Canticles of love
“Canticles” in latin means- short hymns. And this is just what the book of ‘Song of Solomon’ is garnished with. Short songs or hymns of love exchanged between King Solomon and the Shulamite Lady. The song of solomon or otherwise known as ‘Canticles’, is a book of love and romance. But yet this love is a very profound picture of God’s Almighty love to wards sinners through His Son Lord Jesus Christ. And as we see in this book, the love of king Solomon for his bride- the Shulamite lady; we cannot miss the love that we have been showered by someone who is far greater than solomon. (Mat 12:42). And of His love we read that ‘he loved them to the end.’(John 13:1)
Let’s look a passage where King Solomon embarks to describe and prove the beauty of his bride
Passage of reference: – Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair- Song of Solomon 4:1
The very first thing the groom has to talk about the bride- “thou art fair”. This is not the first time he is saying it and neither is it the last. King Solomon has said it over and over, and he’s only said it many times in different ways. We read that he often calls her “the fair one” (Song of Solomon 2:10,13). Sometime he even says she is “the fairest of all women“(Song of Solomon 1:8). And sometimes he would take it a bit further and say that she’s “fair as the moon, clear as the sun” (Song of Solomon6:10). Moreover it was also a well acclaimed fact of the society, the the Shulamite lady was very fair . The daughters of Jerusalem had the same to say that she’s “fairest of all women“(Song of Solomon 5:9).
Though there is apparently nothing wrong to say she was fair, but the fact was far from truth. If the shulamite lady had to talk about herself, notice what she would say -”I am black“(Song of Solomon 1:5). The ESV renders “I am very dark”. She doesn’t stop but tells how ashamed she is- “Do not gaze at me because I am dark” (Song of Solomon 1:6). According to her, she is not worth looking at. She wants everybody to take their eyes off her. Only if nobody would look at her and that she could keep this shame for herself.
Then she goes ahead to give the reason why she is dark -”because the sun has looked upon me.” or stated otherwise, she was not dark from beginning but she only obtained it by her rough lifestyle outdoors. Indeed she was fair once upon a time, but now there remains no sign to tell about her past beauties. She would have been the fairest of all women, but now her darkness has so much consumed her that she hates to show her self; so ashamed of her misdoings, so ashamed of herself and what she got herself into.
But if we were to set these truthful facts aside, we will find that, all what Solomon had to say about her was in the present tense. He was not talking of her past, but what trills his heart at present. He was still claiming that she was fairest of all women, and never did he say she was dark. Moreover even the society had the same to say about her. And though the Shulamite lady doesn’t want anybody to look at her, Solomon thinks otherwise and says “O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look on you” (Song of Solomon 6:13). He just can’t stop looking at her and wants everybody to attest her beauty.
What a paradox!! Here is someone dark and very dark, that even cannot be looked upon; but her well beloved and the the whole city says she’s fair like none other!!
And what if we’re to consider the groom himself – King Solomon. What does the bible talk about the richest and wisest king on earth? We find that, when it comes to his glories and riches which God had blessed him with; it was not enough to say he was fair or fairer than other. Notice how sharp are his descriptions- “My beloved is white and ruddy, the most chief among ten thousand.” (Song of Solomon 5:10) He is not simply fair or fairer, but he’s the fairest among ten thousand. He’s white. This was an undisputed and uncontested fact about solomon. Unlike the Shulamite lady, there was no discrepancies for this fact. His glories does not warrant a second verification, because he is undoubtedly the richest and greatest king ever. He was simply WHITE.
And here in this book ,you’ll find someone who claims to be so black, that she is not even worth looking upon; becoming the bride of the one who is white, and the chiefest among ten thousand. None can be compared to him even in a 10000.
What a conspicuous picture of the church and her glorious groom- the Lord Jesus Christ. The blackness and the sooty dark sins and sinfulness is very well documented in the scriptures. And how that all this blackness she got upon herself because of her misdoings and wanderings from the beloved of her soul is established beyond doubts. Moreover her sins have even left an indelible mark before God’s throne in Heaven, which Jeremiah claims that even soap and soda cannot wash it off.
There is none good, none that seeketh after God, none righteous, all have sinned, all have turned away, they have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, all have fallen sought of God’s glory, without God, without strength, enemies of God, not even a people! This is how strong and solid, the scriptures talks about our blackness- not worth looking upon, no beauty to be desired in us.
