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Answer The Call!
Song of Solomon - 5:1-6:1 - June 2014

MAIN POINTS!

  1. When God lovingly calls, are we filled with trivial excuses?
  2. Do we miss him intensely when he departs?  Do we even know when we are going it alone?
  3. Do we hunger and thirst after him when we do not feel his presence?
  4. Do we continue to seek fellowship in spite of all opposition and ridicule?
  5. Have you yet suffered unto blood for the fellowship of his love?
  6. Is our love deep enough where it stirs our hearts to describe and testify of him in a loving manner?
  7. Does the testimony about our relationship stir others to follow?
  8. Are we ready with an answer for them that would ask the question, “Where do we find Him?”

            The message of Song of Solomon 5:1 comes out of the backdrop of King Solomon (symbolizing Jesus Christ, having espoused (gathered) his bride (a symbol of His church) to himself (Song 3:11).  He is inviting his bride to come with him, from the mountains of terror to the fields of delight (Song 4:6-8).  He professes his love for her (Song 4:9-14) and she gives all her valuables to him, and requests his continued grace in making her more acceptable to him.  She invites her Lord to come into his garden, and relax there with her (Song 4:15-16).  She gives herself to him, and he has accepted her in marriage and now in 5:1 He goes to her and wishes to celebrate in her presence and love.  "I have come to 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, yes, drink deeply, O beloved ones!"

            The expression of Solomon’s joy found in 5:1 is one of passion and humility.  The phrasing in this verse is one of complete contentment for his beloved. There is nothing to dispose of or cast aside in her, nothing that would deter him from being with her.  Is this not the way our Lord looks at us?  He sees our weaknesses and tells us that in our weaknesses He is made strong (2nd Corinthians 12:9).  That nothing shall separate us from the love of God – “neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, (39) nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

            However, Solomon’s beloved was not so inclined, she made herself unavailable, found other things she considered more pressing at the time.  She made excuses and did not wish to be bothered with Him at that particular time.  Granted the visit was at an inconvenient time, but her attitude caused her beloved disappointment and rejection.  Her reaction also exposed weakness in her love relationship, and caused her beloved to leave.  Is not the Bride of Christ guilty at times of doing the same thing!  In Song of Solomon 5:2 we see exactly the situation and precisely how she feels regarding this unexpected visit.   “I sleep, but my heart is awake; it is the voice of my beloved!  He knocks, saying, "Open for me, my sister, my love, My dove, my perfect one; For my head is covered with dew, My locks with the drops of the night.”  Notice:

  1. When the Lord called on His Bride (verse 1) she was lying in bed, but not asleep her heart was awake.  In other words she was longing for Him and was thinking about Him.  But He came at an inconvenient time, it was late at night, it was past her bedtime.  Sometimes, the Lord does just that; He comes at an inconvenient time, the time we least expect Him or perhaps, want Him to come.  What would you do if He were to come to you at an inopportune time?
  2. At the time of his coming Solomon's beloved bride
    1. Is in bed.  Awake – thinking of him
    2. Hears and knows her beloved is knocking at the door.
    3. Hears her beloved's voice speaking to her.
    4. Hears (and feels) the love in His voice.
    5. Understands His request.
    6. Comprehended the extent of His desire to be with her.  
  3. He tarried a long time to see her - "For my head is covered with dew, My locks with the drops of the night."  The condition of His head and hair tells us that He spent a long time outside longing for her fellowship.  But no matter how much effort, discomfort or time it takes to reach us, He will make that effort for His love for us is boundless and unconditional – nothing will separate us from the Love of God (Romans 8:39).

            There is no excuse for her actions.  The Lord knows that she is home and she admits to hearing his voice.  She desired his Company, she heard him calling her, she heard and felt the Love in his voice, she understood the desire he felt for her company and the effort and discomfort he went through to see her.  But for her the time was inconvenient and she hesitated. We often do the same! Our work and own desires seem to take pre-eminence over our relationship with the Lord. The problem is – that He must be pre-eminent in our lives.  Seeing Christ outside the home of His beloved and being rejected is not an unusual occurrence.  Look at Luke 4:29, Jesus was thrust out of the synagogue and the city where he was preaching and John 1:11His own received Him not;” and in Revelation 3:20 again we see Jesus standing outside the church knocking on the door asking for an invitation to come in and no invitation is extended.  In fact there are sixteen accounts of Jesus being rejected recorded in the New Testament.  He could have barged in at any time if he wanted to, why, because He is the King of Kings He has every right to, but because he respects self will, whether right or wrong He does not force Himself upon anyone, therefore He remains outside waiting for our invitation to enter.      

