Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Song of Solomon, Day 11

Episode Resources

Get more from this study. Meditate through the "Making It Personal" questions located at the bottom of the transcript.

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminds you of something amazing.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: The day the Lord Jesus took you to be His Bride, His heart rejoiced. Can you imagine that we give Him joy?

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A Place of Quiet Rest. It's Monday, March 7, 2016.

For the last few weeks, Nancy’s been inviting you into a closer relationship with Jesus. We’ve seen a portrait of Christ and the Church by studying a great love story from the Bible. Here’s Nancy continuing in the series, “How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus.”

Nancy: Well, as we journey through the Song of Solomon, we’re seeing different stages and phases of a love relationship. We’ve seen the initial stage, that season when the love of this bride and her bridegroom was fresh; it was young; it was ecstatic; it was warm—the initial stage of love.

And then we looked at a stage that we called unheeded love—a season when their relationship was tested because she was hesitant to respond to his call. But now the fellowship, the communion with her beloved has been restored and she is ready to follow her beloved—to go with him, to leave the chamber, to go with him out into the mountains and hills of life, the circumstances of life. And if that’s what will please him, she’s ready to do that.

Now we come to a section in the Song of Solomon that starts with chapter 3, verse 6, and it’s going to go through the first part of chapter 5. I call this section “Growing Love.” It's the development of a deeper, more intimate love relationship between the bride and her beloved. 

You may remember the name Hudson Taylor who was a missionary statesman to China. He only ever wrote one book that I know of. And it’s a little book on the Song of Solomon. He says in that book that “True love cannot be stationary. It must either decline or grow.” We see this bride and her beloved in a growing relationship—not static, not stationary, but growing. And don’t you want that to be true of your relationship with the Lord? I know I want it to be true of my relationship with Christ.

"True love cannot be stationary. It must either decline or grow." ~Hudson Taylor

Now, as this bride’s love grows, her focus changes from having eyes on herself to having eyes on her beloved. You’ll notice as we get into this section that the bride listens more and speaks less. You think about children. Children are really self-absorbed, right? They talk all the time, and they talk a lot about themselves. And the same is true of childish believers.

This bride doesn’t speak nearly as much in this passage that we’re coming to with about growing love, because her world is no longer revolving around herself. It’s beginning to revolve around her beloved.

That is the sign of a deepening, growing, healthy love relationship. When I become less concerned about how life affects me, how my circumstances affect me and more concerned about how all of this affects Christ and what He thinks about it and what pleases Him and what He is like, that’s a sign that I’m in a growing love relationship with Christ.

Now we’re picking up today in chapter 3 of the Song of Songs, verse 6. We’ll be looking at verses 6 through 11. This paragraph takes us back to the wedding of the king and his bride. Now let me say just a word about Jewish wedding customs in that era. You’ve perhaps heard some about this. Maybe someday we’ll do a whole series on this.

But just by way of summary, you remember that there would be a betrothal. The marriage was likely arranged by the parents, but at some point there would be a betrothal—similar to our engagement period, and yet more binding than our engagement is considered today. At the point of the betrothal there would be a covenant that would be signed and sealed. But the marriage was not yet consummated.

The bridegroom at that point would go back to his home, and he would prepare his house so that he would have a place to take his bride to live. Then he would return, generally within about a year, to claim his bride.

Now the bride had to be living that whole time in a state of readiness and alertness. They didn’t have email and texting and all these ways of staying in communication. She had to be ready for his appearing because when he came back he was going to take her to his house, the house he had prepared for her.

He would do this by means of a wedding processional. They’d go from where she lived to his home in a wedding processional that could take days or weeks. It could be a long period of time. Once they got to his house, they would have a seven day wedding feast and the marriage would be physically consummated. They would begin to live together as husband and wife.

And, of course, you can see that this is all a picture of God’s great redemptive story—the love of Christ for His Bride. He has signed and sealed a covenant to take us as His own, and He is gone to heaven to prepare a place for us, and He is coming back to take us to Himself. That’s the grand story to which all of marriage in the Scripture points.

Well, this section in the Song of Solomon begins with a wedding processional. And again, this is different than in our day where the bride and groom typically come separately to the church and meet there for the ceremony.

In the eastern culture, the bride and the groom would travel together to the wedding—a journey as we’ve said might take some period of time. So we have in verse 6 some observers, some of those bystanders who say, “Who is this coming out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense with all the merchant’s fragrant powders?”

