All of us know to one degree or another, what it is really like to be in love with another similar minded person and for this love to be freely reciprocated. The initial joy of genuine companionship, which we may have all experienced, is similar to the union and communion which existed between our first parents in the Garden of Eden. I have no doubt at all that Adam waxed lyrical every time he looked at Eve and their meaningful comments to each other would certainly have been memorable and meaningful.
The Song of Solomon was the result of a love-controlled relationship in which the man offered to his female partner the best of everything he had and she did likewise. In fact, they often out-did each other in demonstrations of their love even in public places, whether it was day or night. During his lifetime Solomon composed 1,005 songs and he regarded this particular one as more wonderful than any other.
As the reigning monarch Solomon had the pick of the cream of the crop in choosing the girl whom he wanted, at that time, to be the love of his life. On the other hand the Lord often chooses the misfits, the misunderstood and the often-rejected from among the assembly of the miscellaneous to be in His family. Consequently, the person whom God chooses is no longer an insignificant individual, another one among the many, but he is a channel through whom God will manifest His kingdom and bring many sons to glory.
1.2 “Kiss me.” A loving embrace coupled, with nice-sounding words are insufficient to satisfy the newly awakened desires of this pious soul from the religion of the present day to the religion of the heart. She strongly desires the deep assurance of pardon for sins forgiven. Consequently, the young woman asks her lover to captivate her entire soul with his love. The spiritually hungry one strongly desires a meaningful embrace resulting in a face to face meeting with the one she loves. Nothing less than this will satisfy, hence she prays in 1.4 “Take me.” This is the proper prayer to plead for we all need God’s gracious and unceasing activity on our behalf to enable us to satisfactorily fulfil the godly desires which He alone can give. Therefore, at no point in the Christian life will we ever be self-sufficient. In fact, our genuine weaknesses, of which there are many, will when fully aligned to His sovereign purposes be the catalyst and the channel through which His wisdom, strength and glory will be manifested.
“Take me.” These words clearly signify that the speaker is willing to surrender, submit, serve and freely partake of suffering. “You are my Son ... even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered” [Heb. 5.5-8 NLT]. Therefore, to actively advance in the things of God we need to abdicate entirely from self- interest and self-involvement and apply these words to our hearts, for a holy calling to be wholly effective it is essential that it is interlaced and interlocked with innumerable strands of pure love. It was in this context that Jesus said, “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God” [Matt 5.8],
Young woman 1.5-7
Maybe we have often discovered that it is a frequent and effective intervention of the enemy that whenever the holiness and the purity of God is stressed in a practical and life-changing way that an accompanying sense of our own worthlessness and consequently non-effectiveness come quickly to the forefront of our thinking and we critically and disdainfully look at who we are and what we do in relation to other people and then we add quickly to the ever-growing exclusion to conformity list where they live, how much money they earn, their influential contribution to the community, their financial asset to the church’s formulation and well-being, what high school their children attend how many private tutors they have, so on and so forth. Being aware of the potential dangers of this theological truth how then do we know when we have given free reign to the attitude of worthlessness? We will inwardly discover that we do not see ourselves as God sees us consequently there will be in our hearts the absence of love for the Lord and the accompanying zeal for His work. This was where the Shulammites yet to be fully sanctified mind and understanding were positioned.
Young man 1.8-11
1.8 “If you don’t know ...” Then he instructed her that one of the most beneficial remedies for attacking and removing the spirit of self-centredness is to accurately hear and obey a word from the Lord. In this particular situation between Solomon and his beloved he had a fourfold suggestion which when adhered to would gradually take her, one step at a time, from a period of self-introspection into the realm of unselfish activity, where there was enough room and development for her spiritual character to be divinely shaped and moulded. Therefore, he started and ended his word of encouragement and exhortation with reference to her outstanding beauty, where she should go, what she should do when she arrived there, namely, she was to stay as close as possible to the footsteps of the flock of God and position herself in close proximity to the shepherds tents, and very importantly she was also to remember at all times, as a result of her outstanding beauty, that there were a number of good men in the King’s court who would if they could have, sought her out for their own use [1.8-9]. However, she belonged to someone else.
Young woman 1.12-14
After carefully fulfilling the detailed instructions of the king regarding the place, position and performance of the Shulammite, the love of his life was invited into the king’s inner chamber where there were three specific items mentioned, “... perfume ... myrrh ... henna blossoms ...“and as each one was either poured out or crushed, their unique fragrances permeated the room and when woven together brought great pleasure to the king. Sometimes we think that our offering in relation to that of others is insignificant and miserly, and yet whether it was the most expensive body oil possible or a common garden shrub it was an acceptable offering, for the gift was offered with the best of intentions and received with a pure heart of love.
Young man 1.15
We often say when assessing a person’s suitability for a task in the church that their eyes are the window of their soul, indicating that as far as we know they are clean. Therefore, in this situation the dove can indicate spiritual perception and insight. Furthermore, there is also a Jewish tradition which identifies beautiful eyes in a woman as indicating the hallmark of perfection. The eyes of a dove are perfectly matched and this is reflected and realised in the behaviour of Solomon and the Shulammite. They only had eyes for each other. Interestingly, the dove is single-minded and can only see one person at a time. Here is an exhortation and an encouragement for the wavering believer to tighten up what is loose and to focus instead all his faculties and senses on the Lord of glory.
Young woman 1.16-17
Such was their love for each other that wherever they are and whoever is with them they will find a lawful and a deep spiritual avenue to describe in great detail, their inner emotional feelings and their previously unmentioned sensual desires. Everything, no matter what it is, is woven into their vocabulary and is often given a spiritually legitimate meaning. [David McArdle]