1:12 While the king was at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance.
Her presence was a perfume to Him. The Hebrew for “perfume” is spikenard, which was an expensive fragrance made from a plant being crushed and is the emblem of humility.
When Jesus was at His table, Mary of Bethany “came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, ‘Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.’ And they rebuked her harshly” (Mark 14:3-5).
Her expensive perfume “wasted” on Jesus expressed her love that was willing to sacrifice all. It was exceedingly precious to Jesus. “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.” He promised that the memory of her humble expression of love to Him would never be forgotten. Her poured out love accomplished more than she knew.
He has not changed. He treasures our poured-out love. We can express our love to Him in hundreds of ways throughout the day. When we say about our daily activities, “I am doing my best for You, Jesus,” or “This is for You, Jesus,” we’re offering Him a precious fragrance.
We have an open invitation to God’s table. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). Learn to enjoy His fellowship.
Selah: Begin to practice the presence of God, and give Jesus the joy of the fragrance of your perfume. Often couples in love sit quietly savoring the enjoyment of each other’s presence. Love Him by taking time to silently think about Him.
Reflect on these words: “I will love You, O LORD, my strength” (Psalm 18:1).
1:13 My lover is like a sachet of myrrh lying between my breasts. NLT
Hebrew women often wore little bags or bottles of myrrh, a sweet smelling fragrance, suspended from their necks and hanging down under their dress. It continually gave a delightful aroma. But the fragrance of myrrh was significant. Myrrh has a sweet smell but a bitter taste. It signifies suffering and speaks of Jesus’ death on the cross. It was an expensive perfume used by the wealthy as a burial spice. Psalm 45:8 tells us that Jesus’ robes were fragrant with myrrh.
The maiden embraces Him to her heart as she meditates on the cross and begins to understand the price He paid to draw her to Himself. She never wants to forget the cost of the fragrance. It is so delightful to dare to think of this One who suffered so much to be her Lover.
Selah: What comes to your mind when you think about the price Jesus paid for you? Thank Him for the love that caused Him to die so He can enjoy your fellowship.
1:14 My lover is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi.
Henna comes from a Hebrew word that means atonement. Jewish teachers in ancient times believed the phrase “a cluster of henna blossoms” referred to the Messiah. They translated it “a man who atones for all.” Henna was both beautiful and fragrant. The fragrance of Christ’s atonement for all our sins is indeed a sweet fragrance.
How wonderful that we have One who “understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15 NLT). He is still carrying our sorrows. “It was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5 NLT).
After someone said something to me that left me feeling rejected, Jesus spoke to my spirit, “Let me carry your burden. Let that fall on me. I am your burden-bearer.” After that thought went through my mind, I noticed I no longer felt the rejection. This Scripture came to me: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me” (Romans 15:3).
He shed His blood to deliver us from all that saddens our lives. He replaces anger with peace, unforgiveness with love, sadness with joy, worry with confident expectation. He provides healing for the wounded and counsel for the confused.
The rich fragrances of myrrh and henna express the sweet presence of Christ that is now possible for us to enjoy. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) translates into “Christ in you, the joyful and confident expectation of a most glorious life.”
Selah: Is there anything you need to release to Jesus? Ask Him to take your hurts and pains and replace them with His love, joy, peace. Repeatedly remind yourself, “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me” (Romans 15:3).
Do you recall a time when He has replaced your sorrow with His peace?
1:15 How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves.
She has just expressed how precious He is to her, and He is so elated with her that He repeats, “How beautiful you are, my darling! O how beautiful!” We have little idea of how precious our loving words are to Jesus. He rejoices over all of us who take time to tell Him how very much He means to us. “As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you” (Isaiah 62:5).
Doves’ eyes are mentioned six times in the Song. He is describing a quality that Jesus intensely wants to cultivate in her. A dove’s eyes have no peripheral vision. So when it fixes its gaze upon its mate, it is not distracted by any activities around it. It is often referred to as being a “love bird.” Also, a dove has only one mate in its life, so to have doves’ eyes is to be loyal.
Our having “dove’s eyes” indicates that we possess a spiritual awareness and can be easily led by Him, for we are close enough to see which way His eye is looking. In her daily life with a myriad of decisions, she would look into His eyes. The more she did so, the more she understood His desires and knew what to do.
Selah: “But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD” (Psalm 141:8). What do you think it means to have your eyes fixed on Jesus in your daily life?
1:16 How handsome you are, my lover! Oh, how charming! And our bed is verdant.
1:17 The beams of our house are cedars; our rafters are firs.
He praises her beauty, but in her eyes it is He who is beautiful. The more she sees of Jesus’ beauty, the more she adores Him. She is seeing Him as her charming lover and rejoicing in the thought of spending her life in fellowship with Him.
Her place of rest with Him is completely satisfying! Verdant means green, fresh, and lush. She rests in His presence enjoying His love. There is no better resting place than Christ. “He makes me lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2).
They continually speak of their love and joy in each other modeling the kind of sharing Jesus wants to have with us.
In these early stages of growing in intimacy with her Lover, she focuses on what He is to her, not what she is to Him. This is appropriate for now, but her focus will change. She will become aware of His rights to enjoy her and that she exists for Him alone. She will see herself as the one He desires.
Selah: Notice that she is listening to Him. After the kiss of His words to her, she seems to have reached a new level of spiritual maturity. Why is listening to what Jesus says in the Word the secret to our spiritual growth?
2:1 I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.
The rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys are very common flowers. She says she is a common, ordinary flower, one of thousands. She wonders why He would see beauty in her. Why is He singling her out? “I am just one of so many, Lord. What do you see in me?” She thinks humbly of herself and uses an unassuming expression.
We, too, can think that such a love relationship with Jesus may be only for those more special than we, but we are each equally precious in His sight.
Selah: Jesus had good words to say about the lowly lily. “See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these” (Matthew 6:28-29). Read Matthew 6:25-34. What words would you use to describe the care Jesus offers?
2:2 Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens.
He takes her comparison of herself and gives it a remarkable turn. He declares that others do not compare with her. Because she has sought to come closer to Him, He receives her as though she is the most special one in the world.
He is saying to her (and to us): “I see the hunger of your heart. I am moved by your request when you first prayed, ‘Draw me.’ You were expressing a longing for something more than your present experience, and it turned My heart and desire toward you.”
He wants us to know that He views us as beautiful when we are desiring more of Him even though we may feel undeserving. He would rather we trust in His love than doubt His mercy.
Selah: How do you respond to this truth: “Your desires to draw near Jesus are His most precious possessions”?