Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with chains of gold (Song of Solomon 1:10).
I’m doing some facial exercises lately, one of which is to smile as if I really mean it. Then I am supposed to press into my cheeks to deflate the smile, somehow. I don’t think my cheeks have any muscle in them at all. There’s nothing to resist when I press. I don’t think my cheeks have any use whatsoever. Oh, yes, I know, they keep the food in my mouth while I chew, but what kind of ornaments could possibly be on my cheeks?
What does God see on my cheeks? Maybe they look like Christmas ornaments. Maybe my dimples are more pronounced than I think. Maybe He takes my cheeks between His thumbs and forefingers and chuckles at me like we do to children. The thing I am left with in this contemplation is that God calls a portion of my body, that I never think of on a daily basis, as being lovely. Every cell of my being is a building block that makes me like I am. God shaped each one of us according to His design and will, and He sees you and me as being lovely.
I don’t see the ornaments. I don’t see the chains of gold. In ancient days there were no safety deposit boxes in which to store wealth, so the women wore wealth: gold chains around the neck, gold coins sewn into headdresses, etc. The ornaments and the chains of gold are invisible in this natural realm. I must look with my spirit to see my value, and my neck is laden with wealth. So is yours.
I have compared you, my love, to my filly among Pharaoh’s chariots (Song of Solomon 1:9).
Sometimes we are forced to stand back and look deeper at the significance of what we are contemplating. If a suitor compared me to his horse, I might not take that as a desirable expression of love. But when it is God, and I know He created that horse, that graceful, gentle little female filly, I can see the love and admiration in His eyes. I don’t think anyone disagrees with me when I say that the horse is an admirable, noble creature. A horse’s allegiance to his or her master or mistress is a study for our own allegiance to the Lord.
My daughter, as a little 7-year-old, had the meanest pony on the planet. Daphne would bite or kick, whichever end happened to be closest, anyone who came near her—especially me. That pony terrified me. But when Jolie came into the stable, Daphne would put her nose in Jolie’s back, and my daughter could walk anywhere, in the fence, outside the fence, and that nose stayed fixed on the very center of Jolie’s back.
I hope God can compare me to His filly among the chariots: loyal, persistent, following, loving Him wherever He goes, whatever He does, whatever He says, I’m right there. All my senses are fixed on Him.
(THE BELOVED) If you do not know, O fairest among women, follow in the footsteps of the flock, and feed your little goats beside the shepherds' tents (Song of Solomon 1:8).
The answer is so simple. Don’t bother finding souls in their place of relaxation as they won’t listen to our testimonies there. Go to their homes. Go to where they live as there they are not veiled, and they are more open to hear what we say. That only makes sense. If we try to reach people for Jesus when they are busy having fun, not even eternity can draw them away from their sports and leisure. But where they live, that’s where they have needs that only God can fill. We may be the fairest among women, or the fairest among men, but that doesn’t stagnate us, it empowers us to speak openly. It’s just a matter of choosing our venue. To address people’s needs in the place where that need is greatest, that is wisdom. They need to know, above all else, how much they are loved, just as they are. When they grasp that, anything is possible.
(TO HER BELOVED) Tell me, O you whom I love, where you feed your flock, where you make it rest at noon. For why should I be as one who veils herself by the flocks of your companions (Song of Solomon 1:7)?
What a perfect picture of the reluctant Christian! How often do we get into groups for relaxation and veil ourselves so no one sees the real person, the beloved of Jesus Christ and God His Father? We turn to Jesus and ask where we can go. Where does He have relaxation with His flocks so we can go there and not hide ourselves?
But that’s not what He wants for us. Tomorrow you’ll see what He does want. Until He answers that question we are in a quandary. We know we’re supposed to witness and tell everybody about Him, but even in our best intentions we put a veil over our Christianity.
Yet we love Him. We want to share Him with His companions, those He loves, and we don’t. What a terrible dilemma!
Do not look upon me, because I am dark, Because the sun has tanned me. My mother's sons were angry with me; They made me the keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept (Song of Solomon 1:6).
Let me pull that middle section out and deal with it. “My mother’s sons were angry with me;” It doesn’t tell us anything about why they were angry. There has been some conjecture of why they were angry, but we can’t prove anything. I want to make my own conjectures. The Shulemite is a lovely woman. That has been established. Perhaps the brothers, instead of looking at how much the Lord loves them, are jealous of her, and they belittle her. This attitude of jealousy is so common in the Christian world. I write about my experiences with the Lord to encourage others to develop an intimate relationship with Him. However, one time someone sneered at me, “How come you’re His favorite child?” I replied, “We are all His favorite children. There is no competition. Be happy for what someone else receives from the Lord. It is a sample of what is available for you.”
The Shulemite is a shepherdess, so what is the reason behind caring for vineyards? Vineyards produce wine. Wine is the symbol of the blood of Jesus, put on the altar in heaven to pay for our sins, our sicknesses and our poverty. This foretelling warns us of putting God first. Don’t make someone else or something else, like a priest, a prophet, or a church, be the keeper of your salvation.
I am dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem,
Like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon (Song of Solomon 1:5).
