THOU ART FAIR!
“Behold, thou art fair, my love: behold, thou art fair: thou hast doves’ eyes within thy locks; thy hair is as a flock of goats; that appear from Mount Gilead”, says the Heavenly Bridegroom looking at the earthly bride who has looked down upon herself lamenting over her black complexion and ugliness, in verse 1.
Beloved of Jesus, your Savior standing by your side asks you to take your eyes off your mirror, and behold His mirror. Oh, the image on His mirror is just opposite to the image reflected on your mirror. Holding this heavenly mirror in His hand, Jesus says twice, “Thou art fair”. You may doubt His words as you hear it once. So He emphasizes His words by way of repetition. Dear reader, it is none but you whom Jesus addresses, “thou art fair”. Don’t look upon your past life – even the life you have lived yesterday. Today, you are fair in His eyes because the living Blood of Jesus has cleansed you. The divine Author of the Song of Songs does not call you “sinner” or “black person”. However, the prophetic books address you just opposite. The first book of the Prophets, Isaiah, describes your condition as follows:
“Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters; they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward” (Is.1: 4).
Prophet Isaiah says your whole head is sick, and your whole heart faints; from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds and bruises, and putrefying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment (Is.1: 5-6).
Behold the crucified Savior! He became black and had no form or comeliness; there is no beauty that we desire Him (Is.53: 2) in order to make you fair, and without spot.
Jesus calls you “My love”. You are His love. You have to look fair only in His eyes. You may not look beautiful before the eyes of the daughters of Jerusalem, the people of God. Never mind.
You have doves’ eyes within your locks. The eyes of doves testify innocence, meekness, peace and non-violence. Your eyes are behind your veil. No human being or even the Devil can comprehend your eyes behind the veil. A doctor may comprehend the eyes of a patient suffering a particular disease. Seeing your eyes behind your veil, Jesus is reminded of the gentle qualities of a dove you are required to possess as His bride. Instead of exposing the lack of such qualities in His bride and exhorting her in long words to imbibe them, the loving Lord simply testifies, “thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes”. This is like a loving mother telling her naughty son, “You are a good boy”, rather than, “Be good and behave well”. This is the mystery of the Song of Songs, which a few like you can understand.
Your hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Mount Gilead. The long hair of a woman is a glory to her and is given her for a covering (I Cor.11: 15). To a bride, hair is more precious than gold ornaments. Her glory lies in the long hair. Likewise, Jesus has covered you with His glory, which He received of the Father (Jn 17:22). The Author of the Song admires the glory of the bride. This is compared to a flock of goats that go down Mount Gilead. It is like the beautiful black, wavy fleece of a flock of the Arabian goats. The goats are not seen individually but in a herd. The beautiful black fleece of the flock is compared to the glory of God covering the Church. Every goat has lost its individual identity in the flock as it follows the shepherd. Likewise, every child of God has to shed his/her individual identity as he/she follows the great Shepherd.
The Mount Gilead is a rocky or strong mountain whence Gideon fought the Midianites (Jud.7: 3). Jesus, the great Shepherd, has kept you on this spiritual mountain where you find abundance of spiritual food and where He prepares you for a spiritual war against the devilish spirits likened to the Midianites.
“Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them”, adores the bridegroom about the teeth of his bride in verse 2.
The teeth are used for chewing the food. The teeth of the bride are likened to a flock of sheep, which are evenly shorn. If some teeth on the jaw are either over-sized or short-sized, the food particulars would not be chewed properly. The Lord said unto Prophet Ezekiel, “Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel”. So Ezekiel opened his mouth and the Lord caused him to eat that roll. And the Lord said unto him, “Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee”. Then Ezekiel did eat it, and it was in his mouth as honey for sweetness. And the Lord said unto him, “Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with My words unto them”(Eze.3: 1-4). The bride has to feed on the Word of God like chewing the food with the teeth. The bride needs to possess the mind of Christ by meditating on the Word of God day in and day out (I Cor.2: 16, Ps.1: 2). Otherwise, you would possess a carnal mind. As you get the mind of Christ, your mind or thought-life becomes perfect like the perfect teeth of the bride which is compared to the flock of sheep in the Song.
“Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely; thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks”, says the bridegroom unto the bride in verse 3.
