Authorship/Kisses/Good Ointments/Draw Me/Restoring Grace/Song of Old Story/His Flock/Companions/Shepherds Tents/Company of Horses/Comely Parts/Bridal Ornaments/His Table/Myrrh/Cluster of Camphire/Thou art fair!/Praise and Worship/Green Bed/Our House
The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s (Vs.1). Though the original Author of the Song of Songs is None but the Holy Spirit, yet the Holy Spirit delights in ascribing the authorship to a man who was merely an instrument in His Hand. What a privilege! Nowadays, many Christian writers want their messages to be copied out or re-printed by others only after taking their permission. Let us not glorify our names as authors. Since the Lord has given us His messages freely, we should also freely permit our messages to be copied out. I ascribe due credit for this book to those members of the Body of Christ who laboured with me in this endeavour in diverse ways.
“Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth: for thy love is better than wine” begins the bride in verse 2, with a great longing in her heart for her Beloved whose presence was long lost by her because of her unfaithfulness.
If a disciple of Christ has backslidden or has lost the footsteps of his Master on his pilgrimage upon this earth, he has to cry out unto God for his restoration and to crave for the sweet words of love and comfort from Christ, because His love is better than wine. Oh, he must yearn for His kisses, which spiritually mean the words of love that come to him from Christ, the eternal Word. At all costs, a backsliding but repentant disciple has to be restored, not merely by words of judgment but by words of love. For instance, the prodigal son (who is symbolical of the children of God who, on enticement by the Vanity Fair of this world, have sneaked into it from their original House of God) was not condemned but was kissed and embraced by his loving father. When a backsliding child of God flees from the presence of God, the blessed Holy Spirit trails him and kisses him through the Word of God. A backsliding disciple was kissed by the Holy Spirit when his attention was drawn to the crucifix of a Catholic Church which he happened to pass by accidentally. He was thus convinced of his backsliding.
If the perishable wine of this world can cheer our despondent heart by giving us momentary pleasure, how real and everlasting joy can be brought about by His unchanging love! If the wine of sin – “the sin which doth so easily beset us” (Heb.12: 1) – deceives our heart by unrestrained carnal pleasures, how much better the eternal Wine (the living Blood that had gushed from the wounds of Jesus pleading for you before the Holy Throne of the Father) does for you! “He that spared not His own son but delivered Him up for us all (we, the people chosen of God), how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Rom.8.32-35).
“Because of the savor of Thy good ointments Thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee?” continues the bride praising His personality in verse 3.
How fragrant is the odor of His good ointments so that His name being uttered is like perfume poured out! His good ointments are love, long-suffering, joy, holiness, meekness, peace, and faith. If we are sick of love, He sends forth His fragrance of love in action. If we grieve His Spirit in impenitence, the sweet fragrance of His mercy and of long-suffering comes to us. If we are in mental agony, the sweet fragrance of His joy fills our soul. If we commit sin, the sweet fragrance of His holiness comes to us. If we lose our peace, His peace comes to us as a sweet fragrance. If we faint through repeated failures, He sends forth His fragrance of faith through promises in His word.
Because of the odor of His good ointments as narrated above, His Name is as perfume poured out. His precious Name, that is JESUS, being uttered by His beloved virgins would propagate everywhere a sweet fragrance of His personality (2 Cor.2:14-16). We know His precious Name and love Him because of His peculiar Personality. In other words, we are gravitated to His presence by the odor of His Personality. Will you meditate upon the odor of His good ointments poured out as perfume in your personal life?
“Draw me, we will run after thee…” pleads the bride in verse 4 to her Beloved who has now made His sudden appearance on hearing the song of His bride in praise of His Personality in the preceding verse.
You may claim yourself to be a “saved person”. But still you must needs constantly cry out to Jesus “Draw me, we will run after thee”. Let Jesus draw you daily from the vanity of this world, and from the snares of the Devil. Let Him also draw you from the grip of apostates, false prophets and false teachers. Jesus draws you unto Himself alone as you belong to Him. He never draws you from one church to another, as many tend to think. But at times He does draw His children from some group/church or fellowship misled by false doctrines to another group or church/fellowship of sound doctrines. In this process too, He draws ultimately the persons concerned unto Himself alone.
