Poetic Pictures from the Song of Solomon
Part 1: Pictures of the Bridegroom
Poetry captures the beauty of situations that we otherwise might not see or ever consider. In this particular book of the Song of Solomon, we see poetic pictures of Jesus and His Church, and their beautiful relationship as bridegroom and bride. This morning we want to see some of these poetic pictures, and enjoy the portrayals of the greatest love relationship of all time and eternity, and that is the relationship between Christ and His Church.
This morning will be the first of a two part message, in which we want to see some of the poetic pictures of Jesus in His relationship with His bride, which is His Church. There are many pictures that we could look at from this book, but for time we will only notice a few of them.
1. First, He is sweet, and His sweetness attracts her unto Himself (1:3-4).
Picture a great King anointed with most costly and precious ointments and perfumes that would recommend Him to His bride and that would draw her unto Him.
What is sweet about Jesus, that would attract his bride unto Him?
His Name is sweet: His name is like an ointment poured forth. Consider His following names:
Immanuel:† Which means God with us (Matthew 1:23).
Messiah or Christ:† That is, Godís anointed Prophet, Priest, and King (Matthew 1:16).
Jesus:† Which means Saviour, Who came to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).
Jesus:† The way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
Jesus:† The only Name under Heaven whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
Yes, His Name is sweet to those who have ears to hear it.
His work is also sweet:† His work as Messiah and Savior is sweet. Consider His work during His public ministry as Prophet and all the miracles that He did, and the truth that He preached. Consider His work on the cross as Savior and Priest; and now in Heaven as Priest and Mediator. Finally, consider Him as the future King of Kings and Lords of Lords.
Because He is sweet, He draws His people, and His bride in particular, unto Himself.
John 6:44† No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
He draws us through His precious Gospel, by the power of His Holy Spirit:
2Th 2:13† But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14† Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And He draws us with His loving kindness:
Jer 31:3† The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, [saying], Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
Yes beloved, He is sweet. His Name is sweet, His work of redemption is sweet. Everything about Jesus is sweet to those who are made willing by the power of the Holy Spirit (Ps. 110:3), and who are drawn by the lovingkindness of the Father to smell the sweet savor of Jesus His Son.
2. Secondly, He is her protector and provider (2:3).
Picture a great apple tree casting a shadow upon His bride as she sits and delights in its fruit.
His shadow protects her from the elements of the world (Note the examples of Nebuchadnezzarís tree, Jonahí gourd, Israelís fig tree).
Jesus is the protector of His people. As a great tree, Jesus protects His people from all the elements of the world, and from Satan and demon spirits, and from the ungodly of the world. He also protects His people from the poisonous errors of false teachers and doctrines of devils.
Jesus provides for His Bride. He feeds her with pleasant things. He provides all the things she has need of in this life and the life to come. He provides all her material needs, as she seeks the King in His kingdom, He adds them unto her. Spiritually He feeds her with good things from Word of God; with all-truth and good doctrine. His food is delightful to her, and nourishing and satisfying to her soul.
Yes beloved, Jesus protects and provides for His Church.
3. Thirdly, His banner over her is love (2:4).
Picture a great banqueting house filled with distinguished guests, and above his brideís place is a banner for all to see. And upon the banner is written the word ďloveĒ.
Yes, beloved, Jesus loves His Church, His bride, so much that He gave Himself for her. He loves her with an everlasting love. Sometimes today we question, and others question His love for His local New Testament Baptist Church. Sometimes we doubt His love for us as His Church. The world and other religious organizations laugh us to scorn, because we seem so insignificant compared to their super churches and mega-churches. They say, if you are His special Bride, then where are your congregations. Where are all your members? Where are your blessings from the Lord, if you really are His Church? Oh yes, they make fun of us, and mock and scorn our little flock.
But one day beloved, He will bring us into His banqueting house, and He will sit us down in the best seat that He has prepared for us. And above our seat will be His banner of love. He is going to show once and for all just who it is that He has chosen to be His bride. He is going to show to all that He loves His kind of local New Testament Church, just like we are told in the Scriptures, and that He gave Himself for her, and shed His precious blood for her.
