Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Song of Solomon, Day 17

Episode Resources

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

Leslie Basham: When we love Christ, His beauty will be seen in us. Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Any beauty we have is reflected beauty. Any light we have is reflected light. As the moon has no light of its own but reflects the light of the sun, so we have no light of our own, but it’s as we reflect the light of the Lord Jesus.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Tuesday, March 15, 2016.

Nancy’s in the series, “How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus.” She’s in the Song of Songs, showing a picture of Christ and the Church through this love story about a bridegroom and his bride.

Nancy: Well, if you’ve been with us for the past couple of sessions, you know that we’ve been seeing this bride and her beloved as her love has faltered. We’ve seen their love in different stages. We’ve looked at the faltering season of love, and you remember back in the fifth chapter of the Song of Songs that the bridegroom comes home unexpectedly one night and catches his bride off guard.

She’s half asleep, and you remember, she didn’t want to be disturbed. She doesn’t want to get up and open the door for him. So because of her negligence, her resistance, the fellowship that they had been enjoying previously is lost for a season.

Now, before we move on in the text, I want to back up for just a moment and give you a follow-up thought that has been on my heart over the last couple of days.

My pastor has been preaching through the gospel of Luke, and in Luke chapter 12, there’s a paragraph that reminds me a lot of the passage we’ve been looking at in the Song of Solomon, chapter 5. Let me read that paragraph from Luke 12.

Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. . . .

If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants (vv. 35–38).

Now that reminds me of what we’ve been looking at in the Song of Solomon, chapter 5, but this one has a different outcome. Our master that we read about in Luke 12, and the bridegroom that we read about in the Song of Solomon are one and the same.

Throughout the New Testament, we have many wonderful promises that our Bridegroom, our Master is coming. He’s coming back. We don’t know when, so we’re called to stay awake, to be dressed for action, to be waiting for His return, to keep our lamps burning, as Jesus said in Luke 12, to be ready to open the door to Him when He comes and knocks.

And then, you remember, Jesus’ conclusion in Luke 12, the application He makes to His listeners. He says, “You also must be ready [like those men, the servants of the master], for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (v. 40).

Isn’t that what happened in the Song of Solomon? Her bridegroom came at an hour she didn’t expect. She wasn’t ready to make changes in her schedule and her program. She didn’t open the door.

Well, Jesus says these servants who are awake and are ready and waiting and do open the door, they will be blessed. So we want to ask ourselves: Are we spiritually awake? Am I ready? Am I alert? Am I waiting for the return of my beloved?  Or have we become distracted? Are we groggy? Are we preoccupied with other concerns?

That bride in the Song of Solomon that we looked at in the last couple of sessions, she wasn’t willing to let her beloved interrupt her schedule. She had her priorities messed up. And isn't that the way it is so often with us? She valued sleep. She valued her routine more than she valued the company of her beloved in that moment.

Now, she had some great times of enjoying her beloved's company, but then there was this moment when she said, "I can't get up and open the door." She had her priorities messed up at that point. She wasn’t prepared to receive her beloved when he came to the door and knocked. As a result, she lost the fellowship that they had previously enjoyed.

And that relationship with her beloved, as we looked in the last session, was only restored as she was willing to adjust her priorities, to refocus her attention on her beloved. She had to take initiative to get up and go out and seek after the one that she had neglected. The fact that she was willing to make those changes—to get up off her bed, to go out and seek him—that's an evidence that she really did love him, that she really did belong to him.

For all of us, if you've been a Christian longer than a day or a week or a month, you’ve probably had moments, you have to have moments—we all have—of, what the Scripture calls backsliding, where your love for Christ is not as fresh and as intimate. You’re not as responsive to His initiative, and we backslide. We lose that sweet sense of our fellowship with Him.

The evidence that we belong to Him, that He really is our beloved, is that when we realize we’ve lost His presence, that we’re willing to change our priorities. That’s a way of describing the word repentance. We’re willing to repent, to get up and to seek the Lord. That’s evidence that you really are a child of God.

I believe that even during this series there have been listeners who have been paying attention to the Lord, refocusing, re-adjusting, turning their eyes on Jesus in a way that maybe they haven’t done in a long time.

Now, today we come to the final section of the Song of Solomon. And let me just review where we’ve been. We started out seeing this bride and groom in a state of initial love at the beginning of the book. Then we saw a season of unheeded love. And then in the middle of the book there was this season of growing love. And then the last section we’ve just been talking about, a faltering love. And now we come to this beautiful, precious season of mature love, beginning in the Song of Songs, chapter 6, verse 4, and taking us all the way to the end.

