SS 1:5 I am black, but comely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.
SS 1:6 Do not look on me, that I am black, that the sun has looked on me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards (kingdom of God); but my vineyard (kingdom of God) I have not kept.
The Shulamite as with us, sometimes learn hard lessons at the hands of our brothers and sisters in the Lord. She along with us will learn that it is by His Spirit in her training that will grow and mature her into who she is to be. We get into works and we think we are doing what he calls us to do.( for they say or they told us)
In our first love we are so excited about the Lord and He is so real to us, we are going about talking about him all the time and what he says to us and what he is doing for us and the religious spirits get rattled and upset or those who have settled say it’s time for you to grow up and quit acting this way. We are so in love with the Lord and we do not care who knows it.
So, we settle down and we get into works and then we wake up one day and say how did I get here. All I wanted was a relationship with the Lord, to love Him and to serve Him.
Ministry is hard work no doubt about it, but it should be a labor of love and giving glory to God in all we do. A thankful and grateful heart keeps us humble and seeking, for we can do nothing without Him.
The reality is: “If we will build the Lord a house of devotion, He will build us a house of ministry.”
Have you been working in another’s vineyard and not keeping yours? This is a mistake we often fall into; someone calls upon us to do a task and we feel honored to be asked and we jump at it to do it before we seek the Lord. Or we get so into doing for God because of the fruit we see and the blessing we are getting from the work we do that we forget our time with the Lord and we suffer spiritually, physically and mentally. There is a balance and we need wisdom to know when to pull away for our quiet time with the Lord for times of refilling and refreshing.
What is the vineyard spiritually/symbolically? – the vineyard is the kingdom of God.
The Lord speaks and says to leave all and follow Him. He speaks to your present where you are but does not give you a picture of where you are going only a promise that He will show you where. So you try to pack up all you can to take with you, and slowly but surely on the journey these things begin to get so heavy and you have to lay some of these things down along the way again and again until you find at last the only thing you have left is you. This is exactly where the Lord wants you.
When He asked you to leave all to follow Him, he truly meant ALL, for you were to be on a journey of self- discovery of who you are in Him. In this discovery He would clothe you, He would provide for you, He would lead and guide you, He would speak to you with a voice behind you saying, this is the way.
Isaiah 30:21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, Whenever you turn to the right hand Or whenever you turn to the left.
Our goal is: To come to the place of relationship and to know, that we can truly do nothing without Him.
We need to know who we are in this life and know now that we are IN HIM. We need to know who we truly are and all this new creation He made us to be is because we are His.
You will walk and not miss your destiny for you will just flow right into it, if you are obedient to follow Him. He will not allow you to miss anything for before your mother’s womb He knew you and what you were created to be.
Jer. 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a ________________________.
My Beloved, tend your own vineyard! Do not let it suffer and become filled with weeds and do not allow the foxes to come in. Tend to your spiritual man and let it blossom and grow and be filled with the fruit of Holy Spirit so pleasing to the Lord, that He will walk in the cool of the day with you and you will have sweet fellowship with Him.
SS 1:6 Cont.’:
In her first confession she had said
“My mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but my own vineyard have I not kept.” Song of Solomon 1:6b.
She had been a very dedicated worker for the Lord. Even in the heat of the day, while others rested, she worked until she became burned by the sun, (I am black, but comely). During this time, she did not personally know the Lord, neither did she know His voice or His leadings. She did only as others told her to do (They made me the keeper of the vineyard.) She had been so faithful in doing all that was required of her, that her own vineyard had been neglected. This neglected vineyard speaks of the “ground” upon which the Lord comes in order to change us. This ground encompasses all the people and the circumstances which the Lord uses to bring about our spiritual development and growth (Ephesians 2:10).
The ground/soil is your heart. Parable of the sower: Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:4-15.
Jesus in the ‘Parable of the Sower’ called the ‘ground/soil’ the heart. He spoke of planting seeds into the ground in order to have fruit.
There are four types of soil which the seed falls on;
- and good soil.
4 responses- hear, open up, receive, and obey (release it).