            Solomon continues to call her with tenderness, although He knows she is not answering His call.  He could have gotten mad at her lack of response but didn't, and He continues to call her using tender loving words.  There was still no immediate response.  He could have demanded the door to be opened or forced it open, or just left in anger.  However, the Lord did none of these; because that is not the Lord's way, He just continued to tenderly call her.  The same thing happens when the Lord calls us.  Look at Revelation 3:20 again.  "Behold, I (the Lord) stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine (have fellowship) with him, and he with Me."  We often use this verse referring to the unsaved being called by God.  But when we look at it in context, we find that God is speaking to His Church; the Church of Laodicea.  Laodicea is called the lukewarm church (Revelation 3:15).

            Now let us look at verse three.  She finally answers Him.  What a flimsy excuse was given; “I have taken off my robe; how can I put it on again? I have washed my feet; how can I defile them?"  The Lord finally receives a response!  But her excuse demonstrates her lack of love and devotion.  Her response showed the Lord that a little inconvenience was more important than His Company.  She did NOT respond with, "I will not make myself ready to receive you," but rather; "how can I make myself ready to receive you?"  It was not an outright refusal, but a frivolous excuse.  All it did was display her desire not to be with him at that time.  It was a superficial attempt at covering up her laziness (Ref. John 5:39-40).  The term “will not," expresses a conscious act of self will, which demonstrates her lack of love for him.

            What are the excuses we use when our beloved Lord comes and asks to spend some time with us!  Do we hesitate when He calls?  Is our robe (clothing) more important than His visitation?  Is washing our feet (the way we look) getting in the way of His loving embrace?  Excuses are interpreted as making light of Christ according to Matthew 22:5, and in Luke 14:18.  In these verses the Lord becomes angry at hearing the excuses of those He calls.  The fact is that people, who can't bear a cold chill, by getting out of a warm bed to meet Christ, show a great contempt for Him and His anger is aroused as a result. 

            Jesus is still faithful however.  His love for us still causes Him to persist in His desire for fellowship.  His bride noticed that "My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him" (5:4).  As long-suffering as the Lord is, He still did not leave at His beloved's obvious rejection.  He still attempted to stir her heart with the powerful influence of divine grace, by which He hoped she would rise and open the door.  When he could not prevail with her by persuasion “He put in his hand by the hole in the door, (5:4).  Our loving Lord even when rejected still reaches into our hearts and by divine grace leaves us a small sampling of His presence in order to stir upward.  Despite our preoccupation with ourselves, our needs, our wants, the King’s love prevailed and when he reached into the door, which by the way she noticed but instead of him opening the door, which would have been the king’s right, He left her a loving and expensive gift instead and left.  God wants us to love him voluntarily not as conquered slaves.  Myrrh is a sign of His unchanging and unfailing love.  Even in withdrawing the Lord left a token of his unchanged love.  He anoints the door posts with sweet smelling ointment: the "door" representing the heart of the Church.  The "lock" which is fastened represents unbelief and covetousness; for it keep the heart closed against Christ.  It will only be by her conscious effort with her "hands" and "fingers", that faith will be exercised and her receiving the fruits of that faith.  She must arise and physically draw back the lock of unbelief and open her heart's door to him in order to meet with the Lord and experience the fresh fragrance of His love and grace for all eternity.

            Leaving a small token of His love was one last attempt to stir her heart.  She obviously saw His hand and His loving gesture.  The Lord's gesture stirred her heart and made her heart yearn for Him more than ever before.  But once again it was not enough to move her out of her resting place.  The Lord finally departed, feeling rejected and hurt that He could not spend time with His beloved.  He was disappointed by the realization that her love for Him was not strong enough to stir her out of her slothfulness.  All she had to do was cover herself with her robe and walk across a small room to see Him.  Christ on the other hand, always goes the extra mile to fellowship with us (Ref. Romans 8:38-39 again).

