Speaking to an absent king

One has said that our aspirations give better evidence of our spiritual temperature than do our attainments. It is obvious from the poem (Song 1:5-8) that the daughters of Jerusalem at that moment don’t have any problems, but we should ask if they had the aspirations of the lady. I think they did, because they commend her in verse 8. But we can consider some of the details of her prayer in verse 7.

First, she wants to hear the voice of the king – this can be deduced from her strong cry, ‘Tell me.’ She wants the king to come where she is and speak to her heart. This is always a good sign in a believer, to hear the voice of the King.

Second, she tells the king that she loves him – ‘you who my soul loves.’ Her experience with her brothers has not dampened the strong affection she has in her heart for the king. When she refers to her soul, she is not saying that she has a secret love for him. Instead, she is saying that she has a strong love for him, a love that involves everything within her. It is like saying, ‘Jesus, I love you with all my heart.’

Third, she wants to be where he and his flock are together, to be where he pastures them. There is a common idea that personal devotions are more important that corporate gatherings. Each has their strengths. It is better to be with Jesus when he meets with his people than to have a personal meeting where they are absent. The Bible nowhere encourages persistent isolationism as a Christian virtue. Usually, a reluctance to meet with other members of the flock is a sign of backsliding.

Fourth, she wants to experience rest from the king. She wants to know where he causes his flock to rest at noon. We should note the contrast here between the king and her brothers. The brothers had forced her to work in the heat of the sun. The king provides rest in the shade. Of course, we know that the rest that Jesus provides is himself, and various pictures of him in that capacity appear throughout the song (for example, he is the apple tree).

Fifth, she wants him to bring about a situation in which she would no longer have to wear a veil when she is with his flocks. She depicts a Christian who wants to hide the consequences of her problem from her fellow believers. The veil hides the fact that the sun has made her black. Even although the situation had not been caused by her, she did not want it to become a distraction for others. She longed to be in a place where her difficult experiences would be over and she could enjoy the rest provided by the king for all his people.

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