The sower is the Holy Spirit, whose task it is to reveal Jesus. Here is a reference to Jesus’ comment
- heard only-The wayside where the seed fell was the place where many were going to and fro about their daily business. This is exactly what contributes to spiritual deafness, business! A religious spirit will keep us so busy with the work of the Lord that we do not even hear the gentle knock deep within. The enemy does not want us to exchange his yoke of slavery for one that is easy and light.
- The ones on the stony soil are those who hear and open up; in other words they hear the knock at the door and open the door and let Him in. They are pleased to receive the Light but this is not enough to bring forth fruit. The stony soil did not allow the Seed to take root. One has to gaze upon the Bread of Life that was broken for us in order to be changed from glory to glory. If we do not love and embrace the Word of Truth when it comes to us in soul-searching clarity, we will be unable to stand in the trials that inevitably come. God wants to lay such strong foundations in our lives that we come forth as gold from the refining fire of the trial. Ingest the Living Word which the Holy Spirit reveals and allow Truth to be built into your foundations.
- The next category is the soil where the seed took root but there were weeds that sprang up with it and choked the life out of it. Jesus explained that the weeds were worries, wealth and the pleasures of life. This again connects with the Laodicean Church because they were rich and increased in goods. Material wealth was high on their priority list. How tragic that the precious Word is revealed to a heart but not given precedence because there are other gods being worshipped. We cannot serve God and mammon. If we love the world and the things of the world then the love of the Father is not in us. Often we honor God with our lips but our hearts are far from Him.
- The good soil hears, receives, and obeys and therefore brings forth fruit. This is the key to fruitfulness – instant obedience to the revealed will of God.
The Shulamite had a very low opinion of herself. She did not know who she was as many young Christians.
But you shall see a maturing in her as she makes herself ready. Rev. 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”
Esther is a beautiful O. T. picture of the Bride of Christ today, who at the risk of her reputation will declare and explain the truth of the Gospel, to set Father’s people free from the tyranny of the false teachings that have bound them and Held them back from living the life that Jesus restored for all.
She will be instrumental in bringing in the end-time harvest.
It is encouraging to know that the Lord will come to meet us, even in the place of neglect, when we confess our need to Him. It becomes “good ground” (Matthew 13:8) when we place the Lord in full control of all that pertains to us and invite Him to come within the “room” (closet) of our spiritual experience to abide with us. We should have a special “place” that we have sanctified and “set apart” for our times of fellowship with the Lord.
“But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly.” Matthew 6:6.
Along with this “set apart” place for intimate communion with the Lord, we should make the total area of our life experience to be as an “open door” for Him to enter. Rev.3:20 We can do this by keeping the “poise” of our spirit upward toward the Lord, no matter where, or what we are doing. It is this which encourages and releases the Lord to become active in making of us the Bride that He desires.
“Let the Bridegroom go forth of His chamber, and the bride out of her closet.” Joel 2:16b.
The Lord will always use us to minister to and meet the needs of others. However, our times of communion with Him are more important to Him than anything that we could do for Him. He is to have the first place in our lives.
Communion before Communication and Ministry
Come, My beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to
the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the
pomegranates bud forth: there will I give you My loves.” Song of Solomon 7:11‑12.
Notice that we are to “come” before we go forth in ministry. Our ministry will be much more effective and productive when it is the result of, and flows out from, our times of communion with the Lord. Many servants of the Lord who fail or get into serious problems, do so because of negligence at this very point. They work so hard for the Lord that they become spiritually weakened and succumb to temptation. This happened to the Bride. Thus, she confessed her failure, “My mother’s children were angry with me.” It is crucial that we maintain quality times of worship, prayer, waiting upon the Lord, and rightly dividing the Word. She had neglected her own spiritual development and growth, along with her times of communion with the Lord, through being busy working diligently for Him. We must keep in mind that our ability to impart spiritual substance and life to others, results from that which we have first received.
We are called to work with the Lord, rather than for Him. We are co-laborers with Him. It’s absolutely incredible that God invites us to co-labor with Him. His calling never stops at our salvation. Acknowledging Christ is only the beginning. God calls us—imperfect as we are—to do His will here on earth. God has literally invited us to join Him in a Kingdom partnership to spread the good news of His grace and freedom made available to all.
In fact, God has specific plans, or assignments, for us. Imagine if God said this to you right now: “I appointed you as a _________.” Fill in the blank if you know something you’ve been appointed (or assigned) to do.
