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The Song of Songs (WHO IS THE BRIDE, REALLY?) Lesson 3.

    WHO IS THIS ONE WHO IS DARK, BUT LOVELY?

WHO IS THIS ONE WHO HAS NOT KEEP HER OWN VINEYARD?

WHO IS THIS ONE WHO DOES NOT WANT THE KING TO GAZE ON HER?

beautyforashes

OH CAN IT BE?

THAT HE WOULD TAKE A WRETCH LIKE ME

AND MAKE ME A LILY AMONG THORNS?

Lily

THAT HE WOULD SAY

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, MY LOVE

BEHOLD, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL 

AND COULD I BELIEVE THE GOSPEL SO COMPLETELY

THAT I COULD SING, WITH CONFIDENCE:

HIS BANNER OVER ME IS LOVE?

 His Banner Over MeCo

AND COULD I TRUST HIS LOVE SO COMPLETELY

THAT I WOULD, TO QUOTE OUR OWN STACI,

COME AWAY WITH HIM

COME AWAY FROM MY IDOLS,

FROM MY FALSE SAFETY BLANKETS I HAVE CLUNG TO SO LONG?

Mike Reeves, in this week’s teaching (the last twenty minutes of his first teaching) gave me an “aha” moment when he went through scriptures from Genesis to Revelation on the bride of Christ. We’ll look at those Scriptures this week, but I am convinced that she is the bride of Christ. Our own Jill asked, “If He is the Lord, and she is the bride, is it individual or corporate? I realize it could be both.”

When Kathy Troccoli and I did Falling in Love with Jesus,  we got letters saying, “The Bride in Scripture is corporate, and you shouldn’t apply it to individuals.” I am so eager for you to do the study this week and then you yourself will be able to answer that objection.

I’ve been reading Tim Keller’s Galatians For You, doing it by e-mail with my four daughters. We are in the part in Galatians 4 where he says “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.” He is concerned because the Galatians are turning back to these nongods, to these idols. Keller says that when we do that “we can become subject to enslavement by evil spiritual forces.” The demonic enters in. Could it be that the enemy has blinded our eyes to the true He and she of The Song of Songs?

We have learned that the best stories warm our hearts because they echo the true story that was written before the dawn of time — the love of Christ for His Bride and the love of the Bride for Christ. I think God inspired the lyrics and music of Norah Jones, Come Away. Listen to it and imagine the Lord singing this to you — and follow along with the lyrics.

Link to Norah Jones:

COME AWAY WITH ME

Come away with me in the night
Come away with me
And I will write you a song

Come away with me on a bus
Come away where they can’t tempt us
With their lies

I want to walk with you
On a cloudy day
In fields where the yellow grass grows knee-high
So won’t you try to come

Come away with me and we’ll kiss
On a mountaintop
Come away with me
And I’ll never stop loving you

And I want to wake up with the rain
Falling on a tin roof
While I’m safe there in your arms
So all I ask is for you
To come away with me in the night

OH CAN IT BE THAT HE WOULD LONG TO SEE OUR FACE?

THAT HE WOULD LONG TO HEAR OUR VOICE?

THAT HE WOULD ASK US TO COME AWAY

COME AWAY FROM OUR IDOLS?

COME AWAY WHERE THE LIES CANNOT TEMPT US?

AND ABANDON OURSELVES TO HIM?

 Idols lie that we will not be happy if we do what the Lord wants us to do. But when we are close to Him we know He loves us and that we won’t be happy away from Him, and we will have joy when we do what He calls us to do. This is speaking to me so loudly now with my comfort idol in regard to both the poor and healthy eating. It’s helping me — this Song of Songs.

SUNDAY/MONDAY: ICE-BREAKERS

1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

2. Are you growing in your trust for God’s love from The Song of Songs? If so, what is helping you?

MONDAY/THURSDAY: BIBLE STUDY AND TEACHING FROM MIKE REEVES

There are three metaphors the Bible uses to describe God’s people in Ephesians, but also in all of Scripture: The building; the body, and the bride. In the following Scriptures explain how each has a corporate and an individual aspect.

3. THE BUILDING

You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home. (Ephesians 3:18-20 The Message)

A. How is each individual important?

B. How is it important that we also see each other corporately?

4. THE BODY (See 1 Corinthians 12:12-20)

A. How is each individual important?

B. How is it important that we also see each other corporately?

5. THE BRIDE (See Ephesians 5:25-32)

A. How does Paul begin with instructions to individual wives and husbands?

B. What mystery does he say he is talking about?

C. How would you answer the person who says, “God loves the corporate bride, but not me individually.”

I believe, The Song of Songs show us clearly the individual aspect — that He wants us to know that if we were the only one in the world, He would have died. He wants us to know we can shut ourselves away in our “closet” and have sweet communion with Him. He wants us to know he knows how many hairs are on our head. We are loved individually, as well as corporately.

 

THE BRIDE IS ALSO A CITY FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION

Listen to the last twenty minutes of Mike Reeves when he answers “Who is she?” Take notes. It’s the same link as last week. Download it (or it won’t work well) and just listen to the last twenty minutes: Here is the link: Link

6. Notes

Paolo Caliarifirst-anaesthetist

7. Read Genesis 2:21-22. What significance do you see in the fact that the verb is actually “built?”

8. In The Song of Songs, you find the words Solomon, Shulamite, and Jerusalem. The root word for each is the same. Do you know what it is and what significance do you see in this?

9. Read Revelation 21:1-3 and find the mixed metaphor. What is it?

10. Read Song of Songs 1:1-7

      A. How have you been kissed by the King recently? Praise Him here!

Puritan James Durham writes: That this is the great scope and desire of
believers, if they had their choice, it is to have sensible communion
with Christ: this is their ‘one thing,’ Psalm 27:4. It is the first and
last suit of this Song, and the voice of the Spirit and Bride, and the
last prayer that is in the scripture, Rev. 22:17. 3.

      B. What does wine do — and how is His love better? Have you experienced this recently?

      C. How is the name Jesus, or Savior, like oil poured out?

      D. It isn’t just the Shulamite who loves Him — who else do you see in verse 3?

 Nancy Leigh DeMoss  believe the virgins, the daughters of Jerusalem, also love Him — also are part of the Bride, though they do not yet love Him like she does.

      E. What does she ask the King to do in verse 4? Do you ask Him to do this regularly?

      F. How has she impacted the others according to verse 4?

      G. She says she is dark but lovely. How are you both?

      H. How do you see her insecurity in verse 6?

      I.  Matthew Henry sees some persecution in verse 6 — sometimes we get dark in the storms of life. What do you see in verse 6

           concerning this and also what she says about the vineyard.

      J. Inherently, according to verse 7, she knows her soul loves Him. Why does she long to be unveiled?

FRIDAY: CORRESPONDING THOUGHTS FROM MICHAEL CARD

Listen to this from Michael Card and share what stands out to you:

10. What stood out to you from Michael Card?

Watch this:

I think it is impossible to picture what we as a corportate Bride, we as the new Jerusalem, will really be like, yet artists keep trying. What I do know is that we will be like Jesus and with Jesus. I know the New Jerusalem will be the best of earth and heaven. I know we will be together with those we love — and He will have taken all the sin out of our mouths. I know  that there will be no more tears, no more pain, and no more death.

