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ARISE MY LOVE

 

GOD LONGS TO PENETRATE OUR HEARTS,

SO HE USES POETRY AND PICTURES FOR HIS POIGNANT PLEA:

ARISE, MY LOVE!

FIRST, SHE COMPARES HER BELOVED TO A YOUNG STAG:

THE VOICE OF MY BELOVED!

BEHOLD, HE COMES,

LEAPING OVER THE MOUNTAINS,

BOUNDING OVER THE HILLS.

MY BELOVED IS LIKE A GAZELLE

OR A YOUNG STAG.

(Song of Songs 2:8-9a)

Deer leaping from Dee's beach to her deck
Young stag leaping from Dee’s beach to her deck

HE COMPARES HER TO A DOVE HIDING IN A CLEFT:

ARISE MY LOVE, MY BEAUTIFUL ONE, AND COME AWAY…

MY DOVE, IN THE CLEFTS OF THE ROCK

IN THE CRANNIES OF THE CLIFF,

LET ME SEE YOUR FACE,

LET ME HEAR YOUR VOICE,

FOR YOUR VOICE IS SWEET, AND YOUR FACE IS LOVELY.

(Song of Songs 2:10 & 14)

song-of-songs-2-14-my-dove-in-the-clefts-of-the-rock-in-the-covert-of-the-precipice

WHEN SHE DOESN’T COME, HE WARNS OF FOXES:

CATCH THE FOXES FOR US,

THE LITTLE FOXES THAT SPOIL THE VINEYARDS,

FOR OUR VINEYARDS ARE IN BLOSSOM.

(Song of Songs 2:15)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The little foxes that spoil the vineyards

SHE THINKS:

HE IS NEAR, I CAN HAVE HIM ANYTIME,

I’LL RESPOND LATER.

MY BELOVED IS MINE, AND I AM HIS;

HE GRAZES AMONG THE LILIES

(Song of Songs 2:16)

deer-lilies-2282

BUT SUDDENLY, HE BOUNDS AWAY.

SHE CALLS OUT TO HIM:

UNTIL THE DAY BREATHES

AND THE SHADOWS FLEE,

TURN, MY BELOVED, BE LIKE A GAZELLE

OR A YOUNG STAGE ON CLEFT MOUNTAINS

(Song of Songs 2:17)

Daniel Eskridge: digital art
Daniel Eskridge: digital art

TWO ANCIENT CHURCH FATHERS BRING LIGHT TO THIS PASSAGE.

BERNARD OF CLARIVOIX SAID “GOD IS A SHY LOVER.”

WHEN WE DO NOT RESPOND, BEING IN THE ARMS OF ANOTHER LOVER,

HE WILL WITHDRAW.

AND ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS SAID:           

           In the Song of Songs the bride compares the Bridegroom to the stag…

She makes this comparison… because of the swiftness with which he shows and then

hides himself. He usually visits devout souls in order to gladden and liven them,

and then leaves in order to try, humble, and teach them.

CHRIST IS CALLING BOTH TO US AS INDIVIDUALS,

AND TO THE CORPORATE BRIDE.

TODAY A GLOBAL HYMN SING IS HAPPENING IN CHURCHES

THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

EVEN IF YOUR CHURCH IS NOT INVOLVED,

YOU CAN JOIN HIS BRIDE HERE.

THIS IS THE HYMN, WRITTEN BY KEITH AND KRISTEN GETTY,

AND PUT TO THE TUNE OF AURELIA

(OR “THE CHURCH’S ONE FOUNDATION”).

SING ALONG AS A PRAYER

FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR BRETHREN:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ai4ipi863uk

Next week we will see her pain, because she delayed in responding.

But this week, let’s consider how we can speak to our souls

to avoid the pain in the first place!

SUNDAY ICEBREAKER:

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

2. If you were to summarize the story in this passage in a sentence, what would you say?

MONDAY-FRIDAY BIBLE STUDY (No sermon due to length of study: this is a key passage I long for you to understand!)