And He goes up into a mountain, and calls to Him whom He would; and they came to Him. And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth …” Mark 3:13‑14.
1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. TLV
If we are faithful in our part, which is being with Him; then He will be faithful in His part, to send us forth. I learned a principle many years ago that greatly affected my life. “If we build God a house of devotion, He will build us a house of ministry.”
“That I may cause those that love Me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.” Proverbs 8:21.
Do not look on me, that I am black, that the sun has looked on me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but my vineyard I have not kept.” Song of Solomon 1:6
We realize that we have worked very hard “for” the Lord, even in the heat of the day, so that we have become “sun burned.” But we have neglected our relationship and times of fellowship “with” the Lord. The Lord patiently works to cause us to realize that this cannot produce what we are seeking. Therefore, He allows our circumstances to become a problem to us, which will result in “our mother’s sons” (those we are close to) becoming angry with us. All of the things that we had depended on have suddenly become an enemy. Now we realize that we must have the Lord Himself, and we cry out for satisfaction.
She can come at any time and ask of Him (Jesus) wisdom concerning the one for whom she is burdened.
Summary 2: verses 1:5-6
I am dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem….
“I am dark, but lovely.’ This is, in my opinion, one of the most amazing and profound verses in Song of Solomon. If you will get up every morning and recite this, and again before you go to bed, it will transform your life. It will change the way you view yourself, it will keep you walking in both a place of humility and confidence before the King.
‘Dark’ in Hebrew means ‘black’, as in raven black hair. One of my personal analogies for this ‘dark but lovely’ is a burnt marshmallow. Yeah, this may seem a bit silly and unspiritual to some, but for me it there is a certain thrill I get, in roasting a marshmallow, injecting it into red hot flames of fire, and watching as it is transformed into a radiant torch. Then, as if rescuing it, I blow out the flames and consume it. The most delightful part is the contrast in texture and taste between the black, crunchy carbon coating and the sweet, pure, soft, tender, gooey pure white substance underneath.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:16 “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day”
Sometimes, our lives may feel like that burnt marshmallow. We are all too keenly acutely aware of our black, crusty coatings, and think that is all the Lord sees. Yet He says, “Oh precious one, don’t you know that it’s what is on the INSIDE that I love, what I want to taste, the sweetness of Christ in you, the true person I created you to be?” And its so important to realize that its our outer man that is DECAYING, like the burnt marshmallow, it’s the outer part only that is black. Yes, the good news is that as we are walking daily with Him the old nature is indeed decaying! Glory!
“Lovely” in Hebrew means ‘suited, well-fitting”. We, as believers, are ‘suited’ to Him as His queen, His wife! We reign WITH Him, by His side. In this verse the bride understood her authority, yet she also is meek and realizes the frailty of her human nature.
Understanding this ‘dark but lovely’ concept is like a key, it will unlock new levels of intimacy with the Lord! Knowing He sees and desires the loveliness He’s created inside you causes you to come before Him with confidence. It does not mean we don’t turn, we don’t repent daily from sin, but if we know Jesus our spirits are regenerated, and He sees us as lovely, then we should be all the more zealous to resist sin and temptation and to just sit, dwell daily in His presence, knowing that as we do, that black, crusty icky sin nature will just melt away.
So also we should see each other this way too: dark but lovely. We need to fix our eyes on Jesus in each other and not ‘focus’ on the darkness. Just as it helps us to RUN FASTER if we ‘fix’ our eyes on Him, so fixing our eyes on Jesus in each other helps us to run more efficiently and faster as a team!
There is a cost to pursuing intimacy with the Lord! And don’t be surprised if that involves some persecution, even from well-meaning Christians in the church!
Back in verse 5 we talked about being dark but lovely. The bride compares herself to being black (dark) as the tents of Kedar. Kedar was a son of Ismael, an Arabian tribe which sprung from him. The tents of Kedar,in which the shepherds lived, which were very coarse, and never whitened, weather-beaten and discoloured by long use. The bride had been forced to work out in the sun, in the vineyard. She was a hard worker, yet her heart was becoming lonely and desperate for an intimate encounter with the King!