Now, as we get into this passage we know that these bystanders are aware that the bride is in this processional. Because when they say, “Who is this?” in the original language, that’s a feminine singular word. They are thinking of the bride. “Who is this bride coming out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke perfumed with myrrh and frankincense with all the merchant’s fragrant powders?”

And then the bride speaks up and she says, 

Behold it is Solomon’s couch, with sixty valiant men around it, of the valiant of Israel. They all hold swords, being expert in war. Every man has his sword on his thigh because of fear in the night. Of the wood of Lebanon Solomon the King made himself a palanquin [or in some of your translations say a carriage]: He made its pillars of silver, its support of gold, its seat of purple, its interior paved with love by the daughters of Jerusalem (vv. 6–10).

And then we come to verse 11 which one writer has called “the very heart and hinge of the whole of the song.” And she says, verse 11,

Go forth, O daughters of Zion, and see King Solomon with the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, the day of the gladness of his heart.

Now let’s pause there, take a deep breath, back up and unpack this passage.

Verse 6: “Who is this coming out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke perfumed with myrrh and frankincense with all the merchant’s fragrant powders?” Observers see the wedding train in the distance. And of course, as you might imagine, they are eager to get a closer look, eager to identify who’s coming.

As the processional approaches, they see these pillars—these columns of smoke which may be incense being burned from the front of that processional. And as the processional gets closer, they could smell the fragrance—the myrrh, the frankincense.

Now they say that she is the one who’s perfumed. But remember all through this book that whenever she is fragrant or she is beautiful she gets all that from him. He’s the one who is fragrant. We saw this in the first chapter. He is the one who is lovely. She gets her loveliness from him. She’s lovely because he is lovely, and she is united with him.

And this processional is coming out of the wilderness, Scripture says. The bridegroom is bringing his bride out from the wilderness. That’s her place of origin. They’re headed to Jerusalem where they will live together in his home, the palace.

Now, the wilderness the Jews would have understood reading this passage would refer to a region south of Palestine toward Egypt. And in the Scripture, Egypt is usually a picture of the world. So we see a picture here of God leading His people out of Egypt through the wilderness with a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire, the presence of God leading them safely to the promised land.

Today, Christ is bringing His Bride, the Church, out of the world—out of that which she was born into—out of her natural state in Adam—out of the wilderness. He’s taking His Bride safely to a place of abundance and fruitfulness to the place where He lives—to heaven.

Now in our weddings, our focus is invariably on the bride. Right? You can’t even remember what the groom was wearing. But you remember everything about the bride. She is the center of attention. But in this wedding, the main attraction is not the bride but the bridegroom. And the bride quickly points the attention away from herself to her beloved. In fact, she is not mentioned again in this passage. From this point on the groom is the center of attention.

And the bride would have it that way because she loves him. She wants all eyes on the bridegroom. This is all about him. But we’re going to see that she shares in all the joy, the blessing, the glory of this special occasion. As we grow in love with the Lord Jesus, we want all the attention, all the glory to go to Him. It’s a sign of growing love.

Now she says in verse 7, “Behold it is Solomon’s couch.” Some of your translations say “litter” or “carriage.” I think this perhaps refers to a wedding bed. The place where they will sleep on their wedding night is being carried by those who are part of this processional. You remember if you go back to the first chapter that early in this relationship she was looking for rest. And Solomon is going to provide for her a place of rest.

And this couch, this processional, is surrounded by sixty valiant men. “They all hold swords, being expert in war. Every man has his sword on his thigh because of fear in the night.” You might picture here a secret service detail that is accompanying this processional. That’s because the wilderness can be a dangerous place. There are bandits. There are wild animals, especially in the night it can be really dangerous.

These sixty valiant men are equipped and armed for battle; they’re skillful; they’re experienced; they’re alert; they’re ready to deal with whatever assault might come. No enemy is going to be able to attack or surprise the king and his bride.

You can see the couple—the royal couple—is well guarded. That’s because she has a bridegroom who is committed to protect his bride. He has insured that her protection will be there. He’s going to make sure that she gets to the wedding, that she makes it all the way to the wedding. So, as for the bride, there is no reason in the world for her to be afraid—for her to be concerned that she might not make it. What protects him also protects her. Because she is with him, she is safe.

