DAILY DISCIPLINE #80
By Colleen Donahue
We've been studying the life of King Solomon and his writings in Ecclesiastes and the Proverbs but, the best is yet to come! For now, we'll be studying Solomon's finest work -- The Song of Solomon or the Song of Songs. Of Solomon's 1,005 songs (I Kings 4:32) this one was his best and most important.
It is speculated that Solomon probably wrote this while he was still young, and before being drawn away from God by his 700 wives (I Kings 11:3-4). The suggested date of writing is about 965 B.C.
The Song of Solomon is a lyrical poem and so you'll find figures of speech found in poetry such as the metaphor ("thy hair is as a flock of goats," 4:1). The phraseology is oriental and should be read with that in mind. The Song of Solomon has been interpreted in 3 ways:
1) As a human love story with no figurative meaning intended;
2) Allegorical- not based on historic fact and
3) Typical- teaching by example from historical fact.
Our study will be based on the typical interpretation. I believe as G. Campbell Morgan states that "the songs should be treated first as simple and yet sublime songs of human affection. When they are thus understood, reverently the thoughts may be lifted into the higher value of setting forth the joys of the communion between the spirit of man and the Spirit of God, and ultimately between the church and Christ." (G. Campbell Morgan, The Analyzed Bible; Westwood NJ, Revell,1964, p.197)
The main characters of this song are Solomon- the king of Israel and the Bridegroom; a Shulamite woman - who becomes the bride; and the Daughters of Jerusalem - only casual companions of the king and the bride. In the interpretation of these characters, the Church may be seen as the bride and Christ as the bridegroom. From this, another application is evident. Every individual believer (of the whole church) is the particular object of Christ's love. This is the most personal application you can make of this book for your own life and the studies will be written to help you see the beauties of love in your own walk with Christ.
There has been an interesting comparison made between Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon as they point us to Christ: "In Ecclesiastes, we learn that without Christ we cannot be satisfied, even if we possess the whole world - the heart is too large for the object. In the Song of Solomon, we learn that if we turn from the world and set our affections on Christ, we cannot fathom the infinite preciousness of His love - the Object is too large for the heart." (Robert Lee, The Outlined Bible; Westwood NJ; Revell p.21)
Jesus Christ is the key to the full meaning and purpose of the Song of Solomon. In this book, it is the PERSON of Christ NOT His work that is prominent. If you can place yourself into the role of the bride you will discover by the end of our study that what Christ really wants is YOU. All that you can DO for Christ is not as important to Him as your personal love and commitment to Him. He wants us to be first and foremost the object of His love. May God reveal to us the depth of relationship that we each can be privileged to know.
THE SONG OF SOLOMON
Part I -(SS1:1-2:7) The ASSURANCE OF ACCEPTANCE & LOVE
READ SS1:1-4 - INTENSE LONGING
Day 1- Are we "hungry" for God? Do we desire to really know our Saviour? Are we thirsty for more than this world offers?
Psalm 42:2/ Psalm 63:1/ Psalm 143:6
Day 2 -It is the Lord alone (and no other person) that can satisfy our hearts. We must seek and desire, but He alone brings it all about.
Psalm 103:5/Psalm 107:9/ Isaiah 58:11/ Matthew 5:6/ John 7:37
Day 3- When He has brought us close to Himself (i.e. into His chambers) what will we be?
Psalm 17:15/ Psalm 63:5
Day 4- Is our relationship with God "better than wine"- i.e. better than all the best things, people, and places this world has to offer? Can we say this with King David?
Psalm 27:4/ Psalm 84:10
Day 5- It is the Lord Himself that is calling for us to "come". First He calls us to come to Him for salvation but then He calls us to come to Him in a very close union.
Matthew 11:28-30/ Revelation 3:20/ 22:17
Day 6- Too many Christians have "received Christ" and His offer for salvation but have gone no further. What does the Lord want for us?
READ SS1:5-7 - THE 3 THINGS SHE LEARNED IN THE INNER CHAMBER
Day 7- Lesson 1 - When we come close to Christ the first thing we see is our own blackness. We were all born in sin, black in Adam, full of inexpedient personal traits. The bride sees that she has a dark and uncomely exterior.
Ephesians 2:1/ Colossians 2:13-14
Day 8- Lesson 2 - External, fleshly works of service are vanity. Within the church today there is much busyness in looking after programs and works organized by men. Yet, what is most neglected is the work that God Himself has arranged and designed.
Song of Solomon 1:6B
Day 9- When the Lord told the following story, what was the "one thing that was needed?".
