THE BRIDE IN THE SONG IS SOMETIMES
SINGULAR, AS WHEN HE SAYS:
MY ONLY ONE.
INDEED, HE SEES YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL,
KNOWS YOUR NAME,
EVEN HOW MANY HAIRS ARE ON YOUR HEAD.
BUT OH, HOW HE LOVES HIS CORPORATE BRIDE!
SHE IS AS BRIGHT AS THE SUN,
FAIR AS THE MOON,
AND AS AWESOME AS AN ARMY WITH BANNERS.
EVER SINCE THE FALL WE HAVE BEEN AT WAR
WITH THE ENEMY WHO COMES
TO STEAL, KILL, AND DESTROY.
CHRISTIANS ARMED WITH THE SHIELD OF FAITH,
THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT,
AND THE HELMET OF SALVATION HAVE PREVAILED
WHERE OTHERS HAVE RETREATED.
IN GROUND-BREAKING RESEARCH,
CHRISTIANITY TODAY (PDF OF ARTICLE)
GIVES PROOF OF THE PREVAILING OF GOD’S ARMY.
IT IS CHRISTIANS WHO HAVE BEEN WILLING TO FIGHT DISEASES THAT COULD TAKE THEIR LIVES FROM:
THE BUBONIC PLAGUE IN THE MIDDLE AGES
TO EBOLI TODAY
TO THE SLAVERY OF GIRLS AND WOMEN,
TO THE NEGLECT OF THE AGED,
AND THE ABORTING OF BABIES.
IT IS CHRISTIANS WORKING TOGETHER
WHO HAVE FOUNDED THE VAST MAJORITY OF
AND PRISON MINISTRIES.
IT IS CHRISTIANS WHO HAVE BROUGHT DEMOCRACY TO COUNTRIES SUFFERING UNDER CRUEL DICTATORS.
SOME FAIL TO SEE OUR FOE AND HAVE TAKEN THE FOLLOWING OUT OF OUR HYMNALS — BUT OH, WE WRESTLE NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD, BUT AGAINST POWERS AND PRINCIPALITIES — AND WE MUST TAKE THESE LYRICS TO HEART.
HE HIMSELF WAS SHOCKED, SAYING:
Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the Devil?”
Jesus Christ believed in the Devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the Devil! Most of mankind has believed in the Devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the Devil.
THE ONLY WAY WE CAN FIGHT VICTORIOUSLY IS BY BEING AT PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER SO THAT WE CAN FIGHT, NOT ONE ANOTHER, BUT OUR FIERCE ENEMY.
- What stood out to you in the above and why?
Monday-Wednesday Bible Study
2. Solomon was a man of peace and under his reign the Kingdom was united. Two outstanding cities, known for their beauty, were Tirzah and Jerusalem. Find three ways the corporate bride is described in Song of Songs 6:4.
After Solomon’s death, the kingdom divided. Why? Solomon disobeyed God and fell prey to the enemy, marrying foreign wives. This apostasy led to the divided kingdom. Tirzah was capitol of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and Jerusalem was capitol of the Southern Kingdom of Judah. They were often at enmity with one another, bringing destruction to these beautiful cities and to their people.
3. With this understanding, I tend to agree with James Hamilton’s interpretation of Song of Songs 6:5-10. He sees the description of the bride here as evoking the beauty of Israel’s history when she was at her best. See if you can find in this passage descriptions of places in Israel that also evoke times of God’s blessing. (I know this is challenging and you can listen to Hamilton later — but try on your own first!)
RETURN, RETURN, O SHULAMMITE
4. Read Song of Songs 6:13.
In this passage the word translated “return” (shuvi) is used four times in a feminine imperative verb form. This verb form is used in only a few other places in Scripture, such as when Hosea prophesies that one day his adulterous wife (representing Israel and us) shall say:
I will go and return to my first husband,
For it was better for me than than now.
With this understanding, what do you think God is saying here to His corporate bride?
This is the first time she is called Shulammite. The root letters of Shulammite are sh-l-m, which would “immediately connote to a Hebrew reader the notion of shalom, “peace, well-being.”She is also the counterpart to Solomon (Hebrew Shlomo – again from the same root.) They are “Mr. and Mrs. Peace.” Because they are one with their God, they are also one with each other and with their sisters and brothers. Together, in peace and perfect harmony, they dance. She is both a woman and a city, like the new Jerusalem (Jerusalem has the same root letters in Hebrew: Yerushalym). One day, Revelation tells us, she will come down out of heaven, “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”
5. With this background about the name Shulammite, what insight might this give you into “her dance between two armies?”
These last chapters are challenging so I may be afield here, but I think God is calling, as Jesus did in John 17, for peace within the corporate bride, for us to love each other and give grace to each other so that we might overcome the real enemy.
Right now we are at war. Voice of the Martyrs reports that last year the martyrdom of Christians (7,000) doubled from previous years. ISIS is targeting Christians.
In America, the political scene has been the rudest and crudest I’ve known in my lifetime, and even the political candidates who are Christians have been caught up in trading insults instead of ideas.
Christians are discouraged. Many feel it is the end times. I confess to all those feelings.
Last week, however, God breathed hope into me when I had dinner with a godly couple. Jeff frequently does medical missions in Honduras and is struck by how much more vibrant the church in Honduras is than the church in America. I told him I’ve seen the same in prisons. Their vibrancy always makes me feel lukewarm.
There is no doubt that suffering refines and can cause us to “Return” to Jesus like nothing else. Jeff asked, “Why are Christians in America giving up? Why aren’t they praying for revival? It was the word I needed. How I need to “Return, Return, O Shulammite.” Revival is what can help us overcome our differences, give grace, and work together to fight our REAL ENEMY.
7. Comment on the above.
A movie based in a true story shows the power of revival to unite. Watch this clip: Woodlawn:
8. (You can answer this privately.) Where is God calling you to repent and to return to Him?
9. How could you better pray for revival for the corporate Bride?
8. Comment on the above.
9. What is your take-a-way and why?