4. Fourthly, He is swift and graceful, and delightful for her to watch (2:8-9).
Picture a gazelle or a male deer leaping gracefully and ever so swiftly upon the mountains to his beloved bride. Have you ever seen a deer run across the mountains?
He is swift:† Jesus is swift to come to the aid of His Church when she is in distress and danger, and when she cries unto Him in her trouble. He is swift to come to her when she is in want and in need. He is swift to come to her to love her and embrace her, and comfort her, and encourage her. Jesus loves being with His bride and fellowshipping with her, and blessing her with His sweet and glorious presence.
He is graceful:† Jesus is not clumsy and awkward, but graceful as a deer. He is full of grace and truth. His every move is perfectly ordered and in perfect time. He is the Master of grace and blessing. When He comes to His people in love and grace, there can be no doubt that it is Him, for only He is so stylish and graceful in all His works and in all His moves.
He is delightful to watch: †When Jesus comes to His bride to bless and to help her, and to caress her, He comes so delightfully. He is so light upon His feet. All His moves are miracles. All His works are perfection. All His blessings are pure and pleasant to His bride. She just loves to see Him run across the mountains unto her; in every turn He shows some precious token of His love.
5. Fifthly, He is allusive to her when she seeks him (3:1-4).
Picture the bride missing the bridegroom. She awakes in the night and from her bed she seeks for Him, but He is not there. She runs out into the night and searches through all the city; but He isnít there! At long last she finds Him, and again they are reunited. She desires never to let Him go again.
Sometimes when she seeks for Him and desires Him the most, He is not there! He hides Himself from her, as it were.
Perhaps He was trying her love and faithfulness to Him. I think of the long centuries of the dark ages when it seemed many times that the Lord was hiding from His Bride, while she was abused and mistreated by the watchmen, as we will see in our part 2 of this sermon.
And how often does it seem like the Lord is not with His Church today? We call out to Him, we look and watch for Him. We even go out into the streets, so to speak, searching for Him and enquiring after Him, but He isnít anywhere to be found. Oh, how our hearts ache and yearn! ďWhere is He?Ē We cry out into the night. But beloved, He will be found. We continue diligently to seek Him and to enquire after Him, and just as we think He has forsaken us, then He appears again in manifold blessings, and bestows grace upon grace, and reminds us in so many ways that we are His special Bride.
Sometimes in our own individual lives it seems He is hiding from us. We pray and cry after Him in the night, but He doesnít answer. Donít give up! Donít quit seeking Him. He will return to us, just keep seeking and watching and hoping, and He will return to us once again.
Perhaps He was chastening her for some wrong that she had done to Him. Perhaps He is hiding His face from His Bride because she has been unfaithful to Him. Perhaps she has been flirting with the world, or playing the harlot with the world. Oh, yes, this will cause Him to hide His face from His Church. If this be the case, may we repent of our unfaithfulness, and humbly and earnestly seek His forgiveness, that He might be pleased to blot out our sins, and return once again unto His people in love and gracious favor.
Yes, we who have been saved for very long have experienced the allusiveness of the Lord. Be patient, and donít give up, for He will return unto us in love. And if we have sinned against Him, may we humble ourselves before Him and plead for His forgiveness, in hopes that He will return to us in favor and blessings, and that He might make His glorious face to shine upon us again.
6. Sixthly and finally, He calls her to come away with Him (2:10-13)
Picture a beautiful, sunny Spring day. The trees and flowers are all blooming. The birds are all singing, and the smell of the flowers is like perfume in the fresh Spring air. The cold and deadness of winter is finally over and gone. He comes to her and calls to her to come away with Him to enjoy the beautiful day among the beautiful creation of God.
He calls her into places of sweet fellowship and springtime pleasures. Jesus calls us out to be with Him. To enjoy all the blessings and good things of creation, and of life, and of the new spiritual life with Him. He not only gives us things to enjoy, but He wants to enjoy them with us!