And again, I’m reminded that as you and I are on pilgrimage from Egypt, from the world toward heaven, there are dangers lurking. There are things that can attack us, that can disturb our rest that can hold us up. But doesn’t it reassure you to know that our heavenly Bridegroom has made provision, that we are protected on that journey?

Think about the many different means of grace He has made available to us—His holy angels that He has promised to send to protect us even though we can’t see them; His people, those who are girded up as these sixty valiant men were girded up with their swords, God’s people who are girded up with the Word of God and know how to use the Scripture to help us think God’s way and to protect our minds from the assaults and the attacks of Satan.

Isn’t that where the battle is so much of the time—in our minds? Those people are the message of grace—the preaching of the Word of God—it’s a protection for us. So we can travel on this journey without fear.

Now verse 9 tells us that “Of the wood of Lebanon Solomon the King made himself a palanquin” or a carriage. That palanquin is a word that’s only used once in Scripture. It’s a means of transportation. Think of a portable sedan chair, a covered litter perhaps that may have been carried with poles resting on the shoulders of men who were carrying this bride and her bridegroom in the wedding processional. Solomon made this of the wood of Lebanon—cedar, cypress of the woods that we know that Solomon got from Lebanon to build his temple. These are superior woods.

We see the reference to Lebanon several times in the Song of Solomon. Lebanon is located north of Palestine and it seems to be a type of that which is heavenly—that which is above, that which is not natural but supernatural. Think about that as you come to that word at various times in this book.

Solomon the king made this carriage himself. One writer said, “Solomon making the palanquin himself reminds us that all that Christ does, He does in His own wisdom, by His own power, and for His own glory that His church may show forth His praise.” He’s done this for His Bride so that we can show forth His glory.

Verse 10: “He made its pillars of silver.” Those would be the supporting posts. You know that in Scripture silver is often a picture of redemption. “Its support was of gold.” The bottom, the floor of this carriage was made of gold and a reminder that the attributes of God, the character of God, is the foundation of our relationship with Christ. Everything we have in Christ is derived from God who is the fountainhead of all life and joy. The support of gold.

The seat of purple. Purple represents royalty, kingly authority. This is a carriage fit for a king and a reminder that because we are married to the King of kings, we travel with Him in His carriage. “Its interior paved with love by the daughters of Jerusalem.” We won’t take time to get into that except to say that everybody in this scene is involved in this love story.

One writer has said that this paragraph that we’ve been talking about “sets forth the loving and abundant provision of Christ for His Church, her royal state, her eternal security protected by those sixty valiant men, her spiritual beauty, her safe conduct through this world to heaven, and to be climaxed in (a moment in verse 11) her marriage to Christ.” All of that is figured in this passage that we’ve been looking at.

So we come to verse 11 which is the actual wedding day. The processional has been completed. They come to the wedding day, and we see that this bride is totally, absolutely preoccupied with her bridegroom. She wants everyone else to look not at her, but at him. And so she says in verse 11: “Go forth, O daughters of Zion, and see King Solomon with the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, the day of the gladness of his heart.”

She’s not saying, “Look at my dress. Look at me. Look at my up-do.” She’s saying, “Look at my bridegroom. Look at his crown. Look at his beauty.” This is a joyful occasion. His wedding day is the day of the gladness of his heart. The NIV says that “it’s the day that his heart rejoiced.”

This king is utterly awestruck with the sight of his bride. He’s awestruck at the thought that he gets to be married to her. He finds great joy and great delight in her. And keep in mind that through this book, the king, Solomon, the groom is a picture of our heavenly Bridegroom, of Christ on whose head are many crowns. Praise Him! Praise Him! Crown Him with many crowns. And we’re seeing here the picture of His marriage to the Bride that He has chosen for himself which is a cause for great joy.

Revelation 19 tells us about that wedding. It says, “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.” I want to remind us of the day the Lord Jesus took you to be His bride, His heart rejoiced. Can you imagine that we give Him joy?

Ephesians speaks of the saints being His inheritance. You’ve got to ask how we can make Someone who owns everything, richer? How can we mean anything to Him? I can’t understand that. Over fifty years now of walking with the Lord and seeking to know why He would choose me, why He would love me, why He would delight in me, and I still don’t know the answer. Because there’s nothing in me. There’s nothing in you that deserves and warrants His love.

