Today: [Song of Solomon 2] The Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley. In Song of Solomon chapter 2 we see an ongoing dialog between the Bridegroom and the bride. The entire book of Song of Solomon is controversial and thought by many not to truly belong in the canon of scripture. However when we choose to look at it beyond the surface we see that it is a love poem between the bride and the Bridegroom who are none other than Christ and His church. There is something in you and I that registers when we hear in Song of Solomon the cry of the Bridegroom for intimacy and consolation of love at a level of intimacy perhaps we have never experienced. In this chapter the Bridegroom cries out for us to notice that He is looking at us “through the lattice” and bidding us to “come away”!
[Sng 2:1-17 KJV] 1 I [am] the rose of Sharon, [and] the lily of the valleys. 2 As the lily among thorns, so [is] my love among the daughters. 3 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. 4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me [was] love. 5 Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I [am] sick of love. 6 His left hand [is] under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me. 7 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. 8 The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.
In chapter two of Song of Solomon we see a continuation of the love expressed between the bride and the bridegroom. The central verse of chapter one was verse 2 “let him kiss me with the kisses of his lips for thy love is better than wine…” This speaks of the deeper intimacy that is available to the believer. All of Christianity venerates the scripture and familiarizes themselves with them. This is the cry of a believer saying “I want more than the word of God – I want intimacy with the lips that spoke that word!” If there is any difference to be measured between Christianity and the great religions of the world it is found in this – it is based on a living, breathing, ongoing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. It goes beyond just the veneration of a historical figure. It is more than just religious principle that can be learned and implemented. It is experiential and ongoing commiseration and fellowship with the Christ that Eph. 3:17 says dwells in our hearts by faith. In all the world, no other religion offers such association. They realize that it would be measurably false for though other religions deny or marginalize Christ, they have nothing to replace Him with for only Jesus is the living, inward witness in the life of every born again Christian who does not need anyone to testify of Him for He testifies of Himself inwardly every day, and moment by moment to the believer who cares enough to pay attention.
As we read chapter two we see it is a dialog between Christ and His church. When verse 1 begins with reference to the Rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley it is the bride that speaks. There are songs and many poems that say this is Jesus but if you read this passage as a responsive conversation between the bride and the bridegroom then you realize that it is the bride that speaks first “I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley” to which the bridegroom responds in verse 2 “as the lily among thorns so is My love among the daughters”. What can we learn from this? The words “rose of Sharon” is translated alternately “wildflower”. The bride of Christ is not a cultured, domesticated orchid. She was never intended to be manufactured in the hothouse of institutional religion. God spoke to me years ago that the church of the living God like many of earth’s creatures do not thrive in captivity. The believer is not designed by God to live out his life under even the well-intentioned control of religious leadership. Jesus stated this plainly in Matt. 5:14-15 saying that as a believer you are the light of the world that was never intended to be hidden under a bushel basket. The gr. definition of bushel basket is rendered a “certain dry measure”. There are believers who have lived their whole lives in bushel basket churches, never knowing anything more than a certain dry measure accorded to them as fodder to cattle sitting in the pew. God has so much more for you. The beauty that the bridegroom sees in you is when you are loosed in the Holy Spirit to grow in the wild, out among the thorns of the world manifesting your call as the light of God in you that it is ordained for you to show forth.
9 My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice. 10 My beloved spake, and said unto 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 the singing [of birds] is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; 13 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines [with] the tender grape give a [good] smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. 14 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] comely. 15 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines [have] tender grapes. 16 My beloved [is] mine, and I [am] his: he feedeth among the lilies. 17 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.
The bride declares that her beloved is like a roe or a young hart. In other words she sees Him as one who is majestic and fleeting. If you see a deer, they are always on the move, never staying in one place long. If you wish to admire their grace and beauty it will be but a fleeting moment and they will move on. As a deer looks through the branches of the woods and is seen there so the Bridegroom is looking at us through the lattice of the natural perspective, bidding us to fellowship with Him from that transitory viewpoint. This is the difference between earthly glory and heavenly transcendence. Earthly glory is gaudy and draws attention to itself. Christ as the hope of Glory is always present but never banging a cymbal or beating a drum demanding to be heard. The voice of God in your heart is the still, small voice that Elijah heard in 1 Kings 19:12. If you only look for the fire, the shaking and the mighty wind you will miss the whispering voice of God that speaks in the silence between your own thoughts. If you are misled it will be by the banging gong and clanging symbol. Learn to get quiet. Learn to look where other influences are not demanding your gaze and in every moment, even the most mundane event of the day you will see your beloved looking at you through the lattice, inviting you to come into a deeper intimacy with Him, saying in verse 10 “rise up, my love, my fair one and come away…”
In verses 10-13 the Bridegroom bids the bride to come away from the distractions of earthly things because the time is past. There is reference to this in the teaching of Jesus, for as the Bridegroom says that the fig tree puts forth its figs, so Jesus said of the coming of the kingdom in Matt. 24:32 you will know that the time is near. What time is it that is near. It seems very clear that the fig tree reference is not something Jesus says independently of Himself but as a quote from this very passage. The time that is near from the perspective of the Bridegroom is the time for the bride to come away. What coming away is the Bridegroom speaking of? Isn’t the restoration of Israel the highest expectation of God in the end times? That is important to be sure but in the context of our verse it is only the indicator that it would be time (when Israel became a state again in 1948) that the bride should be made manifest and “come away”. This is doubtless what Paul is referring to in 1 Thess. 4:
[1Th 4:15-18 KJV] 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
This is a very unpopular message today. If there is one doctrine that is neglected almost as much as any reference in popular teaching as the mention of hell – it is reference to the catching away of the saints. However out of vogue it may be this one passage stands out making undeniable reference to something that has far more importance than living out a successful soccer mom Christian experience here on earth. One day something extraordinary is going to happen in this earth that is described in the 1 Th. 4:15-18 passage. It is more than God taking the church out of the way that He might judge the world. In our chapter of study today the attention of the Bridegroom is not on the world but upon the Bride. What is our portion? To not be so fully focused upon the world and its distractions that we do not see the signs or fail in all the things going on around us to see Him looking longingly through the lattice of natural things, bidding us to come away.
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