2. Read Song of Songs 2:8-9

A. What is the first word picture and why do you think the Lord uses it?

B. She recognizes his voice. Do you? If so, how do you most frequently hear Him and know it is His voice? 

There are no pictures with the following song, but I hope you listen often. Michael Card captures so much of the spirit of this passage:

Arise My Love by Michael Card

3. Read Song of Songs 2:10-13

A. What does He ask of her and how many times does He ask?

B. The Song has many “Edenic pictures,” Eden before the fall. Why, do you think?

C. What are some of those pictures of Eden in this passage?

D. As you meditate on this passage, what do you feel from the Lord?

E. If you sense His love, where is He calling you in particular to arise and trust Him?

4.  Read Song of Songs 2:13-14

A. What word picture does He use here and what does this communicate?

B. What does He most want?

5. Read Song of Songs 2:15

A. What word picture of warning does He use here and what does this communicate?

B. Last week our own Rebecca caught “Donna’s” first reaction to the invitation to the Tango: “Right now?”

        Why is delayed obedience dangerous? Give an example from your life.

Last year I got a text from Vicki, who is one of the tender young plants in God’s vineyard.

I have a friend who is telling me how much she has liked the writings of Marcus Borg. Is he okay?

I froze, for Borg has led people I love astray. Borg did not believe that the bodily resurrection of Christ had to happen to make Christianity meaningful. This directly contradicts what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 15:14: “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” The enemy had come into the vineyard and was stalking Vicki. I texted back:

 No, Borg is not okay! I’m so glad you asked! He was part of a group called The Jesus Seminar that diminishes the authority of Scripture. They do not believe that Jesus’ death was meant to pay for our sin or that He rose bodily from the dead.

Vicki: Thanks. I asked because I had a check in my spirit.

Me: I am amazed that you had a check in your spirit!

Vicki: You are amazed? I am the one who should be amazed!

Me: You are right! : )  I should know how good He is after all these years!

God came running to Vicki when the enemy was lurking. He came bounding for His love when He saw the “little foxes” in her vineyard. And because she is His sheep now, she recognized His voice and she obeyed.

6. What fox had come into Vicki’s vineyard and how did God call to her and how did she respond?

I have loved being a part of a church plant, for together, like an army with banners, we are reaching out to the lost. I had forgotten how exciting it is. Though I think it is great to do Bible studies for Christians, how fun it is to do investigative studies with unbelievers or those who think they are believers but may realize they are not. I challenge you to think about doing this together with a couple of friends in your neighborhood or work place. We have used my study on Examining the Claims of Christ and also seeker studies by Rebecca Pippert.

7. What reason in Song of Songs 2:16 does she give for delaying her obedience? Have you done this — if so, what lies have you told your soul? And what was the result?

8. Now he bounds away and she calls to him. Do you know what she is saying in verse 17? (It might help you to compare it to the last verse in the Song and the 2nd to the last verse in Revelation. (Answer this question before you read Hudson Taylor’s interpretation.)

HusdonTaylorSong

    

Hudson Taylor, the missionary from the 1800’s who founded China Inland Mission (now OMF) wrote only one book, and it was on the Song. Here, Taylor gives insight into her thinking.

The bride’s response gives a sad illustration of sin’s deceitfulness. Instead of bounding forward to meet him, she first comforts her own heart by remembering his faithfulness, and her union with him.

My love is mine and I am his;

He browses among the lilies.

(2:16)

My position is one of security; I don’t need to worry about it. He is mine, and I am his; and nothing can alter that relationship. I can find him now anytime because he browses among the lilies. While the sun of good fortune shines on me I can safely enjoy myself here without him. If trial and darkness come he will not fail me.            

And so she does not leave what feels so safe to her, but tells him to go without her and to hurry back. 

Until the day breathes

And the shadows flee,

Turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle

Or a young stag on cleft mountains.

Song of Songs 2:14

Though this is a challenging passage, light comes when we see that it is used again as the closing of the Song (see Song of Songs 8:14). In the close, it is his choice to go, just as Jesus chose to leave us while he went to prepare a place for us. But here, it is her choice, for he has requested her to come with him twice and she is silent. To do nothing is a choice, whether it is to neglect to be with Him in His Word, or to ignore His prompting. She chooses to endure separation rather than to leave her familiar surroundings to be with Him. Taylor writes:

Not caring about what he wants, she lightly dismisses him with the thought: “I will enjoy his love later.”

The grieved bridegroom leaves!

Poor foolish bride! She will soon find that the things that once satisfied her can satisfy no longer. She will also find that it’s easier to turn a deaf ear to his tender call than to find him when he is absent.