‘My mother’s sons were angry at me’. “Mother” symbolically can represent the church. Her fellow Christians were angry at her because she wanted to pursue intimacy with her Lover, even if that meant abandoning the church ‘work’ that needed to be done.
Does this call to mind the story of Martha/Mary? Martha, the ‘workaholic’ chided her sister for ‘wasting time’ by sitting at the feet of Jesus. Yet when Lazarus died and Jesus came to raise Him from the dead, it was Mary who demonstrated true faith, as opposed to Martha’s skepticism. If you are pursuing true intimacy with the Lord, whether by worshipping, praying, just sitting at His feet, there will be a cost. There will be those who will accuse you of wasting time!
“My own vineyard I have not kept” (vs 6) Vineyard here represents our intimate relationship with the Lord. What is the primary product that is produced in a vineyard?? Grapes! And what is made from grapes? New wine!!
I love the definition of ‘kept, maintain’ in Hebrew. It means to ‘guard, to reserve’. Think of it this way: Jesus wants to go on a date with you. So he calls up the most expensive, quiet, romantic restaurant in town, and reserves a table for two, just you and He. He is sitting there, waiting for you, every day. Have you sat down with Him today? Have you jealously ‘guarded’ that table, have you set, laid aside every pressing chore and job today, and take time to sit down and dine with Him? He sooo loves new wine, and He wants to prune those dead branches (dead works) so that they can bring forth bubbly, vivacious, life-giving joy!
Look at this bride’s spiritual condition in verse 6. She is talking about being ‘burnt out’. She had been given responsibilities, taking care of everyone else’s vineyard, but she had neglected not her own. She was put under a religious ‘yoke’ which speaks of working without connecting of the Holy Spirit in that work. Embracing too many responsibilities out of the fear of man and the desire to be noticed by others leads to burn out! Time to quickly turn, and run to that table for two, where Jesus is sitting, waiting… for YOU!
1:6 “Keeping our vineyards” Pt. 2
The bride exclaims ‘My own vineyard I have not kept’. So just how do we keep(‘to maintain, to guard’ ‘in Hebrew) our vineyards? How do we do it? With all of life’s hustle, bustle, worries and stress, sometimes it can seem like a never-ending task. Help!!
John chapter 15 holds the key. The key is, we don’t have to do it all ourselves, but we do have to make ourselves available. But how?
First of all, another name for vinedresser is ‘Husbandman’. And just who IS our Husbandman, chief vinedresser? Jesus! And oh, how He loves His job! Even when our vineyards get full of little foxes, and our fruitless vines are in a tangled, mangled, overgrown mess, He loves his job! In Song of Solomon 7:12 the Bride shares His enthusiasm as a Husbandman:
“Let us get up early to the vineyards;
Let us see if the vine has budded,
Whether the grape blossoms are open!”
Even before you are up and awake, the chief Husbandman is inspecting your branches. He carefully monitors the process of your fruit bearing. Oh, how excited He is when He sees little blossoms opening, even the smallest, trivial signs of new life, new fruit being produced in your life excites Him!
However, there is one thing the vine must do before the Husbandman can successfully do HIS job. Again John chapter 15 plainly provides us the answer: ABIDE!
John 15:3-6 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you[a] will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you
Verse 6 is completely misunderstood- when translated correctly it means to lift up.
I love the definition of “abide” in the Hebrew. It means to marry, or to make habitation with. So, the most important thing we can do as part of abiding is simply to spend quality, covenant time with Him. It means divulging every part of ourselves, our hidden secrets, our hopes, failures, fears to Him. It’s resting in Him completely.
Some key verses in John chapter 15 shed more light on this “abiding”:
15:4… make Him our habitation
15:7… let HIS words abide in us (remembering that abiding means to marry, joined together as One)
15:10…abide in His love (let His love marry, make habitation with us)
15:12…love one another! (yes, He cannot do His perfect work in us unless we love each other as He loves us. Resentment, complaining, murmuring against each other stifles us from truly abidin’ in Him.
And what is the main job of the branches on this vine? To simply abide’ and receive nourishment from the Vine, Jesus! He said, “I am the vine, YOU are the branches”.
