Sunday, May 22, 2016
"For lo, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone.The flowers appear on the earth; The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove Is heard in our land.The fig tree puts forth her green figs, And the vines with the tender grapes Give a good smell. Rise up, my love, my fair one, And come away!" Song of Solomon 2:11-13 NKJV
Did you look forward to your wedding? Did you possibly get a little more impatient the closer you got to the actual date? I think most of us have either paticipated in our own, or observed someone else in this position and understand the impatience and anticipation someone approaching their wedding day experiences. This though, raises a question in my mind which I would like you to consider as well. Since the Church is described as the bride of Christ, and the Word also tells us He is coming to take His bride home at a future date, do you think Jesus is experiencing those same feelings of anticipation and impatience that we do?
When is the last time you heard a sermon taught on the Songs of Solomon? To be completely truthful, I don't recall personally ever having heard one. Which truthfully seems to be a shame because if you believe that all scripture is inspired by God, and all scripture is profitable for instruction, you are then left with the question as to why was this book included in the scripture and what is it's message? As Solomon wrote this song to a Shulamite woman who he had fallen in love with, it is in essence his love song to her as he is courting her with the intent of making her his bride. You don't need to read very far at all to understand the depth of his love for her, and the anticipation he has for the day she will become his own.
Seen in this light, it appears to me that this song can easily be considered to be what Jesus is feeling as He looks forward to His wedding to His bride, the Church? Although the Jews have always looked at this book as signifying God's love for the nation of Israel, and it easily could be, I can also certainly see Jesus' love for the Church and His anticipation for the coming wedding in it as well. One of the many interesting things I found while reading this book was this description of his intended which Solomon gives us in chapter 4.
"You are all fair, my love, And there is no spot in you." Song of Solomon 4:7 NKJV
The fact that he sees no spot in her immediately brought to mind the description of the Church Paul gives us in the book of Ephesians.
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish." Ephesians 5:25-27 NKJV
For many reasons, I can read this book and picture Jesus writing these words in anticipation of His future wedding with the Church. Yet as long as we are going to talk about a future wedding, it would also seem appropriate to consider the possible timing of it, and see if Solomon gives us any clue as to when that might take place. Notice his description in the passage from the second chapter, and everything that he says there. It is obvious that Solomon is talking about the season of Spring, and all of the things that occur in Israel during that particular time.
"For lo, the winter is past,The rain is over and gone."
Solomon tells us that the winter is past, as well as the early rains which normally fall in March and April. It is these early rains which help start the growing season in Israel.
"The flowers appear on the earth;"
One of the things I, and many others appreciate most about spring is watching all of the flowers reappear after hiding under the snow for the winter.
"the voice of the turtledove Is heard in our land"
Did you know that the turtledove is a migratory bird? It normally leaves in the fall and returns to Israel in the spring.
"The fig tree puts forth her green figs"
The fig tree normally produces it's first crop in the spring, usually harvested in early June.
"And the vines with the tender grapes Give a good smell"
The grapes are on the vine ripening in preparation for the coming harvest which normally occurs in July.
The late Ray Stedman had this to say about this passage from Song of Solomon;
There is the springtime of life. But it doesn't lie in the past. It lies in the future. One day this whole world will experience a springtime like that. The Lord Jesus Christ, returning at last to claim his waiting bride, will greet her in words very much like those. The springtime will come, the time of singing, the time when earth shall blossom again and the curse will be lifted and the flowers will appear on the earth. This is a picture of what can take place in the heart of one who falls in love with Jesus Christ and enters into springtime. The cold winter of loneliness, misery, and selfishness is past and the time of singing has come.
All things considered, I think it is safe to say that Solomon was anticipating a June wedding just like many others have. Spring has certainly proven over time to be the season of choice when it comes to weddings, and the wedding stories in the Bible are no exception. Many believe the Church is rapidly approaching it's own wedding in Heaven, and a close look at the state of this world certainly seems to support that belief. One day, very soon it would appear, the Church will hear the groom call out for it to "come away" just as Solomon wrote in this passage. It is my prayer that you have made the decision to accept the gift of eternal life offered by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for your sin, and that you are part of the body, the bride of Christ which will live with Him forever in the place He is preparing for us.