11. What do you know?

Saturday:

12. What is your take-a-way and why?

 

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214 comments

  1. 10. Read Song of Songs 1:1-7

    A. How have you been kissed by the King recently? Praise Him here!

    I am with Laura Dancer-God surprised us with a provisional gift at the right time!

    What blows me away the most is His kiss of surety that when I fail to trust I can repent and turn because He loves me-I am His bought by His blood..I am forgiven and His blood is enough.

    Lord I am truly humbled-how you love me despite me. Despite my lack of trust in the moment-You come to me over and over and leave your scent of myrrh on the door handle. Help me never to delay responding because my eyes are on others. I love you.

    Puritan James Durham writes: That this is the great scope and desire of
    believers, if they had their choice, it is to have sensible communion
    with Christ: this is their ‘one thing,’ Psalm 27:4. It is the first and
    last suit of this Song, and the voice of the Spirit and Bride, and the
    last prayer that is in the scripture, Rev. 22:17. 3.

    B. What does wine do — and how is His love better? Have you experienced this recently?

    Wine brings temporary peace-relaxation-a calming and the best wine is costly. His love is better and more valuable than any wine. Honestly, let’s be real here..does anything this Earth or world offer really last in bringing us joy? It is momentary and then it passes. But Jesus..He covers me with Him-He is Peace and I am Mrs. Peace-HE is my hope..The world can’t offer lasting hope. He stills and comforts my soul when I am troubled, he provides and protects-but most important He is my hope and my joy.

    C. How is the name Jesus, or Savior, like oil poured out?

    Oil poured out is better than Oil kept in for it is fragrant and wonderful. I am thinking when it is kept in a bottle-you can’t smell it, or experience it. Because of the Cross and resurrection we can know Him, commune with Him, experience Him-We have Hope, joy and His peace indescribable-like a fragrant oil spilled out.

  2. D. It isn’t just the Shulamite who loves Him — who else do you see in verse 3?

    The young women love him too. Could this be a reference to the City of Jerusalem? Like you said Dee-Keller said it is believers who have stopped striving to earn their salvation-who rejoice in His Grace-His unmerited favor?

    Nancy Leigh DeMoss believe the virgins, the daughters of Jerusalem, also love Him — also are part of the Bride, though they do not yet love Him like she does.

    E. What does she ask the King to do in verse 4? Do you ask Him to do this regularly?
    To take her away with him and bring her into His chambers-AND HURRY! I admit, I don’t regularly-but Oh I want to regularly!

    F. How has she impacted the others according to verse 4?
    They are praising and adoring God.

    G. She says she is dark but lovely. How are you both?
    I am dark because of my sin nature-but lovely because of Him covering me.

    H. How do you see her insecurity in verse 6?
    This quickened me this morning as I read..Don’t know why..but maybe because I do this to God too! She is telling him not to stare at her..She fears He will see or gaze upon her darkness-and reject her-she momentarily forgot His covering over her. Psalm 45 came to mind-“Let the King be enthralled by your beauty”..She wasn’t letting him be enthralled with her-even though He was.

    I. Matthew Henry sees some persecution in verse 6 — sometimes we get dark in the storms of life. What do you see in verse 6 concerning this and also what she says about the vineyard.

    I saw that too-but I also see how she is ashamed of it-so I am thinking sin is an issue too, but maybe it is both. Maybe she was persecuted, and the sin comes in in how she handled it. Not taking care of her vineyard represents going to her idol in the pain instead of to Jesus?

    J. Inherently, according to verse 7, she knows her soul loves Him. Why does she long to be unveiled?

    I don’t know. Maybe she deeply desires to have no walls between them at all-because she still has a sin nature?

  3. Greetings, sisters…:) Sorry for my somewhat absence this week…it is “pre-class” week at the university and I have been busy with work and grandchild care. I print off the study on Sunday and do it in my journal/notebook, but sharing a computer with my husband, I’m not always able to get on when it is convenient for me to post and read comments…you’ll notice sometimes my posts are in the early afternoon (lunch time at work)…blessings upon your Friday!

    3. THE BUILDING
    A. How is each individual important?
    All of the individuals together make the whole…”brick by brink, stone by stone.” Like a jigsaw puzzle, all the pieces are needed to complete the picture.

    B. How is it important that we also see each other corporately?
    The whole will not be complete without each individual…e.g., jigsaw puzzle.

    4. THE BODY (See 1 Corinthians 12:12-20)
    A. How is each individual important?
    Each part (individual) is needed to make the whole body function; without a part the whole would be lacking…it may still function but not to the level of functionality if all parts were present.

    B. How is it important that we also see each other corporately?
    Each person is important…critical to the corporate body. Without each, the “whole” would not be complete/whole.

    5. THE BRIDE (See Ephesians 5:25-32)
    A. How does Paul begin with instructions to individual wives and husbands?
    He begins with a comparison to the love Jesus has for the church…this is how husbands should love and care for their wives.

    B. What mystery does he say he is talking about?
    As a man and woman are united as one in marriage, this is also the illustration of Jesus and His church.

    C. How would you answer the person who says, “God loves the corporate bride, but not me individually.”
    I would ask who/what makes up the “corporate” church…the answer would be individuals. The word “corporate” encompasses “all” the individuals…as the Lord loves the “whole,” He loves ALL that makes up the whole, i.e., individuals.

    7. Read Genesis 2:21-22. What significance do you see in the fact that the verb is actually “built?”
    From what Reeves said, this seems to point to building the Lord’s church in the context of Adam being the fore-coming of Jesus, and the relationship of Adam and Eve is related to Jesus and His “bride,” the church.

    8. In The Song of Songs, you find the words Solomon, Shulamite, and Jerusalem. The root word for each is the same. Do you know what it is and what significance do you see in this?
    The root word common to all three words is “shalom”…peace. The significance of this in the context for seeing SoS (Laura-d…:) I like the abbreviation) as primarily a song about the relationship of Christ and the church is Jesus’ provision…His provision of peace…He provides a peace the only He can give.

    9. Read Revelation 21:1-3 and find the mixed metaphor. What is it?
    “saw the holy city…like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband”

    10. Read Song of Songs 1:1-7
    A. How have you been kissed by the King recently? Praise Him here!
    It seems so trivial Lord, if I told anyone else they would think me silly, but You don’t. Every…yes, EVERY detail is important to you…You know me better than I know myself…You know what is needed, no matter how miniscule or insignificant it may seem to others. Thank you for loving me…thank You for your kiss.

    Time to head out for work…

  4. I have to add, I finally was able to sit quietly and listen to Mike Reeves message. Like Rebecca I had that wow moment with Eve coming from Adam’s rib, being built etc.

    Another thing that stood out to me is Mike talking about the scriptures on marriage ” for this reason a man will leave his mother and father and be united with his bride as One”. I paraphrased it, but this alone represents Jesus LEAVING His Father (God) and all His Glory in Heaven to be with His bride~US, YOU AND I!! HE wants to give us everything and in return, we LEAVE our condemnation….I was like wow! I had to go back and listen to it about 3 times. It was just so beautiful, how even that act from God and Jesus truly leads the way for our marriages here on earth.

    I also like the last note Mike Reeves mentioned when churches get on sexual talks or genders…if they would just talk about Christ and the Church “quicker”, everything would make sense. Like our focus is off, it should be on Christ and the church~relationship wise, and everything else follows~’headship’. Also one other thing a husband and wifes marriage should be determined by Christ and the Churchs’ relationship.