The lips of the bride should be holy and should not be unclean (Is.6: 5). Through the lips, we at times speak of unholy things, indulge in idle talk or foolish talking or jesting; we boast of great things (James 3:5). Dear bride, your lips need to be sacrificed at the altar of Calvary daily. At the time of self-examination during your night prayer time, you should remember the words spoken by your lips and confess to the sin of speaking unclean things during the day.
Your lips should look like a thread of scarlet in the sight of Christ Jesus. Holiness has to be applied on your lips. Blood of Jesus has to be sprinkled on your lips daily. Your lips must reveal knowledge and wisdom. Bible warns us against the use of tongue in James 3:5-12. It is a fire, a world of iniquity, defiling the whole body and setting on fire the course of nature. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison and no man can tame it. Through the lips, we bless God and curse men who are made in the image of God. Don’t curse any man, even your enemy but bless him in Jesus’ Name. Not only that your lips should be holy but also that your speech should be comely. Your voice must be gentle and sweet. Don’t shout at the top of your voice, while scolding your sub-ordinates or your children or your students. Read the whole book of the Song and you can hear the comely voice of your Bridegroom. He never condemns you in any manner. He calls you in a sweet voice, “My love, my fair one, my love…”
Dear bride, your temples – the flat portion of either side of the head above the cheekbone – are likened to the pomegranate, an oriental fruit much cultivated in warm countries. This is a very sensitive part in your body, which needs to be protected from any injury. The pomegranate fruit contains pulpy edible seed coats, which are well protected by a thick leathery rind. The Bridegroom bestows comeliness on this vital part of your head. You should wear “the helmet of salvation” for protecting your head, including the temples (Eph.6: 17). The evil forces of the Satan attack your head which is the seat of your mental faculty with fear, constant thoughts of past sins forgiven by God and doubts about the power of God and about the fulfillment of His promises. We should have faith not only in the forgiveness of sins through the Blood of Jesus but also in His omnipotence, His omnipresence and His unfathomable love. Such a helmet of salvation protecting your faith has to be worn by you during your warfare against the satanic forces. Have faith in His power to heal you and to perform great miracles in accordance with His promises. Believe Him even if the circumstances belie His promises. Have faith in His omnipresence when you pass through the trials and tribulations. Have faith in His unchanging and unfathomable love – fatherly love, motherly love, friendly love, and brotherly love. His salvation is not only for your invisible soul alone but also for your visible body. He cares for you and has a great concern for your physical needs.
The Bridegroom longs to protect your temples with the helmet of salvation. The helmet of a soldier not only covers the upper portion of the head but also covers the temples. These days, we find that many servants of God once used mightily of God, are now powerless and ineffective in the service of God because the forces of the Satan have overcome them by attacking their mind constantly. And they have lost their faith in God. They should now renew their mind in the Spirit of God and protect it by wearing the helmet of salvation.
“Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armory whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men” tells the bridegroom to the bride who nurtures all kinds of fears and negative thoughts, in verse 4.
The tower of David built for an armory had a thousand bucklers of mighty men. David won many a battle against his enemies like Philistines etc., by means of this armory housed in the tower. David and his might men defended themselves against the fierce attacks of their enemies by means of these shields. Dear bride, you are not a weak person but a soldier of Christ filled with the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit. You can bring down the kingdom of the Devil with the two-edged Sword coupled with the incense of prayers. Look up to the One Who is seated on the High Throne exalted over the kingdoms of this world and the throne of the Satan. Lift up your head with your strong neck.
Spondylitis is a disease affecting the neck of a person. It is a chronic disease. No permanent cure of this disease is normally possible through medical treatment. The doctors prescribe regular exercises. Today, many God’s children are suffering from the spiritual Spondylitis. In their fight against the Devil, they don’t look up the One sitting upon a throne high and lifted up (Is.6: 1). They look down the Throne of God seeking the help of men in authority or friends to overcome the hurdles placed by the Devil. Taking their eyes off the Throne of God, they look to their past failures or the present circumstances. Their neck has lost its strength. Their neck is not like the tower of David. With this neck, they cannot fight the Devil. They need regular spiritual exercises of meditating on His promises in the Word and by spending more time in personal prayers.
“Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies,” says the bridegroom to the bride who looks down on her personality, in verse 5.
