Lesson 14: Jesus Delights in His Garden

The daughters of Jerusalem had just asked, “Who is He?” After hearing her glorious description of Him, they ask, “Where is He?” They are ready to join in pursuit of this One who is so wonderful.


Friends
6:1 Where has your lover gone, O woman of rare beauty? Which way did he turn so we can help you find him? (NLT)

The enemy knows the power that can flow through the life of one who praises God despite hardship. We are still blessed by Job who endured great loss and could say, “When he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold” (Job 23:10 NLT).

Others are watching to see if we go through great difficulties and can still testify, “Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us” (Romans 8:37 NLT). Those who live victoriously come what may, exercise an attractive force towards God.
Selah: Paul wrote: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37-38).

What words in those verses explain why Paul was “more than conqueror” during difficult days?

Beloved
6:2 My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to browse in the gardens and to gather lilies.
As she ponders their question, suddenly she knows! “He is in His garden. I am His garden. He is within me!” Although it seemed that He left, He only retreated from her feelings. In reality He is still within her.

Notice that this verse first uses the word “garden,” then “gardens.” Jesus loves His garden. All of us who are His are one body (garden) with many individual smaller, lovely gardens making up this one glorious garden. “The body is not made up of one part but of many” (1 Corinthians 12:14).

The garden of the Lord is His Church. Jesus loves to be with His people. He does not wait until we are without mistakes; He comes when we desire Him.

“The beds of spices” speak of the different ones in His church. We are all like various spices. He takes great pleasure in the diversity of His garden. The Lord wants us to value those who have differing personalities, gifts, and graces.
Selah: Do you have trouble appreciating those who are unlike you? Think of them as being a different spice or a different flower in God’s garden. He enjoys the variety and will help you do the same.

6:3 I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; he browses among the lilies.
This statement is similar to her earlier “My beloved is mine and I am his”—yet there’s an important difference. Then her first thought was of her claim upon Christ; His claim upon her was secondary. Now she thinks first of His claim and only afterward mentions her own claim. The focus of her life has now turned to Jesus.

Our own enjoyment of Him is our marvelous privilege. But as we mature in love, we will realize that the thirst of His heart is to commune with His Bride.

No sooner has she acknowledged herself as His possession than He appears. He tells her how beautiful she is in His eyes.

The gathering of lilies may refer to His receiving the prayers and praises of His people. Jesus has deep pleasure as His people express their love to Him. He goes to the garden to refresh himself by communing with those who love Him. Fellowshipping with His loved ones was the joy that was set before Him when He endured the pain of the cross. “Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame” (Hebrews 12:2-3 NLT).
Selah: What difference would it make if you consistently remembered that Jesus suffered on the cross so He could have the joy of your loving fellowship?


6:4 You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling, as lovely as Jerusalem, as majestic as troops with banners.
When an army in the ancient world returned victorious from battle, they displayed their banners in a military parade. A defeated army lost its banners. She had defeated her greatest enemies, because during her testing time she did not give in to sin and unbelief.
6:5 Turn your eyes from me; they overwhelm me.
The look of love in her eyes moved Him deeply. When the daughters asked, “Why do you love Him?” she spoke of Him as being altogether lovely after she had gone through the most difficult test of her life. Her steadfast look of devotion during her difficult season overcame Him.

When we unwaveringly love Him in the midst of our pain, His heart is moved beyond description. He tells her to stop gazing at Him, as if to say, “I can’t take it anymore.” Her love overwhelmed His heart. Our greatest glory is that we can move God’s heart. Jesus made the universe—the stars, the planets, the galaxies—but none of creation’s beauty overwhelms Him as we do!

When we pursue Him in the midst of our pain, when we do not think doubtful thoughts if He fails to show up when we want Him to, He says, “Turn your eyes away, for they overpower me.” (NLT)

She has yet to come out of the wilderness leaning on her Lover, yet she has the capacity to ravish the heart of God! One of the great revelations of the Song is that even weak and incomplete believers can overwhelm God’s heart.
Selah: Do you feel especially weak or tested? Then take time to praise Him and tell Him how much you adore Him. Your love for Him in the midst of testing is more precious to Him than you can comprehend.

Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead.
6:6 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep coming up from the washing. Each has its twin, not one of them is missing.
6:7 Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate.

There are more verses describing King Solomon’s admiration of the lowly maiden than verses expressing her esteem for him. No matter how much we esteem Jesus, His delight in us exceeds all we can imagine.

As she listens to Him, she matures spiritually. The qualities He mentions are those that develop in us when we immerse ourselves in His Word.

Jesus described her spiritual maturity by highlighting three things: her dedication (hair), life in the Word (teeth) and pure motives (temples). These are the same qualities that he mentioned earlier when these qualities were only beginning to form.

Her fruitful ministry and her balanced approach to Truth come from her feeding on Scripture. Again, He mentions that her motives are pure and beautiful in His sight.    
Selah: Every feature speaks of her spiritual growth. Her dedication, love for His Word, pure motives and belief in His goodness during testing are indications of her maturity. Compare these qualities with those others might use to judge us.

6:8 Sixty queens there may be, and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number;
6:9 but my dove, my perfect one, is unique, the only daughter of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. The young women saw her and called her blessed; the queens and concubines praised her.
6:10 Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession?

Jesus proclaims that no one compares to the bride in the heavenly court. His bride has more honor than all the hosts in Heaven. In God’s court are groups such as the seraphim, cherubim, and archangels, but He gives her more glory than all others.

He is saying, “She is more special to Me than all of the attendants in My court. She is the one I would die for.” The love of Jesus is so powerful that He can look at each one who pursues Him and call that one unique.

The question “Who is this...?” appears three times in this book (3:6, 6:10, 8:5). The word “this” is feminine so the question is, “Who is she?”

She appears “like the dawn.” The dawn signals a new beginning, a new start in the things of God.

She is “fair as the moon” or as beautiful as the full moon. The moon continually reflects the light of the sun. Its glory is totally the glory of another! Just as the moon uses no energy to bless, so we are not to struggle in our energy to live the Christian life, but each day we totally rely upon the Lord to touch others through us.

She is “bright as the sun.” The Hebrew word means “clear.” The clear light of God shines through her. He has chosen us to reflect His glory—to be those through whom others see His purity and love.

She is as “majestic as the stars in procession.” The stars are compared to warriors in Judges

5:20: “The stars in their orbits fought against Sisera” (NLT). His lovely bride is like an army overcoming the powers of darkness.
Selah: Jesus notices every detail about each of us. He continually enjoys and admires our efforts to please Him. Write what comes to your mind when you ask Him what He most loves about you.