        
9. Comment on Hudson’s interpretation.

10. Pray a verse that you were quickened by into your heart using the ACTS acronym.

ADORATION

CONFESSION

THANKSGIVING

 SUPPLICATION

SATURDAY

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

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125 comments

  1. 9. Comment on Hudson’s interpretations. “She will also find that it’s easier to turn a deaf ear to his tender call than to find him when he is absent.” Wow. Hudson’s interpretation is spot on, I think, and better articulates what I was starting to see. “She does what is safe.” “I will enjoy his love later.” Hudson implies a misconception here that things are good, so they will always be good, even if bad things happen he will deliver me….which is true but she seems to have the misconception that ‘deliver me’ means ‘give me what I want’ …
     
    Reminds me of Keller’s talk on meditation. One reason we meditate and memorize His Word is so it is a part of us, it drills deep into our heart so that it becomes the safety, it becomes the refuge we long for, it becomes the sweetness that we cannot live without, instead of our cleft in the rock. To say “I’ll enjoy him later” strongly indicates that we have not realized Him or His love. To taste and see that it is good is to not ever want to be apart from it! If I really, really understood Him and His love I would seek Him every moment, every day! It would truly be the only thing to quench my thirst.

  2.  
     
    6. What fox had come into Vicki’s vineyard and how did God call to her and how did she respond?
     
    She was dealing with the fox of temptation to follow false teaching or at least to think it didn’t matter.  It caused her to have a check in spirit.    God called to her by causing her to question enough to contact Dee and get advice.   Dee gave her excellent advice, and Vicki was obedient.  
     
     
    7. What reason in Song of Songs 2:16 does she give for delaying her obedience? Have you done this — if so, what lies have you told your soul? And what was the result?
     
    “My beloved is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies.”    She sees him browsing among the lilies, and she is feeling confident of their relationship.   So she tells herself that there is no rush for her to arise and go to him – she can do that at any time – later is just as good.    Of course, I have told myself stuff like this.  I say, “That is a hard question, but I don’t have to face it right now – I will decide later!”   Frequently I don’t just “table the question” I end up “removing it from the docket”!     Later I look back wistfully, wishing that I had faced up to it at the first chance.    
     
    8. Now he bounds away and she calls to him. Do you know what she is saying in verse 17? (It might help you to compare it to the last verse in the Song and the 2nd to the last verse in Revelation. (Answer this question before you read Hudson Taylor’s interpretation.)
     
     
    Maranatha!    Come, Lord Jesus!  
     
     
     9. Comment on Hudson’s interpretation.
     
    I couldn’t seem to access this from the blog page.  It said “blocked domain” at the bottom of it, and it went nowhere when I clicked on it.   So I tried googling to find it.   I think I may have found the right thing, not sure.    
     
    Hudson Taylor:  
     “Poor foolish bride! she will soon find that the things that once satisfied her can satisfy no longer; and that it is easier to turn a deaf ear to His tender call than to recall or find her absent LORD. The day became cool, and the shadows did flee away; but He returned not. Then in the solemn night she discovered her mistake: It was dark, and she was alone. Retiring to rest she still hoped for His return–the lesson that worldliness is an absolute bar to full communion still unlearned.” 
     
    My comment:    
     
    Yes, being distracted by the world, paying attention to the foxes (temptations) and taking our relationship with the Lord for granted – in the end we will feel terribly dissatisfied and be sorely aware of what we have missed.    
     
     10. Pray a verse that you were quickened by into your heart using the ACTS acronym. 
     
    SOS 2:15-16
     
     ADORATION   I truly love you, Lord, and am relieved and happy that you love me.  
     
     CONFESSION   I have been guilty in the past of taking your presence for granted, Lord.   I have been unwilling to pull myself away from the distractions of the world and follow you fully.  
     
     THANKSGIVING:     Thank you for continuing to love me and seek me regardless of how silly I am, how disobedient I am.   Thank you for providing for my redemption and salvation.    
     
      SUPPLICATION:   Please help me, Dear Lord, to stay focused on you and to recognize the elements in my life that threaten to distract me and separate me from your presence.   

  3. To do nothing is a choice, whether it is to neglect to be with Him in His Word, or to ignore His prompting. She chooses to endure separation rather than to leave her familiar surroundings to be with Him.
     
    Maybe this is from a different slant: It is so easy at times for me to ignore God’s prompting. As a nurse, I have missed opportunities to have a last visit with a patient thinking I will do it tomorrow. (I am in a hurry, I am not sure how my patient would respond etc) Alas, when I came, he/she have passed away. At other times, I have heeded his prompting and glad I did and I was greatly blessed by the time I spent with my patient before they passed on. What a gift! And in the process, I felt I have “come away” with the Lord and had His company all along. 

