Can you think of a time in your life when you hesitated & missed out on something? 33 years ago I did not hesitate when true love called: Happy Valentines Day.
Back to you…have you hesitated and paid dearly for it? Did you learned something? The Bride of Christ, you and I, we are prone to be caught up in our routine, to let worldly pursuits distract us, and we hesitate to follow Jesus Christ as He call us to.
We have ideas about what it means to truly follow Christ, but we must get out of our heads and act when Christ calls to us, not tomorrow or when it is more convenient. And in a Biblical marriage we can’t hesitate when our spouse needs us, we must respond to their needs in a timely manner, with our active presence.
The crucial ingredient of intimacy is presence, really being there, in our relationship with God and our marriages. It is also crucial to actively remember why it is we love our spouses and our Savior. As a community of Jesus Christ followers we are called to encourage each other in the Lord. That means worshiping whole heartedly. Listening to each other tell our God stories, reminding us why we love our Lord so much! And in our marriages we need to actively remember and tell our spouses why they are our one and only beloved.
As we read Song of Songs we see the dual story of a Bride and Groom and the bigger picture of Christ and His Church. The growth of intimacy and the uniting in both cases is sacred and beautiful, fulfilling the promise of The Garden, how it was meant to be, Shalom!
This morning our passage starts in the dream of what the bride and groom are to become, but that dream is endangered by the bride being too caught up in herself to respond without hesitation to the call of her beloved. In the course of learning a hard lesson she clarifies exactly why he is her one true love. But like I said this is not just about a bride and a groom, this is about how we respond to our Savior and Lord as His Bride.
(Bride) 4:16 Awake, north wind! Come, south wind! Blow on my garden to spread its fragrance. Let my darling enter his garden and eat its finest fruit.
- The bride is responding to the Groom seeing her as HIS garden
- She is declaring her desire for their love to be a return to ‘The Garden’
- She is expressing her total vulnerability and inviting her darling into this love
(Groom) 5:1 My sister, my bride, I have entered my garden; I am gathering my myrrh and my spices; I am eating my honeycomb along with my honey; I am drinking my wine as well as my milk.
- The idea of exclusivity: MY Sister; MY bride
- This creates ‘The Shalom’. Intimacy between a man and a woman God’s way
- The Groom finds total fulfillment: He enjoys all the pleasures of ‘The Garden’
(Guests) Eat, friends, and drink, until you are drunk with love!
- The guests encourage & approve of the full enjoyment of love by bride & groom
- In this context (one man & one woman united under God) love is at it’s best!
- The guests represent the community of God’s people
- This is the yet to be realized perfect state of intimacy: Shalom
(Bride) 2 I am asleep, but my heart is awake. Listen! I hear my darling knocking!
- It is unclear whether she now is in a dream state or she was previously
- her desire is to hold on to the dream but she is called to ‘real life’
(Groom) Open for me, my sister, my love, my dove, my flawless one! For my head is wet with dew, my hair with the moisture of the night.
- The groom is entreating her to open the door to Him
- He call to her as: Perfect / Peaceful / His Passion / His Trust
- He has come at an unexpected time, after sundown
- The best of life is not always convenient…
(Bride) 3 I’ve removed my coat; must I put it back on? I’ve washed my feet; must I dirty them again? 4 The man I love put his hand through the hole by the door-latch, and my heart began pounding at the thought of him. 5 I got up to open for the man I love. My hands were dripping with myrrh —pure myrrh ran off my fingers onto the handle of the bolt.
- The bride express some hesitation, some thought of selfishness, some doubt
- Then knowing that he truly come for her she is overcome and she acts
- She seems to be in the midst of preparing to sleep, (bedtime routine)
- After hesitating she goes to him without stoping her anointing routine
(Bride) 6 I opened for my darling, but my darling had turned and gone. My heart had failed me when he spoke — I sought him, but I couldn’t find him; I called him, but he didn’t answer. 7 The watchmen roaming the city found me; they beat me, they wounded me; they took away my cloak, those guardians of the walls! 8 I charge you, daughters of Jerusalem, that if you find the man I love, what are you to tell him? That I am sick with love.
- Her hesitation has proved to be her undoing…now she haas to seek him
- He is not able to be found and she pays the price for not responding to him
- She experiences the harshness of the world outside ‘The Garden’
- The bride invokes an oath from the daughters of Jerusalem / God’s People
- They are to send a message to the groom: There will be no more hesitation
(Guests) 9 How does the man you love differ from any other, you most beautiful of women? How does the man you love differ from any other, that you should give us this charge?
- The guests refer to her ‘most beautiful of women’
- The community of God’s people appreciate her desire to seek the groom
- The guests want to know why the man she loves is one of a kind
- What is it about this groom? Why do they want her explain why He is special
(Bride) 10 The man I love is radiant and ruddy; he stands out among ten thousand. 11 His head is like the finest gold; his locks are wavy and black as a raven. 12 His eyes are like doves by running streams, bathed in milk and set just right.
- Radiant: an expression of glory
- Ruddy: King David, Man of Sorrows in Isaiah & Jesus were described this way
- The Bridegroom stands out, one of a kind
- Head like the finest gold = value in the thoughts and insights he has, the finest
- The hair symbolizes youth and vitality, jet black, no grey
- Eye like doves: gentle, full of integrity, cleansed of filth and inviting
(Bride) 13 His cheeks are like beds of spices, like banks of fragrant herbs. His lips are like lilies dripping with sweet myrrh. 14 His arms are rods of gold set with beryl, his body polished ivory adorned with sapphires. 15 His legs are like pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. His stature is like Lebanon, as imposing as the cedars.
- His face is sweetness personified to her
- Lilies dripping myrrh: what comes from his lips in unrivaled in all creation
- The works of his hands are precious and pure
- His body denotes his ‘Guts / Bowels’… the source of his character
- His affections for his bride are rich and strong
- Legs denote stability and consistency
- His countenance / appearance is one of a kind excellence
(Bride) 16His words are sweetness itself; he is altogether desirable. This is my darling, and this is my friend, daughters of Jerusalem.
- What he speaks to her is the icing on the cake: the epitome of sweetness
- All of these things combine to make him the perfect object of her affections
- He is my ‘Brother Groom’ she declares to the people of God
The bride and groom are imagining the consummation of the marriage, a return to ‘The Garden’.
The groom comes tot he bride unannounced, but the bride is selfishly focused on ‘her world’.
Her excuses and hesitation are overwhelmed by the strength of her feelings for the groom.
Hesitation comes with a high price, he is gone and in her search for him, the world now treats her with pain and shame.
The bride wisely seeks help from the guests, ‘The Daughters of Jerusalem’ confessing the error of her ways.
God’s people encourage her to clarify her desire, to share why her love for the groom consumes her.
She describes the groom as being everything desirable and His words to her are the ultimate source of desire.
How do you imagine your relationship with Jesus Christ?
How have you hesitated to respond to Christ’s call on your life?
How might you seek the help of God’s people to clear distractions from your life so you can respond to God?
How well have you clarified the basis for your conversion to Christ Following?
When Loves Comes To Town by U2 & BB King
When love comes to town, I’m gonna jump that train
When love comes to town, I’m gonna catch that flame
Maybe I was wrong to ever let you down
But I did what I did before love came to town
I was there when they crucified my Lord
I held the scabbard when the soldier drew his sword
I threw the dice when they pierced his side
But I’ve seen love conquer the great divide