This Song of Songs moves back and forth between narrative, moving the story of the Shepherd King and His maiden bride, and intimate conversations.
The narrative sections depict for us the progression of the life of a fully devoted believer’s walk from interest in the things of God, through intimacy, and into partnership. The conversations give us beautiful pictures of who Christ is to us and in us, as well as how He sees us from His heavenly perspective.
The last bit of narrative had the bride giving her garden, her life, over to the Lover of her soul with nothing held back.
Now we move into a period of the testing of her faith. The Lord will test both areas of her devotion. From the start we've traced her progress on two fronts – intimacy and partnership – the two requests she made of Him in the beginning of the Song. “Draw me after you and let us run together!” (Song of Songs 1:4 NASB)
I was asleep but my heart was awake.
A voice! My beloved was knocking:
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.
I have taken off my dress, How can I put it on again? I have washed my feet, How can I dirty them again?
My beloved extended his hand through the opening, And my feelings were aroused for him. I arose to open to my beloved; And my hands dripped with myrrh, And my fingers with liquid myrrh, On the handles of the bolt.
I opened to my beloved, But my beloved had turned away and had gone! My heart went out to him as he spoke. I searched for him but I did not find him; I called him but he did not answer me.
The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me, They struck me and wounded me; The guardsmen of the walls took away my shawl from me.
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, If you find my beloved, As to what you will tell him: For I am lovesick."
Song of Songs 5:2-8 NASB
Many commentators look at this as failure – sin – in the maiden, but we will not take that approach. I believe that just as when Abraham finally had his promise in hand and the Lord asked him to give it up, so we can see that the maiden’s resolve is tested on both fronts. I first had this turned around for me by Mike Bickle in his series on the Song of Songs.
This is a meaty passage so don’t miss it.
Thanks for stopping by today.
Don’t forget to shine in the darkness surrounding you.
Let’s recap where we have come in the song so far – or as they say on TV – Here are some things you may want to know: (you can skip this part if you want – but it might paint the picture for you)
When we started this story of romantic pursuit our maiden (the passionate believer) was in love with the Shepherd King (Jesus) from afar. Her heart cry was “Draw me, and We will run.” At that time she was an admirer. He began to fulfill her request and began to woo her, and they have begun to get to know one another.
When she first begins to get to know Him she realizes that she is a mess. She says “Don’t even look at me – I am filthy on the outside, but because of your attentions I am becoming lovely inside. On the outside I feel like a nasty old desert tent, but on the inside, I feel I am adorned with curtains from the Kings palace. (1:5)
In Verse 6 of the first chapter she confesses that, in order to live out her deep desire to please her new love, she got right to work. I think of this as working in the Church, joining committees, going to meetings, you know the drill.
She got so busy with the work of the Church that she neglected her personal relationship with her Lover, and she began to feel like a failure:
They made me caretaker of the vineyards, But I have not taken care of my own vineyard. ~ Song of Songs 1:6
Now she has spent time with Him. She pulled back from ministry and began to spend large amounts of time in worship, in personal connection with Jesus, just loving on Him. It’s been a warm and cozy time in her Christian walk.
Then we enter into a season of change. She awakes from her place of worship and see He is not in the room, but rather He is out in ministry, in life, “Climbing on the mountains, Leaping on the hills!” and calling her to join Him in ministry.
This is a frightening prospect for her. She likes her little cocoon of personal closeness to Him. But He reassures her with His declaration of how much He loves her and how beautiful she is.
This is where we come in today:
Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom. ~ Song of Songs 2:15
We find her second self-assessment in the Song, and she is not where she was. She has grown.
Her garden (her spiritual life) is no longer unkempt as it was in 1:6. It has blossoms and is beginning to bear fruit.
Is this the fruit of the Spirit? : “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23) These are beginning to show great progress in her life. No longer is she “dark but lovely.” Those around her are beginning to reckon her alive in Christ.
However there are little foxes.
The problem with these foxes is that they sneak around and just as the fruit is nearing maturity, they grab it and spoil the personal harvest she has been walking toward.
They are not the big animals who come in and destroy the vines and trample the vineyard, but just take these vines that are ready to bear fruit, and make them unfruitful.
Our girl is sensing the conviction of the Holy Spirit in her life. It is being stirred up by His call on her to get out of her comfort zone and move out in ministry, and she is afraid. Every time she take a step forward there is a little slipping going on. She is making HUGE progress in her Christian walk, but can’t seem to get fruit on the table.
And it is the little things, the things that are hard to give up.
Do you have little foxes that the Lord is pointing out to you even as you connect with this picture? Are there things that, just as you take a huge step forward in your patience pop up and challenge you and you lose your cool? Then you think, ‘that didn’t look much like Jesus at all.’
Or perhaps there is some little thing you hold on to, that when you were first started pressing into the Lord and intimacy, it did not hinder your massive growth, but now you find you have gotten stuck – plateaued so to speak.
Are you holding on to a liberty that turns out to be a little fox in disguise?
This is true in any area of our lives.
In the past few years I have tried to bring two huge areas in my life into control. I am talking about my natural life here. And it was in getting rid of the little foxes that I found victory.
I am talking about my finances and my weight.
A financial fox might be going to the ATM and then not paying attention to where the money goes. At the end of the month I would see that all the money was gone, but I had nothing to show for it.
And as for my weight – well – my life was beset with foxes all around, donuts, candy bars, 3rds at every meal.
So it is with your spiritual garden. Solomon calls them foxes, Jesus calls them thorns:
And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. ~ Mark 4:18-19
What I love here is that she does not shrug her shoulders and give up, she asks Him for help. Remember this wonderful promise:
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. ~ Hebrews 4:15-16
If you sense the Spirit poking around at some little foxes, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and He will come along side you, and together you can clear out the garden, and enjoy the fruit you have labored for.
Well – I have gone way too long today, and for this I apologize. I suppose I could have broken into two posts. Perhaps you will forgive me and read it over two days.