Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Song of Solomon, Day 12

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 asks a crucial question.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Have you ever grasped the fact that you are precious to Christ, that He takes great delight in you . . . that you are beautiful to Him? Now, we all know that it’s not that we have any natural beauty to offer Him. Anything of value that He or others see in us is all the result of His mercy and His grace.

But once you realize how much He loves you, your life will never be the same.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A Place of Quiet Rest. It's Tuesday, March 8, 2016.

For the last few weeks, we’ve been in a rich study of the Song of Solomon. Nancy’s been inviting us to a deeper, more intimate relationship with Christ.

Today, we come to the part of Song of Solomon where the bridegroom describes the physical beauty of his bride. If you have young children around, you can use your discretion regarding how much you’d like them to hear. The series is called, “How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus.”

Nancy: One of the ladies here at the recording session told me that as she and her husband were driving here to Michigan . . . We had suggested that people read through the Song of Solomon before today. She said that she read it in the car to her husband as they were traveling. She said that they hadn't done that since their honeymoon. Then she said, "This is, honestly, one of those books that makes you wonder, why did God put that in the Bible." She's not the only one who's thought that. A lot of people have thought that over the years.

In fact, there were people in the ancient days who didn't think it should go in the Bible. But it is in the Bible. It's inspired. The passage we are going to look at today is one of those passages that could make you wonder, Tell me again why is this in the Bible. But it is. We're going to see some rich things for our lives.

Let me just reset a moment. The last couple of sessions we were in Song of Solomon chapter 3 where we saw the wedding procession and the wedding celebration of this bride and groom. And we come today to chapter 4, all of which—except for the very last verse—is spoken by the bridegroom.

In this chapter he goes to great lengths to express the deep love he has for his bride and how beautiful she is to him and how much he delights in her. As you go through the Song of Solomon, notice the way this bride and groom speak to, and about, each other . . . especially notice the way they speak to each other—this intimate love language.

It affirms the rightness and the beauty of this kind of conversation between a husband and a wife. You don’t want to ever get to the place in your marriage where you’re past saying these kinds of things to each other that you did say a long time ago. It may be time to say some of those same things in your own words and in the way that you can express your love and delight in the beauty of your mate.

Now, remember that King Solomon in this book is a type of Christ, and we’re seeing the love of Christ for His Bride—collectively, for the Church that He has redeemed, and individually, for every believer that is a part of His Bride, the Church.

As I have contemplated this whole thing of the bride and groom telling each other how much they love each other and all of that, there’s something that stands out to me. It’s amazing that when we think about Christ, He is so glorious and splendid and perfect and lovely and without flaw; but our love for Him fluctuates. It’s feeble at best, right?

We, on the other hand, are sinful and flawed and fickle. But His love for us is intense; it’s powerful; it’s unending, and it’s unchanging. How amazing is that? He loves us infinitely more than we could possibly love Him. His love for us is never, ever in doubt.

His love for us is never, ever in doubt.

If there’s a takeaway from the Song of Solomon that I think so many women need today, it’s that the Lord Jesus wants you to believe and receive the love that He has for you. He wants you to know that you are beautiful to Him; that He delights in you. That’s because of your relationship with Him.

It’s our relationship with Him that makes us beautiful; that makes us lovely. It’s not on our own, and we’re going to see that in this passage, but He wants you to know that because you are in Him, you are beautiful! And He loves you . . . He loves you . . . He loves you.

In Song of Solomon 4:1, the bridegroom starts with a general statement about his bride’s beauty, and how he views her. He says, “Behold you are fair, my love! Behold you are fair!” He’s going to repeat this thought two more times in this chapter. In verse 7, he says, “You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you.”

In verse 10 he says, “How fair is your love, my sister, my spouse!” You’ve got to admit that there’s no question about how he feels about her, there’s no doubt about his love.

We saw in chapter 1 that this bride does not see herself as beautiful or lovable or worthy of his love. Remember, she was just a plain, ordinary country girl whose skin had been darkened and toughened by doing menial labor on her family farm out in the hot sun.

That’s how she saw herself, and that’s how she was. But her bridegroom sees her through eyes of love—His love. And everything he sees in her is a reflection of his grace, his love. Like the moon that has no light of its own and only reflects the light of the sun, so this bride has no beauty of her own. It’s his beauty that he is seeing reflected in her.

And it’s the same with us. God is conforming us to the image of Son. How do we know when that process is complete? When He can look at us and see reflected in us the image of His Son—His Spirit, His heart, His responses, His values—that’s what delights Him and gives our lives beauty.

He said, “You are fair my love! Behold you are fair!” That’s the general statement. And then he goes on to describe in more detail what he sees in her. He highlights seven things about this woman’s physical appearance that he finds particularly beautiful.

