In the preceding Chapter, the Shulamite adored the wonderful personality of her beloved to the daughters of Jerusalem. On hearing her, the daughters of Jerusalem grew eager to see her beloved shepherd and asked her in verse 1, “Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? Whither is thy beloved turned aside? That we may seek him with thee?”
Dear bride, as you praise and adore the wonderful Person of Jesus in His fullness, the children of God around you who have only a partial knowledge of Him may like to seek Him with you. Some of them have known Him only as the Saviour of their souls, while others have known Him only as the Healer or Miracle Worker. But, to the bride of the Song, Jesus is her everything. She breathes in Him. She lives in Him and for Him. She knows Him in His fullness. These days, in our churches, we find many persons who are content with their being called as believers by their pastors. They don’t want to be called as disciples of the Lord. They don’t involve themselves fully in evangelistic out-reach. They don’t know what type of ministry the Lord wants them to do. Their first priority in life is the material prosperity through the Lord and not the Lord Himself. On hearing your testimony, these children of God would desire to follow the Lord along with you. They would be revived in their spirit and would know the Lord fully.
CHRIST IN HIS GARDEN
To the query of the daughters of Jerusalem, the Shulamite replies in verse 2, “My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies”.
Dear bride of Christ, do you always call Jesus “my Beloved” as the bride of Song? Christ Jesus is gone down to His garden. His garden is the chosen people of God. Where two or three people are gathered together in His Name, Jesus Christ is in their midst (Matt.18: 20). The assembly of God’s children is the garden of Christ Jesus. It is not a lifeless building of a cathedral or a chapel. Nobody can find Christ in an inanimate building. But one can find Him in the assembly of God’s chosen people. In the early period of the Church, Christ manifested Himself by signs and miracles through the body of His disciples. Today also, Jesus Christ is in the midst of His people.
His garden consists of innumerable gardens referred to as “the gardens” in this verse. Every individual disciple is one of the many gardens. His garden is thus made of several individual gardens. The beds of spices are the holiness and righteousness of the chosen people of God in His garden. Jesus loves the fragrance of holiness and righteousness of His disciples. He commands us to be holy as God is and to be more righteous than the Pharisees or the religious people around us. Jesus yearns after the holiness and righteousness of His disciples and visits His garden to feed in the individual gardens.
He also gathers and feeds lilies in these gardens. He especially loves to be in the fellowship of His holy disciples likened to the lily flowers, which are of great purity and whiteness. These disciples are such that keep their life holy even in small things. They abhor unholy conversation; avoid unholy conduct and resist unholy thought.
FEEDING AMONG LILIES
“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies”, tells the Shulamite to the daughters of Jerusalem in verse 3.
I am my Beloved’s! You are of Jesus alone. You are His ambassador. And as such you should represent Jesus alone, though you may belong to any church or organization.
My beloved is mine! Jesus is not of any particular church or of any sectarian Christian group or of the so-called Christian religion, though such of them may claim to be privy to Him. No corporate body can appropriate Jesus for itself alone because salvation is individual, and not corporal. Here, the bride in the Song of Songs does not tell the daughters of Jerusalem, “He is ours”.
Nowadays, there are multitudes that appropriate the salvation through Jesus but hardly appropriate Jesus personally and individually. In other words, none of them would say, “Jesus is mine”, but may claim: “The salvation by Jesus is mine. The gifts of the Spirit are mine. The divine healing is mine”. They lack in the knowledge about the personality of Christ Jesus Who is indwelling them. They don’t know Who He is. How true is prophecy of Hosea “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”! (Hos. 4:6).
He feedeth among the lilies. The disciples of Jesus are the lilies of the valleys, growing in obscure and deep places, unknown to the outside world. When such disciples of Jesus as would humble themselves before God and man and would consider themselves as insignificant as the lilies of the valleys, assemble together for worship or witnessing, Jesus is indeed in their midst and feeds among them. His great longing for human fellowship is fulfilled and the desire of His heart satisfied in them as He manifests His glory in their midst and shares the same with them.
BEAUTY OF BRIDE
“Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners”, the king now appears to the Shulamite and starts praising her in verse 4.
Tirzah was a town near Samaria. It was famous for its beauty and was ruled by Israel’s kings. It was a place of delight. Christ Jesus, while adoring your beauty, compares you to Tirzah. He also compares your comeliness to that of Jerusalem. In the eyes of Jesus, you are perfect. The world may condemn or look down upon you because of your bodily structure or personality. Jesus looks at your inner man saved by His precious Blood. You are not only comely but also terrible as an army with banners. The power of the Holy Spirit on you is terrible, compared to that of a victorious army with banners. You are not alone but are surrounded by God’s army of angels. You are indeed terrible!