    All this was so beautiful and I can attest, doing this study has made me fall in love with Jesus more but even so my husband. We have been married for 11 1/2 years and together 13.

    One last thing, could you please pray for my best friend, Evelisse, who recently got married in April. I got to Facetime with her last night. She is miserable in her marriage, her husband is not a Christian and she moved away from her family in Florida, to be married and with him in North Carolina. I had some reservations about her marrying this guy, but you say all you can, and in the end it’s their decision. Now IM just praying God will get her husband’s heart..he doesnt understand God’s love, let alone how to love his wife like God does or ask.

    Thank you for the bible study, you all are such a blessing to me and God sent, you have no idea!

  5. Hello,

    I do not want to spill all over into your lives but I am going to trust God today.
    No pride today.
    No hiding.

    I received a book a couple of days ago.
    It is called the “Bait of Satan” by John Bevere.
    I guess it has been out for 10 years.
    I do not even remember ordering it or if I did it was quite awhile ago. It is about offenses.
    How to forgive offenses.
    within the body of Christ.
    I have not stopped crying.

    I thought I done with repenting, forgiving,
    I am not being trivial here I have been in church splits. Seen church splits. Christian brothers and sisters hating one another instead of loving.
    I did not attend church for about 5years or more.
    If I did before that the church was so broken.
    the Pastor’s wife had left for another man etc.
    We were a broken people.

    I was crying b/c I need help.
    Whom do I go to? I have gone to God.
    I do attend church but I am not involved. It is like when u have been hurt. U forgive but the next time u just do not love as much, or share as much, etc.
    so I go to church but I do not engage.

    Since moving to this town 4 years ago. This is our 3rd church.
    we try to go but if I am not crying in one Chuck is
    At one church I think they thought we were recovering alcoholics
    There church was small and ministered to street people etc.
    They did not own the building. They rented it out.

    God is not easily offended and keeps no records of wrongs.
    Me – I am like an elephant – I never forget who wounds me.
    Yet – I ask myself – do I love people enough?

    I think people avoid us b/c of our tears or maybe it is b/c we run out the door too quickly.
    Yet I cannot stop attending church.
    I am crying b/c I am stuck.
    I have cried out to God
    I am in the last chapter where u r to pray and ask God to reveal to u whom u r to forgive and then release them.
    I had to repent and ask my husband Chuck to forgive me.
    When I am angry I am a terrible human being -his words to me-
    It is truth
    I can be an angry person.

    Now between Chuck and I we have 7 children -all adults here- The youngest just turned 26 years old. Yet she does not talk to me. Loves my husband but not me. Every b/d I sing happy birthday to them. I get Chuck to join in with me. They do not answer the phone so I leave it on their answering machine.
    Chuck has no relationships with his 2 children and his other 2 children it is tenuous at best.
    Yes, ladies we are the “wicked sinners” that the bible talks abt.
    Our stories would shock and horrify many I am sure.
    Pain produces pain but I do not want to live like this anymore.

    So I am crying out.
    To God first but to the body of Christ second.
    At this moment in time u r the body of Christ for me.
    My body of Christ.
    God works through his body – the church –
    I know it. I have seen it.

    My husband and I have each other -that is it-
    Our little hounds.
    Occasionally phone calls, visits that do not go well at all.

    So I am in the process of not wanting to spill over into your lives yet desperate enough to do so.
    like John B. states in his book I am in danger of becoming Cain, wandering all over the place with no roots.
    Easily offended.
    If I cannot forgive or do what the Lord is asking me to do.
    Write a note of forgiveness (to Chuck’s oldest dtr.)
    I have of course and tucked it into a book called “Kisses for Katie” -hoping she will read it.
    Now I need to mail it.
    I am asking for prayer just to do it and let God to the rest.

    I know this has nothing to do with the study.
    Except it might tie in with the questions on the body of Christ.
    I am hoping.

    3 years ago is when I came back to the Lord. Level ground with Brian Doerskson is such a good song. It is level ground at the foot of the cross.
    I tried to reach out to family but it has been a disaster. I longed for love, for closeness. You know just a cup of coffee with out us condemning one another or judging one another or comparing one another etc.
    Visiting one another
    We tried -phone calls and e-mails but now nothing.
    Silence is deafening u know.
    It echoes in a room like nothing else does.

    I blew it I guess.
    Chuck said to examine my heart which I have done.
    I wanted closeness with family and of course to see them saved.
    One sister who was saved when she was a girl now says there are many ways to God
    Another sister says she is saved but so many things.
    we argue over the abuse, the rape etc.
    It is so tragic and sad and ???
    I don’t know wht to say.
    I am crying.
    Of course condemnation (the enemy -how I hate him) but
    is my heart cold?
    if I cannot keep holding onto loving people who don’t love back??
    Am I doomed like Cain to wander?
    or can I trust and believe in the body of Christ again??
    God does want me out of this room I have cocooned myself in.
    I know that much
    that is why I am on this blog.

    A year ago when I tried counselling.
    She asked “why r u in this marriage”
    B/c I have never felt God asking me to leave.
    Maybe I am so damaged I do not know the truth??

    I know my whole heart, being is screaming out.
    I do not want secular wisdom but Godly wisdom here.
    Please pray for me that I will be obedient to God.
    The note to Chuck’s dtr. and mailing it.
    That it is written sincerely and honestly

    To be quiet with God and just trust Him
    That God will give me friends, mentors and the family of God.
    I need others.
    God with skin.
    Please pray and thank u in advance.

    Blessings in Christ
    mellany

    I remember once when my mother wrote a note to all of us.
    5 children (adult children)
    we were not on speaking terms (due to offenses, abuse etc.)
    I was a carnal Christian at the best at that time.
    It was a short note.
    One line and she never ever really apologized for being abusive
    I don’t believe it mended any fences.
    I know she meant well and we did try years later
    Just before she died there was some reconciliation.

    All I know I do not want to act like a Christian
    I want to be a Christian.
    Does that make sense?

    1. Mellany, I am so sorry for all that you have been through. You express your pain very well. I am so glad that you have your husband. I too have had trouble with forgiveness in the church. I had to come to understand that they are all as broken as I am. I was expecting too much.
      About the letter, maybe you should re read it several times and pray for The Lord to show you if it will help or harm. Letters can be so easily misunderstood. Sometimes The Lord tells me to be quiet and pray. He has to repeat Himself to me a lot on the be quiet part.
      I am praying for you especially that you will understand the depth of The Lord’s love for you. That was where I began and I remain on that road.

      1. Mellany, I will pray for wisdom for you and for peace from God. May He heal your heart. I also agree with Anne. Many in the church “are all as broken as I am”. The church is/are the sick in need of the Great Physician but sometimes we do not even know it. I have been hurt by the church as well. Praying your family will have some healing and reconciliation. My family is broken too. Sometimes we just have to let go of our grip and our expectations and simply pray and trust them into God’s hands.

