Lesson 17: Poured Out Love

Our longings are met when we surrender unreservedly to Jesus. Instead of the cross we fear, we find the King of Love who satisfies our deepest longing and who finds His pleasure in us.
7:11 Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside, let us spend the night in the villages.

She is no longer working for those who forced her to take care of the vineyard (1:6). Her motivation now is her love for Him, for His love has compelled her (2 Corinthians 5:14). Our energy to serve springs from our confidence that Jesus deeply desires and loves us.

His passion draws her. He created within us a capacity for communion to which He could relate so He could have the fellowship and satisfaction He desires. Throughout Scripture, the Lord is revealed as a seeking God. He seeks for our fellowship.

She changed her language in Song 6:11 from “I went down” to “let us go.” She uses “let us” four times (Song 7:11-12) indicating that they work together. A strong loving relationship results in mutual concerns. She now is interested in the harvest of the vineyard, too.

But she will not go without His presence. Her only concern is to be with Him in His work. She doesn’t care what He asks her to do as long as He will release His presence as she goes.
Another version states, “Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field” (KJV). Paul told the Corinthians, “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field” (1 Corinthians 3:9). Our “field” includes those we are with—our family, job, church, and neighborhood. It is where God places us. “Open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35). Jesus is always concerned about those close to us.

To spend the night speaks of her diligence and urgency to carry out what He has assigned her.
Selah: What difference does it make when we think of what we do for God as though we are doing it with Him—not just for Him?

7:12 Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom—there I will give you my love.
She is able to share His loving concern. No longer selfish, she is longing to bless others who once mistreated her. Her desire is to see others succeed. Sacrifice is no longer avoided. She will pay the price to touch others in His Name.

During her immature years, serving others became a distraction from her enjoyment of Him. Ministry was a hindrance. But now, ministry is where she gives Him her love.
It is in the good times but also in the disappointments, the setbacks, the seemingly fruitless times of ministry that we give Him our love. We serve for Jesus’ sake, not just for the people’s sake.

It was easy for her to love Jesus in chapter two, but as her maturity has deepened, she desires to express her love by being where the presence of Jesus will be released through all she does for Him.
Selah: Ask Jesus in what place of ministry you can give Him your love.

7:13 The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my lover.

The mandrakes were considered a fruit symbolic of love and appeared in the fields at the time of wheat harvest. Harvest was a time of rejoicing and celebration, a time of praising God for His blessings. She was rejoicing because of her fruitful life that resulted from her union with Him. The fragrance of Jesus flowed from them as they labored in love together in the vineyard.

The doors represent the many and varied opportunities to serve. She is overjoyed to share with her Beloved all the blessings that going through the doors of opportunity have brought to her heart.

His door is her door so she calls it “our door.” He chooses each door in which they will enter together. We are not to think of having “my” ministry, but if we are in union with Him, it is “our” ministry. Then “our” ministry will result in much fruit.
Selah: Ask Jesus to bring to your mind the many ways He has demonstrated His love to you in both the past and the present.


8:1 If only you were to me like a brother, who was nursed at my mother’s breasts! Then, if I found you outside, I would kiss you, and no one would despise me.
The maiden longs to boldly show her loyalty and affection to her Lover in public. A woman at that time in history could be more “familiar in public” with her brother than her fiancé.

To “kiss Jesus in public” without being despised speaks of expressing the fullness of our heart to Him in public without being misunderstood and looked down upon. Peter and John prayed for this boldness. “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness” (Acts 4:29).
Selah: In what situations is speaking boldly for Jesus most difficult?
When has God helped you have a public witness to your faith?


8:2 I would lead you and bring you to my mother’s house—she who has taught me. I would give you spiced wine to drink, the nectar of my pomegranates.
She longs to bring His presence to those in the Church, her mother’s house. This speaks of those who initially taught her the things of God. (Paul spoke in Galatians 4:26 of the New Jerusalem as “the mother of us all,” so the mother is considered to be symbolic of the Church.)

It is easy to hold back when we are with familiar relationships. A prophet is often not received in his hometown. “Jesus said to them, ‘Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor’” (Matthew 13:57). But she is willing to minister to those who knew her when she was just starting to walk with God. She would share with young and old what it means to give your life over in total abandonment to Christ.

There in her mother’s house she wants to serve Him with the best she has. Pomegranates were expensive, but she would treat Him as her honored guest, no matter what it cost her.
She prays, “I would lead You.” Jesus allows us to make some of the decisions in His kingdom. He gives us authority and He cooperates with our decisions. This reveals the dignity He has given us as co-heirs with Him. “We are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).
Selah: Why do you think the maiden found it difficult to speak boldly of what she had learned to those who knew her best?
Is it difficult for you to speak openly of the way Jesus is leading you when you are at your church, in your home, or with your friends? If so, why? What steps can you take to overcome this?


8:3 His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me.
8:4 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

Her source of strength and support is her Bridegroom’s embrace. His left arm supported her head, directing her thoughts. His right arm embraced her, supplying strength. He was her resting place. “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27).

