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but my own vineyard [or my own complexion and so forth] I have not kept (Sgs 1:6).

I'm ruddy and tan and so forth.

Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where you make your flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions? (Sgs 1:7)

So her opening declaration of having been brought into the king's chambers. Her addressing the daughters of Jerusalem concerning her own unkept condition because of being outside, keeping vineyards. Sort of a Cinderella kind of a story, the wicked sisters made her do all of the work and she wasn't able to keep up her own cosmetics and all.

Now the king responds to her.

If thou know not, O thou fairest among women (Sgs 1:8),

And the question is where you feed your flocks. "If you know not, O fairest among women,"

go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents. I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots. Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold. We will make thee borders (Sgs 1:8-11)

Now these are the daughters of Jerusalem, the virgins, the chorus responds. "We will make thee borders,"

of gold with studs of silver (Sgs 1:11).

And the bride responds.

While the King sits at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof. A bundle of myrrh is my wellbeloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts. My beloved is to me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi (Sgs 1:12-14).

The camphire trees or cypress trees, and just that beautiful smell of the out of doors and trees in blossom there in Engedi.

Behold, thou art fair, [the king answers] my love; behold, thou art fair; you have doves' eyes (Sgs 1:15).

She responds to him.

Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green. The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir (Sgs 1:16-17).

So you have the opening of this love drama, the Song of Songs of Solomon.

Chapter 2

I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys (Sgs 2:1).

The bridegroom responds.

As the lily among the thorns, so is my love among the daughters (Sgs 2:2).

The bride responds.

As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick (Sgs 2:3-5)

And it probably should be translated "sick with love" because we have a thing of sick of love. We think that, you know, I'm sick of it. But that isn't the meaning here. I'm sick because of it. I'm sick and like I would say I'm smitten of a bad malady or something. Well, I'm sick of love. Love is the cause of my sickness. I'm sick with love. I'm just lovesick, we would say.

His left hand is under my head, his right hand doth embrace me. 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 please (Sgs 2:6-7).

And then the bride goes on to speak.

The voice of my beloved! behold, he comes leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he stands behind our wall, he looks forth at the windows, showing himself through the lattice. My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; and the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is beautiful. Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. My beloved is mine, and I am his: and he feeds [his flocks, actually] among the lilies. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether (Sgs 2:8-17).

She continues to speak. Or sing, actually, because it's a song.

Chapter 3

By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loves: I sought him, but found him not. 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, Did you see him whom my soul loves? It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loved: 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. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please. Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, and with the powders of the merchant? Behold his bed, which is Solomon's; there are three (Sgs 3:1-7)

And that would be the marriage chariot that he made, the nuptial bed. "Behold his bed, which is Solomon's; there are,"

sixty valiant men around it, the valiant men of Israel. They all hold their swords, being expert in war: and every man has his sword upon his thigh because of the fear in the night. King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon. He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem. Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart (Sgs 3:7-11).

Chapter 4

And now the bridegroom speaks.

Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead. Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bears twins, [and you're not missing any] there is none is barren among them (Sgs 4:1-2).

Now I don't know that if you would try to express your love to your girlfriend like this how well she might take it. "Your teeth are like sheep that are all evenly shorn, that just came up from their washing; and every one bearing twins." Well, that means your teeth are matched, you know, as you go across they're even. They match and so forth, which is important, I guess.

Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of pomegranate within thy locks. Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armory, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all the shields of mighty men. Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense. Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee (Sgs 4:3-7).

And people, of course, is a bridegroom speaking of his bride and as you make the spiritual analogy of Christ to the church. Which, of course, is a correct and proper analogy, Christ's view of the church, "Thou art all fair, there is no spot in thee." The Bible speaks of the church as being without spot or blemish or any such thing. The way the Lord views us, and that's to me a glorious thing that the Lord views me that way, because He views me through love. And the Bible says that love covers a multitude of sins. And God sees us through the eyes of love, and as He sees us through the eyes of love, He sees us not in our imperfect state, but He sees us in that completed, perfect state in Christ Jesus. And it's so comforting for me to realize that God looks upon me and sees no fault. Sees no sins. Sees no blemish. Looking upon me through love, seeing me in Christ Jesus. I stand before Him without fault in Christ.

Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, and from the top of Shenir and from Hermon, from the lions' dens, and from the mountains of the leopards. Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices! Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon. A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with the chief spices: A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon (Sgs 4:8-15).

All right. The bridegroom is very expressive. It's like the French say, "You Americans are so... you have only one way to tell a woman you love her. We Frenchmen have a hundred ways." And it would seem that we macho American men are poor lovers, I guess, as far as really expressing our love, our adulation for our wives.

This Song of Songs which is Solomon's, as he expresses his love, uses figures of speech that I would never think of in seeking to express the beauty that I see in my wife. I just...she says, "Honey, do I look all right?" And I say, "Yeah, you look fine, you know." And, "Well, are you sure I look all right?" "Sure, you look great, you know." "Well, do you like this?" "Yeah, I like the dress, it's nice." "Well?" And I say, "Well, you're beautiful!" She says, "Well, thank you." And we go out, you know.

I think that we could probably take some lessons from Solomon and learn a little bit about how to express. It's interesting how that women, wives, do need a constant assurance of love. "Do you love me, Honey?" "Sure, I told you last year I love you, you know. I haven't changed. I still come home." But it doesn't satisfy. They need a continual assuring of that love. The continual assuring of their attractiveness to us, our love for them, that our desire is for them. And it's a smart husband who will give to his wife that continued assurance that she needs. It's a dumb cluck that tells her once a year he loves her and thinks that she'll be satisfied.

So he has just described now, "Oh, she's like a garden. The fragrances that come forth from her body are like spices. It's just glorious." And so she, picking up his phrases of love and the garden concept, sings back.

Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; and blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits (Sgs 4:16).

Beautiful response to the declaration of the bridegroom as he describes the beauty of his bride. A garden kept for itself has little value. The work of God in our lives is never just subjective. The real purposes of God are not really accomplished in us until there is a flowing out. "Awake, O north wind; come, thou south." Those who see now the spiritual allegories here, seeing the spirit, which in the Hebrew the word wind and spirit are, or in Greek the word wind and spirit are the same. In Hebrew the word breath and spirit are the same. But in Greek, pneuma, which is wind or air or spirit.

That through the Spirit there might come the outflow of the beauty of the work of Christ in our lives that it might touch others. That others might benefit from the work that God has done in me. And that is always the purpose of God--objective. Subjective first, He wants to work in you, but then He wants that work that has been accomplished in your life to flow out and be a benefit to others. "Let the spices flow out and then let my beloved come into his garden and eat of his pleasant fruits." The invitation of Christ into the church that He might come into our midst and partake of the pleasant fruit of His garden, as we bear forth and bring forth fruit unto Him.

Chapter 5

Chapter 5, the bridegroom replies,

I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved (Sgs 5:1).

Now the bride responds, and she said,

I sleep, but my heart is awake: it is the voice of my beloved that knocks, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night. I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them? My beloved put his hand by the hole in the door, and I was moved for him. I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock. I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick with love (Sgs 5:2-8).

And so the daughters of Jerusalem, the chorus now responds and answers her.

What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that you do so charge us? (Sgs 5:9)

She charged them, if she finds him, tell him that she's just sick with love. And she answers now concerning her beloved as she describes him.

My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. His head is as the most fine gold; his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set: His cheeks are as the bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh: His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires: His legs are like pillars of marble, set in sockets of fine gold: and his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars: His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem (Sgs 5:10-16).

As she describes her lover. And thus again, in seeing the allegory of Christ in the church, as Jesus Christ has come to us to be the fairest of ten thousand. As He is become to us the all-together lovely One. And our love for Him.