He calls us into private and secret communion, and secret revelations from His Word. Sometimes the Lord, like with Peter, James and John, calls us up to the mountain top alone with Him, where He reveals some precious truth to us about Himself. Oh how refreshing and rejoicing. Like a breath of fresh Spring air when He enlightens our hearts and souls to some precious nugget of truth from His Word. How we long for those moments, when it seems that the winters have been long and harsh, and we havenít experienced those special times with the Lord for a long time.†
Finally, He is going to call† His bride away to His gardens far above. One day the winter of this age will come to an end, and Jesus will call us away in the rapture of the saints. One day He will run down that mountain, as it were, for the last time. At that time He is coming to call His bride away unto Himself. Yes, there is going to be a wedding for the Bride and the Bridegroom, and afterwards she is going to dwell with Him in His glorious City of New Jerusalem for all eternity. What a glorious day that will be for His bride, His Church.
He is chiefest of ten thousand (5:10).
He is the chief among the ten thousand of the chief of His creation. Whether they be angels, or men, He outshines them all for glory and splendor. He is sweeter than the sweetest. He is the most precious of all.
He is altogether lovely, He is my beloved, and He is my friend (5:16).
There is nothing about Him that is not lovely. All of His person and all of His works are altogether lovely!
Is He altogether lovely to you?
Is He your beloved? Are you a member of His bride, His Church? That is the only way you can be in the Bride, by being a part of His local, New Testament Baptist Church.
Is He your friend this morning?
Do you know Him today?
Poetic Pictures from the Song of Solomon
Part 2: Pictures of the Bride of Christ!
In the first part of our message we noticed some poetic pictures of the Bridegroom from the Song of Solomon. In part 2 we want to notice some poetic pictures of the Bride in this same book.
1.† First we want to notice that she is black (1:5-6).
Picture the Bride as being out in the sun a long time, tending her brotherís and sisterís vineyards, and the sun has turned her dark, so that she looks black. She is not naturally black, but the hot scorching sun has made her black. In this picture the Bride was used and abused by her family, and treated cruelly and harshly by them. No doubt they were jealous of her because she was comely, or beautiful. They no doubt were jealous of her because Solomon the great king of Israel loved her and planned to marry her. They were bitter with envy and jealously.
The Lordís Bride, His Church, is black because of the hatred of her brothers and sisters in the world. Her worldly relatives and kinsmen according to the flesh have done all they can make her serve them in their vineyards, and to prevent her from tending her own vineyard. They are jealous of her because she is beautiful, and because she is holy, and lovely, and chaste, and she makes herself ready for her Husband. They are jealous of her because her Lord loves her and some day will marry her, and dwell with her forever.
2.† She desires to be fed and to experience His rest (1:7).
Picture the bride as a flock of hungry sheep, who longs for the Bridegroom to feed her. She doesnít want to be fed by any other shepherd, but only by her Shepherd in His secret pastures.
She wants to know where He feeds His flocks so that she can be fed by Him in His pleasant pastures. She doesnít want to be fed by one of His companions. She doesnít want to eat the food belonging to someone else. It might not be healthy for her. It might be poisonous and harmful, and besides, she desires so much to be with the one she loves, and to partake of the good things He has for her.
The church also desires to be fed by her Shepherd. She desires to be fed by Him in His pleasant pastures where she congregates to worship and to feed on His Word. She wonít be fed by any other, by those claiming to be companions of the Shepherd, but are nothing more than wolves and imposters, who feed the sheep with lies and doctrines of devils, and who devour the Lordís flock rather than feed them. Beloved Bride of Christ, be careful where you feed. Be careful whose pastures you attend, and what other shepherds you follow. Be careful what you eat, and who you let feed you. There are many other shepherds who will bring you harm and not good.
3.† She is like a team of mighty horses (1:9).
Picture a team of Pharaohís finest, most prized horses, that were used to pull his royal chariot.
Like Pharaohís horses, she was in bondage to Pharaoh in Egypt, which is a type of Satan and the world, but she was rescued out of the world by the Bridegroom, and taken to be His very own.