Some of these concepts—if you’ve read through the passage, you know what I’m talking about—they seem strange to our western ears. A passage like this can be a little uncomfortable to read or discuss in a public setting, and I’ll grant you that it’s intimate language.

But I just want to remind us that’s there’s nothing coarse or inappropriate or immodest here. The way the Scripture treats even physical beauty, and sexual love, is totally appropriate and holy. It’s tender; it’s beautiful, and it’s in striking contrast to the way the world talks about and treats physical beauty and sexuality.

And that’s why, I think, this world needs a good dose of seeing sexuality, even at a human level, from God’s perspective, His point of view. So, let me read this passage, and then we’ll go back and look at some of the parts of it. He says, in verse 1,

You have dove’s eyes behind your veil. Your hair is like a flock of goats, going down from Mount Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of shorn sheep which have come up from the washing, every one of which bears twins, and none is barren among them.

Your lips are like a strand of scarlet, and your mouth [or your speech] is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like a piece of pomegranate. Your neck is like the tower of David, built for an armory, on which hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.

Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, which feed among the lilies. Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away, I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense. [And then once more, verse 7], You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you (vv. 1–7).

Now first, a couple of just general observations: It’s clear that he sees his bride as being lovely and desirable. I think it’s true that every woman, or virtually every woman, has a longing to be sought after, to be desired. That is a longing that we can experience more fully in Christ than we ever can experience in a human relationship.

Human marriage is powerful; it’s beautiful; it’s precious; it’s something to be cherished, and it is a place where a woman can be sought after, desired, and a man can see his bride as lovely, desirable. But the best human marriage doesn’t hold a candle to what can be true in Christ’s relationship with His Church. So we see that the bridegroom sees her as lovely and desirable.

Then we also see that He is intimately acquainted with every detail of His Church, of His Bride, and of our lives—including the parts that no one else sees and no one else knows. That’s part of the intimacy that goes along with marriage. There are some parts that are reserved for each others’ eyes, and this groom knows every part of his bride intimately, as Christ knows every part of His Church intimately . . . the parts that are outward and obvious, and the parts that are kept only for His view.

In fact, along that line, there’s a phrase that appears twice in the paragraph we just read. It talks about her eyes first, in verse 1, and then her temples, in verse 3, being “behind your veil.” I want to make a few observations about that little detail there.

It shows us that our beloved sees what is behind the veil . . . the parts that no one else sees and no one else knows, as we’ve just mentioned. And it raises this question: “What’s behind your veil? What’s in your heart?” Know that it matters to your Beloved—that He cares about what is behind the veil.

Then we see that her beauty is first and foremost for him—not for the whole world to see, but for him, primarily. And the goal of developing Christian graces and beauty is not so others can see how spiritual we are. When we’re driven to perform for the approval or the recognition of others, that ultimately puts us in bondage. A lot of us spend a lot of our lives there, don’t we? How we look.

I don’t even want to tell you how many times I changed outfits before figuring out what to wear today. I asked the Lord to forgive me for being so concerned about physical appearance when what matters so much more is the part that only He sees. Developing Christian graces and beauty is for Him, and there’s such a freedom when we realize that we live for Him, for His smile, His approval, His pleasure. That frees us from the snare of the fear of man.

There’s such a freedom when we realize that we live for God's approval. That frees us from the snare of the fear of man.

And then, the fact that her eyes and her temples are behind the veil is a reference, I think, to proper modesty. And by that I don’t just mean what you wear physically—although that’s a part of it. But on a deeper level, it’s appropriate to keep some things for him, “behind the veil.” We’re not to show everything in our lives to everyone.

Some of it is just preserved for him, and for his pleasure. You know, this is a “Facebook” world, where everything is “out there.” I look at some of the things some of these kids are posting out there—like Christian kids and people I know, their kids, and I’m thinking, Are you sure you want that out there?

There’s not a lot of restraint; there’s not a lot of modesty. But in this situation, her eyes are hidden from the view of others and are reserved for him. This says to me that there are aspects of our hearts and our walk with the Lord that we don’t have to tell everybody else about . . . that can just be seen by and enjoyed by Him.

If you don’t have a private relationship with your mate, there’s something wrong. If you don’t have a private relationship with your Lord—in the sense of some things that are just between you and Him—then you may want to ask if there’s a need there in that relationship.

As we look at the details of this description, I’ll just say that the commentators are all over the map on the Song of Solomon—I’ve got a dozen or fifteen sitting in my study right now—and finally I just have to meditate on the passage and say, “Lord, help me understand this.”

I think some have read into these details all kinds of extreme allegorical applications that go beyond what is warranted in the text. We need to view this passage as a whole and not miss the overall point that is being made. The picture here, in the spiritual realm, is of Christ, and the way He views His Bride.

