I offered up the idea a few weeks ago that the narrative in Chapter 5 of the Song of Songs is not failure but testing. Many views of this love song look at this as the backsliding of the saints, but I prefer to think of it as tension the Lord draws us through as we follow Him.
Even in the 23rd Psalm the shepherd draws the sheep from beside still waters to the valley of the shadow of death.
One of the markers I see that tells me this is not the story of a backslidden saint is the way the Shepherd King calls His bride out of her rest.
Open to me, my sister, my darling,
My dove, my perfect one!
For my head is drenched with dew,
My locks with the damp of the night.
Song of Songs 5:2 NASB
He calls to her with four different terms of endearment.
As I love to point out, as believers there are many aspects to our relationship with the Lord. In the Song we look closely at how the admirer or Christ moves to friend and then to bride. A Christian is at once the servant (bond servant or love slave) of the Lord, and yet can also be His friend, His brother-sister, His son-daughter, and His bride. We don't leave one to become another, but as we mature, we hold each aspect of relationship together.
Here we find the Husband calling His bride sister. There is nothing derogatory about sister, in fact it is quite an elevation. Paul points out that we are sons of God and joint heirs with Jesus. It's not by any means a step down from bride, but a declaration of our inclusion in the Father's immediate family.
It is always astonishing to me that though I am an adopted son of God, He treats me as He treats His own Son, the Only Begotten of the Father. No – I am not the one with a Name above every other, but I am a joint heir of all that the Father has given Him.
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, - John 13:3 NASB
All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you. - John 16:15 NASB
and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. - John 17:10 NASB
The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. - Romans 8:16-17 NASB
It was all sounding so good, until I got to the end there where it promised me that part of my inheritance was His suffering. I thought I could get the glory without the suffering. But apparently, I am not greater than my Master. If they hated Him, they will hate me too. – sorry – chasing rabbits. Back to the point…
Do you see that Jesus is not calling to a backslidden bride, but to His partner, His sister, His co-laborer in the world He came to redeem?
He says to us today
Rise up My sister, My bride, and let’s work the works that the Father has put before us while it is day. [Tweet This]
Will you answer the call today?
See you again next week for more of this wonderful Song.
If you joined us in the middle, you can track back to the beginning of the song and drink from the deep well here.