How we view the Song of Solomon is extremely important to how open we are as Christians to be reconciled with the very Biblical view that it is God-honouring to speak of Him in intimate language. Actually it is dishonouring to the sacrifice Jesus made on the Cross NOT to be comfortable with worshipping Jesus Christ with reverent yet intimate language. My family always wince whenever the Song of Solomon is mentioned because since I read "Sex, Romance and the Glory of God" - it has become something of a pet passion to prove that indeed this wonderful book of the Bible IS primarily reflecting Christ and His Bride and secondarily marriage. For those who haven't read this small book, briefly C J Mahaney argues that the Song of Solomon is only a sex manual for those in marital bliss and makes fun of those who would teach otherwise.
Reading Jonathan Edwards in his "Blank Bible" not only assures me I was in good company to argue that C J Mahaney may have missed something but more importantly to hold a wrong view about a book of the Bible does indeed mean we are missing out on a vital form of relationship and encounter with our Living Lord Jesus Christ. Some of these quotes are so Christo-centric they are breath-taking:
Song of Solomon 3:4: "It cost the spouse much to find her beloved but when she found him she held him so much the faster. So it is with the saints. The longer it is before they find Christ, the more pains and care and self-denial when they have found Christ and the more careful not to let Him go".
Song of Solomon 3:6: "Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke perfumed with myrrh and frankincense with all powders of the merchant?"
No, not the Christian husband as Mahaney would argue but:
This represents the abundance of merit with which Christ came out of His passion and state of humiliation. In coming out of His state of humiliation, He as it were came out of a dreadful wilderness and He came forth like a great cloud of incense for then He had finished His purchase. He arose and ascended from His humiliation like a great cloud of incense upto heaven, perfumed with all manner of sweet spices, for when He had finished His passion He entered into the holiest of all with His own blood, with the incense of His abundant merits as the high priest of old entered into the holy of holies with a cloud of incense ...
And another thing that is probably meant by it is Christ's coming forth out of His humiliation in the glory of His divinity. The glory of His divinity is represented by the cloud of glory. While in His humiliation His divinity was veiled, but when He was exalted, He reassumed the glory He had with the Father before the world was.
We find this question; "Who is this?" often asked in Scripture on occasion of Christ's coming forth out in His merits, triumph and glory after His sufferings and conflicts with His enemies. (Psalm 24:7-10)".
And there are many more quotes. But I find the link between the references in the Song of Solomon to Calvary and Christ's sacrifice tremendously moving. I do believe time and again that the primary "joy set before Him" in Christ enduring the most awful sufferings as He hung there alone was so that He could watch the redeemed both dead and alive cry out; "Abba! Father!". I would not say the primary experience of the Christian church is that cry springing forth from the Holy Spirit out of their deepest souls ... not yet. Surely that is why Rob Rufus's teaching and preaching is so important at a time in Christian history as this - we MUST consider what Christ has accomplished for us and what that means for us in actual position. We MUST consider out righteousness as not being of our own but imputed from this glorious "one coming from the wilderness".
He died .... so that we might not only live but worship! A thought occured to me at this early hour on a Sunday morning. Will God EVER be silent now we are in the New Covenant? Now that the veil has been torn in two and the Holy of Holies has become our dwelling place (legally if not experientially yet) - dare we ever accuse God of being silent? Now that "Open Heaven" is truly our experience will He ever refuse to speak to us or pour out His wonderful love on us? What a tremendous price He paid that we might have the deepest and richest intimacy with our heavenly "Abba!". Let's not abuse it this Sunday by keeping the love of God poured out within our hearts by the Holy Spirit at a distance. Let that deepest, most intimate cry spring up from within us again!