There is nothing sweeter to the Bridegroom or to the bride than this hallowed and unhindered communion. No one was to disturb her in this moment of glory with the King.
This time the phrase “Do not arouse or awaken love…” is given, the easily frightened gazelles are omitted because her days of fear and timidity are over. She is caught up with Him and not so easily disturbed.

Each time He has caused her to rest in His love He was preparing her for a new spiritual step. It is the same now. He knows she will need strength that comes from His love for this journey. So He takes her into His arms. Falling into His embrace is a complete surrender to His strength.
Selah: Why is our time alone with God the most important preparation we can make for all that lies ahead?

 

Friends
8:5 Who is this coming up from the wilderness, Leaning upon her beloved? NKJV

Perhaps her Beloved allowed her to go through a “wilderness experience” so she would understand her need to totally depend upon Him. To bring us to entire reliance and dependence upon Him is His purpose for what He allows in our lives.

Her friends see her now leaning upon her Beloved, for she has learned that she can only keep in step with Him as she leans upon Him each moment in complete dependence.
Others can tell if we are leaning on Jesus or if we are depending on our own strength. For instance, are we leaning on Him to change those we care about or are we trying to convince them with our own efforts? The bride’s friends took notice that she rested completely, moving only when He moved and stopping only when He stopped.

He is her strength, joy, and pride, while she is His treasure, the object of His most tender care. All His resources of wisdom and strength are hers. By leaning and having no confidence in self, she has discovered an endless source of strength in Him.
Selah: Have you ever gone through a difficult time that caused you to depend entirely on Him?

Lover
I awakened you under the apple tree. There your mother brought you forth; There she who bore you brought you forth. (NKJV)

Again, He reminds her that He is more than a Bridegroom to her. Before she knew Him, He knew her, and of this He reminds her. He called her to Himself when she had no attraction. The love that made her what she is, and now takes delight in her, is not a fickle love. She does not need to fear it will change.

The apple tree is a picture of Christ in the beauty of His love. Under the shadow of His love, He lavishes His affection on us by giving us a desire for Him. Then the intercessions of the Church bring us to new birth in Christ.
Selah: How did the Savior show you His love before you had a desire for Him?


8:6 Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
The Bridegroom is calling His maiden to set Him as a seal on her heart. This seal declares that she belongs to Him. He “set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts” (2 Corinthians 1:22).

The “heart” is the place of love, and He wants all of our love to be for Him. He is saying, “Set Me as a seal upon your affections; let them all be directed toward Me.”

The “arm” represents our activities. His seal of ownership on us demands that none of our actions grieve the Holy Spirit. Every deed, every activity must have His approval.

The seal of the Holy Spirit is the infilling of God’s love poured into our hearts. “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:5). As He pours out His love into our hearts, we will be filled with a passion that can be described as a blazing fire. We will be passionate about what He is passionate about. We will be enabled to love as He loves.

We must invite Him to place His seal of love on us. He will not force us into a relationship of intimate love. In response to our asking with faith, He will set His seal of ownership on us so that we will spend our strength and our energies only for Him and His Kingdom.
Jesus is a jealous Lover. He will not relent until we love Him with all of our hearts. The love that “is as strong as death” led Him to His death on the cross. Now He yearns for us to love Him as He loves us.

His jealousy over us is “unyielding as the grave.” “The LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14). He cannot overlook one spot or wrinkle in His bride. He is asking us to choose to have every desire, decision and circumstance filtered through the crucified One. We ask, “Would You be pleased for me to spend my time like this? Would You be pleased to watch this with me? Would it please You for me to wear this? Would You be pleased for me to buy this?” The crucified life is living with the total confidence that He knows best and we delight in His choices.

Jesus asks for a total commitment from us. He is not content with a partial ownership of our hearts. May we be fiercely protective of God’s claims on our lives and allow nothing to steal what belongs to Him—our time, money, interest.

Jesus has an intense jealousy toward anything that would come between Him and His Bride. He sets before us the vision, the commitment that it will take, and the path we must walk. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).

The phrase “for love is strong as death...” is speaking of Divine love. Divine love gives us victory to overcome temptations that we could not overcome with human efforts. But when our source of strength comes from Divine love, we can endure anything. Millions of martyrs have loved Jesus with that strength.
Selah: Are you living the crucified life? “The crucified life is living with the total confidence that He knows best and we delight in His choices.”


8:7 Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised. (NKJV)
Nothing can put out the flame of love. “Many waters” and “floods” signify trials that believers go through. Rivers of persecution, misunderstanding, heartache, disappointments or pain cannot quench Divine love. The enemy will send the waters of temptation, apathy, disappointment, or pain to put this fire out. But when we continually yield to the Spirit, He constantly pours love into our hearts.

Once we have met our beloved Jesus and are filled with His love, the highest temptation that this world offers us—money, position or fame—pales by comparison.
Selah: Is there anything that keeps you from being totally committed to Jesus? If not, ask the Holy Spirit to put His seal of ownership in your heart. You may want to write to Jesus your commitment to give Him all of Yourself so you can receive all of Him. “...to you who believe, He is precious” (1 Peter 2:7 NKJV).