(Song of Solomon 3:1-11)
“By night on my bed I sought the one I love;
I sought him, but I did not find him.
‘I will rise now,’ I said,
‘And go about the city;
In the streets and in the squares
I will seek the one I love.’
I sought him, but I did not find him.
The watchmen who go about the city found me;
‘Have you seen the one I love?’
Scarcely had I passed by them,
When I found the one I love.
I held him and would not let him go,
Until I had brought him to the house of my mother,
And into the chamber of her who conceived me.
I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the does of the field,
Do not stir up nor awaken love
Until it pleases.
Who is this coming out of the wilderness
Like pillars of smoke,
Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,
With all the merchant’s fragrant powders?
Behold, it is Solomon’s couch,
With sixty valiant men around it,
Of the valiant of Israel.
They all hold swords,
Being expert in war.
Every man has his sword on his thigh
Because of fear in the night.
Of the wood of Lebanon
Solomon the King
Made himself a palanquin:
He made its pillars of silver,
Its support of gold,
Its seat of purple,
Its interior paved with love
By the daughters of Jerusalem.
Go forth, O daughters of Zion,
And see King Solomon with the crown
With which his mother crowned him
On the day of his wedding,
The day of the gladness of his heart.”
The Lord Wants to Share Fellowship with Us
Warm greetings to you all. People usually find the Lord when they are facing hardships. Such difficult times provide an opportunity to meet the Lord. This seems to be the case for you and me as well. When we look back and examine our past lives, we can see that it was when we were struggling with a hardship that we found the Lord. It was when we were struggling that we could look for the Lord and meet Him as well. In other words, it was when we were grappling with some hardship that our Lord came looking for us and met us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit. In a similar vein, it’s when we meet our Lord that we are able to be relieved from our hardships. It’s when we meet the Lord that we can be freed from all our worries and embark on a genuine and profound fellowship with Him.
The Song of Solomon is also called the Song of Solomon, and that’s because it sings about just how much God loves us all. The Song of Solomon is the Word of God spoken to His beloved servants, and the first part of today’s Scripture passage depicts the loving relationship between God and His servants as follows: “By night on my bed I sought the one I love; I sought him, but I did not find him. ‘I will rise now,’ I said, ‘And go about the city; In the streets and in the squares I will seek the one I love.’ I sought him, but I did not find him. The watchmen who go about the city found me; I said, ‘Have you seen the one I love?’ Scarcely had I passed by them, When I found the one I love. I held him and would not let him go, Until I had brought him to the house of my mother, And into the chamber of her who conceived me. I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the does of the field, Do not stir up nor awaken love Until it pleases.” Here in this passage the Lord is speaking to none other than us. The Lord is reminiscing here about the time He first met us through the gospel of the water and the Spirit.
Although we have the received the remission of sins, when we fall into temptation, we may end up not wanting to share fellowship with the Lord. But the Lord still wants to share a deep fellowship with us, for He still loves us. Not only does He want to share a spiritually profound fellowship with us, but He also wants to give us new strength. Indeed, the Lord loves us beyond words, and in all our shortcomings, He wants to help us and fill all our needs. He wants to correct our wrongs by exposing our shortcomings. And this is the way the Lord solves our difficult problems and teaches us important lessons.
When our hearts are troubled, the Lord takes us to the time where we heard the gospel of the water and the Spirit for the first time, asking us, “How did you hear of the gospel of the water and the Spirit? How were you before you received the remission of sins? By what Word of Mine did you receive the remission of sins? What is your status now?” In this way, the Lord wants to share fellowship with us. And with this Word the Lord strengthens us. It is from the Word of God that the saints and God’s workers renew their strength. We renew our strength by being reminded by God that we are His people and workers.
For All of Us Who Have Received the Remission of Sins through the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit, Fellowship Is the Most Important Thing in Our Relationship with the Lord
In our gatherings we share fellowship of faith with one another. After listening to the Word of God, we have lunch and take a short break, and then we get together again to share fellowship with our saints. Now that we have found the gospel of the water and the Spirit and received the remission of sins by faith thanks to the Lord, we all want to share fellowship with one another about the things God has done for us. We are joyous to abide and share fellowship in God’s Church. Through our fellowship, we can realize that God is working in our lives. Even though there still are many filthy sediments that stir up in our hearts, they are removed thanks to God’s work and through the spiritual fellowship we share in God’s Word. It’s through this kind of fellowship that the servants of God come to realize that they have such dregs still lingering in their hearts and minds, and these can be removed by the righteousness of God. This is why we wish to share fellowship with one another.