HER EYES AND HAIR
“Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me: thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead” continues the king in his adoration of the Shulamite in verse 5.
Christ Jesus longs to be in communion with you. He would be overwhelmed in joy as you look at Him through your spiritual eyes, and commune with Him. Your eyes have overcome Him! Many of your prayers are answered by God instantaneously, though such prayers may not be persevering or travailing. It is because your eyes have overcome Him. Dear bride of Christ, don’t think that Jesus is inclined more to hear the intercessory prayers of some renowned God’s servants on your behalf than to hear your personal prayer. His love towards you is unfathomable and infinite. Jesus is more concerned about you than anybody else in the world. As you enter His presence, He would be real to you. He hears your prayers and talks to you.
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 great Shepherd. Likewise, every disciple of Jesus must shed his/her own identity as he/she follows the great Shepherd in His one flock.
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. You need 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 as compared to the flock of sheep in the Song.
“As a piece of a pomegranate are thy temples within thy locks,” continues the king in praise of his bride in verse 7.
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, especially 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 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. They should now renew their mind in the Spirit of God by wearing the helmet of salvation.
THE ONLY ONE
“There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number.
My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother; she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her”, continues the king in his further adoration of his beloved bride in verses 8 and 9.
Though King Solomon had 60 queens, 80 concubines and numberless virgins, he poured out his love more on the Shulamite. Dear bride of Christ, you are surrounded by many children of God who claim to be very close to Jesus or to have received great blessings from Him. May be, they are like the threescore queens who are materially prosperous in this world. They live like queens. God has blessed His children in many countries like USA, UK, Australia, etc., with such material and mundane things which you may lack in. There are also many servants of God like the “threescore queens” whom God has placed in His Kingdom, adorned with many gifts.
There are also many servants of God like the “fourscore concubines” who also love this world. These people, though living in His Kingdom, remain unmarried to Christ unlike the queens because they have set their heart on the things of the world. There are also many without number who claim to be very holy and without spot like the virgins without number. Concubines numbering 80 outnumber queens. Concubines are short of 20 numbers to reach the 100-mark level whereas queens are short of 40 numbers to reach the 100-mark level. This shows that the concubines are more in number than the queens. These days, we find that a majority of the servants of God are attached to this world setting their heart on fame, wealth, etc. Apart from these queens and concubines, there are countless virgins in the Kingdom of God who are known for their holiness. But they do not serve the King of Kings as the queens do. The virgins without number are merely known as “believers” not exposed to the direct warfare against the Satan. They remain holy because they have not faced the tempter; they remain spotless because they have not toiled in their Master’s vineyard.
Though Solomon loved the queens, concubines and virgins in his kingdom, he loved the Shulamite all the more. Dear reader, Jesus loves you more than all the people of His Kingdom. You are His best choice. You stand alone above them all. He prefers you to all those likened to the three categories of people. This is the secret of the Song of Songs. You are the only one of your mother and the choice one of her who bore you. The Holy Spirit in union with the Church, the Body of Christ, has begotten many spiritual children of God. But to Christ Jesus, you alone look like the only one begotten of Him and His choice one.
The children of God around you including the queens and concubines wonder at His unique love towards you and call you blessed and praise you. They marvel at your peculiar personality, which attracts the special love of Christ.
ADORATION BY GOD’S PEOPLE
Upon hearing about the marvelous personality of the Shulamite, the daughters of Jerusalem now look at her and start admiring her in verse 10, “Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun and terrible as an army with banners?”
Dear bride, the children of God around you admire your spiritual beauty. You look forth as the dawn because through your ministry the light of Christ lightens those who are in the dark kingdom of the Devil. You look fair as the moon because your personality influences those around you like the moon radiates its little light it got from the sun, during the cool night. You are like the moon radiating the glory of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, during the spiritual darkness that overshadows the life of the lost souls. You look bright as the sun because Christ in you, the Sun of Righteousness has sanctified and glorified you. You are not only beautiful but also terrible as an army with banners. The Spirit of might and power indwells you. You are more than an overcomer in Christ with sin having no dominion over you. The mighty and powerful Spirit in you can deliver you from the clutches of the Devil. You are a God’s army with banners, always winning the battles against the Devil and his army.
BRIDE IN THE GARDEN
The Shulamite now replies to the daughters of Jerusalem in verse 11, “I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded”.