Chapter 6

Now the daughters of Jerusalem respond to her, the chorus sings back.

Where has your beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither or where is your beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with you (Sgs 6:1).

And she answers,

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: and he feeds among the lilies (Sgs 6:2-3).

Now the bridegroom responds to her and he says,

Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, as comely as Jerusalem, terrible or awesome as an army with banners. Turn away your eyes from me, for they have overcome me: your hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead. Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep which go up from the washings, where every one bears twins, and not there is not a barren one among them (Sgs 6:4-6).

He says the same thing to her so he isn't that...you know, after a while you got to repeat, you know. I mean, you can only say so much.

As a piece of pomegranate are thy temples within thy locks. There are sixty queens, and eighty concubines, and virgins without number. My dove, my undefiled, is but one (Sgs 6:7-9);

She is one among them all.

she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yes, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her (Sgs 6:9).

So he's declaring all of this praise for his beloved and the daughters of Jerusalem, the chorus now responds. As he is declaring again of her beauty and her glory, and they say,

Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, as awesome as an army with banners? (Sgs 6:10)

And as you see this in the spiritual allegory as representing the church, "Who is she who looketh forth as the morning?" The history of man has been dark and bleak. We are still living--the world in darkness. It's been a long night, sorrow, pain, suffering, anguish, tragedy that man has brought upon himself by his wars, by his greed, by the atrocities, by the inhumane treatment of fellow man, by the oppression and the exploitation of the weak and of the poor. It's been a long, dark night of history. But the church looketh forth as the morning. And the church declares to the world that is wrapped in its darkness, there's a new day about to dawn. And that is always the consistent message of the church. New opportunity that God gives to man. Not only to the world is a new day going to dawn very soon, but a new day can dawn in your life. And that darkness in which your life has been held can turn into a new day. God's work is always that of a new beginning. Letting you start all over again. "For if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. The old things are passed away, all things become new" (II Corinthians 5:17). Looking forth as the morning. Always the anticipation. Living in the anticipation of the new day that is going to dawn for man.

"Fair as the moon." The moon's light is reflected light, the light of the sun reflected in the moon. And so the church's light is a reflected light. It is the light of Jesus Christ, who said, "I am the light of the world. And if any man walk in Me, he will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). John, testifying of Jesus Christ said He is the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. But man put the light out. They hanged him on a cross. They put him in a tomb and rolled the stone over the door of the sepulcher. And as far as the world is concerned, they had extinguished the light. But the third day He rose again. And He lives today. And even as the light of the moon declares to you that the sun is still shining, though you cannot see the sun, but as you look at the moon and see the reflected light of the sun, you know that the sun still shines. So the world who cannot see Jesus Christ knows that He lives as they see the reflected glory of Christ from our lives. The light of Jesus Christ shining forth from us. "Ye," He said, "are the light of the world. And man doesn't light a candle to put it on a under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that it might give light to the whole house" (Matthew 5:14-15). The moon was the lesser light to rule the night, to rule in the darkness. And thus, in the darkness of man's history, God has a light. "Fair as the moon." His light, His witness as we reflect the light and the glory of Jesus Christ to the dark world around us.

In order to properly reflect that light of Jesus Christ, we must live above the world. For if we live in the world, if we partake of the worldly things, if we are living as the world, then we do not reflect the light to the world. You've got to live above the world. By a higher standard than the low standards of man around us. There is always the peer pressure. There is always the mores of a society that would seek to draw you down to a lower level of living. There is always the rationale, "But everybody's doing it." To encourage you and to draw you into a lower level of experience and life. But living on a low plane, you'll never reflect the glory of the Son. It's only as we live above it that the world can see the light reflecting from us.

