Thursday, January 3, 2013

Intimacy, Inability and Inadequacy

The Song of Solomon
Chapter 1

The way the Song of Solomon begins it can be a little hard to understand. The reason for this confusion is that chapter one does not start with the beginning of the story. We notice two things that are confusing. One, in this chapter we see a great celebration, but we are not told why the people are celebrating. Secondly, we see a woman in the palace that apparently does not belong. The reason I know she doesn’t belong is because everyone is staring at her. How did she get there? To understand these two things we need to turn to chapter eight.

“Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver.”  Chapter 8:11

In this verse we are told that Solomon owned a vineyard and has leased it out to tenant farmers. It seems that the woman in the palace in chapter one, is on the farm in chapter 8. Obviously her family was tenant farmers.

We will soon see that this woman was being abused by her family.  Her siblings are making her do all of the work in the vineyard. She is spending so much time outside working that it has affected her appearance.

Someone may ask, “How did Solomon meet this woman?” It seems to me that at some point Solomon decided to go down and check on his vineyard. It also seems that when he did this he disguised himself as a shepherd.

“If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents.”   Song of Solomon 1:8

You may wonder, “What did Solomon know about being a shepherd?” Well, have you forgotten who his father was? I can picture Solomon going through some old trunks up in his attic and finding his father’s old shepherd clothing.

Once disguised he goes to check on his vineyard. When he gets down to the vineyard he discovered this young woman is the only one working. More than likely he goes over and starts a conversation with her. Over the next several days they start to become close.

Finally, the day comes that Solomon must leave, and he tells her to come with him. I can almost hear her say “How can I come with you, you are just a shepherd? What would Solomon think if I went with you?” At this point Solomon removed his shepherd clothing and reveals the fact that he is Solomon.

(What a wonderful picture of Christ and his bride. When Christ came to this earth he did not come as a king, but as a shepherd. Each of us fell in love with the shepherd before we fell for the king.)

Now we understand why this woman is in the palace. Solomon has brought her home, made her his bride and is throwing this grand celebration.

Their Intimacy

Beginning in verse two we see the close relationship these two share. She is the first to speak and immediately makes her intentions known. In verse two she asks him to kiss her. This request shows us the intimacy between these two. A kiss is a sign of a close personal relationship.

Notice also that the word kiss in verse two is in the plural form. She wanted more than just one. This woman is not afraid to let it be known the way she feels about Solomon.

The child of God should not be satisfied with God just kissing them with salvation. We should want so much more than that. I don’t know where we get the idea that God only wants to bless us with salvation. God doesn’t just save us and leave us to ourselves. God wants to be part of our lives every day and at every moment.

Notice the way she describes these kisses. She tells us that this kiss was sensitive. She wants him to kiss her with his mouth. This kiss was superior. The woman says that her lovers kisses are better than wine. They were better because of their:
  1. Price – His love was free and wine was costly.
  2. Taste – The more a person drinks wine the more they desire it. The problem is the more wine you consume the worse you become. Likewise, the more we taste the goodness of the Lord the more we will desire it. God’s love will never harm you though.
  3. Results – You hear all the time about a parent abusing their children because of wine. People lose their lives because of drunk driving. God’s love will only do you good. It will cause you to even do well to others.

Not only was his kiss sensitive and superior, but in verse three we learn that it was sweet. His kiss was like the savor of good ointments poured forth. When we think about the life of Christ ointment is a good description.

I want to point something out before we move on. Notice that this woman has not been in the palace long and she already wants a kiss. A lot of people feel like you have to be saved for many years before you can experience the goodness of God. This simply is not true. The moment you become God’s child you are able to experience this type of relationship.

Notice also that she does not care who is around. She wants the attention of Solomon and does not care who knows it. I wish we would learn to say within ourselves, “I don’t care who is around, I want the Lord to kiss me!”

Her Inability

In verse four the bride gives her second request. She wants Solomon to draw her. She is in love and desires close fellowship with Solomon. She is also aware of her inability to obtain this fellowship. Even so, you and I are not able to reach a level of close fellowship with Christ on our own. If we ever fellowship with Him it will be because He draws us to Himself.

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”  John 6:44

Maybe she is sensing a distance beginning to form between her and her love. She does not want a distance to form between them so she asks him to draw her. I want to point out that she does not ask him to draw her because she is lazy or indifferent. She is helpless.

Notice three things she says that she will do if drawn:
  1. Run – We see many today who are running before they are drawn. You will never be able to run for Christ until you have been drawn by Him. Notice also where she is going to run. She is going to run after him. That should be our desire.
  2. Rejoice – We cannot even rejoice if we have not been drawn. We can rejoice in our flesh, rejoice in ourselves, but to rejoice in Christ we must be drawn.
  3. Remember – To remember can be a blessing and a curse. If we remember the days we spent in sin without being drawn it can cause us harm. Only once we have been drawn close to Him can we properly look back over our lives.

At this point in the story Solomon has brought her into his chamber. This is a place of his secret love. This is like the cleft of the rock God hid Moses in. It is like the most holy place in the tabernacle. In this secret place she makes a confession.

Her Inadequacy

In verse 5 &6 she gives a confession. “I am black.” She is saying that she does not look like all the other women in the palace. Because of her position as a tenant farmer the sun has darkened her skin. In this day a woman desired to be fair skinned. To have a tan was a bad thing. She is ashamed of her skin.

I would like to point out that she is confessing what everyone already knows. Everyone in the palace already knows that she is dark. She felt the need to confess this anyway. Many of us make the mistake when we sin of saying, “Everyone already knows it anyway. God already know about it.” While this may be true, there are certain things that we need to confess anyway.

Solomon knew that she was “black” yet he still wanted her in his chamber. God knows the failure that I am, that I have been. God know the wrongs that I have done. If you knew me like God knew me you probably would not want to read this blog. God knows, but He still wants me in his palace.

In her eyes she is like the tents of Kedar. The tents of Kedar were made from the skin of black sheep and goats. They were weather beaten, worn and dark. These tents make us think of her pilgrimage. Her journey has resulted in her not being everything she wanted to be.

In the eyes of Solomon we see a different picture. Solomon says that she is like a curtain. This speaks of royalty, luxury and beauty. You may see me as black. I may see me as black, but in the eyes of my heavenly Solomon I am of beauty and value.

Solomon responds to her confession in verse nine by telling her that in his eyes she looks like a horse. Please don’t think this is a crude example. (Please don’t call your wife a horse.)

Remember that this woman has just confessed that she has a very low estimation of herself. These horses were very valuable. Solomon is saying “You may not think you are valuable, but I think you are of great value.”

At this time in history Solomon had just purchased several horses from Egypt. He chose these horses, paid a great price for them. Even so, Christ chose each us. He paid a great price for us.

Notice that he does not compare her to just any horse, but to the horses in Pharaoh’s chariot. He is saying there is something royal about her. He thinks of their relationship as going places.

Solomon not only compares her to a horse in verses 15 & 16 he tells her that while she may be “black” in her own eyes, she is “fair” in his. Many times we are black with sin, but in the eyes of God we are white and clean.

As this book will progress we will see that this woman is far from perfect. She will make mistakes and do things she will later regret. In all of these ups and downs we will see a consistent love on the part of Solomon. Aren’t you glad that God’s opinion of you isn’t your opinion of you? So many times I am disappointed in who I am and what I do, but God sees me through different eyes. He sees me as one who is covered in the blood of Christ and has had the righteousness of Christ applied to my life.

You can watch this lesson taught live at this link

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