Many translations write the first few words as “I am black.” Given the part of the world the Israelites were in, it would be quite natural for the woman that Solomon pursed in this song did, indeed, have black skin. The Queen who came to visit Solomon to research for herself all the rumors she had heard about him, was the Queen of Ethiopia, and she was no doubt black of skin. When one considers how beautiful that dark skin is, how soft it is, and ageless, then we cannot wonder that Solomon is writing about a dark colored woman, maybe even the Queen, as certainly such women are lovely.
The Shulemite woman is speaking to the chorus. She likens herself to the tents of Kedar. I can’t find a reference to the word Kedar, but I do know that tents were made of animal skins, pounded into thin segments and sewn together. Kedar skins must have been superb, as were the curtains of Solomon. He had nothing but the best.
Any woman who is well, well loved, can describe herself with confidence like the Shulemite woman is doing, considering herself without arrogance, to be lovely in appearance. After all, her lover has convinced her that she is lovely. God considers every one of His creations to be absolutely perfect, and He loves to admire His work. If we’ll listen with our spiritual ears, we will hear Him convince us of our loveliness.
Song of Solomon 1:4
Draw me away!
THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM
We will run after you.
The king has brought me into his chambers.
THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM
We will be glad and rejoice in you. We will remember your love more than wine.
Rightly do they love you.
Sometimes love can be so overwhelming we must set ourselves apart to regain our stability. Sometimes the Grace of God can be so heavy on us that we are forced to say, “Stop! I can’t take anymore!” In our physical being this is true, but not in our spirit. Physically, people want what we have, and they clamor for it, sometimes in a negative way because they don’t know what they are asking for. They simply know they want what we’ve got.
But spiritually, as our King pulls us inside to His Spirit, we discover just how large is His love and our love. Blended together our love has no boundary, no end. His chambers, the third heaven, goes on forever, and we live there by love.
The chorus, representing the world in this scene, sees the extent of our blended love, the Lord’s and ours, and can do nothing but rejoice. All things are possible in the midst of such love. The world wants what we’ve got.
Song of Solomon 1:3
Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, Your name is ointment poured forth; Therefore the virgins love you.
It’s almost uncanny that the Lord wants us to walk so closely with Him that we can smell the oils He puts on His body, the cologne He splashes on His face. These may be metaphors, but oh to be so cognizant of Him that these particulars capture our attention, instead of the horrible state of affairs in the world or our demands and needs. Those who are in love never bother with the dour aspects of life. Being in love is enough to motivate the world around us to appear and even smell nice.
I don’t know about you, but I can remember saying my at-the-moment crush’s name over and over until my friends would mimic and tease me. But now, in my maturity, I find that repeating my love object’s name over and over does wonders for the atmosphere and actually changes things: “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” Do your part, my friend. Love is a two-way street. Being in love draws those who have no love object to come near and share our enthusiasm for the one we love.
Song of Solomon 1:2
THE SHULAMITE: Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth-For your love is better than wine.
This song is obviously directed to the individual believer, one already committed to the Lord for life, someone who wants more out of the relationship and realizes it is going to take a tremendous surrender on their part. In the first phrase of this sentence, the Shulamite woman is speaking out loud, expressing her desires perhaps to an empty room, but in the third person about someone she wants to be close to. In the second part of the phrase she takes a more aggressive stance and speaks as if directly to the person she wants to kiss her. It reminds me of a pubescent girl in her first crush, alone in her bedroom as she daydreams out loud about the one she loves.
In the same way, we fall in love with Jesus Christ and discover His love is better than any of the trappings we have in our earthly love relationships. Shortly after my husband announced we would not have sex ever again, I was sitting in a large convention center with some friends, and instead of listening to the very boring preacher, I fumed at the Lord that it was not fair that I could never have sex again. After all, sex is the epitome of ecstasy in the physical realm. The Lord asked if I would like to feel what His love was like. Of course, I said yes. Suddenly, my body was filled with every known and unknown passionate expression, far, far, far better than any sex I’d ever had.
He asked me if I wanted to trade that for the heights of worldly passion I had sometimes known. “No way! Never! This love is better than anything I’ve ever experienced.” Plus, I can have this love anytime I want. I can live in it!
Song of Solomon 1:1
The song of songs, which is Solomon's.
According to 1 Kings 4:32, King Solomon, son of David, third king of Israel, spoke three thousand proverbs and one thousand and five songs. This song was considered his best. His scribes wrote down the words he spoke as if for a stage play of the times. In other words, it was written for a protagonist, an antagonist, and a chorus to narrate the proceedings; thus, we have the Shulamite, King Solomon our main character, and the chorus, also known as the Daughters of Jerusalem. This song, in truth, is about our sweet, fragrant relationship with the Lord in the secret places of our hearts. There is no love deeper than the love God has for us. There is no love sweeter to the Lord than that expressed by His children as they delicately peel away the hard cover of their hearts and reveal the tender intimacy they have with Him. The challenge for Solomon in writing this greatest of his songs, and for me in discussing it, was to expose, and more than just “adequately,” present the love of God for us.
As we go through the Song of Songs, analyze your own love relationship with God. Just how deep is it? How much will you allow Him to love you? What is His manner of love toward you? How do you show Him your love for Him? Keep your own journal; ask yourself the hard questions, and record your answers.
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height– 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:17–19).