    1. It must be very hard to feel this burden, Bing.…but what a sweet time of growth and trust in the Lord, when you are given these last time visits.  It makes me really stop and think.  The medical profession surely does offer this very unique opportunity.  Nurses are so very high on my ‘list’ of admired professions.  

  4. 2. Read Song of Songs 2:8-9
    A. What is the first word picture and why do you think the Lord uses it? Um… The Lord is coming closer and closer, first we hear him, then we see him. He wants us. Do we let him in or does he continue to peer in, longing for us?
     
    B. She recognizes his voice. Do you? If so, how do you most frequently hear Him and know it is His voice?  Do I recognize his voice… yes I do or yes I have though lately the go go go and do do do has taken precedence and the unrest in my soul grows or longs to hear him. I do recognize his voice however, I do not always hear him because I allow anxiety or fear take over instead of resting in him and putting him first. I most frequently hear him in/through nature. Also through his people (friends, pastors, etc) and of course the word. How do I know? Well, an overwhelming feeling of being held or peace encompasses me or the Holy Spirit convicts me in some way or his voice aligns with scripture (of course;)
    3. Read Song of Songs 2:10-13
    A. What does He ask of her and how many times does He ask? He asked her to rise and come away with him, two times.
    B. The Song has many “Edenic pictures,” Eden before the fall. Why, do you think? Well to me Edenic means absolute beauty because God’s creations are beautiful; his land, sky, trees, animals and so on but the most beautiful is his relationship with his people. Adam and Eve walking and talking with God through the garden. Does not get any more beautiful than that to me… so I think The Song has these pictures because it gives us a glimpse of how beautiful our lives will be with Christ regardless of our circumstances. Relationship is beautiful …
    C. What are some of those pictures of Eden in this passage? The love he has for her/us, the desire to be with her/us, flowers blooming, ripened/ready fruit, fragrant blossoms.
    D. As you meditate on this passage, what do you feel from the Lord? I feel cherished, I feel loved and accepted. Pursued with passion. I feel “good enough” – that I am good enough for him, me as is.
    E. If you sense His love, where is He calling you in particular to arise and trust Him? To stop holding past mistakes over myself and believe that I am precious and forgiven. To let go of perfectionism and rest in him.
    4.  Read Song of Songs 2:13-14
    A. What word picture does He use here and what does this communicate? The garden is at its best- beautiful, fruit-filled and fragrant and he invites us into it with him. He wants to see us and hear us, he wants to be with us.
    B. What does He most want? To come along with him.
    5. Read Song of Songs 2:15
    A. What word picture of warning does He use here and what does this communicate? He uses little, perhaps young foxes that are capable of much damage to the vineyards even though they are small. I think it communicates for us to, with Christ, keep our hearts clean by purging our sinful desires or ways (control, comfort, etc) because what appears harmless or a “tiny” sin has the potential to cause great damage to us and therefore to our relationship with Christ and his people in his kingdom.
    B. Last week our own Rebecca caught “Donna’s” first reaction to the invitation to the Tango: “Right now?”
            Why is delayed obedience dangerous? Give an example from your life. Isn’t delayed obedience disobedience until you obey??? Dangerous because it allows whatever is distracting, paralyzing (fear), comforting (other than Christ), etc to grow from a “weed” to a “bed of weeds”. So whatever it is that we/me put before Christ has the potential to get a foothold and cause great damage, like the little foxes that sneak in and wreak havoc. Example: Putting off time with the Lord until “I have more time” or until I get caught up with my school work or until I get my housework finished … Dangerous because I grow more and more distant from Christ, losing sight of what is important, which is living from Him, for Him. 
    “Right now?” … echoing in my head…. I do that …
    6. What fox had come into Vicki’s vineyard and how did God call to her and how did she respond? The little fox was little lies, I have heard Marcus Borg speak, he twists the truth-little lies.  God gave her a check or unsettled spirit. She responded by seeking out Godly wisdom/counsel.
    7. What reason in Song of Songs 2:16 does she give for delaying her obedience? Have you done this — if so, what lies have you told your soul? And what was the result? She delays by justifying she is his and he is hers. Like they have each other so what is the rush. Unfortunately I have done this. If I am honest, the lie I told myself was that God understands my busyness… he’ll always be there…I’ll get around to it as soon as I can… the list goes on, sadly. The result: chaos, unrest, discontent, worry, anxiety, stress…