            His departure finally stirred her to move.  She put on her sandals and robe walked to the door but it was too late.  The Lord had left! "I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer" (5:6).

            How often does our slothfulness cause our beloved Lord to leave our presence?  This is the most depressing part of the entire story.  Here is the beloved of the Lord, his bride, rejecting his call, and all his attempts to be with her.  Finally, at her convenience, she goes to meet him but finds that he isn't there.  She then cries out for Him.  "My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer."  In other words, I went to meet my beloved, but alas; my beloved had gone. I called to him but he gave me no answer!  It does NOT say, he did not hear her, it DOES say however, he gave her no answer!  In other words, Christ will be sought while He may be found (Ref. Isaiah 55:6). 

            This verse shows the just reward of neglect.  Realizing her loss she tries in vain to find him, her heart is stirred to hunger and thirst for his presence.  She cried out like Cain (Ref. Genesis 4:13-14a) "My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the ground; and from thy face shall I be hid;" and the same as was felt by Moses (Ref. Exodus 33:15) "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here."  Her heart was so stirred that nothing could stop her from seeking her beloved.

            If we do not redeem the time, we may lose our passage into His presence, and He may not answer us when we call on Him.  Have you ever experience that feeling of hurt, loneliness, or separation?  But that does not mean that the Lord does not love us.  Remember the Lord said He will always be found by us when we search for Him with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:13).  The key is searching with all your heart.  He displayed his love for her by leaving a special gift on the latch of the door.  She reached out and touched the latch of the door and "her hands dripped with myrrh, her fingers with liquid myrrh."

            Myrrh is a resin from a flowery plant.  It is extremely expensive for its perfume and it is used as one ingredient of the Holy Incense (Psalm 45:8; Proverbs 7:17; Song 3:6, 4:14; Exodus 30; 23; Song 4:6; 5:1, 5, 13).  His love for her was so strong that He left this valuable gift.  Leaving a special gift for her on the latch of the door proved his love and his unsurpassed desire for her.  The Church today refers to this myrrh as His anointing, His presence or His Glory.  When our Lord is present, there is always a great blessing to be received.  Whether or not we receive it in its fullness or not we can always find something that is a tremendous blessing when He is present.  But wouldn't it be better to receive all of His blessings than any one part, no matter how valuable that one part is?  The same thing happened to the people of Israel when they were to receive the Promised Land.  Some of God’s people elected not to take His full blessing but what was of a lesser value.  Why; because man’s eyes considered the land on the east of the Jordan better under their present circumstances.

            Although the Lord's beloved had a handful of blessing, a tremendous loving gift that reflected His undying, unending love for her, she was still hurt.  Her soul grieved and was disappointed because she knew she had only received a small gift and not the gift giver.  Her beloved left!  I wonder how we react when the Lord's presence is no longer felt, or when He leaves our presence. What do we feel like when our prayers seem to go unanswered, and He is nowhere to be found?  Do we grieve in our soul when He does not answer us?  Do we cry out like Cain did, when the Lord departed from his presence, that the punishment is too much to bear” (Genesis 4:13-14)?  Or do we react at all?  Do we even know the difference?  Solomon's beloved realized her loss.  She felt the pain of His leaving.  This realization caused her to run out into the dark night, into the midst of the city to find Him and make her amends.  Notice Song of Solomon 5:7 "The watchmen who went about the city found me. They struck me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took my veil away from me."  

            What is going on here is easily understood when we look at the custom of the time.  Here is a woman that is out past sunset, running through the streets.  A watchman’s job was to protect the city. Anyone walking around the city was suspect.  A woman on the other hand was thought to be a prostitute, and would be ridiculed and abused if found outside past sunset.  Prostitutes were recognized because they went about at night unveiled; that is why her veil was taken.  Wearing a veil over her face was an ornament of her sex and a sign of her relationship to Jehovah.  Being thought a prostitute she would not have a relationship and therefore wearing a veil in such a manner would have been thought a smear against Jehovah. The taking of the veil signifies the watchman’s contemptuous attitude and actions toward her.  It was an act of disgracing her, as if it had been only a pretense of modesty.  Taking her as a prostitute and perhaps a thief caused her to receive the beating.  The point of this is that even though she endured both tremendous physical and emotional abuse she continued to look for her beloved, nothing deterred her from her mission.  She must “find her beloved at any cost.” She now runs around the city in her beaten and humiliated state describing her beloved to everyone she met.  Look at the description (Song 5:8-6:1).