Now, in verse 4, we’re going to hear the bridegroom speak. This is the first time that he has spoken since the first verse of the previous chapter, chapter 5, verse 1. It’s the first time that he has spoken since before their estrangement. And you have to wonder, What’s he going to say? Will he rebuke his bride for her failure? Will he be restrained toward her? Will he love her as passionately as he did before she neglected him? Well, let’s read and see.

Song of Solomon chapter 6, beginning in verse 4, he says:

Oh my love, you are as beautiful as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, awesome as an army with banners! Turn your eyes away from me, for they have overcome me.

And then he goes over these next couple of verses—5, 6 and 7—and he expresses delight in her in words that are almost identical to a passage we’ve studied previously from chapter 4. He says:

Your hair is like a flock of goats going down from Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of sheep which have come up from the washing; everyone bears twins, and none is barren among them. Like a piece of pomegranate are your temples behind your veil.

There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and virgins without number. My dove, my perfect one, is the only one, the only one of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. The daughters saw her and called her blessed. The queens and the concubines, and they praised her. Who is she who looks forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, awesome as an army with banners (vv. 5–10).

Let’s stop there. As you read this passage, you’ve just got to imagine the joy that she must experience when she hears him speak again. They’ve had a period of separation. He’s been silent during that period. The fellowship is now being restored, and now in his opening words after she’s been through this time of failure and faltering, he speaks words of grace and acceptance. He reassures her of his love, and he expresses that he feels about her now the same way that he did before her failure. You see, her love ebbs and flows, but his doesn’t.

And our love for Christ ebbs and flows. Am I right? I know mine does. I know yours does. But aren’t you thankful that Christ’s love for us is the same yesterday, today, and forever, regardless of where we are in our love for Him?

It reminds me of, after Peter denied the Lord and then he was restored, Jesus came to Peter. He singled him out. He expressed special attention and love to the restored one who had come back and was now going to be able to restore others to fellowship with Christ. The story here in the Song of Solomon, the story of Peter with Jesus, it all reflects His heart toward His Bride, when we fail and when we repent.

So he says to her in verse 4, “Oh, my love, you are as beautiful as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, awesome as an army with banners.” Tirzah and Jerusalem were two of the most beautiful cities in the land of Israel. Tirzah, the word actually means "beautiful or delightful." It’s a royal city in the northern kingdom of Israel. And then Jerusalem, as you know, is the capital of Israel. It became the capital of the southern kingdom when the kingdom divided.

Psalm 48 speaks of Jerusalem. It says, “It is the city of our God . . . beautiful in elevation . . . the joy of all the earth” (vv. 1–2).

He says to her that she’s as beautiful as Tirzah; she’s as lovely as Jerusalem. So he sees his bride as being beautiful and lovely. But he also sees her as being majestic and awe-inspiring. He says, “You are awesome as an army with banners.” And he repeats that phrase at the end of verse 10, “Awesome as an army with banners.”

I see in this phrase a picture of a conquering king, and she’s in his victory train. It’s a picture to me of the Church triumphant, marching under the banner of her resurrected Savior, a picture of spiritual power that Christ imparts to His Church.

Here’s a Bride, a kingdom of believers, a kingdom of saints, an army of Christ followers who are confident and unafraid, not because they’re secure in themselves; but because they’re following in the banner of Christ who has all power, has the keys of heaven and hell, all of life and death. Everything belongs to Him, and they follow in His train. And this mighty, awesome army sparks fear in the hearts of the king’s enemies.

It reminds me of that passage in Joshua chapter 2 where Rahab said to the Jewish spies who had come to spy out the land, “We have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites . . . and as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted” (vv. 10–11).

The sight of Christ leading His triumphant Church against the forces of hell sparks fear in the Lord’s opponents.

Now, that’s a different picture than what we often see today, isn’t it? Don’t you feel like the Church today is often on the defensive? Do you have the sense that, as you read the news and you see the onslaught of evil, that the Church is being pushed back by that onslaught, that tidal wave of evil? And it’s not just the Church collectively, we, individually—how many of us often feel overcome by the forces of this world.

