Such a representation of the excellence of the Lord Jesus, which the Bride gave at the end of the last chapter, creates in its hearers a desire to see Him for themselves! So here we find the “daughters of Jerusalem” inquiring of the Bride where He may be found (verse 1). Her reply is that her Beloved may always be found and seen in His garden – that is, His Church (verse 2). Although she is set in the midst of this world, Christ’s Church is a sacred enclosure that is dearly beloved by Him (Ps. 80:12; Isa. 5:1). There He enjoys the fragrance of the beds of spices – the grateful incense of desires which are arising from sanctified hearts.
Jesus is never absent from His Church. He is always in one part or another of it. The bright manifestations of His love may occasionally be withheld behind a cloud, as we follow Him through afflictions and trials. But we may still say – in the absence of all spiritual comforts, and even in the deadly gloom of the greatest spiritual darkness – “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine!” (verse 3) We may rest assured that although His presence is not openly manifested to our souls, He is still “feeding among the lilies.” His nature constrains Him to dwell among His saints. Therefore, by keeping within His garden – under the influences of the means of grace – we shall soon find the joy of His salvation again, in the fullness of His presence! (Ps. 42:1, 5, 11)
A faith that is thus steadfast is never disappointed! The soul that follows hard after Christ – and perhaps even seeks Him with tears – finds Him! The gracious Friend Who had been ignored in the last chapter had indeed forsaken the soul for a season, but He rejoices to receive us again when we show our sorrow by seeking Him (Ps. 103:9; Isa. 60:10; 64:5). He comes to meet us as He sees and hears us following Him through the paths of His garden, and He assures us that His love is still unchanged! He encourages us to come to Him, by using the same language as that which He employs in verses 4-13. Beginning at this passage, through chapter 7:9, we read the language of Jesus to the believing soul that is restored from the separation caused by the neglect of His love (chapter 5:2-6). At such times – being humbled by our unworthy conduct toward such a Friend – we hesitate until we are reassured of His unabated love.
The city of Tirzah on Judea’s beautiful hills; the metropolis of Jerusalem, which was “beautiful for situation”; and a bannered host of valiant soldiers – all of these were objects that filled the mind with an impression of dignity and majesty. And it is in the same way that the soul of the saint appears to Jesus, Who is waiting for us amidst the beauties and fragrance of His garden (verse 4). In accommodation to human modes of speaking, He says that the impression is the greatest possible (verse 5). It is overpowering! Then – as if to reassure us that His love is still the same, even after our unworthy conduct – He uses the same language with which He previously spoke to His people, in chapter 4:1-3. Around the Lord Jesus, there are innumerable lovely and glorious beings – “queens” and “virgins without number” – upon whom He might bestow His love (verse 8). But among all these, the soul of the believer stands pre-eminent! This is the one amidst that whole huge host, whom He loves above all others – and whom He loves as devotedly as if there were none other to love! (verse 9)
As the Lord Jesus sees His Bride hastening toward Him, He is impressed with her beauty and dignity of bearing (verse 10). He exclaims, “Who is this approaching – covered with the blush of beauty and glow of health; more pleasing than the dawn of the morning; beautiful as the moon in her silvery brightness; pure and impressive in loveliness, as the brilliance of the sun; and grand and imposing in her demeanor, as hosts with streaming banners?” This is how the Savior views His ransomed Bride – newly created through the Holy Spirit!
Receiving the returning Bride with this cordiality and love, our Lord proceeds to tell her His feelings during His withdrawal. He does not withdraw in anger, but in love. He feels, without ceasing, the strongest desire to return to us; and He earnestly invites us to return to Him. He continues to still view us with unabated love. Although He temporarily withdrew from the individual soul, He went into other portions of the garden of His Church, in order to exercise His tender care over it (verse 11). But the strength of His love toward us – despite how unkind we had been to Him – would not allow Him to forget us. Almost before He was aware – since His nature is love – He found Himself returning to meet us with tender compassion, and with the rapidity of the famous “chariots of Amminadib” (verse 12). Although we often grieve Jesus by our neglect, and compel Him to withdraw from us; He is not only willing to receive us if we seek Him again, but He Himself comes forth to meet us with the greatest rapidity! (chapter 2:8; Luke 15:20)
With tenderness and emphasis, the Lord Jesus encourages us – His Bride – to not hesitate; but rather, to come and return (verse 13). Thereby He assures us that His heart had been with us all along; and that He is not only willing, but also desirous, to look upon us! He says that the sight of her is as noble as two armies; for she is comprised of the Church militant that is still on earth, and the Church triumphant that is already in heaven. And in both of these two armies, she appears beautiful indeed!
Thank You, dear Lord Jesus, that You may always be found by those who diligently seek for You! Amen.
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