Dear bride, you being a member of the Body of Christ should offer intercessory prayers for the missionaries in distant places who fight the battles of God. Your prayers to God nourish the missionaries spiritually and they thus grow from strength to strength. By your prayers, God meets their physical needs miraculously and heals their diseases. Apart from prayers, you should also set a part of your income as free-will offering to them or the organization supporting them. Yours is the ministry “to the saints” and you have to sacrificially give beyond your power and even out of your “deep poverty” (II Cor.8: 2-4). Such members of the Body of Christ are like the two breasts of a woman who feeds her children. These two breasts are compared to two young roes that are twins. People performing the ministry of this kind should be very active like the two young roes. A pair of young roes is seen playing, running and dancing together. You can see oneness and unity in their actions. In appearance, they look alike, as they are twins. People performing this wonderful ministry in many ways should be of the same mind of Christ. Today, in our midst, there are a large number of people interceding for and supporting their favorite groups of missionaries or their favorite missionary organizations. For example, a prayer group of “X” organization intercedes only for their missionaries and does not intercede for the missionaries of other organizations. If the prayer group of “X” organization has to spend 3 hours of prayer, they should also pray for the missionaries of other organizations/ministries at least for half an hour. Though one group is really different and separate from another group, yet both of them should appear to be homogeneous like the twins. The same principle should be applied to the church groups of different denominations.
We see the twins feed among the lilies. The lilies signify great purity or whiteness. Persons doing this wonderful ministry should feed on the holiness of God. They should be holy as God is holy. They should live a holy life, and also in a holy environment. They should always withdraw themselves into the wilderness to be alone with Christ Jesus.
MOUNTAINS OF MYRRH
“Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away, I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense” tells the bridegroom to his bride, in verse 6.
Before the dreadful night approaches to the bride, the Bridegroom would want to go His way to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense. Myrrh and frankincense are the high-class perfumes, which are symbolic of Christ Jesus’ holiness fragrant through the Holy Spirit. Before the night begins, you should go to the presence of Jesus Christ, Who is known by His fragrance of holiness. The Bridegroom will never tarry once the day breaks and the shadows flee away. He will swiftly come to you like a gazelle or a young stag upon the mountains of Bether as discussed in Chapter 2 under the sub-heading “Day-break”. But, in this verse, He tells you where He would go so that you can go to His very presence. If you meet Him in His very place, He will quicken the matter prayed for and grant your prayer before time. Wherever Jesus Christ is present, His holiness will be as lofty as a mountain. A hill is a high mass of land less than a mountain, whereas a mountain is a high hill. He tells He would go to the mountains of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense. Myrrh is the most superior perfume, followed by frankincense. Jesus Christ, the only Begotten Son of God, right from His conception in His mother’s womb has been holy. His holiness was at its zenith even when He was in His mother’s womb. The very place of Christ Jesus is the mountains of myrrh. We, the adopted sons of God, are not holy as Christ Jesus. We attain holiness on our new birth and then grow in holiness. As the bride of Christ Jesus, you should have the minimum standard of holiness, which is likened to the hill of frankincense so as to reach the hill of frankincense to meet Jesus Christ. You are required to grow into the stature of Christ Jesus and to reach the mountains of myrrh finally so as to be holy as He is. The Bridegroom straightaway goes to the mountains of myrrh and then goes to the hill of frankincense just to receive you. After receiving you on the hill of frankincense, He will manifest His presence to you and grant your prayer before time, well before the dreadful night appears.
NO SPOT IN THEE!
“Thou art all fair, my love: there is no spot in thee” exclaims the bridegroom, looking to his bride, in verse 7.
The bride is always in the habit of looking down upon her in contempt saying, “I am swarthy”. But the divine Shepherd reminds her repeatedly in the Song, “Thou art fair”. In this particular verse, He goes a step forward and exclaims, “How beautiful you are!” You may not look beautiful in your own eyes or in the eyes of other children of God surrounding you. But, in His eyes which are like a flame of fire (Rev.1: 14) searching your while life, you are indeed beautiful. He only knows how beautiful you are. This is His testimony concerning you. He does not stop at that. He now confirms His testimony by a positive statement, “there is no spot in thee”. The Devil or other human beings including your spouse or children can point an accusing finger at you, reminding you of your past life or your weaknesses. But, the divine Bridegroom proclaims, “There is no flaw in you”, holding His own mirror before you. This is the mystery of the Song of Songs. By self-introspection, you have already condemned yourself and think that you are not of any use in this world. But Jesus whispers into your ears “How beautiful you are! There is no flaw in you”. Dear bride, arise now and start a new life today with this testimony of Jesus concerning you. You may be a physically handicapped person or a person of dark complexion or of a short stature. But you are precious in His sight (Is.43: 4).
“Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards” the bridegroom beseeches the frightened bride in verse 8.
The Amplified Version of the Bible says, “Depart from the top of Amana…” whereas the other Versions say, “Look from the top of Amana….” It will be more appropriate to use the Amplified Version for this verse.
Lebanon is, spiritually speaking, figurative of a place where we grow from strength to strength in our spiritual life and where we find the glory of God. Right from the time of accepting Jesus as your personal Saviour and Lord, you find yourself in Lebanon enjoying His presence and feeding on His Word. In the company of God’s people, you spend most of the time in prayer and worship and hear messages on God’s Word from many servants of God. The Word of God comforts and edifies you. You grow in your spiritual life nourished by His Word. Now the divine Shepherd exhorts you to come away with Him from this place. He repeatedly bids you to come with Him from Lebanon. From Lebanon, He wants to take you to His gardens or vineyards. As His co-worker, you are supposed to labor with Him in His garden (I Cor.3: 9). The Church history tells us how many foreign missionaries like William Carrey, Mother Teresa, etc., left their homelands and worked as labourers with God in His vineyards like India. You should not be complacent with your spiritual experiences in Lebanon like baptism in the Holy Ghost etc. You should go with the divine Shepherd to His garden. Dear bride, God has a particular plan for you to labour with Him in His garden. Your spiritual growth in Lebanon will be in vain if you don’t heed to His clarion call today. Your worship will be in vain if you don’t perform the work assigned to you in His garden.
TOP OF AMANA
The divine Shepherd exhorts you to depart from the top of Amana. Amana was a summit in the Anti-Lebanon mountain range. You have to look down the zenith of spiritual experiences to the perishing souls on the earth below. Don’t say, “I am seated with Christ Jesus in the heavenly places. I need not go in search of the lost souls on the earth”. You ought to have a vision far beyond the corridors of your church and your town.
PEAK OF SHENIR AND HERMON
You have also to depart from the peak of Shenir and Hermon. The peak of Shenir and Hermon was located in the land of the Amorites who were very wicked and idol worshippers in the days of Moses. This land was later possessed by Moses (Deut.3: 8-9). These days, the children of God who claim to have been filled with the Holy Spirit may not be very different from the children of this world in matters of covetousness, materialism, self-gratification, etc. Though you are in the world, you are not of the world. Though you have possessed the land of the Amorites, you should not be lured by the fading vanity of the peak of the mountains in this land. We are shocked to see that today many children of God are as wicked and materialistic as the Amorites. They don’t want to share the materialistic blessings with the poor and the needy. They worship their material possessions so as not to part with a small portion of these for the sake of missionary work. “Love not the world, neither things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world”(I John 2:15-16).
The divine Shepherd bids you to look down the top of Shenir and Hermon to the poor people on the earth who don’t have the shelter and the bare minimum of food and clothing. As a child of God, you ought to share the material things with the downtrodden of the society. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus must serve as an eye opener to those children of God who are apathetic to the needs of the poor. Our churches should abound in charity. The Gurudwaras of the Sikhs provide free food to the poor, whereas our churches throw lavish parties to the rich people on occasions like Christmas. You should now depart from the heights of materialism and share your material blessings with the poor and the needy. If the judgment of God begins at the house of God today, we will be judged by God mostly on the sin of apathy towards the downtrodden and Jesus would say “I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not” (Matt 25:42-43).
LIONS AND LEOPARDS
The divine Shepherd finally exhorts you to depart from the lions’ dens and from the mountains of the leopards. Dear bride, you may be in the lions’ den of persecution for His name’s sake. You might have been threatened with social boycott or banishment from the family or death for having accepted Jesus as your Saviour. You may feel despair and despondent in the lions’ den, having lost all your hopes. In the lion’s den, you do not find anyone to comfort you and are shut up from all sides, hearing only the roar of the lions – the dreadful voices of those who are opposed to you. You don’t feel like praying to God in the midst of these taunting and condemning voices of the human beings. Or you may be on the mountains of the leopards. Spiritually speaking, the leopards are the unseen spiritual rulers of darkness of this world who are of the Devil (Eph.6: 11). The beast seen by John in the visions of the Revelation resembled a leopard (Rev.13: 2). The leopards’ mountain may be your mission field or place of business or office. There the devilish forces influence your superiors or business partners or colleagues just to keep you off from the paths of justice and righteousness. They also influence the members of the militant religious organizations opposed to the gospel of Christ so that they attack the missionaries of God, demolish or burn the church-buildings, etc.