Until and unless Christ draws you unto Himself, and puts you into the ministry, you should not call yourself as His minister. Let Christ draw you unto Himself by revealing His abundant love to you, and by teaching you many lessons through the school of your personal life. After Jesus has drawn you unto Himself, there will be a multitude that would run after Him through your ministry. This means that you would start winning many a soul to Jesus.
“……….. The King hath brought me into His chambers; we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee” continues the bride in verse 4.
Remember that the King of Kings has brought you, the wretched man into His chambers. He has brought you in, because He loves you eternally in spite of your spot or blemish, and not because of your worthiness or righteousness. You are now in His very presence – His chambers. You are now in the chamber of His holiness, and in the chamber of His righteousness. As He is Holy, you must be holy. As He is righteous, you must be righteous. He has restored your soul by bringing you back into His chambers. On being restored, the prodigal son was taken by his loving father into the banqueting house of music and dancing. Your restoration is but an occasion of merriment for other children of God. Let us, therefore, be glad and rejoice in Him rather than lament or nurture a guilty conscience over what happened in the past life. Let us remember His love more than the wine of sin, which had intoxicated us in the past life. It is now time for His pre-eminent love to pre-empt your thoughts of carnal nature of the old man.
“The upright love thee”. We must be honest and upright in our relationship with God. We must be upright in our relationship with men as well. Honesty counts more with God than efficiency or any other best virtue in a man. You may not be that much holy or righteous, as God wants you to. But God expects you to be honest with Him so as to admit before Him your unholiness or unrighteousness, and to be honest with fellow men so as to admit before them your folly. Don’t be a hypocrite before God. Tell Him what you are. A hypocrite never loves God but an upright man loves God, in spite of his shortcomings.
Now the bride proceeds to tell the daughters of Jerusalem in verse 5, “I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon”.
“I am black,” confesses the bride overtly to her friends in a true spirit of meekness rather than boasting that she is fair (holy). She further lowers her own personality in the sight of her friends by comparing her with the black tents of Kedar and the black curtains of Solomon. Kedar was one of the sons of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar bore to Abraham (Gen.25: 12). The divine Author describes the tents of Kedar as black and the curtains of Solomon as black. The Shulamite thus makes a clean breast of her blackness in its worse state to her friends, in the first place, before confessing as such to her Beloved in the following verse. Oh, how necessary for us to take into confidence the other beloved children of God or to give them all the more importance! Nowadays we boast so much before the children of God about our own holiness in a hypocritical manner that we make God a liar. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us……… If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (I Jn.1:8, 10).
Can you tell the daughters of Jerusalem, that is the children of God, that you are black? Of course, you can tell our Lord in your secret chamber that you are black.
While uttering the words “… but comely”, the bride means to say here that though she is very black, yet she is comely in the sight of her Beloved. Don’t be disheartened over your being black in the sight of men because you are comely in the sight of Jesus. Christ looks at your inner man, and not at your outer man.
SONG OF OLD STORY
“Look not upon me, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother’s children were angry with me: they made me the keepers of the vineyards: but mine own vineyard have I not kept” cries out the bride in bitterness of agony in verse 6, realizing her utter unworthiness and human frailties, as the Bridegroom looks upon her by His flaming eyes.
Though her Beloved is quite conscious of the reasons for her blackness, yet He delights to hear her confession about bygones as a melodious song of some old tale. Oh, the Bridegroom delights Himself in that song because the Song of Songs is but a sweet melody unto Him Who has been lost in the ocean of love. Curiously enough, He does not either condemn or abhor her on hearing her confession.
Let us now hear her song. She says she is black because of her round-the-clock labour under the scorching sun as the keeper of the vineyards. She, who was originally fair without spot or blemish, has now become black as the scorching sun has left its mark in the course of her relentless and selfless labour in keeping the vineyards of her mother’s children.
The Shulamite’s mother’s children were angry with her and they made her the keeper of their vineyards but she could not keep her own vineyard. Vineyard means the ministry to God. You may be working for the other ministers of God in their vineyards through their organizations. Apart from the organization or the church through which you are serving God, you have a personal ministry to God. As a pastor, you may be serving a denominational church. But God has called you to take up an evangelistic ministry. Through the church, you may be pasturing a small group of believers in a local area. In this manner, you are working in the vineyard of that minister who had established the church. But you have neglected your own evangelistic ministry for which God had ordained you as His minister through the baptism of the Holy Ghost. To cite another example, you may be serving an evangelical organization, although God had ordained you to be His prophet. If you don’t abide in your prophetic calling, you have neglected your own vineyard.