Song of Solomon 3:1 says, “By night on my bed I sought the one I love.” Why do you suppose the Lord looked for His beloved one? He did so to share fellowship with us. In other words, the Lord wants to share the burden of our hardships and take care of them for us. There is a Korean proverb that says, “A man and a woman can build the Great Wall over a night.” This adage means that a man and a woman can dream great things even by sharing the bed just for one night. The Lord comes looking for His workers to share spiritual fellowship with them. And it is through our hardship that we come to meet the Lord and take our fellowship with Him even deeper. If we don’t share fellowship with the Lord, our spiritual rope of life will be broken. Even though we have received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, if our spiritual fellowship with the Lord is broken, then we will surely perish.
Why do you think hardships come our way? These hardships come our way so that we would share fellowship with the Lord. So, whenever we face any difficulties, we should realize God’s will in them and live by faith accordingly. These difficulties are the building blocks for our spiritual fellowship. And through this fellowship the Lord is telling us to live by faith. The Lord doesn’t just want a one-way fellowship. True fellowship is possible when both sides desire it. In other words, the Lord wants us to share fellowship out of a mutual love.
Have You Really Fallen in Love with God?
Unrequited love is tragic. Even though countless Christians profess to believe in Jesus as their Savior, many of them love the Lord without being loved back in return. Such misguided Christians love the Lord as a one-way love, without knowing His true love. This is not the kind of love the Lord wants from anyone, but sadly, this is the love many Christians have for the Lord. Those whose hearts remain sinful are never called by the Lord as His own people. That’s why their love is unrequited love. And that’s why unrequited love is so sad. Even though it’s still love, it’s a tragic love.
True love is possible only when both sides share their hearts. Our love must be recognized by one another. Our true love is possible only when it’s found in the grace of the Lord. Of course, it’s possible for a human being to love another human being or even a pet. But the love between the Lord and us is fundamentally different from such a love.
The Lord told us to be holy just as He is holy. And He has made us holy with the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We are therefore worthy of sharing fellowship with the Lord, and this is why the Lord came looking for us and wants to share with us the true fellowship of faith. Because all our sins have disappeared on account of our faith in the righteousness of the Lord, we can come boldly to the presence of the holy Lord and share fellowship with Him. If we want to share spiritual fellowship with the Lord, then it’s only a matter of course that we ought to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and thereby receive the remission of sins. Only someone who has received the remission of sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit can share the fellowship of faith with the Holy Lord. Only such people can share genuine fellowship with the Lord.
Although the Lord loves everyone, He doesn’t share His love with just anyone. The Lord shares His love with only those who fit into His heart’s desire. In other words, the Lord loves only those who have received His righteousness and the remission of sins into their hearts. The Lord is asking all of us, “Have you seen the one I love?” The one the Lord’s heart loves is not just anyone. His love certainly doesn’t apply to anyone who has not accepted the gospel of the water and the Spirit, nor anyone who is too arrogant to accept the Lord’s love. Far from it, He wants to share His love and fellowship only with those who have been washed clean from all their sins by accepting His love into their hearts. I can’t emphasize this enough just how important it is for all of us to grasp this.
Although We Are All Equal in Our Relationship with One Another, That Does Not Apply to Our Relationship with God
Our relationship with God is fundamentally different from just any human relationship. In the latter, we are all equal; in the former, we are subordinate to God. Even though we have received the remission of sins by believing in the righteousness of the Lord, we ought to have the Lord reign in our hearts as our King. We ought to render the throne of our hearts to the Lord. Anytime the Lord comes to us and speaks to us, we must give Him the seat of honor. Only then can we share fellowship with the Lord properly.
The Lord said, “Do not stir up nor awaken love Until it pleases” (Song of Solomon 3:5). This means that while the Lord wants to share fellowship with us, He doesn’t want it to be a one-sided love. When we ask our Lord for His help, we are actually sharing spiritual fellowship with Him. Asking the Lord to help us, to protect us, and to bless us—all these requests are the means by which we share spiritual fellowship with the Lord. Because the Lord has the power to answer all our requests, asking this Almighty Lord for His help is the spiritual channel through which we commune with the Lord. That’s why the Lord said not to stir up nor awaken love until it so desires. The Lord does not want His beloved ones to be aroused or awakened coercively. This means that He wants us to share fellowship with Him out of our own volition. Put differently, our fellowship with the Lord is when we divulge our shortcomings to Him and ask Him for His help. The channel through which we share fellowship with the Lord is our prayer asking for His help.