            There is a strong lesson in this!  Her laziness and the rejection of her beloved, coupled with her beloved leaving, caused her laziness to transform into desire to be with him.  She wanted to see her beloved at any cost; nothing else mattered.  All she wanted was to see Him!  Have we ever experienced this kind of pure repentance, or this kind of desire?  Or the kind of longing that forces us to put all else aside to be with Christ?  Would we endure all the ridicule, humiliation, pain, hurt and abuse, like this woman did, just to be in His presence? 

            Her seeking has failed; her crying out His name has done nothing.  Everything she has tried has brought her no satisfaction or relief from her misery.  So she now turns to the other women in town.  She knocks on doors and begins to plead for help in finding her beloved.  She asks if they see Him, to let Him know that she loves Him.  Notice now Song of Solomon 5:8 "I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, If you find my beloved, that you tell him I am lovesick!

            How often do we find that the Lord, for whatever reason, cannot be found by us?  And instead of reacting the way this woman did; because of pride, we act as if nothing is wrong with our relationship with our Lord. All she asked for was help in finding her beloved, she did not ask for help for her wounds; she does not even ask for another veil to cover her humiliation.  All she asks for is help in finding her beloved.  She does not even bid them to tell her beloved how the watchman had abused her, or how unrighteous they were in doing it.  All she wanted was to tell Him that she was lovesick.  Gracious souls are more sensitive when Christ withdraws Himself, than of any other trouble whatsoever.  The Apostle Paul expressed this exact feeling by saying.  "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Philippians 3:8).

            This expression of desire in spite of circumstance caused the daughters of Jerusalem to inquire about her beloved.  Now look at Song of Solomon 5:9 "What is your beloved more than another beloved, O fairest among women? What is your beloved more than another beloved, that you so charge us?”  There are two characters operating in these last two verses:     

  1. The beloved bride.

  2. The daughters of Jerusalem.

These could easily represent two types of modern believers.

  1. The believer that truly loves the Lord, those who will do anything for Him, who will not stop until they find Him.  These are the "On fire, sold out" believers

  2. The believers that respect the first type, but will not go out of their way to find the Lord, because they are too busy.  They have other things more important and that need attention.  They cry out, don't be fanatics.  And they ask, what makes Him so special?  These believers are "Luke warm"

            "Luke warm" believers see the blessings of Church and care not for Christ and His manifest presence.  Carnal hearts see nothing excellent or extraordinary in the Lord Jesus; in His person or office, in His doctrine or in His favors.  It is as if there was no more benefit in the knowledge of Christ, and in communion with Him, than in the knowledge of the world and in its conversation.  It is so true that those that are zealous for Christ are the ones that are looked at with wonder by those who are indifferent toward Him.  The many careless ones laugh at the few that are responsive and serious. 

            The lesson contained in the actions taken to find her beloved is that, she is respected not ridiculed.  The women of the town called her "O fairest among women."  Our Lord makes His Bride truly good-natured, and likeable.  True Saints are excellent people to be around.  Holiness is the harmony of the soul; it pleases all who come in contact with it, even those who have little acquaintance with Christ. 

            Christians sometimes make a grave mistake by thinking that just because a person shows them respect in their belief and speaks kindly about the people of faith.  We sometimes think that “Surely that individual knows the Lord.”  Therefore, we believe that they do not need to be pressed for salvation's sake.  But the truth is, just because people look and speak like Christians, it does not mean they are Christians!  Jesus had the most trouble with that type of people.  They looked like Christians. They spoke God's Word. They performed all the duties of a Christian, like going to church, and reading His Word.  But they were called "whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27).   Christians do not be deceived by this type of individual!  Stay clear for they bring with them death!