It is so vital to guard our ‘connection’ to the Vine at all times, to keep that life-giving ‘sap’ flowing between Him and us at all times. The enemy so cunningly tries to get us distracted and caught up into things of the world, things that do not bring life but death to our spirits Things that keep us from bearing fruit in due season. That keep us from missing times of refreshing and seasons of visitation. Things that cause us to be cut off spiritually from the rest of the branches bit by bit (the body of Christ) and eventually spiritual ‘gangrene’ sets in, which can be in the form of spiritual sickness and disease (and even natural sicknesses/disease).
What kind of things ‘choke’ the life-giving sap from flowing freely in your branches?
2.Being spiritually lukewarm (Revelation 3:16)
3.Shame/condemnation (I John 3:21)
4.Worries/cares of the world (Parable of the sower)
5.Fear (1 John 4:8, perfect love casts out fear)
But we can rejoice, for if we simply “abide” in Him, Jesus, our chief Husbandman, will tenderly care and watch over our branches.
Discussion questions C-1:5-6:
1. Psalms 45:13. “The King’s daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is wrought with gold” Meditate on this verse. Close your eyes and ask the Holy Spirit to help you see yourself this way, as He sees you. How does this verse relate to being ‘dark but lovely? How does it relate to being ‘suited’ for the King? Share what He say to you as you meditate on this verse!
2.How would the body of Christ be different if we really applied and lived this ‘dark but lovely’ verse in our own lives.
- Have you ever been persecuted for pursing intimacy with the Lord? If so, how did you respond to those who persecuted you?
- What is involved in ‘maintaining’ your own vineyard?
- Have you ever suffered ‘burn out’, even in doing ‘spiritual’ things. What are the symptoms, and what did you do about it? How does one avoid it in the first place?
6.Considering that the definition of ‘abiding’ means to marry/to make habitation with, share a time when you allowed His words to ‘abide’ in you. What was the fruit, the outcome of this?
- Has resentment toward another believer or group of believers ever caused you to feel spiritually ‘cut off’ from the Vine? Have you ever seen someone else who allowed this to cause them to become spiritually sick? What as believers can we do when we see someone like this?
8.Do we have any responsibility in helping others maintain their vineyards? What scriptures support or negate this responsibility?
- Jer. 1:5 5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified[a]you; I [b]ordained you as a ___________________.
In fact, God has specific plans, or assignments, for us. Imagine if God said this to you right now: “I appointed you as a _________.” Fill in the blank if you know something you’ve been appointed (or assigned) to do.
Do you know that specifically? Remember there are times and seasons for every calling.
To Her Beloved
SS 1:7 “Tell me, O You whom my soul loves, where You feed, where You make Your flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turns aside by the flocks of Your companions?”
We sometimes miss the literary purpose in what we read. Accordingly, when Shulamite asks the question, tell me, O You whom my soul loves, where do you feed your flock, where do you make your flock to rest at noon? What is introduced in physical terms (His absence from her, the Bridegroom’s) is her feeling of separation from him while the boundaries remain in place. From this verse, many expositors understand that Shulamite’s lover is a shepherd. This symbol is as we know Jesus/Yeshua, the Great Shepherd.
We know that we are never separated from Him.
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut. 31:6
Facts about the True Shepherd
- A true shepherd enters in by the door, John 10v 2—that is, he is lawfully called and appointed by God; so was our Lord Jesus, Heb. 5:5. ‘The porter opens to the shepherd, John 10:3 ; so the ministers of the church acknowledge Christ to be sent of God, and answerably entertain him, John 6:69, 1 Pet. 2:25.
- A shepherd calls his sheep by name, John 10:3; so ‘the Lord knows them that are his,’ 2 Tim. 2:19.
- A shepherd knows his own sheep, John 10: 3. Thus Christ judges between sheep and goats, Ezek. 34:17.
- A shepherd leads out his sheep, John 10:8; so Jesus is a guide to his sheep. He is ‘ the way, the truth, and the life,’ John 14:6; that true way wherein his sheep may attain unto life.
- A shepherd orders the affairs of his sheep in season; he ‘puts them forth,’ John 10:4, namely, when it is time for them to go out of the fold. Christ does things when it is time, John 7:6.
- A shepherd goes before his sheep, John 10:4. In this respect Christ is styled our captain, Heb. 2:10.