Today as you read this book, the divine Shepherd entreats you to depart from the lions’ den and from the mountains of leopards and to enter such a spiritual place where you find Him as the omnipotent and omnipresent God. Today by faith you should enter this place where the roaring of the lions would be subdued by a great voice like the calling of a war trumpet saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last” (Rev.1: 11), and where the forces of darkness would be overcome by His Spirit. “Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit” saith the Lord of Hosts (Zech.4: 6). He Who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. This place is the “secret place of the most High” where you can appropriate all the promises made by God in Psalm 91 because here you will abide under the shadow of the Almighty. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night or of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness nor of the destruction that wastes at noonday. Surely, He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the noisome pestilence. A thousand shall fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand but it shall not come nigh you. Only with your eyes shall you behold and see the reward of the wicked. No evil shall befall you neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
We should not be like the children who merely memorize this Psalm without understanding the significance of each verse. We should believe His Word. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos.4: 6).
ONE LOOK AND ONE JEWEL
e shall cover kyou with His feathers, landk under His wings shall lyou tarust. His ltruth shall lbe klyour shield and buckler
“Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck” the bridegroom tells the bride in verse 9.
The bride had fled the presence of the divine Shepherd, enticed by the glamour of this world. The divine Shepherd throughout this book entreats His chosen bride to return to Him, and yearns after fellowship with her. The bride who hangs her head down in shame, with a guilty conscience, now lifts up her head to look at the Bridegroom.
The Bridegroom who has been longing to see her face says that she has ravished His heart “with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck”. Oh, how much your Bridegroom loves you! As you prayerfully look at Him through your spiritual eyes on repentance, His heart is moved. Just with your one look, He has forgotten everything of your past blemished life. One spiritual look at Him is enough. He is further lured by one chain of your neck or one jewel around your neck and not necessarily by many chains around your neck. Dear bride, you possess one particular outstanding quality. This may be your love for the Body of Christ or your concern for the poor or your zeal for the gospel of Christ or your devotion to the secular job or profession or business with godly fear. Though you may have many good qualities, one particular outstanding quality of yours is indeed gravitating the Bridegroom to you. The children of God around you, your spouse or your children may not appreciate this single quality of yours. But to your divine Shepherd, this single quality of yours outweighs the other good qualities in you. This is the secret of His love as enshrined in the Book of Song of Songs. One jewel of your necklace or one chain around your neck is enough for Him to get attracted to you. Every child of God has one outstanding quality of his or her personality. Nobody other than your Bridegroom knows it. You may not know it by looking at your life. To your eyes, all the chains or the jewels may look alike.
The divine shepherd says twice, “You have ravished my heart.” This shows that he is overwhelmed in joy. He addresses the bride “my sister, my spouse.” The relationship as portrayed in this book is a spiritual and emotional relationship between Christ and His disciple. This can be likened to the relationship between a brother and his sister and between a husband and his wife. He loves you with the brotherly love and also with the husbandly love. This is a peculiar love, a blend of both brotherly love and husbandly love.
“How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! How much better is thy love than wine! And the smell of thy ointments than all spices!” the bridegroom exclaims and tells the bride in verse 10.
The love of Christ for His bride is eternal, unfathomable and perfect, whereas the love of His bride for him is changeable and oscillates. Yet Christ adores her love saying, “How fair is thy love!” Your love for Him may be flickering yet burning; may be emotional but not hypocritical; may be abrupt but lingering; may be fluctuating yet persisting; may be weak yet surviving. In spite of all its imperfectness and inherent weakness, Jesus sees in your heart this peculiar love you have for him, and terms it as fair.
To Him, your love is much better than the wine of sin, which had intoxicated you in the past life. The odor emanating from your ointments is much better than all spices. “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3). As Christ in you is the hope of glory, so He is the source of fragrance in your life. The ointments made of olive oil and spices which were used for medicinal purposes in the olden days are symbolic of the indwelling Holy Spirit Who possesses all the traits of Jesus. This Odour of Ointments in you reaches the multitudes in the world that live in sin, and saves them from sin. This Odour of Ointments in you heals those afflicted by any dreaded disease, which cannot be cured by the medical science. This Fragrance in your life is much better than the fragrance emitted by the glory of the worldly kingdoms located in all the seven continents of this world. Dear bride, you may not be a prime minister or a president in any nation. You may not be a monarch or a prince in any nation. You may not be a rich person wearing costly garments, sprinkled by perfumes. But to God the Father, the odor of Christ in you is much better than the odor emitted by the lives of the great people of this world. Wherever you are, or in whatever position you may be, you are carrying the sweet fragrance of Christ in this dying world. People see Christ in you, the hope of glory, and are gravitated to God the Father by the fragrance of the Holy Spirit in you.
