When we remain in the love of Christ, sin and death can no longer access us. This is because, ‘the one who was born of God keeps him safe and the evil one cannot harm him’ (1 John 5:18). Likewise, the King tells the maiden, ‘You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain’ (v12). The love is becoming too much and is growing deeper, and the maiden knows that the garden only belongs her Lover. She says, ‘Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruit’ (v16) to which the Lover replies, ‘I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk’ (5:v1). Likewise, the more we love Jesus, the more we surrender to Him and give Him the best and all of us, which He approves.
The maiden now thinks that the love has reached its brim. But she soon makes a discovery and says, ‘I slept but my heart was awake. Listen! My lover is knocking: “Open to me, my sister, my darling, my dove, my flawless one’ (v2). When Jesus calls us into a deeper experience with Him, we become nervous like the maiden. Like her, we wonder, ‘I have taken off my robe- must I put it on again? I have washed my feet- must I soil them again?’ (v3). As we count the costs and wonder if we are to heed to the call, Jesus is relentless in His pursuit. The maiden notices, ‘My lover thrust his hand through the latch-opening; my heart began to pound for him. I arose to open the door for my lover and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with flowing myrrh, on the handles of the lock’ (v4-5). Likewise, Jesus knocks at the door of our hearts and says, ‘Behold! I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with me’ (Revelation 3:20). As we approach the door, His presence can already be felt like flowing myrrh.
The maiden delays and when she opens the door, she makes a sad discovery. ‘I opened for my lover, but my lover had left; he was gone. My heart sank at his departure. I looked for him but did not find him. I called him but he did not answer’ (5:v6). Likewise, we are to ‘Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near’ (Isaiah 55:6). The maiden starts looking for Him frantically. At this point, her friends see how their love is genuine and ask, ‘How is your beloved better than others, most beautiful of women? How is your beloved better than others, that you charge us so?’ (5:v9).
The maiden then tries to describe the splendour of the King, ‘My lover is radiant and ruddy, among ten thousand. His head is purest gold . . .His arms are rods of gold set with chrysolite . . . His body is polished ivory decorated with sapphires. His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold . . . he is altogether lovely’ (v10-11, 14-15). Upon hearing this, her friends ask, ‘Which way did your lover turn that we may look for him with you? (6:v1). When people around hear us ‘declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light’ (1 Peter 2:9), they will be interested in knowing Jesus, the Way.
The maiden finally notices that her lover ‘has gone down to his garden to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens and to gather lilies. I am my lover’s and my lover is mine; he browses among the lilies’ (6:v2-3). Although Christ has many followers, He regards each as special. As we know Him more by having a personal relationship with Him, we hear Him say, ‘but my dove my perfect one, is unique, the only daughter of her mother’ (v9). As all this explosion of love is taking place, the maiden’s friends see her radiance and ask, ‘Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession?’ (v10). When we walk with Jesus, we radiate His glory because ‘Those who look to him are radiant’ (Psalm 34:5).
Those in the world do not quite comprehend the source of a believer’s radiance. Not knowing it is the Christ in us, like the maiden’s friends, they call to us, ‘Come back, come back, O Shulammite; come back, come back, that we may gaze on you’ (v13). They do not seek Jesus directly, and so the King tells them, ‘Why would you gaze on the Shulammite as on the dance of Mahanaim?’ (v13). Jesus then focuses on the maiden, praising ‘the work of a craftsman’s hands’ (7:v1). At this point the maiden has fully given herself to the king saying, ‘I belong to my lover and his desire is for me’ (v10). Her love is evidenced by her giving herself to the King’s work. She says, ‘Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened and if the pomegranates are in bloom- there I will give you my love’ (v12). The maiden now has fully given herself to the King and to His mission. Likewise, Jesus tells believers, ‘If you love me take care of my sheep’ (John 21:16).
The love between the Lover (Christ) and the Beloved (Christian) is so strong that the beloved tells her Lover, ‘Set me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm’ (8:v6). For Christians, ‘Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit’ (Ephesians 1:13). The maiden continues, ‘Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away’ (v7), so do we Believers reflect and say, ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?’ (Romans 8:35).
King Solomon caught a glimpse of the greatest love ever. A love that could not be matched with any other, a Song of Songs. ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8). This is unconditional love, a love that cannot be merited with good works, a love that charges, ‘do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires’ (Song of Songs 2:7) because Jesus ‘first loved us long before we loved him’ (1 John 4:10).
‘I will love them freely’ ~ Hosea 14:4
Watch: First Love by Kari Jobe ft. Cody Barnes – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ji2u-_gEANo