        1. Thank u Diane for your kind words.
          Sometimes I rack my brain and heart to offer some comfort or peace.
          We have tried everything, tears, prayer, arguing, ignoring, sharing e-mails, books etc.
          I know now we just have to let go and trust God.
          Love them when they let us and pray for them constantly.
          Through all of this God continues to strengthen our marriage and each other.
          I trust God but I also am thankful for your kind words and thoughtful prayers.
          Blessings
          Mellany

      2. Thank u for your kind words Anne,

        They were so appropriate. I am not going to send a letter. My husband said the same thing. That I need to think about it and pray about it. I am thinking I cannot win people’s love. I can pray and God can change circumstances.
        I usually send daily devotionals out in a mass e-mail. I am trying to witness to friends and family. I have been praying for about a year. Since my husband and I were divorced before and except for 3 members of the immediate no one else is saved.
        I keep praying for the households.
        Chuck and I have both repented but almost always we are met with anger when we try to communicate with family.
        It is so strange b/c just 6 short years ago we were loving and communicating yet the closer my husband and I get or the closer we are seeking the Lord the more opposition we face from everyone.
        Anyhow thank u for your advice and prayers.
        Blessings
        Mellany

        1. Praying for you Mellany

    2. Mellany~OMG, I just heard that message from Jon Bevere not to long ago and love it! You can find it on youtube and his old podcast from his and his wife’s Lisa’s ministry. It was a blessing and eye opener to me as well.
      I pray for you my sister in Christ, many hugs to you!

      1. Hello Staci,

        Thank u
        I am still processing everything.
        Standing on the promises of God my saviour.
        Believing Him and Him alone.
        Hour by hour and day by day.
        I think it is an old hymn I am thinking of
        I need thee o how I need thee.

        In the book I have it also has a devotional in it.
        I started that as well.
        I have to start believing the truth of what God says about me and not the lies that I have believed.
        I am forgiven and I am loved and I accept that
        Blessings
        Mellany

  6. 8. In The Song of Songs, you find the words Solomon, Shulamite, and Jerusalem. The root word for each is the same. Do you know what it is and what significance do you see in this?

    The root of each is peace. I see significance in the fact that it is repeated 3 times making it suprillative. It echoes the Trinity. It represents Christ, each one of us personally and all of us corporately in His church. Lastly and very importantly it represents our peace with God through the gospel. We are no longer dark sinners who must leave God’s presence. We are brought in, out of hiding.

    9. Read Revelation 21:1-3 and find the mixed metaphor. What is it?

    I’m not very well taught in language study so not sure what mixed metaphor is. My thought is that it may be one thing that represents several other things. So when I read this I notice that the Holy City represents a husband, bride and their home. The place where they will dwell together as one.

  7. Hey friends,

    Just a quick “Hi”….had to interject with a song that is swirling around in my mind (particularly as I read your comments)…it seems VERY appropriate for this discussion….!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmxPlCbDlZo

    I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend!

    1. Thanks for popping in and sending this video. Yes, appropriate. We miss your comments here.

    2. Hello,

      thank u for sharing

      I listened to the worship and the dam just broke and I was able to weep and praise God
      Our Lord is so wonderful and when I praise Him and Him alone I know that He can hold me and all of my pain and sorrow

      Blessings
      Mellany

    3. Loved that, Rhonda!

    4. That is beautiful Rhonda…how are you doing? Praying for you!

      1. Hey there,

        I’m doing well…just taking some time to stay focused on the work of personal healing right now. However, I am peaking over your shoulder in the study (so thank you for allowing me to do so). I have actually taken the time to record myself (on my phone) reading the SOS passages…I don’t know why but God seems to work through this process for me. Hearing my own voice, the inflections, my emphasis on certain parts, it seems to strengthen my understanding (of myself in relation to the passage) and solidify things that I have never really SEEN or IMAGINED before. I know this idea (and its magnitude) is kind of abstract but actually, I can be an abstract thinker so it works well for me (God is a mystery, so I just go with it)…applying all the senses really allows the Word to seep into my heart in new and fresh ways. Reading, hearing (my own voice in particular), looking for examples in real life, it all plays a part in allowing the scriptures to be exactly what God describes when He says, that the Bible “is alive and active”….I love the image of the veil being removed…it is the very moment of finality…we all know what to expect! The announcement…the kiss…the “IT FINISHED” moment, and as the song says, “NOW YOU CAN ENTER IN”…it has so many scriptural overtones! I love to see the visual represented in real life…I think it has a deep impact on me because it isn’t something I see EVERYDAY…a wedding tends to make us more reflective…it is a few moments out of the ordinary…I think that is why most people love weddings so much! It may be one of the closest moments we have (in this life) to the splendor of Eternal Glory….just a thought to consider!

        I keep little Jay in my prayers (he seems to stay on my mind), thank you for the updates….and thank you all for sharing and allowing many of us to be observers (as needed)….my prayers are with you all too!

    5. Love, thanks for sharing!!!

  8.       E. What does she ask the King to do in verse 4? Do you ask Him to do this regularly?

    I’m a little confused as to what scripture I am to be reading here. I think you mean psalm 27:4? If so, she asks the Lord if she can dwell in His house forever. I do not ask this of the Lord. Maybe I should? If you are speaking of SOS 1:4, then she asks if she can come away with him; to his chambers. No, I do not ask this either. To me, a chamber would be the bedroom. I don’t see this as his holy city, but somehow I think I’m supposed to take that thought away as I read. Not sure.

          F. How has she impacted the others according to verse 4?

    Once again, if speaking of SOS, she tells others to come with her to the kings chambers.

      1. Is there a version if the bible you would recommend? I tend to use the NIV, it is definitely different than others.

  9. 10. What stood out to you from Michael Card?

    What stood out was that constantly and consistently God has wanted to be with us. Michael Card traced the biblical history from the Garden of Eden through the time of the tabernacle to the Temple. God was constantly there with His people. If the people lived in a tent, then so did God (in the tabernacle). God lived in the Temple also. Even the Law was about God wanting to relate to His people. It was decidedly what the Incarnation was all about –God became a man to better relate to His people. Jesus’ last words on earth were “Lo, I will be with you always…” Eventually in Revelation, God gets his way — we will live with God forever!

  10. 11. What do you know?

    Dee, you just about said it all when you said:

    What I do know is that we will be like Jesus and with Jesus. I know the New Jerusalem will be the best of earth and heaven. I know we will be together with those we love — and He will have taken all the sin out of our mouths. I know that there will be no more tears, no more pain, and no more death.

    I would only add that because of all the above, there will be such joy and exultation that the atmosphere will feel as though it is permeated with an “electric joy!”

    1. Thanks for such a well said answer, Deanna…hope you don’t mind, but I “ditto” your #11…Dee and your additional, “there will be such joy and exultation that the atmosphere will feel as though it is permeated with an “electric joy!”” say it perfectly.

  11.       H. How do you see her insecurity in verse 6?

    Well, she is somewhat worried about being “dark,” and blames others for her being that way. She doesn’t want others to look at her because apparently it wasn’t attractive back then. Maybe it was a sign that you were a worker, not a wealthy person? She talks about neglecting herself; not able to spend time to look presentable. She is embarrassed.

  12.       I.  Matthew Henry sees some persecution in verse 6 — sometimes we get dark in the storms of life. What do you see in verse 6?

