Song of Songs 1:5-8
Here is a list of bullet pointed Scriptures and notes to recap and further what we studied at this first lesson:)
- Kedar=Ishmael’s son (Gen 25:13); this is linked to slavery (Gen 21:10) and strife (Gen 16:12); spiritually true of all humans who live by the law and not Christ (Gal 4:21-31); this leads to hiding and wandering from God’s presence (Gen 4:14)
- Curtains of Solomon=curtains in the holiest of holies and now, Christ’s flesh, which leads to boldness before God’s presence (Heb 10:19) (this is the Bridegroom’s voice telling her she’s lovely; we cannot pronounce our worth, only God can tell us our worth to Him).
- We will act like wanderers/unworthy/shameful if we hold stronger to our sinful nature than to Christ’s redemption because our relationship with God will be us trying to make ourselves acceptable to Him, which never fulfills (Hebrews 10:8)
- How we overcome this is not through bypassing our sinful nature and trying to skip straight to forgiveness: we cry out for more of God and His glory and His light; His light exposes our darkness, and this is good (Eph 5:12-14; Heb 4:13). We confess our dark sin like Job (Job 42:5-6) and only after we see our sin the way God sees it (terrible & grieving) do we then rejoice fully and freely in Christ’s forgiveness (1 John 1:8-9). If we don’t have a true, Spirit led exposing of our sinful nature, we will not know the true weight and glory of Christ’s forgiveness because our sin will still be in the dark hiding behind a facade of forgiveness where we haven’t truly let Christ in.
- Pray that God would give you a true experience of the weight of your sin and a true experience of the weight of His forgiveness. Only this will deliver you from the deep darkness of your sinful nature and also not allow you to stay there.
- Mother’s sons=the mother in this Song always is God’s grace/Spirit because we are born again by the Spirit and grace (John 3:5-8; Eph 2:5). Because of the way these ‘mother’s sons’ acted and that she calls them that as opposed to ‘brothers,’ a potential way to interpret these sons is people who are still under the law. Maybe they are true believers, maybe not. Either way, they are driving her to do religious works rather than being loved by Christ in the depths of her being. The law makes her live by her flesh (Gal 3:21-31); this leads to darkness/death because the law and flesh do not give life (Gal 3:10-18).
- She needs Rev 7:16-17… to know Him as Shepherd; she is not abandoned to work by the law in her flesh where the sun scorches her; she can live in His presence and protection. When we feel ‘burnt out’ this is where we need to turn: our Shepherd who makes us lie down in green pastures! He does not cause us to work in a way that leaves us dried up and scorched so return to Him in repentance of your dead works and let Him renew your soul (Heb 6:1; Ps 23:3).
- His worthiness is seen in Him as King (Song of Songs 1:4) and now He is leading her into knowing His goodness through Him being Shepherd (Ps 23:1&6). Jesus being our shepherd calls us into His CARE (John 10:11-13). In His worthiness and goodness, He wants to be our good and profit and rescue us for His name sake (1 Sam 12:20-22; Ex 20:24; Ex 34:14).
- We talked about how knowing God’s worthiness apart from His goodness will cause us to be scared and unsure of Him. Knowing God’s goodness apart from His worthiness could lead to us focusing on ourselves and making it all about us. Both of these are wrong. God is both King and Worthy; and Shepherd and Good! He is able to save and He is willing!
- She wants to be near Jesus. She feels far from Him and like she doesn’t belong. She desperately needs rest (for Him to restore her soul like in Ps 23:3)
- She feels outside His flock and apart from Him; like a restless wanderer because she’s in shame and not sure how to take the veil of shame off to be in His presence completely free. Cain, in Genesis 4:1-16, chooses to live in sin and shame and reaps the consequences. Read this story for what she feels in the depths of her being because the word “wanders” is used to describe both this woman and Cain.
- When we resonate with our sinful nature above Christ’s forgiveness, it will always lead us away from Christ. This is because you haven’t received the only sacrifice for sins/don’t truly believe it is enough (Heb 10:11-14). So you will offer dead works, which are offerings of our flesh that don’t please God, to make up for your own sin; this also has a way of making you feel accustomed to your sin and allowing it (Isaiah 43:22-24, 64:6).
- This is where I see a parallel to Tamar’s prostitution: she was in cultural shame (originally because of others, not herself) and decided to avenge herself (which led to a greater shame before God from her sin of prostitution). This was an unacceptable offering; prostitution is never good or approved. God hates wickedness and the end never justifies the means with Him (Mal 2:17). He is our Avenger and Defender (1 Pet 2:21-23). The woman in the Song of Songs asks why she has to ‘wander’ or ‘veil herself.’ This word in the Hebrew connotes the shame of being a prostitute. She feels like a prostitute (or illegitimate lover) before God because she’s trying to come to Him, but it’s on the basis of dead works. Dead works will always leave insecurity in us because deep down we know God doesn’t accept them.
