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R.S.V.P. My Love (2:10-13)

We hear this invitation in verse 10 where the lover says,

“Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come along”.

This phrase is repeated at the end of the invitation in verse 13 as well. In words that describe nature in full bloom, the lover calls his beloved to join him in the outdoor arena once more.

We often say, “April showers bring May flowers”. What we mean by this phrase is that we can look favorably on the rainy days because once they have passed the flowers will bloom. There are positives that come from a season that can often be looked upon negatively. The lovers in the Song must patiently endure the wait for love because the time will come when the season for love will be in full bloom. During the spring of each year, we look forward with hope to the fresh flowers, birds chirping, new crops being planted and cultivated, etc. What we have here is a message from the lover for his beloved girl to look forward with expectation to the fact that the cold, dark days are over and the rain is gone. She can now have the blossoming of new hope in their relationship. The winter snow and rain are necessary in order for the blooming of spring to arrive.

This may well represent the period of time when these two young people need to hold their feelings in check until the time has arrived for their love. Again, even though the lover expresses this time of blooming has arrived, there is nothing in the text that suggests that they have married and are able to completely fulfill every desire with one another. This could be her imagining his arrival and invitation as she had expressed in the previous verses. The text says, “My beloved responded and said to me”. This means that she is reiterating what the invitation was to her.

We mentioned earlier how the lover may have been trying to peek into the house of the young girl to behold her beauty and draw her away. In verse 14, which we will explore much deeper next time, we see him refer to her as his “dove” and then he expresses his desire to see her lovely form and hear her voice. Was the invitation accepted from the previous verses? Perhaps these verses show us his continued desire for his beloved girl. He calls her by a pet name, "my dove". He speaks in delicate words that only a sincere love would allow. He is calling on her and hoping that she would come away with him. Some have suggested with the varying mood changes in the girl (desire 2:5; troubled with self-image 1:5), she may be playing hard to get even though she knows she will eventually be caught. She may be displaying the same attitude that her lover had shown in the previous encounter between the two of them where the lover challenged the girl to come and find him among the other shepherds and their tents. Now she is in hiding and longing to be sought after. He describes her as being in the cleft of the rock and up a steep cliff where he cannot see her or hear her voice. The use of the word “dove” may suggest that she has flown to a place that is a challenge for him to reach. This certainly makes sense in seeing that when she sees him arriving she says,

“he is coming, climbing on the mountains, leaping on the hills”

He is asking her to come and go with him. This could also represent that while she remains at home, she is like a bird in a cage and he needs her to step away from that prison to the freedom of the open-world with him. If indeed she is being shy, and stand-offish, perhaps this cycle has another reference to her low self-esteem. Maybe she is again questioning her beauty and is desirous of her lover’s reaffirmations. When the lover desires to see her form or appearance, there may be more in mind than simply having her in view. They both share the longings of being together and fully expressing in action their love for each other. This may be a reference to how he wants to see the girl undressed and behold her form. She seems to be hidden by the nooks and crannies of her apparel. When they are close like this, the voice being, “sweet” may represent the “sweet nothings” that those in love often whisper to each other. This may be the meaning of calling her “dove” in that up to this point she has been very innocent and modest but he cannot wait until they will reveal all that they have to offer to each other (See 5:15 for the word appearance and notice how it describes his body). Although I feel it would be safe to proceed without mentioning the understanding that these things are presently not being fulfilled, we must bear in mind that up to this point these are desires stated that have not become a reality. (See 8:13-14 where the book ends in a similar fashion). If indeed the lover has ideas of undress in his invitation then the “wall”, “windows”, and “lattice” of the previous verses represent more than restrictions of her being shut within her house or playing hard to get but rather speaks of the clothing that restricts his view to her beautiful “natural” form (See 8:9-10 where she is described as a door or a wall in reference to how easily she is accessed) Regardless, he knows that her form will be beautiful and her voice will be sweet when she decides to give herself to him. Let this be a lesson of sexual purity. Even though we may not always be strong ourselves, the plea from the girl earlier was, “do not arouse or awaken my love, until she pleases.” (2:7).

Michael Frayn once commented, “No woman is so naked as the one you can see to be naked underneath her clothes.” Since nakedness is always associated with shame outside of marriage in the scriptures, we can know that at this point in the relationship of our Song, that the time is not appropriate for them to be undressed in front of one another. The original marriage had no shame of being naked before sin. In Genesis 2:25, we learn, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” Marriage must be a priority before it is proper to see someone in the nude. After sin, the man and his wife were ashamed of their nakedness and hid among the trees of the Garden of Eden, before the Lord clothed them (Gen. 3:10, 21). They were allowed to be naked with one another, but now the nakedness was apparent to them and it could not be displayed openly. God even made laws against seeing nakedness (Lev. 20:17-23) Moving forward, being stripped naked became equivalent to being in sin (Jer. 13:22; Rev. 16:15). The only time today, where nakedness is acceptable, is in the one-flesh union of marriage and is to be maintained in privacy. A spouse should be the only one that knows the most intimate form of a lover. This visual of the body and the pleasures of the physical union are not to be shared with anyone outside of marriage. As if the invitation weren't appealing enough for the young lovers to be together, the conditions are described as perfect by the lover to his dove for coming out into nature where they can be together and share their love. SPIRITUAL APPLICATION: The Lord has given us a call of the gospel. It is a message of good news that He proclaims to us that we don't have to live in the winter of life, and the storms of life forever. In Isaiah 55:5-13, we hear, “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, that you may live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, According to the faithful mercies shown to David. Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples, A leader, and commander for the peoples. Behold, you will call a nation you do not know, And a nation which knows you not will run to you, Because of the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you.” Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way. And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways. And My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, And it will be a memorial to the Lord, For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.”

All that we have to do is leave our past and start a new life with Him and we get to see the new season has begun. He has prepared a season of renewal, growth, peace, and the tender blessings of His love. We are asked to come away and be innocent lovers of the Lord. We are not to be continually ashamed of our past, as in His eyes He sees the beauty in us. We are to let Him love us in spite of our mistakes and He is ready to give us the peace that we have hoped would come to pass. He pleads over and over again that we would accept His invitation to love. We have to make certain that we do not deny this opportunity to be loved for all eternity. I hope you will respond soon. QUESTIONS: 1. How do self-esteem and our distance from a lover play a role in our willingness to accept an invitation to love or be loved?

2. Comparing the seasons mentioned in this part of our study, explain how the winter and rain relate to our lives as opposed to the sunny, blossoming season of spring?

3. It is clear that the conditions of birds singing, flowers blooming and sun shining are the most desirable conditions. Why do you think the cold, rainy periods are necessary in light of the desire for the change in the seasons?

4. When you consider the Lord calling you to come away with Him to a fruitful paradise, full of the fragrance of the flowers, where nature is fully alive, why would someone choose to stay where they are instead of accepting the invitation?

5. Have you responded to the invitation of the Lord? What is holding you back?

This concludes our episode today. Please join us next time as we discuss Song of Song 2:14-17, in a message called, “The Little Foxes”.

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