"I was asleep but my heart was awake. A voice! My beloved was knocking: ‘Open to me, my sister, my darling, My dove, my perfect one! For my head is drenched with dew, My locks with the damp of the night.’ I have taken off my dress, How can I put it on again? I have washed my feet, How can I dirty them again? My beloved extended his hand through the opening, And my feelings were aroused for him. I arose to open to my beloved; And my hands dripped with myrrh, And my fingers with liquid myrrh, On the handles of the bolt. I opened to my beloved, But my beloved had turned away and had gone! My heart went out to him as he spoke. I searched for him but I did not find him; I called him but he did not answer me. The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me, They struck me and wounded me; The guardsmen of the walls took away my shawl from me. I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, If you find my beloved, As to what you will tell him: For I am lovesick.”
After the strong love scene of 5:1, we are taken to a much more dramatic moment in the new cycle, starting at 5:2, and ending at 6:3. The mood changes, the girl is in search of her lover (even though he is not really lost…she is dreaming again), and they rediscover deep intimacy at the end of the cycle. We must remember that now that we have seen the marriage of the two young people, not everything that happens from this point on in the Song is based on them being married. As a matter of a fact, the text reveals many parallels to the life of romance they had before they were married. This occurs because this Song is not intended to have a “once upon a time” beginning, with an ordered story, and finally, “THE END”. We are watching the different aspects of a love relationship that could very easily be compared to that which goes on between any man and woman in love. These are the lyrics of love. Just as our relationships on earth have ups and downs, ins and outs, and various meanderings, we are going to watch this occur between the people of our Song. It is interesting to note the parallels in this text with the cycle we have just finished: *In 4:12, she is a garden locked, and access to the girl is barred by a lock, in 5:5 *In 4:16, she opens her garden to her lover and in 5:5, she opens the door to him *At 5:1, they are intimate and they enjoy lovemaking, while at 6:2, he pastures among the lilies again. Let’s lay some groundwork for this section of the Song. First, the man only speaks once in this context at the very beginning (she reiterates his words). This tells us that the focus is on the beloved girl in this cycle. In saying that, we must clarify that much will be said about the lover in this same text. I will address this section like another dream with reoccurring themes that we have seen before (See 3:1-5). While we would see the actions of the girl as harsh to her new husband, we could also see them as a very intimate tease. She is basically saying, “I am clean, I am naked and I am lying in bed”. If women only knew what that did to a man. She is lucky he didn't bust down the door in excitement. Her lover seems to make one last effort to get into her room and when she finally gets up to let him in, he is gone, while her passion for love is re-ignited. Please understand that this is playing on her insecurities as well. Even though the two are married, the girl still feels concerned about losing her lover. Notice how the text says, I was asleep, but my heart was awake. This tells us that her heart-felt feelings are being expressed here. It may be that she wonders about his faithfulness to her and when she lies there longing for him and awaiting his coming to join her, he arrives at the door, but it is locked. He pleads to be able to enter and she builds on the excitement by teasing him. Then, when she can’t wait any longer she runs to greet him and he is gone. She runs out into the streets to find him and is met by the watchmen where she is taken for a prostitute and is stripped of her clothing, beaten, and bruised. In Ezek. 16:35-38, we learn, “Therefore, O harlot, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God, ‘Because your lewdness was poured out and your nakedness uncovered through your harlotries with your lovers and with all your detestable idols, and because of the blood of your sons which you gave to idols, therefore, behold, I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, even all those whom you loved and all those whom you hated. So I will gather them against you from every direction and expose your nakedness to them that they may see all your nakedness. Thus I will judge you like women who commit adultery or shed blood are judged, and I will bring on you the blood of wrath and jealousy.” Then in Hosea 2:1-7, we hear God speaking of Israel like a harlot “Say to your brothers, ‘Ammi’ (meaning my people), and to your sisters, ‘Ruhamah.’ (literal meaning she has obtained compassion). Contend with your mother, contend, For she is not my wife, and I am not her husband; And let her put away her harlotry from her face And her adultery from between her breasts, I will strip her naked And expose her as on the day when she was born. I will also make her like a wilderness, Make her like desert land And slay her with thirst. Also, I will have no compassion for her children, Because they are children of harlotry. For their mother has played the harlot; She who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, Who give me my bread and my water, My wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’ Therefore, behold, I will hedge up her way with thorns, And I will build a wall against her so that she cannot find her paths. She will pursue her lovers, but she will not overtake them, And she will seek them, but will not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my first husband, For it was better for me then than now!’” While this humiliation was the general practice of the times for a lady of the night, this is not literally happening to the girl. She is in a dream that is turning into a nightmare of desperation. -Notice the similarities between the dream of 3:1-5 and this context: *The girl is alone on her bed *There is a period of seeking and finding *She goes out into the city streets and squares *She encounters the watchmen on patrol *The daughters of Jerusalem are involved in both contexts *The description of the lover is vague and unhelpful in locating him -Notice some of the differences: *In the first she seeks him on her bed while in the latter he seeks her on her bed *In the first the watchmen are passive and quiet while in the latter they take aggressive action upon her *In the first occurrence there is a quick find and a climax of love, while in the second the search is long and finally ends in love. *The intensity and behavior in the second dream are more elevated as well. The fear of loss, the fear of permanent absence, and the desire to be together are thoughts in each dream that we have viewed together. She wants to know the security of his presence while she fears his absence. Sometimes we can play around with love and tease our partners so much that they actually stop working to get close, even withdrawing the offer. In her nightmarish dream, he turns away at her prolonged delay in opening the door for him. While playfulness should never leave a relationship, there needs to be a balance between fun and fulfillment. Their desire to be alone in a secluded place in the Song is not something that begins with wrong intentions. It usually starts when we feel that our guardians and close companions will disagree with a progressing relationship. All relationships should develop within the boundaries of the faith and it should be encouraged and enforced that two young people should first learn to have a social relationship. When times of intimacy arise they need to be controlled by the reality that they are not doing what is right in God’s eyes unless we are on the marriage bed. In their case, they were permitted to pursue love, but in this desperate dream, she has to deal with the nightmare of losing her lover.
SPIRITUAL APPLICATION: The greatest nightmare of all would be that after the Lord has pursued our hearts and spiritual intimacy with us that we would somehow delay in coming to open the door for Him and find that He has gone away. Jesus said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me." Why keep Jesus waiting, we often sing in our Christian circles. But we often do this more than we realize. While we might dream this scenario up and only imagine missing out on eternal intimacy with Christ, there will be a day when we go to answer the door in anticipation of love and spiritual intimacy and the Lord will be gone. We must nurture our relationship and develop an intimacy with Christ now before it is too late. The best time to wake up and get serious about pursuing Christ is today so that we are not left with eternal regret and separation from Him. Let this be a reminder to us of the importance of fulfilling our love for Christ each day. QUESTIONS:
1. Have you experienced intimacy with the Lord and found that at certain points in your relationship, while you want to be close to Him, you spend too much time delaying or playing games and fail to open up your heart to Him?
2. Compare this to physical intimacy. How would you describe the balance between being frisky and fun with a comparison to fulfilling the desires of our lover before they turn away and give up their pursuit?
3. While the Lord will never give up His pursuit of love with us, there will be a day when it will be too late to get up and respond to His invitation. Have you responded to Him?
4. How do you apply the way that the watchmen treated the girl when she roamed the streets in search of her lover?
5. How can we relate this to what can happen to us when we are in pursuit of our mate in the world?
This concludes our episode today. If you wish to continue this study, you can join me next time in a study of Song of Songs 5:9-16 in a message titled, “Tell Us About Him”.