            These two types of believers are described in the New Testament, and their fate is already determined:  I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth" (Revelation 3:15-16).   The Lord would prefer us on fire for Him (Hot) or against Him (cold).  The ones who are like the daughters of Jerusalem, He will vomit out of His mouth!

            Notice the way the Shulamite woman displays her love in the description of her beloved!  She describes Him as a lover and a friend.  It's one of a personal nature, as well as intimate.  Her description is more loving then seems normal.  It is one of tenderness, and longing.  One of detail, one filled with compassion, desire, excitement, a sense of uniqueness, a truly special love.  Such a special love that everyone that heard her description of Him, wanted to get to know Him.  Song of Solomon 5:10-16 describes her beloved like this; "My beloved is white and ruddy, Chief among ten thousand.  His head is like the finest gold; His locks are wavy, And black as a raven.  His eyes are like doves by the rivers of waters, Washed with milk, and fitly set.  His cheeks are like a bed of spices, Banks of scented herbs. His lips are lilies, dripping liquid myrrh.  His hands are rods of gold Set with beryl. His body is carved ivory Inlaid with sapphires.  His legs are pillars of marble Set on bases of fine gold. His countenance is like Lebanon, Excellent as the cedars.  His mouth is most sweet, yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem!" 

            How many of us after a touch of His hand, a sense of His presence, or the hearing of His voice, cannot truly understand how she felt?  However; this description can only come after having spent countless hours with Him developing a truly intimate relationship.  A description filled with all this love does not come out of a lukewarm, at my convenience, part time relationship.  Notice that this love emerged after the touch of the master's hand on the latch of the door.  After she realized that He had left her and gone away.  This sense of His presence on the door latch, and the fear of losing Him took hold of her heart and true love exploded within her.  She ran into the night in search of Him.  When she talked about her beloved with no fear, no hesitancy, no worry of ridicule or scorn, I must find Him because, nothing else matters!  That was the only cry of her heart!

            Do we know Him enough to describe Him with such beauty and enduring love?  Do we have the type of love affair with Jesus that would cause us to boldly proclaim our love for Him in these enduring terms with no hesitancy or fear no matter the circumstance or place?  While we are in front of people that do not believe, can we speak of our beloved like this Shulamite woman?  Do we keep this attitude of pure love for Him after a day where we have been beaten, wounded and ridiculed?  Or do we just keep quiet, and love Him only when we are alone?  Do we only voice our love when we are with Christian friends or at church?  When the presence of the Lord leaves us or when we leave His, do we cry out in utter dismay like this woman did?

            Look at the result of her loving description.  Song of Solomon 6:1 says; "Where has your beloved gone, O fairest among women? Where has your beloved turned aside, that we may seek him with you?"  The daughters of Jerusalem now realized that this man was something very special and they wanted to meet Him for themselves.  The greatest instance of love, duty and respect God's children can show is not in a monopolizing love that is smothered in self.  But a love that cares if others join us in seeking after Him.  Those that truly love Christ are desirous that others should love him also, and be joined to Him.  Those that undervalue Christ do so because they do not know Him. 

            This woman, that just moments before was in despair because her beloved was gone, and who was in desperate need of help in finding Him, was now busting over in love.   The daughters of Jerusalem could not help but notice her overpowering love.  Her uncontrolled demonstration of love totally changed how the daughters of Jerusalem, or if you will, the lukewarm Christians or nonbelievers, looked at Christ.  They wanted Him for themselves.  So they joined in the search.  As she began her description of her beloved, the cloud of despair she was under began to disappear.  The sky began to clear up, and, while she was describing her beloved, comfort, joy and love exploded from within her. 

            Down trodden, pain drenched, wounded, and ridiculed Christians should take note of this remedy for what ails them.  They also can find comfort, joy and love for themselves by talking to all who will listen of their love for Christ, and doing good to others. "How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?  And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!" (Romans 10:14-15)"

            Notice how completely she answered the question posed to her by the daughter of Jerusalem; what is your beloved More than another beloved, O fairest among women?”  Read Song of Solomon 5:10-16).  Her answer can be summarized like this - "THERE IS NONE LIKE HIM!  HE STANDS ALONE;" and so Jesus does!

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