    I looked up persecute: it means to harass persistently. “she” is persecuted by her brothers who were angry with her for some reason. Maybe because they thought her head was “in the clouds,” and she wasn’t thinking straight because of her deep love for “him?” they thought she should be more focused on her work? Not sure here. I guess if it means she is having a “dark” time in her life they might have been frustrated with her for being down or depressed about it. Maybe they thought the work would be good for her and keep her mind from thinking of him? I have heard the earth being represented by the phrase “under the sun” in other books of the bible. Maybe that is what it means? That she is literally depressed because of circumstances “under the sun,”‘or here on earth?”

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around “her” being the church. If this is the case, would the darkened church be when, as a body, don’t cooperate with each other? Our brothers get angry with us and we are in darkness instead of the light?

    1. “I have heard the earth being represented by the phrase “under the sun” in other books of the bible. Maybe that is what it means? That she is literally depressed because of circumstances “under the sun,”‘or here on earth?”

      Laura dancer, I like your question here. We are studying Solomon’s “Ecclesiastes” in church right now and it was just pointed out how “under the sun” in that book means things here on earth. So if we apply this thought to SoS, we are “dark” because we have been pummelled by sin and evil here on earth. That is why we long for heaven, where things will be made right. That is why we long for Him who makes things right and is the Hope within our hearts that one day we will have a new heaven and a new earth.

    2. Laura Daner-i loved your last paragraph also-Amazing how He showed you this.. So good.

  13. 10 B. What does wine do — and how is His love better? Have you experienced this recently?
    Wine calms one’s nerves, relaxes one, lessens inhibition…to excess it makes one drunk and incapacitated. His love is better because it is not temporary and excess isn’t problematic but glorious. His love brings peace in mind and heart…His love is truth and mercy…His love is limitless…His love is belonging to the “One and only Lord”.

    C. How is the name Jesus, or Savior, like oil poured out?
    The name Jesus (Savior) is precious…it attracts like a sweet perfumed oil.

    D. It isn’t just the Shulamite who loves Him — who else do you see in verse 3?
    “all the young women love” Him

    E. What does she ask the King to do in verse 4? Do you ask Him to do this regularly?
    “take me with You”
    I don’t “think” I ask Him to do this “regularly” unless asking for an awareness of His presence, praying for His guidance, praying for His transformation of me would be considered synonymous to “take me with You”…I kind of don’t think it is. When I think of the rapture, I so hope that I am among those who Jesus takes with Him, those who will not have to endure the coming tribulation, but these aren’t “regular” or frequent thoughts of mine.

    F. How has she impacted the others according to verse 4?
    “come let’s run”…run after (to) the King (Lord).

    G. She says she is dark but lovely. How are you both?
    To me, this is the gospel…
    “truth”…I am “dark”, i.e., I am sinful, unworthy; I continually miss the mark.
    “mercy”…but “lovely”, i.e., the Lord loves me with an in inexplicable, incomprehensible mercy and grace; Jesus covers me…when God sees me, He see the beauty of Jesus.

    H. How do you see her insecurity in verse 6?
    She asks that people not stare…she is embarrassed of her acknowledged shortcomings.

    I. Matthew Henry sees some persecution in verse 6 — sometimes we get dark in the storms of life. What do you see in verse 6 concerning this and also what she says about the vineyard.
    She is “forced” by her brothers to care for “their” vineyards, thereby causing her to neglect her own. The brothers’ force is in anger.

    J. Inherently, according to verse 7, she knows her soul loves Him. Why does she long to be unveiled?
    She wants His true love and affection; she wants to be His one and only.

    10. What stood out to you from Michael Card?
    *AFTER the fall, God goes looking for Adam and Eve…God wants to be with us…His desire is “to make it right”.
    *The deepest desire of God is to be with us.
    *God incarnate: Emmanuel=God with us.

    1. Nanci, I totally loved your answer to this question: “His love is better because it is not temporary and excess isn’t problematic but glorious.”-Excess isn’t problematic but glorious.. yes what a great contrast.

  14. The latest update on Jay from Bridget:

    “The MRI results are in and it shows no new growth in the neuroblastoma! We will see the oncology team on Sept 13th for the plan going forward, but this is fantastic news!”

    Thanks for your continued prayers…:)

    [By the way, for those of you praying for my granddaughter and daughter…
    my daughter and granddaughter’s father came to mutually agreeable (as much is possible in these circumstances) agreements regarding placement and a parenting plan for my granddaughter. My daughter has 60% placement at this time. We will see how it all goes from here…thank you for your thoughts and prayers.
    Diane and Krista, I continue to pray for you all…I pray that you/Krista and Jeff will come to “mutually agreeable” agreements/outcomes in your situation. I pray for those precious boys…for peace.]

      1. Primary physical placement would have been the preference, but in situations like this, placement (if contested) is usually granted as “shared”, 50/50, placement. The days of mothers getting primary physical placement because they are the mother and dads getting visitation are gone. (I consulted with an attorney to make sure we knew where my daughter/granddaughter stood legally.) My daughter was happy that they were able to settle on a 60/40 ratio; this will give her some additional placement time. My daughter’s intention is to maximize her work time when her daughter is with dad and spend as much time with her daughter when she has her. Thankfully her employer seems to be willing to work with her to make this happen. The situation is difficult, but we have much to be grateful for.

    1. Thanks for the update about Jay. Sounding good.

      Also, thanks for sharing about your daughter/granddaughter and for praying for Krista’s situation. Jeff has at least asked K to inquire about mediation. Hopefully he will move in that direction. I would appreciate your continued prayer. We are again in a period of transition as the two older boys begin school next week and K will see them much less. Continue praying about jobs and about housing and financial needs. We do not clearly see the way ahead, pray that we will trust in God and follow as He leads step by step in the dark, though we walk by faith and not by sight.

      On the positive side, we have had a good summer. Krista has had lots of time (4 weeks plus other days) with the boys. They seem really comfortable with us (the grandparents) as well, having seen us much more than they did last winter and spring.

      We also just had a week with my oldest son and his family (wife, and two preschool boys) and had a great time. Lots of play time. They live 7 hours away, so our visits are few and precious.

      1. Thanks for the updates and specific prayer needs…I will continue to pray. I am thankful that mediation might be an option for Krista and Jeff…hopefully they can proceed in that direction and come to something mutually agreeable that is in the best interest of the boys. I’m so glad that Krista was able to spend time with the boys and that they seemed well adjusted with you all. “Transition” periods are trying…thankfully we have a strong God to rely on. Very recently in prayer I have asked God to show me where He was in tumultuous times of my past (I’m not asking in an offensive or accusatory manner; I trust that He was and is there for and with me…I’m just asking for an awareness to see His presence); it is amazing the awareness I have been granted to see the Lord’s hand in some circumstances…it makes me smile to think of how faithful He is. It is true, the appearance of a “dense fog” during difficult times that doesn’t allow us to see as clearly as we would like…I will pray for your trust in God and obedience to His leading.
        Glad that you were able to spend time with your oldest son and family…what a blessing.

    2. Thanks for the reassuring updates both on Jay and also on your daughter and grand-daughter! Prayers will continue!!

    3. Thank you, Nanci. I truly appreciate the prayers.

      Glad things are going well with Jay! I have been following him through his FB group as well. 🙂

    4. Great news on both!!

  15. 10. What stood out to you from Michael Card?

    That God wants to be with us/me.
    That He has a plan for all of us/me.

    I think this week God is just teaching me to let go, stop striving,
    I am acceptable to Him.
    I cannot save my family but He can.
    I have been crying out to them but it seems the closer Chuck and I get and the closer we get to God the more angrier the family is around us.
    I will trust God and Him alone.

