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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Evangelism in the Song of Songs (Song of Songs 5:9; 6:1)

 "How is your beloved better than others, most beautiful among women? How is your beloved better than others, that you charge us so? Where has your lover gone, most beautiful of women? Which way did your lover turn, that we may look for him with you?"

The storms of life have a way of clarifying priorities. Having spent her earlier life taken care of smelly sheep and vine dressing palace life became addicting. So much so that when the Beloved comes knocking at her door she turns him away with the words, "I have taken off my robe--must I put it on again? I have washed my feet--must I soil them again?" Notice that her hands dripped with myrrh so much so that she can't even get a grip on the door knob! (Perhaps she had spent too much time and money at the Bath and Body Works store that day!)

What happened to the Shulamite? Her affections moved from the Prince of the palace to the prosperity of the palace. She began to love his 'stuff' more than she loved him! At his departure she awakens to her senses and leaves the palace to look for him. The watchmen, who are supposed to protect her, beat her up and take away her veil. Undaunted, she continues her search. Stunned, her friends question her loyalty to the Beloved. The Shulamite's description of the Beloved is so compelling that they soon join her in her search.

That's exactly what happens in evangelism! Believers aren't immune to the storms of life; the storms of life clarify their view of the Heavenly Beloved. So much so, that when they testify of the Beloved to their friends who witness their storm, their friends are awakened to need to know such a great King.

No one is immune to trouble. Trouble to a believer, however, frames the greatness of God. Describing Him to those who watch us navigate the difficulties of life whets their appetite to know such love. We must, therefore, be quick to testify of Him in the midst of our troubles. We have a hope that the world only dreams of.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Song of Songs 5:1-8:14 (It is helpful to read the Song in a regular Bible so that you can see who is saying what.)
  • How does the Shulamite woman respond to the Beloved's knock at her door?
  • What happens to the Shulamite woman after she changes her mind, opens the door and finds her Beloved gone?
  • How do the daughters of Jerusalem respond to the Shulamite's inability to find her Beloved? (What two questions do they ask her?)
  • How does the Shulamite woman describe her Beloved to her friends? (This is the only time in the Song that the Beloved is describe. Isn't it interesting that it occurs after the Beloved is rejected and has gone away?)
  • How do her friends respond to the Shulamite's description of the Beloved? (In 6:1)
  • Obviously in the Song 6:4ff the Beloved returns to the Shulamite. He again describes the Shulamite. Can you imagine what this description must have meant to the Shulamite since she had just rejected him?
  • What does the Beloved call the Shulamite woman in 7:1? How does his statement compare with her own description in 1:5-6?
  • What changes occur in the Shulamite's relationship with the Beloved throughout the Song?
Psalm 45 - In Revelation 19:6-21 the Apostle John wrote about the marriage of Christ, the Lamb, in heaven. He describes the Bridegroom as one who is dressed for battle and the Bride as one clothed in acts of righteousness. The reader can't help but see in Psalm 45 a parallel passage.
  • How is the king's attire described?
  • What characterizes the king?
  • How is the princess (or bride) described?
  • Read the following verses to see how Christ's garments are described:
Matt 9:20 - "And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment."
Matt 14:36 - "and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well."
Mark 6:56 - "Wherever He entered, into villages, cities, or the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged Him that they might just touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched Him were made well."

1 Kings 5:1-12; 2 Chronicles 2:1, 3-16
  • Upon what basis does Hiram respond to Solomon's request for timber? What does he recognize about Solomon?
  • What does this tell you about those who have God's wisdom?
  • What purpose does Solomon attribute to the temple?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the Lord to make you aware of the watchful eyes and the listening ears of others as you navigate the troubles that come your way.