HER LIPS AND TONGUE
“Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon” the bridegroom continues to admire the personality of his bride in verse 11.
Dear bride, your lips compared to the honeycomb is supposed to drop sweet words showing love and concern for the people around you. The words proceeding from your lips must be expressed in a gentle and serene manner. Don’t speak words of condemnation or words of malice. When somebody is in distress, you should express words of your concern for that person. These days, many God’s people through their lips threaten those opposed to them with dire consequences; speak unclean words during conversations; speak ill of others; curse others including even their children or spouses.
From the honeycomb, we extract sweet honey only and not any bitter drink. Honey and milk must be under your tongue. Honey is symbolic of God’s word (Ps 19:10). God’s word should be under your tongue so that as and when you talk to others, you can quote it during conversation. Nowadays, the people of God converse like other worldly people quoting little from the word of God. The doctrines of the Bible should be under your tongue. False prophets and teachers are adulterating the word of God. Certain cults like Jehovah Witnesses have adulterated the Bible by substituting certain original words with their own words. You should have a sound knowledge of the Word “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim 2: 15). You should raise your voice like a trumpet when a false doctrine is propagated and when the sin is overlooked or justified by preachers from the pulpit. Don’t be of the silent laity listening to the false doctrines being preached from the pulpit. Milk is a stable food required by growing children. (I Peter 2:2). The Church has given birth to many spiritual children. It is your duty to feed them with the spiritual milk of the Word.
Both honey and milk point to the Word of God. Honey symbolizes the sound doctrines of the Word which expose the false doctrines whereas milk symbolizes the elementary doctrines of the Word. (I Cor 3:2).
Thirdly, the Bridegroom testifies to your garments. On your spiritual birth into the Kingdom of God, God has clothed you with Christ’s righteousness and holiness. These garments have now become yours. The fragrance of these garments of yours is likened to the smell of Lebanon. Lebanon was a mountain range in North Canaan, which was a source of wood and stones for Solomon’s temple. This mountain range was known for its fragrant trees, which were used in the construction of Solomon’s temple. The smell of your garments of righteousness and holiness is like the smell of Lebanon.
“A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed”, the bridegroom admires the holiness of his bride in verse 12.
Dear bride, you are a garden inclosed by the Holy Spirit. If you are in the snare of the Devil, the tempter, being enticed by the sin, yet you are a garden inclosed by the Holy Spirit. The object of temptation may enter the enclosure if God so allows. At times, being enticed by the sin, you may go out of the enclosure on your own. If you meet such a situation in your life, confess through your mouth “ I am a garden enclosed by God”. You are also a spring shut up by the Holy Spirit. Nobody can drain the water of holiness from your personal life unless you allow it. You are a holy people chosen by the holy God for Himself only. No agent of the Devil can conquer you with the weapon of temptation. Your spring is shut up to the world and you are a fountain sealed by the Holy Spirit. Nobody can drink of this fountain. If anybody tempts you, confess through your mouth, “I am a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.”
“Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits. Camphire, with spikenard.
Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices;
A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon”, the bridegroom extols the plants of the garden of his bride in verses13-15.
The bride has a garden. In that garden, you are a laborer “together with God” and the plants therein are the “God’s husbandry” (I Cor. 3:9). Dearly beloved in Christ, you have a ministry to perform. As a member of the Body of Christ, you pray for and minister to the other members of His body who are apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers and pastors. They may also include other types of ministers of God. You may be interceding before God’s throne for some famous evangelists or some missionaries through whom God performs mighty miracles and saves multitudes. They may not know you personally but Christ calls them as “ thy plants”. What a great privilege for you are called as the garden of some ‘X’ or ‘Y’ minister who is mightily used of God throughout the world!