Beloved, the church was in bondage to Satan and the world, but we were rescued out of the kingdom of darkness by our Bridegroom, and were translated into the Kingdom of Godís own dear Son.
The Lordís Church can be likened to a team of prized horses. Like prized horses, she is swift to the battle for her Lord. Like prized horses she is strong and valiant, and like a warhorse, she is fearless and relentless in battle. She never quits, and never knows defeat. She goes forth with her Rider, the Lord Jesus Christ, and with the Gospel sword they defeat Satan, and capture the ďprisoners of hopeĒ for the kingdom of God.
Like prized horses, she serves her Lord from dawn tilí setting sun. She endures all kinds of harsh conditions, and all manner of afflictions. She works tirelessly until her work on earth is done.
And like prized horses, she is majestic and beautiful to look upon. She is a crown to her husband, she makes her King and Bridegroom look all the more majestic and glorious.
Beloved, may this church be valiant in the battle for truth. May we serve Him tirelessly until our work on earth is done. And may we make our Lord look majestic and glorious in the eyes of the world. When they behold the Bride, may they say ďshe must have a glorious and magnificent husband.Ē May the Lord help us to make Him shine before this dark world to see.
4.† She is the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys (2:1-2).
Picture a beautiful and serene mountain valley, laced with the common wild flowers and their plain and modest beauty. They are not splendid and brilliant like the domestic flowers of the world, that grow under the care of worldly gardeners, but they are beautiful in their own plain and humble sort of way.
So is the Lordís Church like a plain wild flower of the valley. She doesnít grow in the gardens of menís making and under their gardening skills, but she grows in the garden of God under His tending and His perpetual care. She is plain and modest, but beautiful just the same. She doesnít possess the outward pomp and glory of manmade churches, but her beauty is the inward beauty of the heart and of the spirit, where the Bridegroom alone can see, and gaze upon, and take delight in her secret beauty.
And what saith the Bridegroom of His humble wild flower of the wilderness? He said that she was a lily among thorns, as if He was calling all the flowers of menís gardens nothing but thorns in comparison to her. And so it is with manmade churches. They are so glorious in outward appearance, and so to be desired of men, but to the Lord they are but thorns and briars compared to the modest and humble church of His making. Beloved, never belittle the plain and humble church that Jesus built; she is far more glorious to Him than all the others put together.
5.† She is a dove in the cleft of the rock (2:14).
Picture a flock doves resting safe and secure in the clefts of the rocks, high up above and out of the reach of all their enemies.
The Bride is like a dove. She is peaceful, and gentle, and harmless. Like a dove she is clean and pure, and holy and undefiled. She is also very wise and hides herself in the cleft of the rock from the dangers of her spiritual foes. She doesnít look for war, but she loves the way of peace. And although she be killed all the day long, yet she is most gentle and wouldnít harm a soul.
So the church is like a dove. She is peaceful and gentle, and harmless and undefiled. She loves the way of peace, which is the cross of Jesus. She promotes peace in the world by spreading the Gospel of peace.
She too, hides herself in the cleft of the rock. She hides herself in the rock of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Rock of her salvation. He is her fortress and her hiding place from all her spiritual enemies. None can lay hold on her or harm her in her safe refuge high above all her spiritual foes. Truly the Lordís Church is like a dove resting in the cleft of the Rock.
6.† She is fair (4:1-2).
Picture a modest and comely woman with the eyes of doves, with the hair of a flock of goats, and with beautiful teeth that look like a flock of sheep that were evenly shorn and that just came from being washed.
The eyes of doves are an emblem of modesty and humility. The hair of a flock of goats on Mount Gilead speaks of modest outward glory, and of having a great presence in the world. The mouth full of perfect white teeth, speaks of beauty as well as purity and holiness. The teeth also represent the ability to chew and to receive spiritual nourishment from the good Word of God, which is needful to the soul.