Day 10- Like Martha, she (the bride) had been distracted by too much serving but had failed to sit at the Master's feet. What a Christian needs is not a system of works, but to be in the place where the Lord feeds and gives rest.
Song of Solomon 1:7/ Matthew 11:29/ John 16:33A
Day 11- When we are at rest with the Lord and able then to hear what He wants us to do, what will we discover?
Day 12- Lesson 3- She sees the need for spiritual food and rest. Activities that we engage in outside God's will, will usually keep us tired, restless, and stressed out. Hopefully, in time, it will make us cry out as in the hymn "Drop thy still dews of quietness till all our striving cease."
Day 13- As God's children, it is too easy to "wander beside the flocks of your companions." We can end up following men of God rather than knowing God Himself. Read how Jesus rebuked the Jews for this very thing. They were missing God Himself.
READ- SS 1:8 - THE KING ANSWERS HER QUESTION
Day 14- The King's answer to the Shulamite's question of "where did He pasture his flock", had in it an element of surprise that she did not know. It might be like a Christian asking - where do I find God? She was to seek God using the same "means of grace" that believers down through the centuries have used and even while she was seeking maturity she must not neglect those in her care.
Proverbs 8:34-35/ Jeremiah 6:16/ Hebrews 13:7
READ-SS 1:9-11 - THE KING POINTS OUT HER NATURAL BEAUTY
Day 15- She has started on the route to live her whole life next to her Beloved and so the journey begins. The king looks at her and expresses what He sees. There is much that will need to change, but He points out what is beautiful in her.
Song of Solomon 1:9-10
Day 16- Despite her natural beauty, God has to displace all that is natural in her with Himself. Every one of us that walk with God will be refined by Him.
Song of Solomon 1:11 / Zechariah 13:9/ John 15:2
Day 17- Then, just as the Shulamite will have a character like gold ornaments studded with silver, so our lives will become more like the Saviour that we love.
Job 23:10 / Malachi 3:3
READ-SS 1:12-14- THE MAIDEN THINKS OF HER BELOVED
Day 18- These verses give a picture of Christ at rest in our own heart (i.e. on His couch). It was a time for her mind and heart to be filled and occupied with His presence. It is when the heart is filled with Christ that we truly worship and our "perfume gives forth its fragrance."
Song of Solomon 1:12
Day 19- As we abide in Christ and He in us, we'll find His fragrance pouring from our life to the world in which we live.
2 Corinthians 2:14-15
Day 20- The myrrh speaks of Christ dwelling in the heart by faith. He is unseen (just as the myrrh is wrapped in a bag) yet His fragrance is undeniable.
Song of Solomon 1:13/ Ephesians 3:17-19
Day 21- Not only was the king enshrined in the secret of her affections but he was also the object of her enraptured gaze. So too, we need Christ not only dwelling in our hearts but as the attractive object of our souls so that we may be like Him.
Song of Solomon 1:14/ 2 Corinthians 3:17-19
READ-SS 1:15 - THE KING'S PRAISE
Day 22- The king replies to her praise of Him that she is twice beautiful and shows spiritual perception. The fact that a dove can see only one thing at a time points out she has eyes only for Him.
Song of Solomon 1:15
Day 23- The Lord sees in us two kinds of beauty - outward and inward. Why is having a "single eye" (i.e. dove's eyes) so important to our spiritual growth?
READ-SS 1:16-2:1 - THE SHULAMITE'S REPLY
( She has no better reply than to use the same words!)
Day 24- If Christ is beautiful (fair) then so are His people.
Deuteronomy 7:6/ 2 Samuel 7:23-24
Day 25- When Christ takes His place in our hearts there is found a place of peace and rest even amidst a troublesome world.
Day 26- In the presence of the king, we have security and shelter.
Day 27- Our union with Christ not only provides rest, security, and shelter for us but also for Him.
Day 28- In Song of Solomon 2:1 the Shulamite is saying "I am just an ordinary person, yet cared for and loved by the Lord".
Song of Solomon 2:1
Day 29- There is no presumption in accepting the place that Christ, by grace, has given us before Himself. She expresses what grace has made her in His sight - fragrant as a rose and beautiful as a lily of the valley. If Christ has said "we are fair" who are we to say we are unworthy? We must see ourselves as the Saviour does.
2 Corinthians 5:17, 21
READ 2:2 THE KING'S REPLY
Day 30- Just as the king sees his bride as a spot of beauty against a sinful world, so too Christ sees us as His own, like lights set amidst the darkness of a crooked and perverse generation.
Song of Solomon 2:2 / Philippians 2:15
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