Let’s picture this scenario in our minds’ eye: You pick up your Bible, flip through the pages and then your eyes happen to fall on the this short book of the Old testament. You start reading the 1st Chapter and before you finish the second verse, you see it. You shout ‘Yikes!’ in your mind and you might start wondering out aloud what a book like this is doing in the Word of God. You decide to give yourself a benefit of a doubt and continue the Bible passage. At the end of the entire book, you are awestruck, dumbfounded and spellbound…. And you ask yourself: ‘WHAT IS SONGS OF SOLOMON DOING IN THE BIBLE?’
I’m not a pastor, neither am I so much of a Bible scholar, but I have come across articles that have tried to explain why Songs of Solomon is found in the Bible. Of all the reasons I saw, the ones I felt were most plausible were:
1. God is interested in all facets of our human existence, even up to the love lives of married Christian couples.
2. It is a shadow of the type of love that Christ has for His Church.
However, in my relatively short Christian life, I’ve come to understand that when one’s dealing with God, or His Word (the Bible), one must avoid stereotypes. When dealing with God, or His Word, you have to be ready to drop any religious prejudices, sentiments and personal beliefs and just depend on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Now, the vivid picture I painted in the 1st paragraph was quite similar to my exact feelings when I first came across Songs of Solomon (funny, eh?). I was amused, bemused, ‘ceemused and demused’. But when I dropped my own human thoughts and decided to depend on the Holy Spirit for interpretation, I found ‘platinum’ NUGGETS that were even totally unrelated to love or something of such. The interpretation was so applicable to present day situation. Now, that’s sublime! What’s more, I’m going to share what I saw with you. Huzzah, right?
Well, if you were patient enough the first time you read Songs of Solomon, and you were able to get to the 4th Chapter and the 12th, 15th and 16th verses, you’d come across something poetic as follows:
‘A garden is inclosed in my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed…..
A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.
Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out…..’
The 1st portion of the passage above shows a case of untapped potentials, a case of what COULD have been but is NOT, a case of unseen glory in an individual. Notice the phrases, ‘a garden inclosed’, ‘a spring shut up’, ‘a fountain sealed’. Can’t you see the sadness and pity oozing out of those words? ‘A garden inclosed’ could imply that the potential available in an individual that the individual has failed to tap into as a result of ignorance. Every person has a hidden treasure embedded within him or her. It would be the highest form of selfishness to deprive humanity of that treasure in you, just because of ignorance! Well, as the Greeks would say, ‘Gnosthiseauthon!’ which means, ‘Search yourself!’. The other phrases in the first portion of the passage, ‘a spring shut up’ and ‘a fountain sealed’ typifies the case of individuals who were initially on the road to maximizing potential but as a result of one mistake or the other (usually sin or delving out of one’s purpose) they become stagnated and are unable to maximize their full potential. All isn’t lost, however.
Now take a look at the life and excitement found in these phrases fron the 2nd portion of the passage: ‘a fountain of gardens’, ‘a well of living waters’, ‘streams from Lebanon’. See the joy and almost touchable happiness that is leaping from each word of these phrases. This is a vivid picture of fulfiled purpose and maximized potential. Also note the God’s ultimate plan for you: OVERFLOW TO IMPART OTHERS. Would a fountain of gardens be meant for just one person to eat all on his own? Or would a well of living waters be used by just one person? No! No!! No!!! Your maximization of potential is meant to lead to an overflow in your life that would impart sporadic impacts in the lives of all you come in contact with. This is the joy of it all- Nurturing others to tread the paths you tread to attain potential.
Finally, in the last portion of the passage, there’s a kind of climax to all the build up of the previous portions of the passage. ‘Awake O North wind……blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out’. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, just knowing what to do isn’t enough. Knowing that you have to give yourself to others without having any fears of losing in the ‘competition’ can only come via the extra nudge from the Holy Spirit. Once that extra force is there, there is the facilitation of events that would leave one with no choice but to joyfully impart lives.
So, do you still have any reservations about Songs of Solomon (SOS)? I didn’t think so too…..