“Hang my locket around your neck, wear my ring on your finger. Love is invincible facing danger and death. Passion laughs at the terrors of hell. The fire of love stops at nothing—it sweeps everything before it. Flood waters can’t drown love, torrents of rain can’t put it out. Love can’t be bought, love can’t be sold—it’s not to be found in the marketplace” (Song of Solomon 8.6-8 MSG).
Reading Song of Solomon can bring a little blush to your cheeks. The intimacy, desire and passion found in this book of the Bible surpasses any romantic effort that Hollywood pumps out. This beautiful work of God-breathed literature stands as the relational idea for marriage, but it also expresses God’s love for His redeemed people, the Church. As I read Song of Solomon, I savored every word–reminding myself of God’s intimacy, desire and passion for me. I enjoyed the romance until the Shulamite (The Perfect One or the Redeemed Church) can’t find her Beloved (God). Her Beloved calls to her, but when she opens the door of her room, He is gone.
“I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and was gone” ( Song of Solomon 5.6 NKJV).
The Shulamite instantly leaves her home and searches for her Beloved. She wanders the city streets, but the watchmen hit her and rip away her veil. She is wounded and vulnerable, yet she doesn’t care. She is so desperate for her Beloved that she can think of nothing else.
“The watchmen who went about the city found me. They struck me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took my veil away from me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, that you tell him I am lovesick!” (Song of Solomon 5.7-8 NKJV).
I quickly began reading the rest of the text. I needed to know when and how the Shulamite finds her Beloved. More importantly, though, I wanted to know why the Beloved leaves her in the first place. There had to be a reason that He would call out her name, draw her away from the comforts of her home and lead her on a journey that would cause her to be physically abused, exposed and lost. In order to persevere as she seeks Him, the Shulamite continuously reminds herself of her Beloved’s perfection and their intimacy together. Other people (the Daughters of Jerusalem) begin to notice her search, and they want to help her. After yearning for her Beloved, she ultimately discovers where He has gone!
“My beloved has gone to his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed his flock in the gardens, and to gather lilies. I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine. He feeds his flock among the lilies” (Song of Solomon 6.2-3 NKJV).
The Beloved is in His garden! So the Shulamite woman wastes no time. She quickly makes her way to the garden. She has been through a lot to find her Beloved, and nothing will stop her from from reuniting with Him. She is impassioned with determination and resolve.
“Before I was even aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib” (Song of Solomon 6.12 KJV) (emphasis added).
The word Ammi means “people” and the word Nadib means “willing”; therefore, the Shulamite’s soul is fierce as the chariots of “willing people”– ready and willing to do whatever it takes for her Beloved (ref). Finally, an on-looker sees the Shulamite with her Beloved leaving the wilderness together!
“Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?” (Song of Solomon 8.5 NKJV).
The Shulamite and her Beloved walk together, hand-in-hand, away from the wilderness and into the Beloved’s garden where the fruit is ripe and plentiful and the King and His people are blessed from the harvest. And the Beloved whispers to His Bride, the Shulamite, that He longs to hear her voice in His garden.
“You who dwell in the gardens, the companions listen for your voice–LET ME HEAR IT!” (Song of Solomon 8.13 NKJV) (emphasis added).
God gave me a simple explanation of why the Beloved had to leave the Shulamite: He had to draw her away from her self-centered comfort zone, strip her of her selfishness and self-reliance and lead her into His Garden where His abundance and presence dwell. And once the Shulamite is freed from all the trappings of this world, she walks in power and her voice rings aloud. She is no longer stuck in a man-made box of security; rather, she reigns free in the dominion and purpose granted her by the Most High God.
I remember the day that I started chasing God. He lured me away from my comfort zone with His promises and with His presence. I ran after Him like a child, not realizing that my journey would leave me lost, hurt and confused. I had to remind myself of the amazing beauty and perfection of my God. I had to cling onto the love He had for me, even though many times I couldn’t feel it. I let go of all my hindrances and sought after God with all of my heart. I became desperate to draw closer to Him and to find my footing in the center of His plan.
But I finally understand why I had to walk through the wilderness. I now see the beauty in being broken, exposed and reliant on a perfect and loving God. I’ve learned to lean on Him with my everything, as He brings me out of my selfish and aimless lifestyle. I trust Him even in pain and difficulty and know He will lead me to “His Garden” where my purpose and fulfillment can bear fruit. I desire Him above all else, and I can say in confidence and with conviction, “I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine!”
“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring” (Hosea 6.1-3 NLT).