    It is not about me but about Him.
    I am my Father’s dtr.
    I can forgive, I can be quick to forgive.
    Slow to anger and easily forgive an offense.

    I believe that He can take my pain and my sorrow and make something beautiful out of it.
    But
    Mostly my take away is that He longs to be with me

    I remember one memory of when I was about 4 or 5 years old.
    I was in Sunday School.
    They were talking about this man that I now know to be Jesus.
    All I remember thinking is why did they hurt that man?
    I remember sitting up straighter.
    Trying to get a better glimpse of him -the flannel graph picture of Jesus-
    I just remember wondering why did they hurt this man?

    I know now as an adult the Sunday school teacher must have been explaining the part about Jesus dying for our sins.
    I guess I am slowly comprehending it is because He wanted to be with me.
    Like the video above -it is not rocket science- but it is so profound and amazing that Jesus wanted to be with us that He came down here and died for me/us.

    I think that is why Father God keeps giving me the song.

    It is my confession Lord that I am weak
    So very weak but u r strong
    Though I have nothing Lord to lay at your feet
    I come to your feet to say help me along.

    I do not need to do it by myself anymore.
    I can ask for help
    From God, first and foremost,
    Prayer and talking with my husband
    and
    Of course the church.

    I can trust and believe in God
    I do not need to strive, to try to please God
    I can just rest and believe that.

    I cannot be shocked when I am offended or hurt
    Jesus said we would be.
    But
    I can look up and praise God b/c He is near and wants to be with me.
    I am offering up an acceptable sacrifice -my sin-
    B/c
    I am offering up the damaged parts of me, the tears, the pain and the sorrow.
    B/c
    I believe in His son and his redemptive power
    I am acceptable to Him and Him alone.

    I am not bad, evil or tormented
    I am saved, delivered, acceptable, beautiful in His sight.
    I do not need to understand all things, or all people but I can trust God that He does and that He will work out all things for His glory.

    And I can love and be lovely
    B/c
    Jesus lives in me
    It is no longer I that liveth but Christ that liveth in me
    His love, humility, kindness, compassion, gentleness lives in me.

    I imagine that is what heaven will be like
    No more fleshly Mellany just Christ shining in me like a beacon.

    blessings
    Mellany

    ps thank u for all of your prayers.
    Chuck and I spent the day outside in our backyard.
    We have visitors coming today.

    We have decided to just love each other
    Commit our children to the Lord and love them when they let us
    and pray for them always.

    We were working on the gifts for Christmas ( I am making afghans and chuck is working on the family tree)
    and I am praying that we can write a joint letter of blessing for each of them
    Please pray for that

    If it is the Lord’s will Chuck and I can do that together
    To bless our children with a letter
    Chuck has grandchildren as well.
    So we want to bless them as well.

    Thank u
    Mellany

  16. 10. What stood out to you from Michael Card?

    That God’s deepest desire is to be with us-to dwell with us. To be with me. He wants to be with me so much that he wants to be married to me-That he would die to have me-what the cross was for. To be married to me-the Holy Spirit-God in us.

    Then at the end-God gets what He desires- to dwell with us-WITH NO VEIL OVER OUR FACE. :))))))))))))))))))) HE WILL REMOVE BAAL FROM OUR LIPS.. So so sweet..

  17. A quick reply to all, I have been reading your comments, Im just having one of those God struck moments. All so good how God has given each and everyone so much wisdom and insight. Im God struck because this morning I watched a video on youtube with Bill Johnson called Be Quiet and Sit Down from April 21, 2013. WOW..a lot of what he said is being shown us here. He talked about the word veil and it means revelation…to unveil means we come into a revelation from God. There is so much knowledge in this one message he gave, but what stood out were some key points ” we try to obtain revelation and experience in the context of busyness, instead of shut up and sit down” Be still before God. Intimacy with God, stop the business, spend time with God, prayer and meditating on his word. The joyful presence of the Lord is what we have been destined to spend our lives for.

    Someone mentioned or a few of you how joy is contagious,Deanna from Ohio said “I would only add that because of all the above, there will be such joy and exultation that the atmosphere will feel as though it is permeated with an “electric joy!” This was spoken in the message by Bill Johnson and it makes so much sense now as to why we are so blinded to God’s love for us at times, especially looking at Song of Songs only as a book for marriage, when in reality, I do believe it’s his love song to us. In that creates much ‘electric joy’ now. I keep hearing the scripture The Joy of the Lord, is my strength.

    Just wanted to share this with you all. God Bless!

  18. 11. What do you know?

    I don’t know what it will be like. I do know the veil will be off my face and I will be with Him face to face. I love Him and long for Him now-but there is this veil issue-I hate it, but my hope and reality is that in the future He will lift it from my face..Like on a wedding day. :)))

    I can’t imagine not having one sinful thought cross my mind-and the Love..oh..His Love pure in me radiating purely to others-for I will be like Him and love like Him. I can’t imagine never having one concern or worry for anything.

    I won’t need to walk in faith for my faith will be sight!!!! That excites me the most. No doubt-ever..No more hurting God’s heart by running to idols-He will remove Baal from my lips. I will see His face. I can’t wait to see His face and experience His presence fully and completely just me and Him, and corporately with other brothers and sisters.

    Also, I will radiate His light-oh my.. I can’t imagine that either. I think Dee said once-and this stuck with me..that it will make this life right now look like a nights stay in a horrible, nasty hotel.

    1. “Also, I will radiate His light-oh my.. I can’t imagine that either. I think Dee said once-and this stuck with me..that it will make this life right now look like a nights stay in a horrible, nasty hotel.” OH AMEN!!

  19. 12. What is your take-a-way and why?

    I want Him to hurry-take me to His chambers..yet I am frustrated that I don’t purely do this..yet I know I can’t because of the veil that is still there. So I long for Him and love Him, and desire to grow more and more in abandoning myself to Him.

    Also-just focusing really on the truth of the future calms and comforts me in the present-when bad days come and they have, and will continue. When things are scary, when pain comes through the death of a loved one. When I struggle with sin-with temptation-with idolatry..When I sense His pleasure, and those times of His presence-which have never been waves..but gentle streams. I know in the future His pleasure and presence will be like fire-intense, overwhelming like waves. Being with Him here is just a hint of the future. I can’t imagine-yet I can cling to Him, that He is my Hope in the here and now and it makes the here and now so much more beautiful.

  20. D. It isn’t just the Shulamite who loves Him — who else do you see in verse 3?

    Nancy Leigh DeMoss believe the virgins, the daughters of Jerusalem, also love Him — also are part of the Bride, though they do not yet love Him like she does.

    After listening to Reeves talk, I have been pondering about his suggestion that the Shulamite woman is a Gentile/pagan. I wonder in the imagery of SoS, if the church is primarily the Gentile church and the “daughters of Jerusalem” are the Jews who are also drawn to Christ, but after the Gentile church has been won. As DeMoss says of the daughters of Jerusalem, “they do not yet love Him like she does”. The apostle Paul agonizes over the Jewish rejection of Jesus for much of the book of Romans. (I don’t want to distract from the main points of the study of SoS, just pondering.)

