RESTORATION OF THE BRIDE(Pt. 4)

Of all the images of the Bride of Christ in the scriptures, none is more enchanting than that found in the Song of Songs. There are four engaging scenes as the Bridegroom both seeks and ultimately wins his Bride:

(1st) Wooing his beloved — ‘‘Because of the savor of thy good ointments, thy name is as ointment poured forth; therefore do the virgins love thee. Draw me; we will run after thee’’(SOS 1:3-4a KJV). Those who recognize the power of the name of Jesus also recognize the fragrant beauty of the Name. Peter reminds us, ‘‘Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved’’(Acts 4:12 KJV). Again, concerning her beloved, “He brought me to his banqueting table, and his banner over me was love”(SOS 2:4). In every detail of the wooing grace of His Spirit, the Lord Jesus pursues us by His love. ‘‘And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him’’(1 Jn. 4:16). The romance of His love draws people to Himself.

(2nd) Captivating her – She extols his virtue, describing his character to her friends who inquire as to what makes this one unique. In SOS 5:10-16, she describes her attraction to him from head to feet. He is fairer than 10,000 to her. And although she talks of his loveliness from head to foot, she returns to ‘‘his mouth’’. Does our description of Christ Jesus include his mouth? * We cannot live without his mouth. Jesus said, “Man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’’ (Lk. 4:4) There should come a cry from our hearts, ‘‘Let me see your face! Let me hear your voice! For your voice to me is sweet’’. It was by the voice of the LORD that things were created in the beginning (Genesis 1).   Again,it is by the ‘‘Word of His power that He upholds all things’’(Heb. 1:3). In a world when many things are shaking and unstable it is comforting to know the voice of His Word that sustains and supports. ‘‘The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of God abides forever’’(Isa. 40:8).

(3rd) Winning the Beloved — As she fellowships with her beloved her language changes from merely knowing his love for her to her devotion toward him. She declares, “I am my beloved’s, and he is mine’’(SOS 6:3).

Winning the beloved is more than a periodic “peck on the cheek” as it were. It will take effort on our part. Notice: ‘‘All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him. I will get up now and go about the city, through its streets and squares; I will search for the one my heart loves. So I looked for him but did not find him. The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. “Have you seen the one my heart loves?” Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go till I had brought him to my mother’s house, to the room of the one who conceived me”(SOS 3:1-4).

If we are to win Christ it will mean we are willing to do what before may have been inconvenient. We no longer lie as it were on a bed of ease waiting for Him to come to us. We take off the things of sloft and dress ourselves for journey even at midnight to find Him whom our soul loves.

One of the signs of Christian maturity is that we ‘‘put away childish things’’(1 Cor. 13:11). Other things will also have to be forsaken. Take the words of the apostle Paul for our pattern: “The things that were gain to me, I count them loss…that I might apprehend what I was apprehended for”(Read Phil. 3:7-12).  Reaching Out and Reaching Up means learning to Let Go.

(Finally) Transforming love – Having been pursued and now pursuing the Lover, we experience the mystery of the power of the Bridegroom’s transforming love and grace. Notice: “My dove, my perfect one, is unique, the only daughter of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. The maidens saw her and called her blessed; the queens and concubines praised her. Friends, Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession?” (SOS 6:9-10 NIV). How did she become transformed in this way?  She had been for a season in the wilderness with her beloved, and had learned the hidden secret  of all transforming grace…She has learned to unconditionally trust His lead and find her rest in Him.  She is “leaning on her beloved”(SOS 8:5). She longs to bare upon her heart and arm the seal of the fire of His love (Read SOS 8:6).  The “heart” is the seat of our affections.  The “arm” symbolizes the works that we do in His name and strength.

Here is her summation of his transforming love upon her. ‘‘Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned”(SOS 8:7). She is not ashamed to let it be known that she is so joined to her bridegroom that, as someone has put it, she is a part of the company of ‘‘the Fellowship of the burning heart’’.    John heard in heaven, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.   Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)  Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”(Rev. 19:7-9)

Copyright© Walter Fletcher Jr., 2011. Permission is granted to reproduce this article free of charge, provided that it is not altered in its original form and content. Please direct all correspondence to walterfletcherjr@gmail.com

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