Yet the Scripture says that the day He takes us to be His own, which will be consummated at the marriage supper of the Lamb, His heart rejoices. I think that is part of the joy that was set before Him when He went to the cross. Knowing that as a result one day He would have a bride, when He gave His life. Why did He do that? Because He foresaw this day when He’d have a Bride that He could love, a beautiful radiant Bride, a Bride who loved Him, a Bride with whom He could spend all of eternity. It made Him go to the cross so that He could have that joy set before Him.

The heart of this whole book is the wedding of the King. And in fact, it’s the heart of the whole of Scripture—the wedding of the King. Throughout Scripture marriage, human marriage, tells a story about the King of heaven who came to the wilderness of this earth to claim His Bride, to marry her, to take her to live with Him forever. I’m reminded in the passage we’ve been looking at today that the only way that you or I will ever make it safely to our home in heaven is in the company of Christ.

As this bride is secure in the love and care of her beloved, so you and I are safe and secure in the love and the protection of our Lord Jesus. You will make it. Are there days you think, I can’t hang on any longer? Are there days when you have doubts as to whether you could possibly be in Christ? Listen, if you are in Christ, the evidence of that is that He will take you safely all the way to the finish line—all the way to the wedding supper. We’re not going to make it, I’m not going to make it because I kept myself or because I was faithful. We’ll make it because He keeps us, and He is faithful.

Unlike most weddings that we know anything about, in this wedding, the groom is the center of attention. Everything centers around Him. Is that how it is in your relationship with your heavenly Bridegroom? Now, there’s a sense in which we are already married to Christ. And there’s another sense in which the actual wedding has yet to take place. And in that day there will be a public, glorious display of His eternal love, His dying, sacrificial love for His Bride. And until that day, we have something to live for, don’t we—to live in anticipation that sure, certain hope that we will be forever with the Lord. Amen.

Leslie: If you’ve truly come to know Jesus personally, you don’t have to fear. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been inviting you into that kind of relationship in a series called, “How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus.” The entire series is a verse by verse study through the Song of Solomon. It will give you a hunger for a deeper more intimate relationship with your Savior.

To help you get the most out of this series, we’d like to send you a booklet Nancy wrote, perfect for your personal quiet time. The booklet is called “How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus,” and when you get a copy, you can follow up each day of this teaching series by answering some heart-searching questions. For instance you could answer this: Is your love relationship with Jesus growing or declining? Here’s another example: In the Song of Solomon, the groom is the center of attention in the wedding—everything revolves around him. How does your life point people to King Jesus, your heavenly Bridegroom? 

This booklet will help make sure you’re not just hearing the teaching in this series, but that you’re thinking about how it gets lived out in day-to-day life. We’d like to send you this booklet when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. Your donation will help the ministry continue helping women dig into God’s Word and live it out.

We can’t continue bringing you the podcast every weekday without support from listeners like you. When you make a donation of any size, ask for the booklet, “How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus.” You can call 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com. When you visit our website, you’ll also be able to hear all the programs that have aired so far in this series on the Song of Solomon.

Now, some of the language in the Song of Songs sounds different than the rest of the Bible. What are we to make of the intimate talk between a husband and his bride? Nancy will share insight on that tomorrow. I hope you can be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.   

All Scripture is taken from the ESV. Song of Songs references are taken from the NKJV.

Making It Personal

Day 11 – Growing Love 1: Christ Rejoices in His Bride (Song of Songs 3:6–11)

1.  Hudson Taylor said, “True love cannot be stationary: it must either decline or grow.” Is your love relationship with Jesus growing or declining?

2.  See King Solomon with the crown . . . on the day of his wedding, the day of the gladness of his heart (3:11).

  • The groom is the center of attention in this wedding—everything revolves around him. How does your life point people to King Jesus, your heavenly Bridegroom? How can you get the focus off of yourself and more on Him?
  • Meditate on the fact that your Bridegroom finds great joy and delight in you, and that His relationship with you brings gladness to His heart.

3.  How does knowing that the Bridegroom is safely leading you to His palace change your perspective on life?

4.  Do you feel safe and secure in the love of Christ? How can you remind yourself of His protection of you?

5.  Read Revelation 19:7. What are you anticipating about that Day when we see Jesus and our marriage to Him is finally and fully consummated?

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