    Romans 11:25 ff
    25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:
    “The deliverer will come from Zion;
    he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
    27 And this is my covenant with them
    when I take away their sins.”
    28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

  21. I have an i-spy for this week:

    Staci said God was doing something in her marriage through the Song of Songs and she can’t explain it..well, God has done the same with me. Honestly I don’t understand it-All I know is I am growing more in loving my husband faults and all.

    All I know is that since God has opened my eyes in discovering that the primary focus in Song of Songs is about His relationship with us and marriage is the secondary focus-He is changing my marriage-Don’t ask me how that can be!! What is even weirder is that when I see the truth-when I see my husband like Jesus sees me-like the Shulamite maiden, dark but lovely.. How can I hold against him his imperfections, habits, or past sins that hurt me? I know I have sinned against my husband and he still loves me.

    Normally you would think Song of Songs would change my marriage if I saw it as primarily an instruction book for marriage. I mean, my husband and I can just apply these truths, and we went through it as marriage being the primary focus, yet nothing changed as dramatically as it is changing now.

    The reason it is strange and unexplainable is because GOd is doing a work in my heart through the Song of SOngs-and I can’t claim credit! I am just hearing Him now for some reason and He is empowering me to love and it isn’t just toward my husband, but toward others also.

    I hear the Holy Spirit whispering to my heart at work..among my co-workers. Him telling me to love and I don’t have to force it. I see them as they are-people He desires to be with, like me. The only difference between them and me is His blood is covering me. I am no better than anyone-rich or poor or imprisoned for we are all broken.

    The penny is dropping, but I am amazed at how my eyes were so closed in the past. I am amazed at how He is slowly opening them and changing me with His love.

    1. Praise God Rebecca!

    2. Praise God, praising Him right there with you!! Hugs to you Rebecca!

  22. One more note on “veil” for the week. Moses had to cover his face with a veil after being in the presence of the Lord on Mount Sinai because the glory of the Lord was too great for the children of Israel. However, Paul says that in knowing Christ our faces become progressively more “unveiled” reflecting the glory of Christ. The word “veil” sure has multi-layered rich imagery in Scripture.

    2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV) And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

    1. Yes, the more I really listen to other preachers or focus on God’s word, it all starts in Christ and the Church. It just amazes me…like someone just turned on the brightest light in a dark/ and confusing room and now I can see clearly..haha, this song just came to mind. ” I Can See Clearly Now”

      http://youtu.be/KSuB4t3q_dA

    2. Oh yes Dee that is what He has been showing me since I have been here that we must start with Him and the Church. So often we are taught to get into scripture so we can ‘know truth’ and then walk in it, but oh to go to His Word to encounter Him- and Song of Songs is no exception rather it is the pinnacle in my opinion.

      I had a dear brother tell me he would pray that our boys would walk in truth-but my first thought was, no-pray they would encounter God in His Word and taste His love for them. Pray that they would have moldable hearts that deeply desire God.

      1. Amen, Rebecca. “pray they [and we too] would encounter God in His Word and taste His love for them. Pray that they would have moldable hearts that deeply desire God.”

      2. Agree, To encounter the love of God and His Glory…you will never be the same and no human can comprehend it….I pray they would experience God’s love like no other…Maybe that is why for years I would sit back in church and think…all they need is love, God’s love. I would hear God say that over and over. So many times we are quick to become busy,get the hype going or programs in church, to feel God. Thinking it will make Him move….when in truth…He just wants us to be still and experience His presence and Love…wow! I am so excited!

      3. agree three…well said, Rebecca (Diane and Staci).

  23. 7. Read Genesis 2:21-22. What significance do you see in the fact that the verb is actually “built?”
    I think this was the first time I looked at this verse and thought—He could have created her without taking Adam’s rib—I mean that would have been possible…but He did it this way ON PURPOSE. And our culture, my own sin, tries to wash that truth away and miss the significance. This was a really good reminder for me. Though my sin nature is a bent towards controlling, I generally trust my husband and find it easier in recent years to submit. But the last few days we’ve been have a discussion (health insurance of all things!) and I have really struggled to submit. It’s more than that—but hard to explain without giving the details of my health, and the “snag”—the gist though is that I recognized my fear last night of being fully dependent—and having to remind myself yes, I am fully dependent on God, not my husband to provide—but at the same time—my husband is my God-ordained leader.

    8. In The Song of Songs, you find the words Solomon, Shulamite, and Jerusalem. The root word for each is the same. Do you know what it is and what significance do you see in this?
    The root for each is peace.

    9. Read Revelation 21:1-3 and find the mixed metaphor. What is it?
    We are the bride of Christ, and we are the “new Jerusalem”.

    10. Read Song of Songs 1:1-7
    A. How have you been kissed by the King recently? Praise Him here!
    My 6 year old is all sports-mud-loving boy on the outside and a bowl of mush inside. I can’t write all the details but in the last week especially—God has blown me away with how He uses this little one as a vessel—and I see it all as His love for me. Last night I was trying to wash out a really bad cut he had and I had told him I didn’t think the soap would hurt—but he was so scared, and I blurted ‘if it hurts, you can hit me’—he turned to me, full and angry tears, and said “NO!! I would NEVER hurt you Mama! Why would you say that!” I felt terrible, I said I was just wishing I could take his pain for him. And he said, “Jesus already did that, Mama”. So often he says things that speak to me beyond his 6 year old voice—and they touch me from my Lord.
    And I love the James Durham quote! I found a commentary last week of his on SOS—so rich. And over my head, but good.
    B. What does wine do — and how is His love better? Have you experienced this recently?
    I’m not a wine drinker. The pain of alcoholism in my family still lingers over even the smell. So my perception is a bit skewed, but when I think of what it does—I think it takes you away from reality. It gives a false sense of pleasure. I guess it’s supposed to allow for a sense of freedom-/ It’s entrapping in my mind.
    So I find His love incomparable. It takes me a way, but the pleasure, the freedom is not false. It a bit ironic, but in high school I had friends who’d say they are able to be a “different person” when they drank—but in Christ we truly do receive a new identity. And we are set free.
    C. How is the name Jesus, or Savior, like oil poured out?

    D. It isn’t just the Shulamite who loves Him — who else do you see in verse 3?
    The maidens
    E. What does she ask the King to do in verse 4? Do you ask Him to do this regularly?
    Take me away…oh I am saddened by how little I really go AWAY. I’ve only left my kids overnight one time—but my husband and I have never gone away together. This is an ongoing debate—when will I be ready to leave the kids over night, and who can stay with them…at most now we have 2 hour dates a few times a year. Some of it is logistics, cost…but also this part of me that can’t quite “let go”. And I do that with Him as well. I need to finish this or that first. I can have a quiet time—but I can’t remember the last time I actually got away from my surroundings and just sat still, quiet, no agenda, not watching the clock…and drank Him in.
    F. How has she impacted the others according to verse 4?
    The others want to praise Him and delight in Him, she has mentored love for the King to them.
    G. She says she is dark but lovely. How are you both?
    I am sinful. And by the world’s standards, not a beauty. I am insecure, imperfect, critical. My patience easily wears thin. BUT HE LOVES ME. How? Why?, because He sees me. He sees who He created me to be. He sees beauty.
    H. How do you see her insecurity in verse 6?
    She doesn’t want to be looked at. She makes excuses and defense for her appearance.
    I. Matthew Henry sees some persecution in verse 6 — sometimes we get dark in the storms of life. What do you see in verse 6
    concerning this and also what she says about the vineyard.
    Her stepbrothers forced her to work for them, at the expense of her own vineyards.
    J. Inherently, according to verse 7, she knows her soul loves Him. Why does she long to be unveiled?
    The only way we can feel fully loved, is to be fully exposed, and then fully accepted.