Dear bride, you have to go into the garden of nuts. There is a garden of nuts for each disciple of Christ. Nut is a fruit with seed in a hard shell. You have a group of people to be ministered to. They are like the hard nuts to crack. They are indeed edible fruits but in a hard shell. They have ears to hear but don’t hear. They have eyes to see but don’t see. The god of this world has built a hard shell around them. This hard shell will one day crack due to your constant prayers of intercession and the gospel you preach. Once their shell is broken, the Lord of the garden would eat the fruit. Each fruit belongs to Him. And you are His co-worker in the garden. These souls are “the fruits of the valley”. They do not grow on the top of mountains or the plain country so as to be seen by the outside world. They are hidden from outside. They grow in the valley as you pray for them and sow the seed of gospel in their heart. Christ and you only know them. Your tearful prayers will certainly germinate the seeds sown in the valley. You may not see any tangible sign of their growth immediately. The Holy Spirit will blow like the wind into the garden and breathe its life into them.
Dear minister of the seed, don’t get discouraged, as you now don’t see the fruits of the valley. You must be patient enough like a farmer to reap the harvest in due time. As you sow the seed, so you will reap the harvest. Your crop will never fail because Christ is the Gardener. You must keep going into the garden for ministry through prayers and preaching. One day, you will definitely see the fruits. Keep ministering to those in your mission field or place of work or neighborhood as the case may be. You should share their burden and show your care and concern for them. Let them see the Christ in you ministering to them.
You have to see whether the vine flourished and the pomegranates budded. Certain people to whom you minister today will be one day like the flourishing vine and the budding pomegranates. Don’t forget that these are the vine and pomegranates in your garden. The vine will flourish and yield its cluster of grapes for the Lord. You are indeed ministering to a person who will be a minister of God one day, leading thousands of souls to Christ. One day you will see this person flourishing in your garden. The pomegranates will bud and yield its fruits for the Lord. You are indeed ministering to persons who will be like the pomegranates offering its medicinal fruits to the weary and the sick. These persons will be God’s ministers endowed with the various spiritual gifts. You can see these people in their budding stage in your garden.
CHARIOTS OF AMMINADIB
The Shulamite continues her statement in verse 11, “Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib. Before she was aware of what was happening, her soul had made her as the chariots of “Amminadib”.
Amminadib means spiritually “noble people”. The Shulamite’s own people were noble, and their chariots swift as the wind. Dear bride of Christ, these chariots are the angels of God carrying your intercessory prayers to the Heaven. These chariots are meant for the chosen people of God who are in need of your prayers. As such, these chariots are of your noble kinsmen–those of the Body of Christ. At times, all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit in you puts a burden on your heart to intercede before the Throne of God for some God’s people. It so happens that your spirit prays in an unknown tongue bypassing your mind. Before your mind could be activated, the prayer request reaches the very Throne of God through a swift chariot i.e. angel. The prayer request may be for an unknown servant of God languishing in a prison cell for the sake of the gospel or for an unknown child of God on the deathbed, or in the snare of the Devil. As you seek God’s help in interpreting the tongue, your mind will know about the significance of that prayer in tongue (I Cor.14: 13-14).
RETURN, O SHULAMITE!
“Return, return, O Shulamite: return, return, that we may look upon thee”, the daughters of Jerusalem beseech the Shulamite in verse 13. Fascinated by the account given by the king about the beauty of the Shulamite, the daughters of Jerusalem are eager to look upon her and entreat her to return to them. “What will ye see in the (poor, little) Shulamite,” she replies humbly. “As it were the company of two armies”, the daughters of Jerusalem retort.
Dearly beloved, you are a special person in the sight of Jesus because you have undergone great tribulation and sufferings in His Name and also because the children of God around you likened to the daughters of Jerusalem ignore and neglect your ministry and consider you as insignificant. As Christ lifts you up in the ministry in His due time by removing the veil of your secret ministry, the people of God around you will rush to you seeking your ministry. They will beseech you to return to them who had once ridiculed and neglected you. You will return to the very people from whom you had once fled. The word “return” is written four times here signifying the deep desire of these people of God for your special ministry.
When the people of God seek your ministry, you must humble yourself before them. Don’t brag about your calling or your ministry. Don’t forget that you are like the poor and little Shulamite. As you minister to them in a humble manner, the mighty presence of God and His power will be manifested through your ministry and the people of God will testify about your ministry that you are like the company of two armies. The power of God will destroy the fortress of the Devil and his kingdom in every town, and in every nation as if the combined might of two armies is revealed.