Your mother’s children, i.e. the brothers and sisters in the Lord were angry with you. All the members of the Body of Christ don’t perform the same function but different functions (I Cor.12: 14-20). There is bound to be some misunderstanding or difference of opinion between the children of the same mother. The ministers in whose organization or church you are serving may have a different vision or a calling. Even then you may be faithfully serving that organization or church in the fear of God. At times, the elders or the co-workers may misunderstand you and they may be angry with you. There is nothing wrong with your serving God in the vineyards of an evangelical organization or a church so long as you are keeping your own vineyard. Don’t mind if those at the helm of affairs have not appreciated your hard labour under the sun. Their words of sarcasm would have left its indelible scar on your heart and scorched your spiritual life. The earthly sun under which you labored for them has scorched your spiritual life because you have neglected your own vineyard. Jonah fled from the presence of God, and neglected his ministry to the people of Nineveh. Though he obeyed God ultimately by warning the people of Nineveh, he had to pay a heavy price. God removed the temporary shelter of the gourd given to him and allowed the sun to scorch his head. And Jonah was fainted and wished to die (Jonah 4:7-8). Dear bride of Christ, do not neglect your own vineyard.
“Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?” the bride sings in verse 7 unto the one whom her soul loves. We find here that her soul still loves her beloved, her blackness notwithstanding. Her blackness or spot does not stand in the way of her soul loving him.
Here she addresses her song to her beloved enquiring from him, in an indirect and discreet manner, the place where he is accessible to her in times of her losing his presence. She desires to know the place of his flock, instead of desiring to know directly from him the exact place where he stays. Dear bride of Christ, knowing that the Good Shepherd is always with His flock, you should desire to trace His flock so that you might find Him in the company of His flock.
In the midst of the apostates, false prophets, false teachers, etc. who throttle the churches of God from within, and in the midst of selfish shepherds who virtually thrive at the cost of their flocks, there are a small number of dedicated and selfless God’s people who are in fact the flock of the Lord. If you want to be in the presence of God, you have to trace this flock. This people are known for their sacrificial love toward one another and they love all saints and all churches without distinction. This people are but in one flock, following the footsteps of their divine Shepherd. Though they are members of certain local churches, they throw to wind the petty doctrinal differences, or denominational affiliations, which cause divisions in the Body of Christ. Neither are they bound by the false doctrines being propagated in their churches. They are able to discern distinctly the voice of the thief because they “are members of His Body, of His flesh, and of His bones” (Eph.5: 30).
This flock of the Lord is led by the Shepherd Himself in “green pastures” and “beside the still waters” so that they are given rest at noon (Ps.23.2). “Where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon?” asks the bride. The flock of the Lord needs rest at noon from the scorching heat of the day. This means they need rest in times of crises and tribulations, which normally scorch their spiritual lives. The green pastures are the abundant “grace of God” and the still waters are the “living waters” being given by Jesus from time to time to His flock that have been affected by the scorching sun.
“Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth. Where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?” the Shulamite entreats King Solomon in verse 7.
In this verse, we find the bride as the one who strays beside the flocks of the Bridegroom’s companions. There is a vast difference between the flock of the Bridegroom and the flocks of His many companions. Dear bride of Christ, you should be one amongst His flock and not one amongst the flocks of His many companions. The Bridegroom has His many friends and they are not supposed to take the place of the Bridegroom, but to hide themselves in the wilderness and show forth the Bridegroom as John the Baptist did (Jn.3: 29-30). The friend of the Bridegroom, that is the best man, has a limited role to play and he is not supposed to keep the flock for himself or to shepherd the flock himself These days, the companions of the Bridegroom, that is the evangelists, take the honour and glory due to His Name rather than withdraw themselves into the wilderness just to covet their offerings, probably in lieu of the blessings of God channeled through their evangelistic ministries by way of fervent appeals for funds. Today we find great multitudes following the companions of the Bridegroom. These multitudes are like the “carnal” Corinthians who said, “I am of Paul: I am of Apollo’s”. Let no man glory in men. You are Christ’s (I Cor.3: 4, 21, 23).
The evangelist must commit the flock to the care of the shepherds in the local churches who represent the great Shepherd. In fact, the flocks don’t belong to the shepherds in the local churches too, such shepherds being mere stewards of the divine Shepherd. But, they belong to the divine Shepherd alone and are in His one flock.