- A shepherd provides for his sheep, 1 Chron. 4:40; so does Christ, John 10:9, Ps. 23: 2.
- A shepherd procures safety for his sheep. This is implied under this phrase, which Christ applies to himself, ‘he shall be saved, and shall go in and out.’
- A shepherd hazards his life for his sheep, 1 Sam. 17:35; so does Christ, John 10:17.
- A shepherd so acquaints himself with his sheep, as they know his voice, John 10:4; so the church knows the voice of Christ, John 10:14.
- A shepherd so governs his sheep, as they follow him, John 10:4; so does Christ govern his church, 1 Cor. 11:1.
- A shepherd marks his sheep, so as he may know them from others. Christ by his Spirit ‘seals’ his, Eph. 4:30.
- A shepherd watches over his sheep, Gen. 31:40, Luke 2:8. So does Christ, John 17:6.
- A shepherd tenderly heals his sheep. So does Christ, Ezek. 34:16, Mat. 8:16.
- A shepherd keeps his sheep together, that they do not stray, Gen. 30:29.
- A shepherd seeks out the sheep that stray; so does Christ, Mat. 18:11, 12.
- A shepherd will carry such sheep as are feeble and cannot go; so Christ, Luke 15:5.
- A shepherd will be accountable for his sheep, Gen. 31: 39; so also is Christ, John 17:12.
- A shepherd will keep the infected from the clean; so does Christ, 1 Cor. 10:4, &c.
We must keep in mind that we are reading a song that seeks to express Shulamite’s emotions and feelings in poetic terms and imagery, and here, her feelings of separation and her longing to be with her lover are expressed with the imagery of him being a shepherd camped out of town whom she longs to find; later in the Song, her lover will be pictured as royalty in the person of Solomon/the Bridegroom. According to 1 Kings 10:23: “So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom.”
Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Of course, we know this is Jesus/Yeshua, One who is greater than Solomon.
Matt. 12: 42 “The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.”
The Shulamite asks another question, which like the first, is addressed to her absent lover, and therefore only the chorus may respond. She asks, for why should I be as one that turns aside by the flocks of your companions? She longs to know where he is at so that she need not wander about looking for him as if she were lost. The reality is that without knowing where he is, she has little chance of finding him. It makes little sense to think that, if Shulamite and the shepherd are very much in love, she would have no idea where he pastures his sheep. Again, the primary purpose of this imagery is to convey her emotions as she longs to be with him as his wife, but it is not time yet and so there remain boundaries of separation between them during the courtship period. Those insurmountable boundaries are likened to her not knowing where her lover is, and this separation will remain until the day of the wedding.
This depicts a young Christian who does not know that he/she is One in Christ and never separated.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
This is the quality (her “single desire” toward Him) that so moved the Lord with a desire to be with His Bride in the outworking of this cooperative relationship. Therefore, when she cried out:
“Tell me, O You whom my soul loves, where You feed, where You make your flock to rest at noon: For why should I be as one that turns aside by the flocks of Your companions.” Song of Solomon 1:7
“Tell me.” This intense desire that she expresses is singularly toward her Lord, and she seeks to gaze upon Him, alone.
The Bride has captured the singular attention and interest of the Bridegroom and said to Him,
The Bride is no longer content with simply enjoying all the blessings of salvation, or with just having a part in the program of the Church. She is reaching beyond this to the Lord Himself, and will only be satisfied with a personal, intimate relationship with Him. Tell me oh you whom my soul loves, where you feed, where you make your flock to rest at noon: For why should I be as one that turns aside by the flocks of your companions?”
In effect, she is saying, “I can no longer be satisfied to simply go to church on Sunday morning, hear a message, go home and spend the rest of the week doing my own things, and then return the following Sunday to hear another message.”
“Why should I be among them? Lord, tell me where YOU are. I want to come beyond the shadow into the reality of Your presence. Tell me Lord, where are those who truly know You, who make room for You to move as you please? Lord, show me the way, as now I desire to go beyond my present spiritual experience.”
The Lord will respond to this desire, as we were created for communion and fellowship with Him, and nothing short of this will ever satisfy. She now realizes that it is not enough just to be continually blessed. There has to be something beyond His provision for us.
