In the Song of Solomon the woman is looking all around the city for her beloved. She asked everyone where he was. The church is a lot like her – they are looking everywhere for their beloved. They try every program and every new idea that comes along. Why is the church asking the world where to find their beloved?
I. The church must stop looking to the world for the presence of the Lord.
The world doesn’t know where to find His presence. Many people know the name of Jesus, but they do not know Him in an intimate way. Things (programs, works, new ideas….) will not bring us into His presence.
Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ ”
Jesus never had spiritual intimacy with these people. These people were doing many wonderful things; they were casting out demons, prophesying, and performing wonders (miracles). But they were not intimate with Jesus. We must have intimacy with the Lord if we desire to have the glory of the Lord in our lives and in our church, and if we desire to be in the presence of the Lord after this life. Don’t look for the glory of the Lord (the manifest presence of God) by the wisdom of the world – Look in the garden.
II. Finding Jesus In The Garden
Jesus Christ desires so much to have an intimate relationship with each person (and the body of Christ-the church). In many lives (and churches) Jesus is standing at the door longing for them to get up out of their sleepiness and let Him come in an have an intimate relationship with them.
Song of Solomon 5:2 NKJV
“I sleep, but my heart is awake; It is the voice of my beloved! He knocks, saying, ‘Open for me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one; for my head is covered with dew. My locks with the drops of the night.”
How long was her beloved standing outside the door and wooing her to open the door and let him in? It sounds like he was out there in the dark for a long enough period of time for the dew to cover his head and his hair to be wet from the moisture in the night air. How long has our lover, Jesus Christ, been standing outside the church knocking and saying, “Awake my beloved one, my dove, my perfect one. Open the door to me” ? Many times a person (or church) may truly want the presence of God in their life (or church), but they want Him on their terms, by their plans and within their agendas.
Song of Solomon 5:4-5 NKJV
“My beloved put his hand by the latch of the door, and my heart yearned for him. I arose to open for my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, on the handles of the lock.”
The woman finally hears her lover. She awakes out of her sleep, puts on a large amount of perfume, then goes to the door. Just like the woman, how many times have we stopped on our way to open the door to do something else? How many times have we put other things before the manifest presence of God? By the time the woman got around to opening the door her lover was gone.
Song of Solomon 5:6 NKJV
“I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave no answer.”
By the time the church gets around to opening the door to the presence of God, will He be gone? There are times in church services that by the power of the Holy Spirit, God desires for us to draw close to Him (to open the door to Him) and we are too busy putting on our own perfume. We want everything to look right and to smell right. We want our own agendas. The power that we need is only found in the presence of God. When we deny and reject the presence of God we do not have any power! All we have is a form of godliness.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
Once the woman opened the door and saw that her lover was not there any more she went to look for him. She looked in many worldly places for her lover. During this time she was misunderstood and wounded. Her veil was removed. She no longer looked like a bride, she looked just like the rest of the world.
Song of Solomon 5:7 NKJV
“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.”
Has the veil of the church been removed? Does the church look just like the rest of the world? The woman goes out searching for her lover-he does not search for her. He has already done all that he can do.
Song of Solomon 5:3 NKJV
“I have taken off my robe: How can I put it on again? I have washed my feet: How can I defile them?
He has already told her how he felt about her.
Song of Solomon 1:15 NKJV
“Behold, you are fair, my love! Behold, you are fair! You have dove’s eyes.”
Song of Solomon 2:2 NKJV
“Like a lily among thorns, So is my love among the daughters.”
Song of Solomon 4:7-15 NKJV
“You are all fair, my love, And there is no spot in you. Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon. Look from the top of Amana, from the top of Senir and Hermon, from the lion’s dens, from the mountains of the leopards. You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; you have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes, with one link of your necklace. How fair is your love, my sister, my spouse! How much better than wine is your love, and the scent of your perfumes than all the spices! Your lips, O my spouse, drip as the honeycomb; Honey and milk are under your tongue; And the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, A spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with pleasant fruits, fragrant henna with spikenard, Spikenard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices. A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.”
He had already paid the price for her. He had already knocked on her door for her to let him in. What more could he do? Why does the woman go out searching in places where she knows her lover is not at for him? Why does she ask those who do not know her lover where she can find him? She knows her lover will be in the garden. Why does she not go to him there?
Song of Solomon 6:2 NKJV
“My beloved has gone to his garden, to the beds of spices. To feed his flock in the gardens, and to gather lilies.”
Finally, the woman goes to the garden to look for her lover.
Song of Solomon 6:11-12 NKJV
“I went down to the garden of nuts to see the verdure of the valley, to see whether the vine had budded and the pomegranates had bloomed. Before I was even aware, my soul had made me as the chariots of my noble people.”
When we begin to truly draw closer to God in worship He will draw close to us. God desires for us to draw close to Him. We are the Bride of Christ and our Bridegroom desires to look upon us!
Song of Solomon 6:13 NKJV
“Return, return, O Shulamite; Return, return, that we may look upon you!”
Revelation 2:4-5 NKJV
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first work, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place-unless you repent.”
Our Bridegroom is calling each one of us and the church to return to Him. To return to our first love. He desires for our hearts to burn with love and anticipation for Him. As the things of the world began to close in on the church, can you hear, “Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?”
Jesus, our Bridegroom, feels the same about us as the woman’s lover. In chapter seven of the Song of Solomon you see a very intimate conversation between the woman and her lover. Our Bridegroom desires to have an intimate conversation with us. After the woman was reunited with her lover she did not want anything or anyone to interrupt or disturb their time together.
Song of Solomon 8:3-4 NKJV
“His left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.”
It grieves the Spirit of God when our intimate times with God are interrupted and cut short. Should it not grieve us too? Does your heart yearn for your Bridegroom? Do you long for the presence of the Lord? The woman found her lover in the garden. In the garden they knew each other (they were intimate). We too, can find our Bridegroom, the lover of our soul, in the garden. As we read the Song of Solomon could it be that the garden represents true worship?
1 Chronicles 16:29 NKJV
“Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!”