Likewise the church has the eyes of doves. She is modest and humble in this present world. She has the modest glory as of goats hair, and like a flock of goats on mount Gilead, she is numerous throughout the world. She has the beauty and holiness of white teeth that were newly washed, and she is able to chew and digest the spiritual food of the Word of God.
And there is no spot in her (4:7). Again, she is pure and undefiled. She has no blemishes, but she keeps herself holy as He is Holy. She keeps herself pure for her Bridegroom.
Yes beloved, the Bride of Christ is fair, and what is more important, she is fair to Him. The One Who is speaking in this passage is the Bridegroom, Who speaks of the fairness of His bride. It doesnít much matter what others think of the Bride of Christ, whether or not they think that she is fair, but what matters is that Jesus thinks His Bride is fair. Beloved, may we do all that we can to make ourselves fair for Him!
7.† She was wounded by the watchmen and they took away her veil (5:6-7).
Picture the bride going about the streets in the night, searching for her Bridegroom. She is caught by the watchmen of the city, and she is smitten by them, and they take her veil from her.
Beloved, how the religious watchmen of false churches have caught and smitten the Lordís Church. During those long dark nights of the dark ages, and even during the protestant reformation, she often times was caught by the watchmen, and smitten with the most cruel and heinous instruments of torture and of death.
And then they mocked her and put her to shame by taking away her veil, which pictured her modesty, and her subjection, and her faithfulness to her husband. Beloved, donít let the wicked watchmen of this world take away your veil. Donít let them take away your modesty, and your subjection, and your faithfulness to your Lord.
Ladies, donít let the modernists, and the secular humanists, and the womanís liberation movement take your veil from you. I know the womanís veil is only a symbol, but I believe it is a symbol of importance to the Lord. It is a symbol of faithfulness and subjection to Him. And it is the Lord that we all must please, and not the modernists of this present evil generation. Donít be ashamed to show your subjection to your Lord! If we follow the modernists of our day and time, we will soon throw out everything that Baptists once called holy and godly.
8.† She is the fairest among women (5:9).
Picture all the beautiful women in all Israel, and among all of them you see one woman who stands out as the fairest of all the fair.
Beloved, there were no doubt many, many beautiful women in Solomonís time, but among them His Shulamite Bride was fairer than all the rest. Though she was black, and though she was like the humble flower of the field, to him she was the fairest of them all.
There are many churches in the world, and they are beautiful to behold with the human eyes. But there is only one church that Jesus built, the local New Testament Baptist Church, and His Church is the most beautiful to Him. She is fairest among all the so-called churches in the world.
She is also the only one for Him. She is the only Bride of the Bridegroom (6:9). There are not ten kinds of churches that will be the Bride of Christ; there are not even two! But there is only one bride, and that is the church that Jesus built.
In conclusion, the Bride is fair as the moon and clear as the sun (6:10).
Like the moon that rules the night by reflecting the light of the sun, the church reflects the light of the Son of God upon this dark and sinful world. She is fair as the moon for purity and holiness, or so she should be. Man defiled the moon by landing on it and walking on it, and by shooting things at it. Before the space program of the 1960ís the moon was pure from manís influence and corruption.
Man also defiles the Lordís Church. Morally he defiles it with his licentious practices, and spiritually with his corrupt doctrines. May God help us to be fair as the moon, and clear as the Son for moral and spiritual purity. And may we reflect the light of the sun for this dark and lost world to see!
Finally, He is hers and she is his (2:16).
Is He yours this morning? Do you know Jesus in the free pardon and remission of your sins? Have you repented and believed that He died for your sins, was buried, and rose again the third day for you? If not, we beseech you to repent and believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and then you too, will be able to say that He is yours and you are His in salvation.
It also says that ďHe feedeth among the lilies.Ē That is, He feeds His flock in the special place of His local New Testament Church. As a true believer, are you a member of His Church? If not, submit to Scriptural baptism and membership in this Church as the Lord leads you.
And as a member, are you feeding you soul in the Lordís Church. How important it is to be fed among the lilies whenever the doors of the Lordís special pasture are opened unto you.