Lesson 5 A Banner of Love

The apple tree is thought to refer to what was formerly called “Persian apple”—a fruit that was very fragrant and bore fruit in all seasons. She compares Him to a beautiful tree that allows her the pleasure of sitting close to Him and enjoying His refreshing presence at any time.

Jesus was her protective shade. “The LORD is your shade at your right hand” (Psalm 121:5). She found Him to be her shadow from the heat and refuge from the storm.

Sitting implies she was resting quietly meditating upon Him and feeding upon His Word. Spending her time in this way was her delight.

Selah: She obviously spent time just enjoying His presence. How important do you think it is to do that? What helps you focus on delighting in Him?

Consider recording your insights, memorizing, meditating. (See How to Read the Bible so It Changes Your Life for suggestions.)

2:4 He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.

Young’s literal interpretation is, “He hath brought me in unto a house of wine, and his banner over me is love.” As mentioned earlier, wine represented the best pleasure the world could offer. Jesus’ house of wine stands for the indescribable rich joys He will lavish on her.
This poor, sunburnt maiden must have felt unworthy in such a place. But he relieves her fear and bashfulness by waving over her a banner of His “love.”

Like the maiden, we may often feel unworthy to be in Jesus’ banquet hall enjoying all the rich blessings of His love. Yet, He says, it is My love that makes You worthy—the love I expressed when I shed my blood on the cross. “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 NKJV).

A banner announces that He will defend her. Under all circumstances, she can count on Him using all His resources to protect her.

We find our identity in being desired by God and in loving Him. Our worst enemy is often ourselves. We cannot believe that such generous love is intended for us. Others may perhaps be invited, but not us. But even if others make us feel of no value, He invites us to be under His banner of love. He longs for us to enjoy being loved, valued, and protected by Him.

Selah: Imagine living your life with the awareness that Jesus is constantly loving, valuing, and protecting you. How would believing these truths benefit you?

2:5 Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love.

The maiden is calling out for raisins and apples because they were refreshing. It is His Word that will sustain her! She needs the food of His Word. “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight” (Jeremiah 15:16).
She is overcome with delight because of the idea of being under His banner of love. He won her with His love and protects her with His love. Perhaps she was joyful to the point of exhaustion. Intense spiritual feeling can produce physical fatigue. She wanted Him to enlarge her capacity to be able to enjoy His glorious presence.

Selah: Jesus longs to refresh you. Sit in His Presence and read Psalm 23, 103, or 145. What promises encourage you?

2:6 His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me.
She asked for His renewing love and He responded. Immediately she senses His tender, loving care for her. She feels secure and at rest as she realizes that “underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:37).

His left hand is under her head suggesting He is there to support her thoughts, to enable her to think His thoughts. “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).

The strength of His right hand embraces and draws her closer to His heart.

Selah: Write to Jesus asking to be in His embrace. Asking is an act of love and faith. It is allowing Him to have the inestimable joy of giving to you, His bride. Don’t rob Him of that joy. The Lord Jesus Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

2:7 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

A gazelle or doe has a sensitive nature and is easily startled. True love is a shy and gentle affection that can be easily disturbed. The bride is perfectly happy and such exquisite pleasure must not be bothered.

It is unclear who is giving the instructions to not disturb love, but perhaps because of a personal experience, I like to think it is the Holy Spirit. One Wednesday night on my way to attend a mid-week church service, I sensed a strong drawing to be alone with Jesus. I was early so slipped into the prayer room. Alone on my knees, I simply quietly enjoyed His presence. Soon I heard singing, and I began thinking that I should join the others. While trying to decide if I should leave the prayer room, I heard the Spirit say, “I want you to Myself.”

There are times that Jesus wants us to be alone with Him. Three times in Solomon’s Song of Songs (2:7; 3:7) these words “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” are spoken.

Each time they are in the context of the maiden delighting in the presence of her Lover. John Wesley explained the meaning of this phrase with these words: “Do not disturb nor offend Him.” We may be tempted to not linger in His presence but to get on with business as usual.
Our less-than-enthusiastic affections may cause the same effect as when the multitude asked Jesus to depart: “So he got into the boat and left” (Luke 8:37). Instead, let’s ask Jesus to draw us to Himself, and then take time to be alone with Him.

Selah: Let’s diligently seek to never quench the Spirit. Ask Jesus to draw you to Himself, and then take time to be alone with Him.
What are ways you can respond to His desire to be alone with you?