The shepherds are also not supposed to keep the flock of the Lord for themselves. They do so, with selfish motives, just to build their own churches by demanding and extracting tithes and offerings from the flock that belongs to the Lord alone. These days we clearly see everywhere the flocks of the companions, but rarely see the one flock of the Lord. Here, we find the bride staggering beside the companions’ flocks, in place of the flock of the Lord.
The local shepherds must care and feed the flock of the Lord according to His guidance in the Word, and not according to the guidelines issued by the administrators/heads of their denominational churches. Neither are they supposed to be led by the over-emphasized doctrines upon which their churches were long founded by the founding fathers of their churches.
“If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents” the daughters of Jerusalem intervene and beseech the Shulamite, on hearing her entreaty to the king, in verse 8. The daughters of Jerusalem evince interest in her and guide her towards her beloved shepherd.
“…. O thou fairest among women….” sing the friends of the bride in praise of her comeliness, though she is black. Nowadays we are disheartened to find a great deal of mud slinging, criticism, faultfinding, etc in our Christian circles. Do we appreciate and praise the good virtues of other children of God and the good works done by them?
The bride who does not know the way leading to the flock of the Bridegroom is being guided by her friends to “go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents” in verse 8. How true is of a disciple who has lost the presence of the Lord or has missed the imprint of his Master on his pilgrimage, to go his way following the footsteps of the flock of the Lord, and to feed his kids (his family members or his congregation members) beside the shepherds’ tents! Dear shepherd, you should not keep your kids away from the tents of other shepherds under the pretext of “separation”. The malady that lies with you is that you don’t want your kids to be fed by the other shepherds in the shepherds’ tents. Kindly note that the pastors of other churches or the other servants of God are also in the shepherds’ tents. Do not limit the omnipotent and all-pervasive God to your church alone. The Church, the Body of Christ, is invisible and universal.
Do not jump to the conclusion that pastors of other churches than yours are false prophets or false teachers simply because they refuse to subscribe to certain Bible-doctrines. You may overemphasize such doctrines. Or you might have built your church upon these doctrines rather than upon Christ Himself, the Chief Corner Stone. Yet, you must accept them so long as they believe in the creation and the salvation plan of God, the virgin birth of Christ, the incarnation of God (manifestation of God in flesh), the recorded life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, the eternal life and the redemption through Christ Jesus, the ministry and the Person of the Holy Spirit, the invisible and universal Body of Christ, the Bodily return of Jesus in glory and power (second advent), the resurrection of the dead, the judgment, the hell, the eternal Kingdom of God. They may differ from you over other doctrines than listed above which, in my opinion, are so insignificant as to justify division of the holy Body of Christ. You have to accept them because they are also in the shepherds’ tents. You can learn many other things from their life and ministry, leaving alone controversial doctrines. The supernatural experiences claimed to have been attained by you in the Spirit realm may be different from those attained by them. Please note that “there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all…” (I Cor. 12:6). “By one Spirit we are all baptized into one body whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free: and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (I Cor.12.13)
The false prophets or the false teachers are those who do not believe in the doctrines listed above, either in part or in whole. Such people are not in the shepherds’ tents. Do not divide the holy Body of Christ by means of petty doctrinal differences.
COMPANY OF HORSES
“I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh’s chariots,” sings the Bridegroom unto the bride in verse 9, “ O my love”, Jesus calls His elect. We are the object or the center of attraction of His flaming love. His flame of love for us ever burns even after our backsliding. But, our love for Him may flicker or oscillate anytime due to vicissitude of circumstances. His love emanates deep from His heart and finds expression in the words of His mouth calling you. “O my love”. This would certainly awaken you from your long slumber in being indifferent to His persevering love, and would make you comprehend His ever-flowing streams of love.
You may feel spiritually weak as you indulge in self-condemnation concerning your past failures. Or you may feel guilty as you lend an ear to the Devil who is bent upon accusing you and magnifying your past failures day and night. In order to nullify all this, the Bridegroom compares you to a company of horses in Pharaoh’s chariots. The company of horses in Pharaoh’s chariots were so swift and mighty that they pursued the children of Israel who were fleeing from Egypt and “overtook them encamping by the sea” (Exo.14: 9). You are not a weak person but a person charged with the dynamic power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. “In all things, we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus who loved us” (Rom.8: 37).
“Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold”, sings the Bridegroom in verse 10, adoring the comely parts of the bride i.e. her cheeks and neck duly adorned. From the point of view of the Body of Christ, the comely parts are such members as are adorned with the gifts of the Spirit. They are not hidden but visible members of the Body of Christ who through the gifts, gravitate multitudes to Christ. The Church, the Body of Christ needs such gifted members.
Dear bride of Christ, you need these gifts to adorn your ministry.
Materially speaking, a woman looks comely as she adorns her cheeks with rows of gold and her neck with chains of gold. These days, in India, a hue and cry is raised over Christian women wearing gold ornaments, even small gold necklaces insignia of their marital status. These women are condemned in an aggressive and humiliating manner even from the pulpits, and are accused of disobeying God’s commandments. Those who preach as such are presenting another Christ to the people – a Christ who is jealous of a woman wearing a gold necklace either in deference to the wish of her husband/her parents, or on her own just to look comely or a Christ who cannot tolerate a woman adorning her hair with a fragrant rose created by God. Surely, they preach another gospel, which is not of grace but of works as they add up certain dos and don’ts to the existing lists of Old Testament laws and commandments.
“We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver”, tells the Bridegroom in verse 11 to His bride who looks down upon her because of her defiled garments and of her blackness. Here, the Bridegroom uses the plural term “we” rather than “I”. This shows the triune God in the Person of the Bridegroom i.e. Father, Son and Holy Spirit who are involved in making the ornaments of gold with studs of silver for the bride. Gold represents your faith tested through trial (I Pet.1: 7). In your life, at times, God may not answer your prayer and you may have to face disappointment or failure. But as you still believe in His wisdom and cling to Him, your faith becomes like a golden ornament. Silver represents the pure God’s words tested through the furnace of earth (Ps.12: 6). The words of God have to be tested in the earthen furnace i.e. your earthly life. Mere knowledge of the God’s words is not enough and you have to learn His words through your personal experience. You have to obey His commandments. The words of God tested through life become your studs of silver. Our triune God Himself is making us these precious bridal ornaments during our earthly life as the day of the marriage of the Lamb is drawing nigh. We ourselves are unworthy to make them. Nor are we worthy to adorn ourselves on our own, as it is only God who adorns us. Only these bridal ornaments qualify us for the marriage.
“While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof” sings the bride in verse 12 unto her friends in praise of her lover, likened to “spikenard”, who indwells her heart. We are called into fellowship with God the Father, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords “who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto: whom be honour and power everlasting” (I Tim 6:15-16). We are made partakers of His table, and are seated with Him at His table. What a great privilege! Truly speaking, we are unworthy to sit with Him at His table. But we are being made worthy by the precious Blood of His Son “who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God” (Heb. 9:14). As we sit with the Father, the eternal Spirit in us - the spikenard -sends forth the sweet fragrance of Christ’s righteousness and holiness over us so that the Father into His presence accepts us. Don’t think that you merit God’s favour by virtue of your strenuous labour in His vineyard or your long hours of prayer or your long fasts.
Mary took a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly as it was, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment (John 12:3). Similarly, we have to give the mystical Body of Christ our best and costly gift and thus minister to the members of this Body in a spirit of humility. As the members of the Body who receive such gifts from you start praising God, the odor of the ointment likened to the praises of God would fill the House of God.
“A bundle of myrrh is my well beloved unto me: he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts” sings the bride in verse 13 adoring the personality of her beloved.
Having experienced the loss of the presence of her beloved, she now recollects his mysterious personality and reveals to her friends that a bundle of myrrh is her well beloved unto her. Myrrh, according to dictionary, means “a bitter, aromatic, transparent gum exuded from the bark of Commiphora - a genus of the plants of the family Burseraceae”.
As the Body of Jesus was crucified and broken on a tree, a bundle of myrrh was exuded from His Body as a sweet odor unto God. This bundle of myrrh is still in the world spreading a sweet fragrance of the knowledge and holiness of God everywhere
According to the Amplified Version, “My beloved is to me like a scent bag of myrrh that lies in my bosom”. Jesus, the scent bag of myrrh, would love to be very close to the one who breast-feeds like a mother the other members of the Body of Christ in a sacrificial manner by his sleepless watching for their sake or by ministering to the needy members or the poor saints even when he himself is in penury. Jesus would love to be in the bosom of, or to lie all night between the breasts of such a beloved disciple of His. John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, had the privilege of leaning on Jesus’ bosom (John 13:23). There are indeed a few selfless members in the Body of Christ by virtue of whose tearful intercessions, our souls are still preserved, and also by virtue of whose sacrificial offerings, we are carrying on our assigned work in His vineyard.
