1:3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the maidens love you!
She asked to be spiritually kissed and immediately was blessed with a revelation concerning Jesus’ name. Thinking on His Name is as refreshing as opening a bottle of the finest perfume. We do not see or take hold of a fragrance, but it makes an impact on us.
His Name speaks of His works, character, kindness, power, and wisdom. I was praying about a concern and realized I had no clue how God could answer my prayer. Then I remembered that one of His Names is El-Roi: the strong One who sees. My El-Roi sees the circumstance better than I do. He sees ways to answer that I could not fathom. He sees the best time to answer. Thinking on His Name El-Roi was like a sweet fragrance to my spirit enabling me to leave my care with Him.
The maiden has noticed others’ affection for Him and now she understands how right they are to adore Him. Perhaps seeing others’ love for Him is what gave her a longing to enter into that same enjoyment.
Selah: His name is above all names. His name heals (Acts 3:6), saves (Matthew 1:21; John 1:12), delivers (Acts 16:18), leads (Psalm 31:3), protects (Psalm 124:8), forgives (Psalm 79:9). Pray using names of God from Isaiah 9:6. Consider what Philippians 2:9-10 means.
1:4 Draw me after you; let us run. The king has brought me into his chambers (ESV).
She’s eager to be alone with her Lover, yet she’s dependent upon His calling her. She longs for communion with Him, but she realizes that coming into intimacy with Him begins when the Spirit places the desire in her heart, so she prays, “Draw me after you.” How dependent we are on Him to draw us to Himself! “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).
What a perfect prayer for us to pray when we long for a closer relationship with the Lord or even when we awaken in the mornings and find little desire to read the Word or pray. We plead, “Jesus, draw me to Yourself.”
We rejoice and delight in you; we will praise your love more than wine.
The Friends are believers who have yet to be gripped with holy passion for Jesus. They are sincere and true believers but less mature in their love. They love the Giver for His gifts. When we become eager for a closer walk with Jesus, those less spiritually mature notice. They, too, begin to change. These friends began to echo her thoughts. The one thing that will draw immature believers into pursuit of Jesus is seeing our hearts abandoned to Him. As we long to know Him better, others are stirred to a new level of devotion.
How right they are to adore you!
She says this to Christ. She is enthralled with His presence and declares it is right for all the world to adore Him.
1:5 Dark am I, yet lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, Dark like the tents of Kedar, Like the tent curtains of Solomon.
The closer we get to Jesus, the more clearly we see ourselves as He sees us. Things we once overlooked, we now see with new eyes in His presence. The maiden admits she is “dark” even though she is “lovely.” Others saw her as lovely as the tent curtains of Solomon, but there were things hidden within her that were not right. She had a revelation of her unsubmitted soul. Her mind, intellect, emotions, and will had not all been brought under the control of the Spirit.
“Woe to me!” Isaiah cried when He was in God’s presence. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). Many desire their selfish nature to be dealt with in secret and are not willing to be as honest before others as they are before God. It appears, though, she was not trying to hide what He was revealing to her. Freedom comes when our pride is broken and we humbly confess what the Spirit reveals.
After Jesus revealed Betty’s self-centeredness, she admitted, “I fought off a desire to turn away from these painful revelations about myself...Seeing my self-righteousness and pride made me want to hide my head in shame. I felt awed by the exposure of my selfish, arrogant nature. When the tears of repentance came, there were comfort and reassurance in His manner.” After His Presence left, “Everything was unchanged outside of myself. Inside I was different.”
Intimacy with Jesus is conditional. Pray the psalmist’s prayer in Psalm 139:23-24 and ask the Holy Spirit to show you if there is anything “offensive” in your life. Wait before Him.
1:6 Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother’s sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I have neglected.
For the maiden, being “darkened by the sun” refers to those things she did apart from God’s direction. The phrase “under the sun” means “apart from God” and emphasizes that life without God has no meaning. “When I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11).
Instead of seeking His pleasure, she had been driven by others’ expectations. Perhaps her mother’s sons (her Christian brothers) took full advantage of her fervency and zeal and overworked her. In her desire to please them, she became sidetracked and allowed her own vineyard (the garden of her heart) to suffer. Still, she realized she could not blame others that she had grown cold. Cultivating her own vineyard was her daily responsibility. Now she is weary of merely doing what others expect instead of passionately pursuing Jesus.
We can easily be distracted from our devotion to Jesus while working in the church. Like Martha, others may expect us to help with dinner—or whatever their project is—and misunderstand us when we don’t sense God asking us to join their efforts.
The enemy loves to get us so busy in legitimate projects that we find no time for intimate fellowship with the Bridegroom of our heart. The fruit we bear while not abiding in Christ will be fruit of the flesh and not of the Spirit. We may find we are working for Him but without Him.
1:7 Tell me, you whom I love, where you graze your flock and where you rest your sheep at midday. Why should I be like a veiled woman beside the flocks of your friends?
The maiden recognizes that she wants to be a lover of Jesus, not just a worker for Him.
Regardless of the cost, she must live “unveiled”—without hiding anything from Him. Only then would He be free to bring her into the intimacy she desires. She wants nothing between them.
Now that she has begun longing for Him, she is aware that she needs rest. Before coming to Him, she overlooked this need and kept busy. She focused on the flocks and not on the Shepherd. Their needs caused her to overlook her own needs.
Jesus knows we need rest. When the crowds were coming and going around His disciples, He said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31). Jesus still invites us to come with Him to a quiet place. Before deciding for ourselves how to find rest, we must go to Him first. We often think of doing whatever is easy—flip on the TV, check the news on the Internet, see what our Facebook friends are doing. Even if the activity in itself is not sinful, our greatest need may not be met.
Women had just walked out of my house after a draining Women Alive planning session and soon more women would be coming for a Bible study. I was weary and about to sit down with a cup of coffee when the thought came, Why not just kneel down in the presence of the Lord? As I knelt there, Scripture flowed into my mind that totally refreshed me.
The maiden’s question expressed her desire for Jesus. “Where do You feed Your flock?” Is it in Your house? Then I will go. Is it in private prayer? Then I will pray. Is it in Your Word? Then I will read it diligently. Tell me where You feed Your flock, for wherever You are is where I will lie down as your sheep.
When you need rest for your soul, where do you turn? Do you sometimes feel your need for Him but not know what to do?
What helps to bring you to a place where You sense you are near Him?