A while ago, there was a certain member in our Church who had not received the remission of sins. This person left us eventually, and she still has not received the gospel of the water and the Spirit. At any rate, she used to say that she was so spiritual that whenever she closed her eyes to pray, she could see Heaven with a beautiful river flowing in the middle and wonderful fruit trees along its banks dancing in the breeze.
Who couldn’t see Heaven in one’s own imagination? When we sing hymns that depict Heaven, read the Word of God about Paradise, or even see the beauty of nature, we can all imagine how Heaven would look like. But this is just in our imagination. In contrast, when we ask the Lord for His help, it’s for real. What about you then? Do you need the Lord’s help? Do you have many things to request to the Lord? Perhaps you are not fully aware of your limits and are still thinking that you don’t need that much help from the Lord, but once you realize your weaknesses, you will realize that you have in fact many things that you cannot deal with without the Lord’s help. You would then keep on asking the Lord to help you. The Lord is actually pleased the most by those who ask Him for His help the most, for He is Almighty. He is rejoiced to hear us asking for His help to carry out the work that’s pleasing to Him. However, if we ask for the Lord’s help just to gratify our own fleshly greed, then the Lord would not be pleased at all.
You and I ought to be constantly asking the Lord to help us in all our needs. But, we should do so while we are carrying out His work. Serving the Lord like this is also sharing fellowship with the Lord. We ought to be carrying out the Lord’s work in our everyday lives. Unless we do the righteous work of the Lord, we cannot share any genuine fellowship with the Lord. Unless we do the Lord’s work, we can neither realize His heart’s desire nor comprehend His will.
It Is by Carrying out the Lord’s Work That We Can Share Genuine Fellowship with the Lord
When we carry out the Lord’s work by faith, we can all realize that what we are doing is pleasing to the Lord. We can feel in our hearts that the Lord is actually joyful by our work. That’s because the Holy Spirit is in our hearts. That’s how our strength is renewed. And that’s how we can share spiritual fellowship with the Lord. Whenever we carry out the Lord’s work, we are always sharing fellowship with Him, and as a result our hearts and spirits are uplifted. It’s by carrying out God’s work that we discover the will of the Lord and His pleasure amidst this work, and this, in turn, makes us submit ourselves to the Lord’s pleasure rather than obeying only grudgingly. Because we are doing what’s pleasing to the Lord, this makes us proud.
When we carry out God’s work, we come to do whatever is pleasing to the Lord no matter what the people of the world might say to us. Even though sometimes we face persecution in order to please the Lord, we are in fact doing His work because it is the right thing to do. It’s all for the Lord that we bear suffering. So, the work that we do for the Lord itself allows us to share fellowship with Him. And that is precisely why whoever has received the remission of sins must carry out the Lord’s work. All of us must serve the Lord’s righteousness and carry out His work in whatever way possible. This is done to share fellowship with the Lord.
What, then, happens when we share fellowship with the Lord? We are all blessed. The more we carry out the Lord’s work rather than just idling away after receiving the remission of sins, the more fellowship we can have with the Lord and the closer we can get to His heart. Living such a life can only result into blessings. Even though living out our faith may seem to be disadvantageous to us in our fleshly minds, in reality that is not the case. It is by the God-given strength, gifts, and blessings that we are carrying out the Lord’s work. It’s not the case that we would be able to do the Lord’s work even if He had not given us the faith, the desire, and the strength to do so. Put differently, it’s because the Lord has given us health and strength that we can carry out His work, and it’s because the Lord has given us talents that we can do His work. Moreover, when we do the Lord’s work with devotion, then our hearts are also rejoiced. Isn’t this true? Don’t we all feel this in the Holy Spirit? Of course we do!
That is why we are only too happy to carry out the Lord’s righteous work. If we didn’t have the Lord’s work to do after receiving the remission of sins, we would have fallen into despair and perished. If I had not carried out the Lord’s work even after encountering His righteousness, by now I would be drowning to death in all kinds of sins. The same is true for you also. If you had not carried out the Lord’s work after encountering His righteousness, you would be walking according to your own desires and wishes.
