Song of Solomon falls in a particularly important place in our Bibles. It comes nearly right in the middle of things, just after Ecclesiastes and right before Isaiah and the prophetic books. Ecclesiastes has as its watchword “vanity” or emptiness. Ecclesiastes expresses questions and doubts and puzzling observations.
Song of Solomon introduces a contrast.
Song of Solomon is a picture of the full expression of love. The woman and the man who talk to us through these chapters have something deep, something rooted. It doesn’t ignore the mysteries that Ecclesiastes introduced; it is not naive in that way at all. Rather, the couple delighting in each other through these stories embrace the elements of surprise that their love has revealed and they rejoice in it.
These two people have discovered trust and are singing about its glory.
“My beloved is mine, and I am his.” So reads Song 2:8 and, here, we see the security and foundation of trust. The intimacy it unleashes points to two things high and amazing — the love of Christ for His Bride, the Church, and the love of Christ for each believer.
This is why I think Song of Solomon comes perfectly positioned in the order of the Bible. Sure, our minds do get full of questions like the writer of Ecclesiastes expressed; sadly, this has become part of our nature. But the glory of trust is that it doesn’t need all the answers.
The prophecies that follow the Song of Solomon require readers and hearers to exercise deep trust. The strong and vibrant word pictures painted from Isaiah to Malachi will find places of rest only in open and responsive hearts.
The Open, Responsive Heart
This open and responsive heart we want to have is found in the Shulamite, the true love of the husband in the Song of Solomon. She does most of the talking through this collection of verses. The woman’s voice dominates the conversation and let’s leave it at that, except to say that this is very unusual for literature of that ancient era. God’s gift of wisdom to Solomon, apparently, gave him some insight in to the feminine mystique.
The glory of trust expressed in the Song shows itself in a somewhat rambling release. Streams of words flow to tell of vines and vineyards, of forests and fields, of flowers and fragrances.
Oh, yes, if we let the language touch us we can even smell the fruit, the oils, and the spices of love at its truest.
Song of Solomon tells the story of relationship that can bear the weight of responsibility in the midst of initiation. Song of Solomon overflows with detail — too much detail for some minds. Such minds have a problem with imagination and its places in our hearts and lives.
This is not a book of analytics and methodology. What you won’t find in its verses is a formula for engineering an experience. Calculations and equations have their places; the Song of Solomon is not one of them, however.
Chapter 2 of the Song introduces us to two very different kinds of animals — the dove and the fox. The Song’s lyrics are laced with the organic, with words of things fresh and alive as 21 plants and 15 animals are used to illustrate the passions that are out in the open.
The Dove and the Fox
The dove and the fox serve to clarify for us the fine line between intimacy and instigation.
“O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely” (Song 2:14).
The dove is devoted and sensitive. She can be easily disturbed and she flies away at the hint of discomfort. The dove seeks out the cleft and the secret, the hidden things. She responds and welcomes right initiation at the right time in the right place. In verse 14, the call comes to the dove, to the tender Shulamite from her lover, “Let me see your face, let me hear your voice.”The dove and the fox serve to clarify for us the fine line between intimacy and instigation. Click To Tweet
Does this not take us back to the Garden, where the voice of God cried after Adam, “Where are you?” God cried after man as he hid away.
Christ cries out after His Church; He cries out to each of us. He wants us to face Him and to talk to Him.
The Holy Spirit initiates to our hearts in the power of anointed moments. We do well not to quench or grieve Him, lest the sense of intimacy fly from us.
“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes” (Song 2:15).
The fox is an altogether different creature, one that Jesus used to describe the ruthless, manipulative Herod, who ruled during the Savior’s days on earth. Foxes connive and maneuver. They move under the cover of the dark to satisfy themselves. They use little, strategic bites to do damage to the fruit of the vine.
Fox-like relationships are selfish relationships. These relationships are for the takers. Mimicry and method are used to achieve desired outcomes. This is what pushes people to go raw in search of the real; appetite gets the upper hand and some bring themselves far, far down into erotica and pornography to get their fixes.
Thinking and Timing
Dove relationships are tender and sweet. These relationship inspire our minds and hearts to high things. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13 that love not only believes, suffers and is kind, but also that love thinks. As doves, we can consider, remember, and imagine in all the best ways to the glory of God.
The Shulamite offers a word of caution at several points during the Song. In three places, she warns, “Stir not love, nor awake love, until he please” (see Song 2:7, 3:5, 8:4).
Let love come alive in the proper place and time. Early awakenings can be wild and wonderful, like a roller coaster ride. Such rides do stop and they stop suddenly. Love that does not think can fall into the trap of amusement.Love that does not think can fall into the trap of amusement. Click To Tweet
The dove knows nothing of amusement. She is about adoration and sweet adoration that comes from seeing Christ and facing Him and speaking to Him.
Toward the end of the Song, the Bride sings one of her highest notes when she says, “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me” (Song 7:10).
The glory of trust has set her heart free. She knows to whom she belongs and feels the depth of the Heart behind that belonging.
More thoughts on the Song of Solomon can found in this message by Pastor Thomas Schaller of Greater Grace Church in Baltimore.