The Spiritual Progress of a Soul
Comments on the Song of Solomon
Chapter One Continued
“O Thou whom my soul loveth.” Here is the real spirit of worship, love expressing itself in appreciation. Because David likewise loved the Lord, he could go to Him for help, comfort, correction, and instruction in righteousness. This is also true of every person born into the fold of the Great Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, the Lord Jesus. One can say to the Lord, “In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust.”
“Tell me, … where Thou feedest Thy flock,” enquired the Bride. Jesus said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled” (Matt. 5:6). The Bride not only hungered but she longed for fellowship with others in the Bridegroom’s flock. It was not at all satisfactory to her to be turned aside by the flocks of His companions, she could not be contented elsewhere than with Himself. Consequently, the Bridegroom looked upon His Bride in a very different way than He did upon the daughters of Jerusalem.
The Church repeatedly is compared to a woman, therefore, as being the spouse of Christ. It is in this relationship He addresses her saying, “Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock.” He does not instruct her to follow the daughters of Jerusalem, but to proceed along a path which He had marked out for her. How much each in the flock of God needs the company of the others! Do not the strong help to bear the burdens of the weak? Do not all need to be fed with the Word that is given from the Lord by the under-shepherd? All need to be shepherded in order that they grow. “He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand” (Psa. 95:7). The ideas contained in the words “flock” and “sheep” are applied here to the Lord’s people, even to those who now follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.”
The Lord Jesus commissioned Peter, “Feed My Sheep,” “Feed My lambs” (John 21:15-17). The Scriptures indicate who the under-shepherds of the flock really are; we read, “Let him that is taught in the Word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good thing” (Gal. 6:6). “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the Word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation” (Heb. 13:7). “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (Heb. 13:17). The Apostle Paul said to his own children in the faith, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).
“Feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents” was the instruction of the Bridegroom to the Bride. Spiritual fathers and Christian parents are guided by the law of love and by the Spirit of God, and therefore should be suitable guides for their own children. They are expected by the Lord to give the proper training that will save them from the evils so prevalent in this day of juvenile delinquency. Godly care coupled with true prayer will solve most of the problems that arise among both our spiritual and natural children. Parents should first of all give themselves to the Lord, for in so doing they will become examples before the young.
Young believers need to be nourished with the green pasture of the Word of God; they need to be strengthened thereby that they might obey the admonitions of the Lord.
“I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh’s chariots.” The reference here to the Bride being similar in some respects to a company of horses suggests a unity in spite of diversity. While there are many who love and serve the heavenly Bridegroom, there is only one Bride. “There is one body, and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:4-6). When the Anti-type of king Solomon, the Lord Jesus, likened His own to Pharaoh’s chariot horses, He intimated that He had purchased them at a great price, and that He had trained them to serve Him and to reflect His own character. The charming picture of the Bride in the eyes of her Bridegroom reveals what Christians ought to manifest before Him and before the world. Their comeliness in Christ is again expressed in a string of jewels. These would remind us of the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23). The works of the flesh are not under consideration here for the emphasis is upon the righteousness and the beauty of Christ. Notwithstanding, we need to remind ourselves of the teaching of Romans 6:19. “For as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.” The jewels that were put on Rebecca came from Isaac’s land; even so the fruit of the Spirit is heavenly in its origin.
The Lord Jesus said in His intercessory prayer, “I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me… . And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:8-26). In this way the Lord adorns and beautifies His own Bride.
Notice that the Bridegroom speaks in a future tense of the crowns (plaits) of gold with ornaments of silver. This entire song shows progressively the gold of divine perfection; it reveals the gold (the intrinsic value) of the grace of Christ in His Bride. She is thus sustained by His redemptive grace as suggested by the uprights (studs) of silver. It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit that eventually the Bride of Christ will appear in crowns of silver.
We are at the King’s table when experientially in the presence of the Lord Jesus. When we make Him Lord in our hearts, we may speak possessively of Him and say, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” It is then that we can be at rest and sit at His table to sup with Him, and He with us.
Like the box in which the Bride brought her spikenard, our pride and our self-righteousness and self-will have to be broken before the fragrance of humility may be poured out. The Psalmist intimates this figurative experience of breaking the box and pouring out the ointment; he writes, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise” (Psa.- 51:17).
The Lord Jesus is pictured here as a bundle of myrrh that perfumes the person of the Bride. Christ has taken up His abiding in the believer’s heart, and there He will remain during the dark night of this dispensation. As the bundle of myrrh lay in her bosom, the Bride was thinking of the virtues of her lover. The little act of affection that put it there shows her own appreciation of His personal character, and at the same time indicated that they were a fragrance to others. In his letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul wrote, “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints” (Col. 1:3-4). Their faith and love which delighted the heart of the Apostle were the result of the indwelling of the Lord through His Spirit.
“Thou hast doves’ eyes.” As the eye of the dove is turned toward her mate as being single, the Bride was ready to serve and to commune with her lover in sincerity and transparency of heart. The reply of the Bride to the endearments of her Bridegroom is interesting, “Our bed is green.” The use of the pronouns in the Epistle to the Ephesians “our”, “us,” and “we,” indicate that believers are joined in and to the Lord Jesus. They are one in Christ as well as one with Christ.
The colour green has a definite spiritual application. The blue speaks of our Lord’s heavenly character, and the yellow or gold, of His divine righteousness. The two together produce the green reminding us that here on earth we have the eternal and immutable promises of God. No red is here to be seen, for the sin question is considered settled forever.
We read on one occasion that when Jesus was alone with His disciples, He expounded unto them all things. Yes,
“Alone with God, the world forbidden;
Alone with God, O safe retreat!
Alone with God, and in Him hidden
To hold with Him communion sweet.”
It mattered not to Mary how many others were in the house; she was occupied with the love of Christ, and there sought to pour out her love upon Him, even so should it be with every member of the Bride of Christ. All was peace and joy in the presence of the Lord. Jesus and Mary were undisturbed completely by the storm of hatred and wickedness that was gathering outside in the streets. She was in the presence of the Prince of Peace, the Lord of Life, and that for her was enough.
The beams of cedar may symbolize the humanity of our Lord Jesus. God in this era is building for Himself a house, a house supported by the nature and the accomplished work of Him who is God manifest in the flesh. The rafters were of red fir, probably suggesting the indestructability of Christ’s atonement at the cross.