- The spiritual parallel to Tamar is when we feel shame in God’s presence (on the basis of our sin nature or a particular sin) and instead of letting Him come wipe it away in His blood, we try and make up for it ourselves.
- The difference of approaching God on the basis of your flesh/works of the law or His blood is the difference between an unacceptable/false offering that leads to shame/banishment (Gen 4:6-16; Gal 3:10) or being set free (1 Pet 2:24). You may be deceived in thinking you are worshipping correctly, but God is not deceived. He knows you’re trying to atone for yourself and not boasting in His blood (Phil 3:3). He wants you free; don’t think He wants you to worship feeling insecure/illegitimate/in shame (Gal 5:1).
- God says the only way to please Him is by FAITH (Heb 11:6). This is why He does not answer the bride’s question of where He is, lest she thinks He wants her worship to continue to be works of her flesh to try and please Him. He calls her to faith: to wait on Him and trust He will come to her; to listen for His voice and truth when He calls (John 10:4-5); to believe she does not have to do any works of the law to worship but rather to surrender to the Spirit inside of her.
- Our takeaway: giving yourself to God through illegitimate means (works of your flesh) doesn’t please the Lord. You are not the Shepherd or Overseer of your soul, He is (1 Pet 2:25). So when you sense sin and shame/unworthiness/hiding/wandering (like the Bride), turn to Him. Ask Him about it like the bride did and He will answer you and lead you in true, pure worship. It is the truth and the Son that set free to worship (John 8:32 &36); we don’t set ourselves free (this is the good news Tamar didn’t live into and suffered under greater shame for it). When we realize the power of worship comes from Him (Hebrews 13:20-21) and not ourselves, it leads to worshipping in rest and freedom! Be on guard for ways you try to offer dead works because of shame before God. Ask Him to come and heal your soul.
- Only God can take care of your shame: with Adam and Eve He offers a blood sacrifice and covers them with animal skins. He does not let them atone for themselves in the falsehood of fig leaves. With us, He offers us the blood of His Son Jesus so that we may be righteous (2 Cor 5:21; Col 1:14; Romans 5:10). When we feel like the bride in the Song of Songs who says she wanders/is veiled in shame, will we choose to defend ourselves like Tamar? Or will we surrender to Jesus and His Word cleansing us (Eph 5:26). The way to surrender is made clear in verse 8… go in the steps of other believers, finding pasture in truth; also be faithful to the younger people He’s given you charge over. Live by Spirit and truth and He will meet you and give you more of Himself.
- ”If you do not know”--His gentle way of revealing that the way to rest and belong in worship has been there the whole time for her to choose. The way is Spirit and Truth and He gives of these freely as we live a life of repentance (Prov 1:23). It’s just up to us to choose to live by them.
- He calls her the most beautiful of all women!! Significant because this is the first time He ever talks to her in this Song. This reveals Jesus’ heart that He loves us because He loves us because He loves us. What we do does not change His love for us; we are His children.
- He does not tell her where He is, but tells her where to go and wait; waiting corresponds to resting in faith (Is 30:15; Lev 16:31). She cannot in her own efforts offer an acceptable sacrifice of worship to please Him (Hosea 6:6). Instead, she must wait for Him to come receive her life given through FAITH (Heb 11:6; Ro 12:1-2). He wants to break off this mentality of offering in the flesh, in our own efforts and strength because we don’t truly feel welcome and loved. She has been living in a posture of worship based on being ‘used’ by Him, thinking this will please Him when really He wants to come to us and pursue us and show us He loves us. Prostitutes give themselves away (rooted in deception and impurity) and a bride is one who is pursued. God wants to pursue us to show us His goodness and love. This is what causes us to respond in thanksgiving because He is GOOD to us, not using us and throwing us away or harming us for His own benefit.
- What He’s offering her:
- 1) His goodness as Shepherd, which will give her care, love and belonging.
- 2) A secure place to worship from. One not based in the curse/shame of the law (Gal 3:10). We no longer worship by our own efforts or in a certain place, but only by Spirit and Truth (John 4:23). This is why He doesn’t tell her where to go, but lets her rest in truth and this is where He will meet her. He does not want her thinking she worships in her flesh, in a particular way or place. This is religion because it’s by her own strength/means. We are the new circumcision not by our own doing but by God’s (John 15:16; Deut 30:6). It is God’s active role that causes us to boast in Christ, not in ourselves; this is why we worship by the Spirit not by our own works; this is why we have no confidence in the flesh (Phil 3:3). All of this is a worship based on rest. He did it all! It is finished. We begin and finish by the Spirit (Gal 3:3). This contrasts the Old Testament way to worship by keeping the law; we surrender to the One who fulfilled the law on our behalf and now works in us what is pleasing in His sight (Romans 8:3-4; Phil 2:13). What freedom to humble ourselves to the Lord and let Him exalt us as His very own people (1 Pet 5:6; 1 Pet 2:5,9).