"Clear as the sun." Again, there needs to be a slight change in the word sun. Instead of spelling it s-u-n, capitalize and spell it S-o-n. Clear as the Son. The church. We are to be pure as He is pure. We are to be holy as He is holy. God said, "Be ye therefore holy, for I am holy, saith the Lord" (I Peter 1:16). Jesus said, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48). "And he who has this hope purifies himself, even as He is pure" (I John 3:3). Christ is our standard for righteousness, which immediately eliminates all of us. Because none of us are as pure as Christ. None of us are as holy as Christ. None of us are as perfect as God. Christ, our standard for righteousness. But it is a righteousness that I cannot attain by works, by rules, by regulations, by laws. "For if righteousness could come by the law, then Christ died in vain" (Galatians 2:21).

But God has established a new basis of righteousness which is not a new basis of righteousness. It is the same basis by which Abraham was accounted righteousness. For Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness four hundred years before the law ever came by Moses. The law was never intended to make a man righteous, but only to show man his sin and his guilt in order that we might be driven to a righteousness that is apart from us, the righteousness which is of God through our faith in Jesus Christ. So we read in Galatians, "The law was a schoolmaster to force us to Christ" (Galatians 3:24). To drive us to Christ. To make us realize that we can't do it ourselves. We need help. And God has provided that help. And thus, we become clear as the sun, because it's His righteousness that has been imputed to us by our believing and trusting in God.

And so that's why the bridegroom could say, "Hey, she's without spot." That's why God looks at you and says, "Hey, you're without spot. You're without blemish. You're pure. You're righteous." Because He sees you in His Son and the righteousness of Christ having been imputed or accounted to your account.

And finally, the church is seen as awesome as an army with banners. And this is what God intends the church to be to the enemies of Jesus Christ. That we might be a terror to the enemies of God, even as an army with banners was a very terrifying thing to behold. To stand in front of or to try to withstand. So the church should be a terror to the enemies of God.

The bridegroom continues his song.

I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded. Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib. Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee (Sgs 6:11-13).

The chorus responds.

What will you see in the Shulamite? (Sgs 6:13)

And he answers.

As it were the company of two armies (Sgs 6:13).

Chapter 7

Now the daughters of Jerusalem address themselves to the Shulamite and they say,

How beautiful are thy feet with shoes (Sgs 7:1),

Or within thy sandals.

O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman. Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like a heap of wheat set about with lilies (Sgs 7:1-2).

And I suppose that was complimentary to them. I'm not that kind of an expressive person, and it doesn't do much for me.

Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins. Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools of Heshbon (Sgs 7:3-4),

I imagine blue, pretty.

by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose is like the tower of Lebanon (Sgs 7:4)

Now I don't know that I would appreciate that.

which looketh toward Damascus (Sgs 7:4).

Solomon built this tower in Lebanon after he had completed his palace. So some twenty years after he was married to the daughter of Pharaoh. There are some who believe that the one he speaks of is Pharaoh's daughter, but this sort of precludes that because the song evidently was written after twenty years of marriage to her, and it seems that a new interest has taken in with the Shulamite.

Thy head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of your head like purple; the King is held in the galleries (Sgs 7:5).

Or he is bound by that beauty.

How fair and how pleasant art you, O love, for delights! This thy stature is like unto a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes. I said, I will go to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples; And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak (Sgs 7:6-9).

The bride responds.

I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me (Sgs 7:10).

Now think of this in the church and Jesus Christ and it becomes very beautiful indeed. He loves me. "I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me." He desires me. Christ desires you. Your love, your response. He desires me. That to me is just uncanny.

Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourishes, whether the tender grape appears, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves. The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved (Sgs 7:11-13).

Chapter 8

The bride continues her song.

O that thou wert as my brother, that nursed upon the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised. I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate. His left hand should be under my head, his right hand should embrace me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please (Sgs 8:1-4).

And the bridegroom speaks.

Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee. Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is as cruel as hell: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love (Sgs 8:5-7),

Oh, speaking, of course, very picturesque and very powerful declaration of how strong love is. Like coals of fire, most vehement flame. And many waters cannot quench love.

neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all of his substance of his house for love, it would be utterly contemptible (Sgs 8:7).

In other words, this kind of love cannot be bought. Men are always trying to buy love. And there is a certain kind of love that can be bought. But not true love. Not this kind of love. This is a true love of Christ for us. You can't purchase it. And an endeavor to purchase it only cheapens it. It's utterly contemptible for people to try to buy their way with God.

If you gave tonight hoping that you could sort of buy your way with God, please ask the ushers for your refund when you leave. It's contemptible to think that you can buy your way with the Lord. That you can buy His love. God's love for us is uncaused by us and it just comes flowing forth to us. You can't buy that kind of love. You can't quench that kind of love. God's love for us is unquenchable. And it just comes flowing out to us and it is just ours to accept and ours to receive.

Now the bride responds.

We have a little sister, who is not developed: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for? (Sgs 8:8)

And the bridegroom responds.

If she is discreet, we'll build upon her a palace of silver (Sgs 8:9):

We'll display her.

and if she be brash, [we'll build a wall around her] we'll enclose her in boards of cedar (Sgs 8:9).

We'll fence her up.

And then the bride speaks. And she answers.

I am a wall [or discreet], and my breasts are like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favor. Solomon had a vineyard at Baalhamon; he let it out to the vineyard to the keepers; and every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver (Sgs 8:10-11).

Or he leased out the vineyards for a thousand pieces of silver.

My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred. Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it. Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices (Sgs 8:12-14).

"Make haste, my beloved." This takes us to the last of the book of Revelation when Jesus said unto John, "Behold, I come quickly." And John responded, "Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20). And so the final word of the bride is significant, "Make haste, my beloved, to come." And our prayer today is, "O Lord, come. Come quickly that we might enter in to that fullness of Thy love in Thy kingdom. That you might bring us into Your banqueting house. Place your banner of love over us. That we will be there forever with Thee in Thy glorious kingdom. Make haste, come quickly, Lord Jesus."

Shall we pray.

Father, we thank You for that love that we have experienced through Jesus Christ. We thank You, Lord, that we know the beauty, the glory, and the blessing of Thy love. And now, Lord, let us go out to declare Thy love to a needy world and to share Thy love with others. Let our lives, O God, become a fit witness of Thy love. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Shall we stand.

Now you that are romanticists and true sort of mystics, you can take that Song of Solomon and you can find all kinds of exciting things in it. As I say, I'm not much of one to make allegories or to get involved in that because, again, you can read so many things. I think, though, that it is good. I think though that here is a bit of, in a sense, existentialism that you need to experience it personally. What does the Lord say to you in it? And I think it's good to give God an opportunity to speak to you in it. And because you are different in many ways from me, in temperaments or whatever, some of you will find all kinds of beautiful, exciting things in the Song of Solomon where God will just speak to you in just a very beautiful special way.

But I think that there is something that is very intimate and personal with love. And thus, as the expressions of love are here, I really don't think that they do stand well in a public expression, because it makes it sort of a general impersonal thing. In a public expression, I think that the deepest expression of it does come in your own personal devotions as you let God unravel the book to your own heart and make the applications of the love to you individually. And as you read it in your own personal kind of devotion, being open with the Spirit of God, He can make many beautiful applications of the song to your relationship with Him. And you'll find it exciting indeed as He declares His personal love for you. And as you are able to relate and express your love for Him. So don't just pass by the song of Solomon, go back and read it with an open heart that God might minister to you on an intimate, personal basis His deep, fervent, fiery love that cannot be quenched by many waters.

God bless you, watch over you this week. Give you just a blessed week as He keeps His hand upon your life to guide you according to His will. And may you walk in His love. And may you be enriched in His love and in all things in Christ Jesus.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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