I was talking with somebody the other day who’s in a work place where it’s an awful environment. It’s anti-God. It’s ungodly. It’s hateful toward God. Don’t you often feel that we’re kind of cowering around that rather than being these victorious conquerors following our risen King?

Well, think about the fact that when Jesus was here on earth, everywhere He went hell shattered at His feet. It’s a reminder to us that our lives as followers of Christ should be, and in fact are, if we’re following Him, our lives are a threat to the kingdom of darkness. And that’s why there’s a battle going on.

Now, our lives are a threat to the king of darkness, not because of who we are, but because of who Christ is in us. That means everywhere on this earth, even in those places that are dark and remote and anti-God, that everywhere where there is a believer in Christ, there should be at least a glimmer of light. There’s a taste of the victory that Christ will consummate when He comes to reign on this earth without a rival; that day when every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Now, we know that positionally we are seated with Christ and we dwell with Him in the heavenlies. But as long as we live in our flesh on this earth, we’re going to be engaged in the spiritual battle because the forces of hell have set themselves against Christ and His kingdom. But the good news is that we have within us the One who is victorious and conquering. So the Church triumphant is dependant upon her King, He sees as being awesome, as an army with banners.

It makes me ask: Are the hosts of darkness afraid of us? Or do they feel like they can leave us alone, that we’re no threat? As we go forth into this earth in the name and the power of Christ, we go as an awesome army under the banner of Christ.

And then he says to her in verse 5, “Turn your eyes away from me for they have overcome me.” Here’s a bridegroom who is smitten. He is enthralled with his bride. He has forgiven her for her failure. His love for her has not diminished one iota.

He says in verse 8, “There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and virgins without number. My dove, my perfect one is the only one, the only one of her mother, the favored of the one who bore her.” He looks around and surveys the landscape, and he says, “There’s a vast array of women out there—a lot of beautiful women, a lot of women who are renowned, women who have exalted position—but as far as he’s concerned, none of those women hold a candle to his bride.

He sees his love, his beautiful one, as being absolutely unique. Not just one in a million—there’s no one else like her. She’s beyond compare. She is his dove. We talked about how she has a single eye for him—how doves have single-eyed vision. She is his perfect one, he calls her. This is the bride who just said no to him at the door, but she is repentant. Their fellowship has been restored, and he tells her that he still sees her through those eyes of love. He sees her as his perfect one.

And what a picture of how Christ views His Church, the delight that He has in His Bride, and how His heart is deeply affected and stirred by the sight of His Bride. He loved Her. He gave His life for Her. And nothing could be more precious to Him.

Not only does Christ see her that way, but others affirm her beauty and her value and her worth as well. It says, “The daughters saw her and called her blessed, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.” All those observers, they acknowledge that she stands out above other women. They recognize that she is a blessed woman. And why is she blessed? Because of her relationship to him.

Ladies, there is nothing praiseworthy in us. I don’t have to tell you that. We know that in our hearts. Much of our culture for generations now has been trying to boost our self-esteem. We know that in our flesh there dwells no good thing. But as our lives begin to manifest the beauty and the character and the graces of Christ, the world will stop and take notice. They’ll be seeing His beauty.

He says, “Who is she who looks forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, awesome as an army with banners.” Well, there’s no longer any darkness. The shadows that we saw earlier in this book, they’re fleeing away. She is living in his light, walking in his light, reflecting his glory.

And remember, any beauty we have is reflected beauty. Any light we have is reflected light. As the moon has no light of its own but reflects the light of the sun, so we have no light of our own, but as we reflect the light of the Lord Jesus.

I think we have here a picture of believers moving toward that high noon that we see referred to in passages like Proverbs 4 where it says, “The path of the righteous is like the light of the dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day” (v. 18). We have just seen that early dawn, some of you saw that this morning, where it’s just the first little glimmer of light. But then as the sun rises, as the darkness is pushed back, the light becomes brighter and brighter until the fullness of day, high noon, where there are no more shadows.

That’s a picture of the trajectory of the life of a person who is in Christ. The Bride of Christ, we’re headed toward that noon day where there’s no more shadow. “Fair is the moon, clear is the sun, shining forth as the morning.”

Judges 5 says it this way: “Let those who love him be like the rising of the sun in its might” (v. 31).

Now, you might feel like you’re closer to dawn than to noon day. That’s okay. Noon day is where you’re headed. That’s where you will be. We have this promise that that those who love Him will be like the rising of the sun in its might.