We can’t have fellowship with the Lord if we are too preoccupied just with our own secular work. In contrast, while we are doing God’s work, through the difficulties that we face, the evil desires that are stirred up in our hearts, and the blessings that we received from God, we come to learn to have fellowship with the Lord. All of you who are carrying out God’s work can feel that your fellowship with the Lord is special. All of us who are now doing God’s work have many blessings to testify about, and our strength is also renewed. What distinguishes the workers carrying out the Lord’s work from those who, despite having received the remission of sins, do not participate in the Lord’s work is that while the former have so many testimonies to give, the latter have very little. Even among us, there are those who can give their testimony of faith and those who have little to testify about. Those who can testify much are precisely those who are carrying out the Lord’s work. That’s why they have something to testify about every day, while the others have no testimony to give.
Can anyone then have no testimony to give even if this person has not only received the remission of sins but also is serving the Lord? No, of course not! All such people have plenty of testimonies to give. The blessings that you have received from God are not the only things that you can testify about. Testimonies come in many shapes and forms, from your hardships to the Lord’s comfort, from learning important spiritual lessons to removing the sediments of your heart. The Lord wants to share fellowship with us through our testimonies and requests, but He also wants us to come to Him voluntarily. This is why the Lord said not to awaken us until we so desire. So, if we stay idle and have no fellowship with the Lord, we will just end up sleeping. It’s a terrible thing for our faith to fall asleep.
If You Are Not Doing God’s Work Even after Receiving the Remission of Sins by Believing in the God-given Gospel of the Water and the Spirit, Then You Are an Evildoer
Such people are even worse than those who simply don’t believe in the righteousness of God. The Lord told us to be awake. Whoever has become the Lord’s worker must be spiritually awake without exception. If you are not awake now, you must wake up, and this awakening comes only if you start to do God’s work.
When we turn to Song of Solomon 3:6-7, we see Solomon’s couch mentioned. It’s written: “Who is this coming out of the wilderness Like pillars of smoke, Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, With all the merchant’s fragrant powders? Behold, it is Solomon’s couch, With sixty valiant men around it, Of the valiant of Israel (Song of Solomon 3:6-7).”
Solomon’s couch here refers to his royal carriage, and the preceding passage describes the majestic royal procession of King Solomon. Many of you have probably seen a royal ceremonial procession on TV or in a film. Such processions are invariably huge and magnificent, designed in elaborate detail to show the majesty of the king. So, the one “coming out of the wilderness Like pillars of smoke, Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, With all the merchant’s fragrant powders” (Song of Solomon 3:6), refers to King Solomon. This, in turn, refers to none other than God’s workers. This is a poetic expression of God’s workers, describing them like Solomon’s couch. And it describes none other than you and me. Even though we face hardships while carrying out God’s work, we can still ask for His help and we are fighting for His glory. That’s how the Lord sees God’s workers. In God’s eyes, His workers are splendid like Solomon’s couch. That’s how you and I look in God’s sight. As God’s workers, we are magnificent in the Lord’s eyes.
How wonderful would it be for the king’s subjects to find his favor? And what a wonderful fellowship would they then have with the king? This is the challenge that you and I are facing. Yet, too many of us are living without knowing this kind of genuine fellowship. This is what’s so frustrating to me. Those who are living by trusting in the righteousness of God know what it means to have fellowship with Him. The Word of God illuminates their hearts. When a thief reads the Bible, all that he can see is how to steal even better. In other words, to someone whose heart is evil, all that he can see is wickedness.
The Word of God is seen differently depending on who is reading it. That’s what’s so mysterious about the Scriptures. When God’s workers read the Bible, they see what is really meant by “God’s work.” In contrast, to a carnal man reading the Song of Solomon singing about the love between Solomon and the Shulamite woman, the Bible looks like a romantic novel. So, when a lusty man reads the Bible verse saying, “Your two breasts are like two fawns, Twins of a gazelle (Song of Solomon 7:3),” he thinks the Bible is obscene. But to me, I never get such an impression no matter how often I read this Song of Solomon. If you feel otherwise, then there is something wrong with you.
In God’s sight, His workers are fragrant like myrrh and frankincense. The work of the Lord that we are carrying out really saves people, and it’s precisely to enable us to carry out this work that God strengthens us. And that is why our Lord wants to share fellowship with His workers. This is the lesson that all of us ought to learn from today’s Scripture passage.
Although it may seem as though we are buried under an avalanche of God’s work, in reality, we are actually sharing fellowship with the Lord through everything we do for Him. That’s because we are doing what’s pleasing to the Lord. Because we are all laboring together according to the will of the Lord, in the end, we come to appreciate even more what it is that pleases the Lord. We should therefore never forget the fact that in order to share spiritual fellowship with God, we must obey His will even more.