  24. 10. What stood out to you from Michael Card?
    Oh I am so thankful I just listened to this–this is my FAVORITE part of the week! Michael says, after the fall, God goes looking for them—AFTER they have messed up, He says “where are you?” He wants to be with us when we mess us, to work on it together. The tabernacle, the temple, the Law—all point to God’s one deepest desire: to be with us. When He comes to us, in His incarnation, he is called Emmanuel, which means “God with us”. He would rather die than live without me. He wants to be married to me. The Cross was to make possible His being with us. He gives the Holy Spirit–to be in us. The one true desire of God holds the whole bible together. And it is culminated Rev. 21–God gets what he wants—us. We celebrate that God has extended this to all of us—the poor, the rich. We all need Him. I did want to hear whatever he was going to play afterward—anyone know?

    11. What do you know?
    I know that I will not want of anything. I will love without ulterior motive, without selfish ambition—I will love. Purely, wholly, other-centered, like Christ. I will have peace. I can’t imagine any questions. When people ask me that—what would I say/ask—I only see crying at His feet, and the embrace. I want Him to hold me forever.

    1. Elizabeth, your last sentence makes me think of Nancy Leigh DeMoss saying that not all of the young women will love Him as the Shulamite does. You love Him as the Shulamite. I think all of us do but you have expressed your love here.

      1. Anne, I have been feeling chopped up/dry/hurried the last few days…and the guilt that comes with those feelings. your words to me just now greatly encouraged me. thank you dear sister.

    2. “When people ask me that—what would I say/ask—I only see crying at His feet, and the embrace. I want Him to hold me forever.” Beautiful, that so resonates with me as well.

  25. OK, really going to date myself here, but since answering #11, this is playing in my head:)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpnSCYmRKww

    1. Loved it!

    2. Elizabeth, This song was one of my favorites of hers-very applicable for this weeks study. 🙂

  26. I have been kissed in the word. First, Isaiah 60 & 61. Then Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 15 about what defiles a man. It took me a while to get clarity on these even though it is kind of obvious in Isaiah, the hope of it hit me this morning. Then I think in Matthew The Lord would have me look at the motives of my heart. Do I want only the worldly best for my son or can I entrust him to The Lord? Can I let Him lead him into the wilderness?

    1. Anne–this is wisdom “Do I want only the worldly best for my son or can I entrust him to The Lord? Can I let Him lead him into the wilderness?”. Those 2 sentences offer more than the gazillion parenting books I have on my shelves. Love how you put it in focus–and how it applies even to my current struggles of a 10 year old. Praying for His hand upon your son–so often the roads that don’t make sense to us are what He most uses for His glory. His stories are so much more creative–and redemptive–than we can ever imagine.

    2. Anne, that speaks to my heart, as my son is 15, and he is such a blessing. We have had our struggles when he was growing up, misdiagnosed with A.D.D., and also to me still worrying about him struggling in school. I hear God always pulling at my heart to trust HIM with my son, after all, God created my son and knows him best. But as a mom, it’s very hard to not view my son through the world’s ideas and views or what the medical fields would say…I have to trust God and know He has a plan so greater for my son than I could ever comprehend. Many hugs to you Anne

    3. Dear Anne, it is natural to want the best for our children…for them to be spared from struggles; it is hard to watch them suffer. Speaking from personal experience (oh, I mourn some of the bad decisions made and the angst I put my parent through…), many of those especially difficult times were “blessings in disguise” in hindsight…not easy experiences or those I would wish upon another, but none-the-less “needed” for me to learn the lessons the Lord had for me. I pray that your son will learn whatever lessons the Lord has for him in the easiest manner possible (unfortunately, sometimes at the times it ends up feeling like a 2×4 across the head). Glad you are feeling some peace in your heart, Anne…the Lord is with you…He is making His presence known with His kisses.

  27. Listen to this from Michael Card and share what stands out to you:

    Wow, I listened to this yesterday, but mom taxi duties got in the way, and I re-listened to it this morning…I heard so much:

    A.)-God went looking for Adam and Eve AFTER they messed up.
    ~That is God’s love, He does not care how bad we mess up, He loves us unconditionally. A prime example would be our love for own children or someone we love deeply. No matter what, we love them unconditionally.

    B.)-God desired to be with His people on earth. ~ ~He made the tabernacle tent and dwelled in a tent, even though he didnt have to, just to be near and with His people.

    C.)-Leviticus 26:12~ I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. ~ ~(Leviticus was given in love from God for his people to follow so His people would never be far from Him again).

    D.)-God’s incarnation name was Emmanuel, “to be with us”. God would rather die, then be without us.

    E.)-God wants to be married to us. ~ ~This struck a thought when Michael Card said this would be hard for men to see and understand. God is portrayed as a male, fatherly figure. Just a thought, but maybe this is the enemies tactic to pervert God’s love, men waiting for their bride~Jesus, to what the world calls ‘gay’. We know the enemy perverts God’s true meaning of love all the time, but this made sense to me. Of course the enemy does not want men to experience God’s true love like God has wanted it or meant it, the whole ‘gay’ idea plays a key role in blinding mens hearts to God’s love perhaps? Men are to be the head of the house, a protecter and cover for their wife. For a man to love another man with so much love and passion, is labeled as ‘wrong’ in our society. But that is the perverseness of the enemy.IN reality, there is nothing ‘gay’ about God’s love towards men.To me it makes perfect sense why men are in such a mess, why children are fatherless and left to be raised by the mother in most homes. It just struck a nerve with me, if only the men would know and experience God’s love like God meant it, we might not have so many children who are ‘fatherlessly’ being raised in a sense. (and yes I know fatherlessly is not a word, but to just get the meaning across). Men would know who their Father is, and that they are loved and carry that onto their children and grandchildren…. Just a thought I had. The husbands love would also carry onto their wives in their marriages as God says in the bible…the example of Jesus and His Bride…

  28. 1. What do you know?
    ~I know one day, very soon, we will be united with our King. I get really excited thinking about it, like a little kid jumping around dancing with excitement. We will be with loved ones that have passed before us, there will be no more tears or pain and death will not separate us from them or our King anymore.

    Saturday:

    12. What is your take-a-way and why?
    ~My take away is so much, but the fact that God longs for me, pursues me even when I mess up speaks of a love like no other. The world and church places so many rules and regulations on us when we mess up (condemnation at times), God’s love gives even the most messed up, underserving people~HOPE. That kind of love, I cant even comprehend at times. WOW…sitting here speechless pondering that thought, even thinking of people in prisons. They are some of the most rejected people in society, and yet, God loves them just as much too. I think that is a huge metaphor on God’s love….

  29. Oh I just heard the Michael Card song! SO BEAUTIFUL! I don’t know how I missed it–somehow when I copied the lesson into a word doc, I missed that you had this at the end. Amazing grace. Our sermon this morning started a new series on knowing God–and I felt enthralled by the pictures, the words–I want to drink in all I can–to know Him, to be transformed.