But yet the scriptures takes a U-turn at Calvary, where all our blackness, dirt and muck of our sins were simply washed under the cleansing blood of the lamb. The psalmist says that the king’s bride is glorious within. The prophecy of Isiah came to its fulfillment-
“I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your transgressions, and, as a cloud, your sins: return to me; for I have redeemed you”.(Is 44:22)
“…though your sins are like scarlet, though they are red like crimson, they shall be as white as snow; they shall become like wool” (Is1:18).
Moreover the church has been betrothed to the one who is the fairest of all the earth beside, fairest among all , even the one who is greater than Solomon (Mat 12:42). The one whose head and his hairs are white like wool, as white as snow (Rev 1:14) and his face shines as the sun, and his raiment is white as the light.(Mat 17:1) and His countenance like lightning, and his raiment white as snow (Mat 28:3).
For the church to be acclaimed of her beauty and fairness, is nothing but a miracle in making. To be definite, when the church is said to be fair, all her blackness and squalid filt that she got upon herself is only forgotten. And most importantly she’s said to become like her Lord, her master, her husband and her beloved. Because fairness can be associated only to the one who is the fairest of all the earth beside. Isn’t this not the desire of the Father too, that the church should be confirmed to the image of His Son?
And so it was with the Shulamite lady; who to look upon alone on herself was not worth a look at all. But to look at her alongside the one who was glorious and white and cheifest of ten thousand; was only to find her fair as he was and completely miss the fact of her blackness. She was fair, fairest of all women and fair as the moon just because she was the bride of King Solomon!
Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
O Thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown.
Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.
Fair is the sunshine,
Fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.
All fairest beauty, heavenly and earthly,
Wondrously, Jesus, is found in Thee;
None can be nearer, fairer or dearer,
Than Thou, my Savior, art to me.
Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forever more be Thine. —Written by German Jeusits
But imagine, how can the King and all the city be so color blind!! Black is white??? What makes the King to admire her fairness when the truth is evidently known to him? The answer can be found in the next two words of the verse we are considering- Behold, thou art fair; MY LOVE; [emphasis given]
It was only love that made the wisest king to overlook her blackness and it was only love that imparted his fairness on her. Love made him look at one who is ashamed of her blackness and say- “If thou know not, thou fairest among women” (Song of Solomon 1:8). Solomon had many wives. But here’s a first, when he ascribes his love personally to somebody saying “MY LOVE”. Truly it was this personal love that wrought the change. Later towards the end, the Shulamite lady herself would testify saying- “Many waters cannot quench love, Neither do the floods drown it: Even if a man gave all the substance of his house for love, It would utterly be contemned” (Song of Solomon 8:7).
And so it is with the church for the unspeakable love that we have been showered with. Love of the Father, Love through the Son, Loved like a son by the Father, Loved like the bride by the Son!!
Carrying on in the same spirit, King Solomon goes ahead to describe seven body parts of his bride. 7 being the number of perfection and completeness, shows how perfect and complete was the bride for the king.
Finally it is fitting to look at the way the King would end this romantic discourse and the strong promulgation of her beauty.
Read verse 7 – Thou art all fair, my love; And there is no spot in thee.
To start with the ending, he just reinstates what he has been talking so far. It is only the re-attestation of the impossible that has taken place. The King has not got over it yet, and cannot stop till he drives the point home- SHE IS INDEED FAIR!!!
And now notice the last words – “there is no spot in thee“.
This is the epitome of all her beauty, the greatest criterion that makes her the bride, the confluence of all her goodness, the strongest effulgent mark of her person, and the ultimate satisfaction of the groom.
It cannot be more simply and powerfully said of the church too- there is no spot in thee. Don’t we know we are full of spots, full of faults and failures? Don’t we know how wretch we are, and our weakness and frailty only testifies of our inclination to fall and fall and fall?
But what a blessed hope it is when we read these verses of the bride of Christ -
Eph 5:27 – That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Hebrews 9:14: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
2 Peter 3:14… that you may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
Jude 1:24 Now to him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
And how beautifully is marriage of the Lamb described in the book of Revelation…
Rev 19: 7,8 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready.And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
Truly the church is full of faults today, but the Father today finds the church- the bride of Christ clothed in garments of salvation and robes of righteousness, without spot or wrinkle.
THere cannot be a greater truth about the Church- THERE IS NO SPOT IN THEE
Concluding, this verse fitly describes our status and would keep our minds rolling on this blessedness
Eph 1:6. – To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he has made us accepted in the beloved!!!!