Daniel 12 says it this way: “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (v. 3). There’s a brightness, a beauty, a glory that gets reflected through our lives as we grow in our love relationship with Christ.

And so as we look at this passage, we see how Christ feels about His Bride. He’s enthralled. He’s smitten, as we’ve said. He delights in Her. He deeply desires Her. And as you read this passage, I think you have to agree that this not some kind of cerebral, emotionless love. This is passionate, pulsating, earnest, ardent, fervent love. He is enamored of Her. He is wildly in love with Her, if I could say it that way. He is ravished with Her beauty.

It’s not just how Jesus feels about His Bride generally, collectively. It’s also how Jesus feels about you. Take a moment here to just ponder Christ’s love for you.

As we’ve said, we know that there’s nothing beautiful or loveable in us. We look at His love sometimes, and we’re amazed. We say, “What does He see in us?” Well, it’s not what He sees in us. It’s who He is. And what He sees in us is Himself because He has clothed us in His righteousness, made us worthy of His love.

I know we have single women who listen to this program, here today perhaps, who’ve experienced the disappointment of never being pursued, never being cherished, never having anyone say, “You ravish me,” and wondering perhaps, Does anyone find me attractive? Does anyone find me desirable?

And we have married women who have similar questions who have experienced the similar pain of, yes, having a mate but then a mate who proves to be unfaithful or a mate who just doesn’t express his love in the way we see in this passage, or perhaps a mate who found somebody else more attractive or is using pornography. And the married women is saying, “What’s the matter with me? Am I not desirable? Am I not beautiful?”

Well, we see in the Scripture that, as the Bride of Christ, we are the object of His amazing love. Christ is ravished with the sight of your beauty. So hear Him say to you today, “Oh my love, you are as beautiful as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, awesome as an army with banners. Your eyes have overcome me. You are my dove, my perfect one, the only one.”

Thank You, Lord, for such a sweet reminder of Your love. May we believe it, receive it, bask in it, and respond to it by loving You. I pray in Jesus’ holy name, amen.

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. She’s been explaining the source of true beauty. You’ll never be more attractive than when you’re reflecting the beauty of Christ.

That message is part of a series called “How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus.” You can hear more from the series at ReviveOurHearts.com.

To reflect the beauty of Christ, you need to know Him and spend time with Him. We’d like to help you do that by sending you a book by Nancy called The Wonder of His Name. You’ll read a series of devotionals, each on one of the names of Jesus. You’ll get to know Him more deeply through these names. Each devotional includes an illustration from calligrapher Timothy Botts. It would be a perfect book to set on your coffee table. It will make your home more beautiful. And it will make you more beautiful as you understand and reflect the character of Jesus.

When you support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts, we’ll send you the hardcover version of The Wonder of His Name. We’ll send one book per household for your donation. Call 1–800–569–5959 and ask for the book, or you can visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Well, why would a mature woman be compared to a palm tree in the Song of Solomon? Tomorrow Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth will provide some insights into palm trees and growth.

Nancy: The reason palm trees are fruitful is because their roots are connected down deep to a source of water. They go however far down they have to go to find water. As we keep our roots connected to Him, as we abide in Him, as we let Him abide in us, we will produce much fruit for His glory.

Leslie: I hope you’ll 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.

Making It Personal

Day 17 – Mature Love 1: Reflecting His Beauty (Song of Songs 6:4–10)

  1. Are you spiritually alert and ready, waiting for Christ’s return? Or are you distracted and preoccupied with other concerns?
  2. Is there anything you value more than the company of Jesus, your Beloved? Are there any priorities in your life that need to be adjusted so you can experience restored fellowship with Him? 
  3. Every Christian has moments of backsliding, but the evidence we belong to Him is when we are willing to change our priorities (repent), get up, and seek the Lord. When was the last time you repented? Do you need to repent now?
  4. Do you ever struggle with feeling that you can’t be close to Jesus after you have “blown it”? How does the Beloved’s response to his Bride after her failure (6:4) reveal the amazing grace of Christ?
  5. Do the powers of darkness think they can leave you alone because you’re no threat? Or do they tremble because of the power of Christ being displayed through your life?
  6. O my love, you are beautiful . . . . My dove, my perfect one, is the only one . . . (6:4, 9). How does the value Christ places on us and the beauty He sees in us differ from the world’s attempts to boost our self-esteem? 
  7. How does Jesus feel about His Bride? How does that make you feel?  

 

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