This description points us to Christian graces that reflect His beauty—qualities that He finds lovely or desirable in us . . . the kind of spiritual beauty that we are to desire. So let’s take a look at some of those. I’m not going to go into a whole lot of detail in all of these because I don’t want you to miss the big picture. So, let me give you some examples.

He says, “You have dove’s eyes behind your veil.” Doves speak of meekness, of gentleness, of tenderness. We’ve talked about how Philippians says the dove is mild and harmless. Perhaps he’s thinking of her being chaste and faithful or humble. Those words all go along with dove’s eyes.

The opposite kinds of eyes you see in other places in Scripture. Matthew talks about having “an evil eye;” 2 Peter talks about “eyes full of adultery;” Psalm 101 talks about a “high and haughty look,” or you think about an “eagle’s eye,” always piercing on its prey.

This bride has just the opposite of those other kinds of eyes . . . “dove’s eyes.” They’re meek and gentle. Then there’s a distinctive of dove’s eyes that, I think, is fascinating, and that speaks to another Christian grace, that of being single-focused.

I’m told that dove’s eyes focus on one thing at a time. It’s not that they can’t see more, but they’re not easily distracted. That’s why they’re often referred to as “lovebirds.” When they fix their attention on their mate, they’re not distracted by other things going on around them. Their eyes are single focused.

You compare that to the horse that’s talked about in Psalm 32 that’s distracted by its side vision, and it has to have blinders placed beside its eyes in order to be kept on the right path. That’s the opposite of dove’s eyes. Jesus talked in Luke 11 about having an eye that is single. That’s the ability to clearly focus our affections, our thoughts, our hearts on His values.

You see this concept all through Scripture. Psalm 27, “One thing have I desired, that will I seek after . . .” Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” Luke 10, Jesus says to Martha, “You are anxious about many things [distracted by all this stuff out here], but one thing is necessary, and Mary has chosen that good part.”

Dove’s eyes . . . eyes only for him. This bride stays focused on her beloved, and he loves that about her. I think about that song that Misty Edwards wrote called “Dove’s Eyes.” She says, “Give me dove’s eyes; give me undistracted devotion for only You.” You might want to make that your prayer. I’ve prayed it: “Lord, give me dove’s eyes; give me undistracted devotion for only You.”

Then he talks about her hair. He says it’s like a flock of goats going down from Mount Gilead. Probably she had dark, flowing hair and it made him think of Mt. Gilead. It’s a plateau area that has very high cliffs coming off of it. Perhaps he and his bride had sat and watched those mountain goats that have this long, shiny black hair . . . a flock of these goats streaming down the mountain cliffs.

He said, “When I see your hair, it makes me think of this beautiful picture that we’ve seen together.” In the Scripture, hair is often tied to consecration or submission. You know how 1 Corinthians 11 talks about a woman’s hair being her covering? A sign of her submission to God? It makes us want to ask, “Can others see that we are consecrated to Christ? That we honor Him as our Head?” The hair makes us think of that.

Then in verse 2, the teeth. “Your teeth are like a flock of shorn sheep that have come up from the washing, everyone of them bears twins, and none is barren among them.” This would have been particularly amazing in that culture where they didn’t have all the dentists and the dental care.  People’s teeth would be falling out and yellowed with age.

He says, “No, there’s a purity here. There’s whiteness, cleanness. Her teeth are symmetrical, no teeth are missing. She’s lovely; she’s beautiful.” What do you do with teeth? Well, among other things, they’re used for taking hold of and chewing food. Maybe this speaks of our ability to take in spiritual food. To chew it, to digest it, to take the Word and appropriate it into our lives and get it into our system through meditation and prayer.

Verse 3, “Your lips are like a strand of scarlet, and your mouth [or your speech] is lovely.” The lips are a vehicle of expression, right? It’s a means of communication. And he says, “Her speech is lovely.” That’s in contrast to so much of the speech you hear among women today—even, I’m said to say, Christian women.

You hear so much that’s crude, inappropriate. It’s brash; it’s arrogant. I was so sad. Facebook . . . I know I've mentioned that several times in this series. It's on my mind right now. What you write on Facebook is an expression of what is coming out of your heart. I saw a comment recently from a woman that I've known since she was a little girl. I know that she has a heart for the Lord. She thought she was being funny, but what came out there was crude. It was profane. It's not becoming of someone who is a bride of Christ.

“No unwholesome speech,” Ephesians says, “but only edifying, that which grace to the hearers.” Hebrews 13, “The fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” This is speech that’s becoming of a bride of Christ.