The second group, symbolically are the “Daughters of Jerusalem,” (nominal Christians) are saved and have some understanding of the things of God. They attend Church and become involved, but they are satisfied with being saved, healed, and blessed.
Summary 1:7 Tell me, O You whom my soul loves, where You feed, where You make Your flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turns aside by the flocks of Your companions?” Song of Solomon 1:7
In the past, she had been satisfied with being nurtured only by others. Now, she intensely desires the Lord to personally come that she might “sup with Him” (Revelation 3:20). She is beginning to realize that only the Lord Himself is able to meet her need and has asked where she can find Him. The Lord heard this prayer and has begun, step upon step, to draw her to Himself.It will greatly strengthen and encourage us, in our seeking after the Lord Himself, to understand the necessity of the Bride’s going through this experience of “night.” She had been content with the blessings that were readily available to her through an under-shepherd and had no desire to go further, until the Lord removed these from her.
There is a time in our spiritual growth when we should begin to hear from the Lord Himself and receive directly from Him. We are to be “under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the Father” (Galatians 4:2). This “appointed time” had come for her. Therefore, even though she sought out one “watchman” after another, she did not receive what she was seeking. Finally, in desperation, she turned to the Lord Himself, who had been patiently waiting, but veiled behind the “lattice.”
The “lattice” speaks of the fact that His presence is always, in some measure, veiled. God is Spirit and can only be known through spiritual perception and recognition. Along with this, we cannot abide the full glory of His presence, until we come into the purity of life that is required for us to draw near to a holy and righteous God.
VERSE 1: 7: tell me oh you whom I love, where you feed your flock, for why should be as one who veils herself by the blocks of your companions?
The bride found a key to maintaining her relationship with the Shepherd, hanging out with His sheep! For truly loving Him with all our hearts, and abiding in Him means we will LOVE to be with His people! If we don’t LOVE to fellowship with the other flock then we need to check our ‘vineyards’ (which represent our hearts, our personal, intimate relationship with Him. Remember 1 John 4:20 says: “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”
The Bride was leaning the joy and value of ‘walking in the light’, both with Him and the rest of the flock. Vineyards do not produce fruit in darkness, they need bright, full sunlight! In the natural, if a body part is ‘cut off’ from the rest of the body, it does not receive nourishment and loses the ability to cleanse itself. Ultimately, gangrene sets in, which can result in ‘death’ to that body part as well. And to protect the rest of the body sometimes that body part even needs to be ‘cut off’.
Why was the Bride veiled? Women in this time period often wore veils if they were strangers, mourning, or a prostitute. Obviously, this bride didn’t want to serve Him from a distance, and she was confident of His love and acceptance of her, she was unashamed and not afraid of what others thought of her! She was open to fellowship and not only wanted intimacy with Him but the rest of the flock as well! His unconditional love and acceptance of her had caused her to rest assured of her ‘status’ with the rest of His flock. She knew He was in control of all things, and would fiercely defend her, if needed, in every situation!
She had a desperate need for food. She knew she could find her Shepherd and Bridegroom busily feeding hungry sheep. Yet perhaps she also wanted to help Him feed the sheep as well? She had been put to work in the vineyard by her angry brothers, yet her heart was with the sheep. She perhaps had a ‘pastoral’ heart, or a teaching gift and she longed to see the other sheep well fed! Remember Jesus asked Simon Peter if he loved him? When Peter responded ‘yes’ then what did Jesus respond? FEED MY SHEEP!
Discussion questions C-1:7:
1.Are you, or have you ever worn a ‘veil’ spiritually speaking; meaning you are walking in hiding, shame, mourning, and in a sense have built walls around you from the rest of the flock? Do you feel like there are ‘walls of separation’ between you and the Lord, or the rest of the body, that keep you from fully entering in or receiving what He has for you, or others have to give to you? If this is something He delivered you from in the past, share your testimony, especially of God used a person(s) to minister to you. If you need prayer, feel free to share so we can pray for you! You can email me if private, firstname.lastname@example.org
2.Has the enemy ever separated you from the rest of the flock out of fear, anger, resentment, etc. Have you known someone that separated themselves and eventually suffered ‘spiritual gangrene’? How can we help such a person? Is there hope?
3.Share how you have found joy in ‘feeding’ the sheep! Has He fed you through this too?