I have recently been reading the Song of Songs (in the Passion Translation) and have really seen the love of God described, first for His people and then for the church.
There are many themes, pictures and symbols in the Song of Songs but I just want to pick up on one here.
In Chapter 2 verse 10 the Bridegroom-King (what an amazing description of Jesus!) speaks to the Shulamite woman and asks her to come away with him.
‘Arise, my dearest. Hurry, my darling. Come away with me! I have come as you asked to draw you to my heart and lead you out. For now is the time, my beautiful one.’
The Bridegroom-King knows the right time for us to come to Him and He does not want delay.
The Shulamite woman already knew her Bridegroom was coming for her - she could describe him and knew he loved her and she loved him ( Ch 2 verse 8-10.) But she also knew there were places she could hide and that he could come close to those places, but she still decides to hide. In fact in Ch 2 v 16,17 she tells him to go away ahead of her..
Now isn’t that like us at times? We know God loves us, we know Him so well and that there is nothing but love in Him for us. But maybe we find it all too much, too difficult and we have our own ‘shadows of fear’ (verse 17). We would rather wait for the shifting shadows of fear to disappear than to turn and run into His arms and trust Him to look after us. The Shulamite asked her lover to run over the mountains of separation and go ahead without her.
Did this actually do her any good? No, it did not! Chapter 3 starts with her tossing and turning night after night and not finding her Bridegroom-King. She had to rise and search for him, looking and seeking, and though she did not immediately find him, she did not give up. In Ch 3 v 4 she caught him and I really love the description in v 4 that she refused to be feeble in her heart again!
In Ch 4 v 6 she states that she has made up her mind, that in spite of shadows and fears she will go to the mountain top with her King. After this declaration she changes from being the Shulamite to being the Shulamite Bride; she has been drawn into a deeper relationship with her groom.
This Song speaks to us individually in our relationship with God and also corporately as His church. At times we may want to hide, put God on the ‘back-burner’ so to speak, and not have the challenge of what He may ask us to be and do.
At times, He will say to us ‘If you want to walk with Me even closer, you will have to leave that (whatever it may be,e.g. a habit, an attitude, a way of living etc.) behind!’
It may be easier to stay where we are and not pursue God any further.
However, when we are fed up of the way things are without Him and have renewed our search for Him and ready to meet Him again, He will come to us with love, understanding and acceptance.
Look at Ch 4 v 15. The Bridegroom-King says to the Shulamite Bride ‘Your life flows into mine, pure as a garden spring. A well of living water springs up within you, like a mountain brook flowing into my heart.’
What an affirmation from the Bridegroom to His Bride.
In this passage I feel that God is wanting us to deal with the shifting shadows of fear and trust Him completely, not try to deal with things without Him.
Also, to realise we can move into an ever closer relationship with Him. We are called to be His Bride and to know His affirmation.