The description continues. He praises her beauty, and we have different details that speak of modesty, humility, courage, strength of character, tenderness, warmth. The point here is that the bridegroom sees his bride through eyes of love and in his eyes, everything about her is beautiful. He is smitten; he is enraptured with her beauty. He delights in her.

And so he says in verse 7, “You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you.” That is the power of redeeming love—that our Solomon, our King Jesus, our Bridegroom could say to us, “You are all fair my love, and there is no spot in you.” You know, there was a time when it could have been said of us what we read recorded in Isaiah 1:6, “From the sole of the foot, even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds. They are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil.”

That describes our condition before Christ, but because of His amazing love and His grace and His mercy and His forgiveness, He can now look at us and say, “You are all fair, my love, there is no spot in you.”

God is rich in mercy. He has cleansed us, forgiven us, restored us. He says there is no spot in us. Have you ever really grasped the fact that you are precious to Christ, that He takes great delight in you, that you are beautiful to Him? Now, we all know that it’s not that we have any natural beauty to offer Him. Anything of value that He or others see in us is all the result of His mercy and His grace.

But once you realize how much He loves you, your life will never be the same. You’ll be set free from fear, from comparison, from striving to perform and measure up to others. You’ll be able to enjoy Christ, to be secure in His love, and to truly love Him and others.

Once you realize how much He loves you, your life will never be the same.

So this passage, this description of how the bridegroom sees his bride and her beauty—I think this speaks to the woman today who feels unlovely. You’re conscious of your flaws . . . you don’t think you’re beautiful inside or out. Maybe you've been rejected by those who should have loved you—parents or a mate or a child. So you live with this sense of unworthiness. This passage speaks to you.

It speaks not only to the woman who is unlovely, but also unloved. Maybe single women who feel that hurt that no man has ever found you desirable enough to want to be your husband. Maybe single again. You're in that season of life where rarely if ever does anyone tell you that you are beautiful. Some married women experience that, too.

Maybe you are married and you wish your husband would express his love for you in some of the ways this groom does for his bride—with that intensity and that tenderness and that delight. You say that it's been a long time sense we've had that kind of conversation.

Well, Jesus wants you to know and to believe that you are beautiful to Him. He delights in you. It’s all His grace. It’s a story of amazing grace.

Misty Edwards: (singing)   

I believe You are listening; I believe that You move at the sound of my voice.
I believe You are listening; I believe that You move at the sound of my voice.
Give me dove’s eyes. Give me undistracted devotion for only You.
Give me dove’s eyes. Give me dove’s eyes.1

Leslie:  That music is from Misty Edwards. Before that, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth was giving us insight from the Song of Songs. We’ve been looking at a passage that a lot of people find surprising—the description of physical love in marriage. Nancy has been showing you just how beautiful these verses are and how they apply to your life.

She’s written some follow-up questions to help you understand how these passages apply to your life day by day.

You’ll find Nancy’s "Making It Personal" questions in a booklet called “How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus.” Here are some examples from the passages we studied today:

  • What is the source of any beauty or good that Jesus sees in us?
  • How does this passage speak to women who feel unlovely or unloved?

I hope you’ll read Song of Solomon in your quiet time and use this booklet to better understand and apply what you’re reading. We’ll send you a copy of Nancy’s booklet, “How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus,” when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size.

Your gift will help us keep this podcast coming to you without interruption. To get a copy of this booklet, "How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus," visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1–800–569–5959.

So, do you ever feel unlovable? that your family would be better off without you? Tomorrow, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth continues our study in the Song of Solomon. You’ll see how beautiful and lovable you are, thanks to Christ.

Nancy: When we get the issues settled—that my purpose in life is to make Him happy, to bring Him joy and Him pleasure, then we can be happy. Because we then see all the circumstances of life in a different light.

Leslie: Please 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 from the NKJV.

1 Misty Edwards. “Dove's Eyes.” Relentless. Forerunner Music, 2007. 

Making It Personal

Day 12 – Growing Love 2: The Beauty of the Bride (Song of Songs 4:1–7)

  1. How does bride see herself differently than her beloved sees her?
  2. You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you (4:7). How is it possible for the Lord Jesus see His Bride in this way? What is the source of any beauty or good that He sees in us? How does this passage speak to women who feel unlovely and/or unloved?
  3. What effect would it have on us if we really believed that He loves us and that we are precious, pure, and beautiful to Him, even though we are totally undeserving and unworthy of His love?
  4. What are some aspects of the graces and beauty of Christ that you want your life to reflect?
  5. You have dove’s eyes . . . (4:1). What could dove’s eyes symbolize? Do you have “dove’s eyes” for Jesus? How can you cultivate greater “undistracted devotion” for Him?
  6. If you are married, what would it mean to have “dove’s eyes” for your husband?

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