WHITHER IS THY BELOVED?
Song 5:8 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love. 9 ¶ What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?
Song 6:1 ¶ Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee. 2 My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies. 3 I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.
The spiritual believer, represented here by the Shulamite maiden, is being questioned by the nominal church members, represented by the daughters of Jerusalem. And it is her loss which has stirred them up concerning her spiritual intensity regarding the finding of him whom her souls loves.
Their first question (5:9), is, What is thy beloved? This regards the Person of Christ. And their second question (6:1) is, Where is thy beloved? This regards the Place of Christ. That is, “Now that you have made us know Who he is, you must now tell us Where he is.”
We Calvinists are fond of quoting Romans 8:28. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. But I wonder how our ‘scorecard’ would read concerning the faithful application of that principle when we are in the pain of heart sickness from the sensed loss of our Savior’s presence?
“How tedious and tasteless the hours
When Jesus no longer I see!
Sweet prospects, sweet birds, and sweet flowers,
Have all lost their sweetness for me.
The mid-summer sun shines but dim;
The fields strive in vain to look gay;
But when I am happy in Him,
December’s as pleasant as May.
Content with beholding His face,
My all to His pleasure resigned,
No changes of season or place
Would make any change in my mind:
While blest with a sense of His love,
A pa lace a toy would appear;
And prisons would palaces prove,
If Jesus would dwell with me there.”
John Newton 1725-1807
The answer to their first question is recorded in verses ten through sixteen of chapter five. And it ends with the words, This is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. Let us then, consider some of her description of him. Song 5:10 My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. 11 His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. 12 His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set. 13 His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.
Her very first words concerning him are along the lines of her very first words pertaining to herself spoken to these daughters of Jerusalem. Song 1:5 I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon. She is first urged to tell them of her sin, represented by her skin being darkened by the rays of the harsh sun, as the sinner is darkened by the presence of sin. Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: and of his purity and holiness! Therefore she first tells them of his being white – holy, harmless, and undefiled, separate from sinners! (Hebrews 7:26). Church members, who have never made a radical breach with sin, but have just grown up in a religious environment, know nothing of these matters!
But those of us who have had our religious heroes and idols (our King Uzziah’s) die have had it done so by the revelation of the Lord to our souls by sovereign grace alone! Isaiah 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
The Lord Jesus Christ has come into the world to save sinners! And if one has never become a realized, confessed sinner, he has never been a candidate for saving grace! Ezekiel 37:23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. 1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
Then she informs them that His head is as the most fine gold. Your must understand that these ‘descriptions’ come from her spiritual ability to envision him. For those who have not this ability granted by the indwelling Holy Spirit see no beauty in Christ at all! Isaiah 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
But those who ‘see’ Him by the eye of faith are enjoined to His life and light. John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
All physical replications of Jesus Christ are forbidden! Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Yet this is one of the most accepted sins of religion. We have all even had ‘pictures of Jesus’ in our bibles! But this passage and that of Revelation 1:13-16 are the only ‘authorized descriptions’ of Him! For we are to see as God seeth – not looking on the outward appearance, but on the heart! 1 Samuel 16:7 …for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
And this “head as the most fine gold” speaks of his sovereign deity. He is the head over all things. He is Lord of lords and King of all kings! Ephesians 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
And there is an example of this listed in the Book of Daniel concerning the then, earthly king, ruling over much of the world’s population – King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Daniel 2:37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.
Then she speaks of his locks being bushy and black as a raven. And how is she so familiar with his bushy, black hair? Because she is the one who left him out in the dew of the night to get it wet! Song 5:2 I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.
And this is also previously revealed by the same earthly king of Babylon. Daniel 4:33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.
His wet head speaks of his sufferings as one who had no place to lay his head, while he labored both in the heat of the day, and in the frost of the night for his Bride. Genesis 29:20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her. 31:40 Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes.
Our Great Intercessor was often in the dew and cold of the night, praying concerning his redemption for our sin! Mark 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. Luke 6:12 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
When she comes to His cheeks in verse thirteen of her description, she mentions the beds of spices. And that takes us into the revelation concerning the answer to the daughters of Jerusalem’s second question. For these beds of spices are again referred to in chapter six and verse two. And the answer to their question is that her beloved is gone down into his garden. And we know that the garden is the church, represented by this bride. Song 4:12 A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.
The Lord’s people are referred to as plantings of the Lord! Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. The blessed man is called a tree, planted by the Lord! Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The Lord speaks of himself as the true vine, the Father as the vine dresser, and the church as the branches of the grape vine! John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
And the Apostle Paul refers to himself as a laborer together with God in the keeping of his garden – the church. 1 Corinthians 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
But what of those beds of spices, now mentioned twice, revealing where the beloved was to be located? We know that he is to be found where two or three are “gathered together” by the Holy Spirit for worship. He is in the midst of his churches, represented by the golden handle sticks (lamp stands). Revelation 1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
And we know that there are differences in believers, according to their personal characteristics. They all have the same quality of faith, but not the same measure, or degree of faith. Therefore this variety of gifts and character found in the individual believers is the beds of spices. 1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
And this variety is found throughout the entire universe! 1 Corinthians 15:39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
And that word, “beds” is plural because there are, and have always been a great variety of true churches down through the ages since being received on earth at Pentecost. Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
At the time of the writing of the scriptures of the Revelation, there were seven churches, or beds of spices, in Asia. Revelation 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
There were also beds of spices in Antioch. See Acts 11:20,21. And another in Corinth. See Acts 18:8-10. And as it has already been stated, the Lord is always among them. Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Pastor Gene Breed
January 7, 2017