These ministers of God in your garden are compared to an orchard of pomegranates. God looks at you as an orchard or an enclosed garden of fruit trees. The different ministers of God performing diverse functions are but of one orchard. They are compared to pomegranates. Pomegranate is an oriental fruit much cultivated in warm countries, with a thick leathery rind and numerous seeds with pulpy edible seed coats. In India, this fruit is costlier than the other fruits. It is also used for medicinal purposes. When peeled, its seeds are found in different layers. The orchard of pomegranates produces pleasant fruits. The ministers of God in your garden win souls for Christ and such souls become the fruits pleasant to God. As an orchard of pomegranates produces innumerable fruits, so these servants of God win innumerable souls for Christ through their healing and miracle ministries. You may not know the number of souls saved through the ministry of these servants of God. But God keeps an account of these souls and embeds as many stars as the number of such souls on your crown in the Heaven.
The ministers of God in your garden are also compared to henna (camphire) and spikenard plants. Henna is a small oriental shrub with fragrant white flowers. Spikenard is aromatic oil yielded by an Indian valerianaceous plant is known as “ the plant all-heal”. The rhizome and roots of this plant have medicinal properties. Spikenard was a perfume highly prized in Roman society and was used as a perfume by Mary in anointing Jesus (Jn.12: 3).
They are also likened to the saffron plant whose dried stigmas are used as a dye and flavoring; its colour is orange – yellow. Calamus is an aromatic araceous pond-plant, also known as sweet flag. This plant has sword-shaped leaves often bearing large, asymmetrical flowers, and has flowers dominated by large petals called banners.
Cinnamon is a lauraceous tree with its spicy bark. The bark from the stems of this tree is distilled for production of fragrant cinnamon oil. The spice produced from cinnamon tree is a popular aromatic and flavouring ingredient in foods, soaps and medicines. A tree of frankincense found in Arabia produces a sweet smelling resin, which was esteemed by ancient people for use in embalming and as incense. Myrrh is a bitter aromatic, transparent gum exuded from the bark of commiphora tree and was highly valued in ancient times as an ingredient of perfume and incense. Aloe is a perfume-bearing tree and the juice of the leaves of this tree is used as a bitter purgative drug. Jews used spices and aloes in embalming dead bodies.
The trees and plants described above reveal the peculiar qualities of the ministers of God. They are like the fruit yielding pomegranate trees producing precious and innumerable fruits pleasant to God through their ministries. They are like the henna with its fragrant white flowers. This shows their holy life, which spreads its holy fragrance in this sin-laden world. They are like the spikenard plant with the gifts of healing, and are like spikenard, the costly perfume, spreading the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ Jesus throughout the world through their healing and miracle ministries.
The saffron powder is normally used as a colouring and flavouring agent in preparing the food. In India, there is a belief amongst pregnant women that oral intake of this costly powder during pregnancy would give fair complexion to the baby in the embryo. The ministers of God change the lives of persons through the glorious gospel of Christ. Murderers and criminals are convicted of their sin and become new creatures in Christ on hearing the Gospel.
They are likened to the calamus plant, which grows in water. This shows that they live themselves in the valley of tears while ministering to those who pass through this valley. Though living in the valley of tears, they spread the fragrance of Christ like the aromatic calamus. The flowers with large petals called banners are symbolic of the victories and successes being wrought through the travailing and tearful prayers of the servants of God likened to the calamus plant. This shows that these ministers of God serve as a ladder to attainment of success in your life, be it education or career or sports. The secret intercessory prayers of God’s servants bring you laurels. You may think that your own effort or the human help sans God’s grace has won laurels in your life.
They are likened to the cinnamon tree, which produces the popular aromatic and flavouring spice. Through the pastoral, teaching and prophetic ministries of these servants of God, your life in Christ blooms and becomes aromatic in this world. On smelling the fragrance of your life in Christ, the people around you are gravitated to Christ, the Source of such fragrance.
The ministers are likened to “all trees of frankincense” which produce a great quantity of the sweet smelling resin and to myrrh, the highly valued perfume. This shows that these servants of God are responsible for ensuring holiness in your life by way of their teaching and by setting high standards of holiness in their own lives to be emulated by you.
The ministers are likened to aloes used as a bitter purgative drug. The ministry of prophets serves as the bitter purgative drug to those who live contrary to the word of God, who carry on the God’s ministry against His will and who believe in false doctrines.
Your small garden in the great vineyards of God has “all the chief spices”. The personal lives of the ministers in your garden are the sweet fragrance unto God as if it emanates from “all the chief spices”. It is your responsibility to intercede before God for the ministers in your garden so that they may lead a holy and righteous life. You should also warn them if they live contrary to the Word of God. What a great testimony of God concerning your little garden!