CLUSTER OF CAMPHIRE
“My beloved is unto me a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi”, continues the bride in verse 14 recollecting the peculiar personality of King Solomon. The vineyards of Engedi were famed for its fragrant shrubs. The true disciples of Christ Jesus are the vineyards of Engedi and in their midst blossoms a cluster of henna flowers (camphire), that is Jesus, looking beautiful. Such disciples, the vineyards of Engedi, through their personal life, propagate the savor of the knowledge of Christ everywhere (II Cor. 2:14).
The backsliding bride is attracted towards the fragrant vineyards and finds her beloved as “a cluster of camphire”. What matters to her here is only the cluster of camphire, and not the vineyards. In the marvelous Person of Jesus is a cluster of numerous traits, which make Him the cluster of camphire.
Today there are many children of God like the bride in the Song of Solomon who search the vineyards of Engedi for the cluster of camphire, that is the entire Personality of Jesus revealed in fullness. Dear minister of God, do you present Jesus as a cluster of camphire to a backsliding child of God who is desperate on account of losing the presence of God? In other words, does your message carry the sweet savor of His knowledge, which means the knowledge of all His traits? Your message must reveal the entire Personality of Jesus, and not a part of His Personality. Remember that Jesus is like a cluster of many henna flowers. For example, if you lay over-emphasis only on the divine wrath without preaching His long suffering or His other many traits, your message does not carry the full savor of the knowledge of Christ.
THOU ART FAIR!
“Behold, thou art fair, my love, behold, thou art fair: thou hast doves’ eyes”, the king now comforts in verse 15 his bride who has looked down upon her in contempt saying “I am black” in verse 5. Throughout this entire love-letter of the divine Shepherd, the words “Thou art fair” are written many a time. Though we are actually not fair in our own sight, we are fair in the sight of Jesus. This is the testimony of Jesus about you. Jesus holds His own mirror before us so that we may see our image on His mirror. His mirror is entirely different from your own mirror and others’ mirror as well. God always sees us in Christ Jesus. His mirror does not reflect our past sins or our infirmities. Holding His mirror before you, Jesus whispers into your ears, “Thou art fair, my love”. Here, the sublime love of Jesus covers the multitude of your sins and iniquities. A dove is so gentle that it does not hit back and is so innocent as to fall a prey to an eagle or fall into the snare of a fowler. The Bridegroom adores here that His bride has doves’ eyes. The eyes of a dove speak of innocence and gentleness. Does Jesus testify to your innocence and gentleness as that of a dove?
PRAISE AND WORSHIP
“Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green” the bride, being overwhelmed with the love of her beloved, now praises him in verse 16. We praise the Lord because we know who He is, and what He means to us. True, our Lord is fair and without spot or blemish through all ages. We must need to worship Him who alone is found worthy as “no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof” (Rev. 5:3). No one, except the Lamb, is worthy of all praise. We ought not to praise or glory in any man, whomsoever. Let us say with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).
There is a vast difference between verse 15 and verse 16. The fifteenth verse is a testimony of the bridegroom concerning his bride, whereas the sixteenth verse is an averment of truth and has, therefore, become a song of worship in the mouth of the bride unto her beloved. Truly speaking, the bride is not fair but black in her sight and in the sight of others as well. Contrary to this, she is fair and undefiled in the eyes of her beloved.
The bride delights to say in verse 16, “… also our bed is green”. Strangely enough, the worthy Bridegroom shares His bed with the unworthy bride like us. His bed has now become “our bed”. The green bed, spiritually meaning, is the secret and exclusive place of the Bridegroom where dwell the abundant grace and mercy of God. We can feast on His abundant love here.
“The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir,” says the bride in verse 17 about the house belonging to her and her beloved. This house is fortified and secured by the durable and fragrant beams of cedar and by the strong rafters of fir. We now dwell along with our divine Shepherd in a spiritual house, not made of hand, which is well fortified and secured against the attacks of the Devil. It is guarded by the intercessions of the Son of God on the right of the Father and also by the intercessions of the Holy Ghost through the members of the Church. Besides, it is also secured by those servants of God who fight against the false doctrines and false prophecies by the two edged sword of the Spirit.