Monday, April 29, 2013

Song 4: The Bridegroom's Praise

Song 4:1-7, 12-16
The Beloved [NKJV sub-heading]
How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone. Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate.  Your neck is like the tower of David, built with elegance; on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors. Your two breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies.  Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense. All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you...
You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices. You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon. 

Shulammite [NKJV's sub-heading]
Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread abroad. Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits. NIV

Solomon is a lover par excellence: he is totally captivated by his bride and tells her so. The greatest music to a woman's ears must be the genuine heart-felt compliments from the man of her life. Especially compliments about her appearance. A woman is ever self-conscious about her appearance and her adornments. Woe to the husbands who do not take time to notice her. But the husbands who can sing praises of her appearance and adornments will reap his dividends. 

Solomon is a lady's man--he uses beautiful analogies to express his ecstasy over his bride. This is music to the bride's ears: "All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you." On the wedding night, this will definitely set the stage, for the effusive description of his bride ends with the bride's response: "Let my lover come into his garden and taste its choice fruits", which is an invitation to consummation. I read of a creative husband who reads this chapter to his wife before their love-making!

So, what's the spiritual lesson here? If Solomon is a type of the heavenly Bridegroom, then we can also say that the Lord our Bridegroom sees us in the same: "All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you." While admitted, the Bride of Christ is not like the Shulammite in its beauty now, she has the resources of the Word of God to make herself beautiful for the wedding day: "the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing" (Eph 5:26-27, ESV). 

Almost all brides that I know take extra care in preparing themselves for the wedding day--some start fasting and others start their beauty treatments as far as back as a year before, so that they can be just "perfect" on the wedding day. If we are the Bride of Christ, we ought to be as diligent in preparing ourselves for the Bridegroom, washing ourselves in the Word daily so that we can be a "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing."

Father, may we be found worthy of praise for the Bridegroom at His coming! Amen.

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