Yours is a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters. You are a fountain of gardens. Through your personal life of holiness and righteousness, you become a fountain of the gardens planted in the Kingdom of Christ. Your personal life should bear testimony to Christ and influence the other members of the Body of Christ likened to the gardens in the Song. Holiness and righteousness should flow from the fountain of your life. Your intercessory prayers for the other members of the Body of Christ would serve as a fountain of blessings upon them.
Christ in you is a well of living waters. It is a reservoir from which the living waters of Christ flow into the world. Through you, God seeks to give the living waters to the perishing souls in this world. As such, you have to preach the gospel and present Christ to the lost souls. You should not be so selfish as to drink the living waters yourself but you should share the same with the lost souls.
Your garden has “streams from Lebanon”. Spiritually speaking, Lebanon is a place where you grow spiritually from strength to strength. The lessons taught to you by the Holy Spirit and the personal experiences encountered by you in Lebanon would flow abundantly as streams to the other members of the Body of Christ.
“Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into the garden and eat his pleasant fruits”, the bridegroom implores the wind in verse 16.
The wind is likened to the Holy Spirit. (John 3:18). The wind has to blow upon Christ’s garden so that the spices thereof may flow out. You should allow the Holy Spirit to deal with you in all areas of your life. Every organ of your body and your faculty of mind should be surrendered to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has to fill your life completely and constantly.
The fruit of the Spirit i.e. love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance should manifest in your life like a fragrance emitting from the spices. Inviting the Holy Spirit into every area of your life and obeying Him would lead to His dominion of your entire life and manifestation of His nine-fold-fruit. If the Holy Spirit does not fill your life, the aforesaid qualities would not flow out of your life.
“Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south” entreats the bride. The north wind has to blow towards the south where there is a vacuum or less air pressure. Where there is hunger for holiness, where there is thirst for righteousness, Christ sends the Holy Spirit so as to fill His people. If you are complacent with the progress of your spiritual life and not hungry for holiness, Christ will not fill your life with the fullness of the Holy Spirit. “He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away” (Luke 1: 53). These days, we find a good number of God’s people who take pride in their superficial scriptural knowledge are being deceived into believing that they are perfect or holier than others. They lack in humility and simplicity and do not accept the vast majority of people of the universal Body of Christ due to sheer pride. Christ does not fill such people with the Holy Spirit.
It is Christ, the Source of the Holy Spirit, Who commands the wind to blow towards the people who are hungry or thirsty. As and when the Holy Spirit blows on your life, the spices will flow out; the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit will be manifested. You should constantly implore Christ to fill you with the Holy Ghost for holy living as well as for effective ministry.
As the Holy Spirit fills you, Christ reveals himself through your life. The bride of the Song of Songs implores the bridegroom to come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits. The souls saved through your ministry are indeed like fruits pleasant to the Lord. The Lord is delighted to have fellowship and communion with such souls. You may not be aware of the number of such souls and their names. These souls also include those saved through the ministry of some other servants of God whom you have been interceding for or ministering to. The Lord plants these souls in your garden. As such, you ought to intercede and minister to as many servants of God as possible. If there are no fruits in your garden, the Lord will be disappointed. As His disciple, you should “bear much fruit” (Jn 15:8).
Your garden should be tilled and manured for the growth of the plants. You should always examine your life in the light of the Word coupled with fasting and forsake sinful ways in order to secure the safety of your plants from the Devil and his soldiers who are in the form of palmerworm, locust, cankerworm and caterpillar. Their “teeth are the teeth of a lion and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion”. Please read Joel 1:1-20. Prophet lamented through his prophetic eyes that the Devil “hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree; he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white…The field is wasted, the land mourneth; for the crop is wasted; the new wine is dried up, the oil languisheth…. Be ye ashamed, O ye husbandmen; howl, O ye vinedressers, for the wheat and for the barley because the harvest of the field is perishing…. The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men….”
The above prophecy of Joel is being fulfilled literally in these last days. The Devil is busy destroying our fruitful gardens. Many servants of God, once mightily used of God, have now become barren trees without producing any fruits because the strong army of Satan has deceived them in diverse ways. You should save your plants and trees from the teeth of the Devil by nourishing them with tearful prayers, coupled with fast (Joel 1:13-14).