A New Paradigm:
David, in Psalms, introduces the paradigm, of view of God, then Solomon takes this new revelation a step further. A paradigm centered on the beauty of God. A paradigm related to the subject of fragrance. Fragrance is one of the images in which God’s beauty is spoken about in the Song of Solomon. It changes your life. God’s beauty, He shares it with His people who ask for it, and it is so powerful, its what we long for. Most believers are stuck with a Moses paradigm of obedience, the very elementary, the very introductory revelation that God gave the human race, and they’ve not gone on to David and Solomon. They’ve stopped. When we begin to move from Moses, it is unreal, and really, we need it to contend with what distraction and temptation the world throws at us.
Solomon who wrote the song of songs, and David who wrote in Psa 27:4 This one thing I seek, all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of God.
Beloved, when you begin to see a God that is beautiful, it’s not long until you see the next logical implication of a beautiful God when He beautifies His people, His redeemed. A beautiful God with beautiful people changes your emotional chemistry when it connects with you. This divine revelation changes the way you feel, it changes the way you think. This understanding ruins you for secondary pleasures of this life. Nothing compares. The prophetic call of the Hour is seek the Bridegroom face of God, this is how the Holy Spirit is wooing the church off the world, and facinating them with Jesus! More on this in my post; Bridal Paradigm.
In these last years, since really going after the Song of Solomon, I’ve begun to really press into it. I know that I’m only at the tip of the iceberg, but this divine revelation of God’s beauty changes your emotional chemistry. It’s changed mine. It changes the way you feel. It changes the way that you look at life. It ruins you for every day normal life. That is what it is supposed to do.
The True Definition of Obedience
Most people are completely unfamiliar with the Song of Solomon, this prized jewel of eight chapters, and so much more unfamiliar with the book of Revelation. Most people are still living under the paradigm of Moses. When they sin they run from God, instead of to God. They obey so their ministry will go better, or so circumstances will be easier, but obedience is what enables the beauty of God to crown your experience. Obedience is more than related to temporal experiences on the earth. Obedience is the doorway for the beauty of God to enfold you in its power and transforms everything around you.
David and Solomon’s paradigm and the subject of obedience were significantly related to the subject of God’s beauty and all its sub-departments. There is a far higher way to approach sin and obedience than through judgment and circumstances. It’s through the paradigm of beauty.
It’s the beautiful God calling you to indescribable beauty. It’s passed on through you. It’s enjoyed by you through the context of obedience. The real subject when you go to heaven, is the subject of beauty. It’s not the subject of gritting your teeth and hurting. People think that’s what obedience is all about. The problem is that you try and try and try, and when you blow it you get wiped out in the end anyway, so why even try. That is what most people think about obedience. However, real obedience is the context in which you enjoy beauty. You feel beauty. You pass it onto others. You rejoice in it. You flow in it. You think this is good, this is wise. That is the paradigm of beauty that God passed down to David and he passed it down to Solomon.
Song of Solomon Chapter I
The theme of the book is in verse 1-4. It’s magnificent, every line is filled with meaning. In chapter 1:5 the journey of the maiden begins. It begins in a very significant place. This is the absolute indispensable, I’m saying this strongly because I truly believe it, beginning place for people who are going to mature in the first commandment.
vs.5—I am dark, but lovely.
It’s the paradox of grace. Where the maiden understands the darkness of her sinful heart and the paradox of her loveliness before God. She stands before the Lord. She’s not deceived about her bondage, she’s not in presumption, and she’s not living in denial, or cover-up, or struggle in her brokenness. She’s is fully open about it.
I am dark of heart.
I am in bondage.
I am struggling.
I am failing.
But in Christ Jesus, I have been crowned lovely in redemption.
We are lovely to God in the midst of our struggle!
Some people, because they are living in serious unreality, they think they are so perfect. They have no struggles. “Oh, I’m doing so phenomenal so I am lovely.” However, they’re loveliness in rooted in the fact that they are doing so good. That is a such a deception. You are not lovely because you are doing good. If you think you are doing really, really good, you’re probably out of touch at the true standard of what it’s about. We have some major struggles, all of us do. Paul the apostle even spoke of fears that hounded him at the very end of his life and pride that was still in his life at the very end. So much so that God put a thorn in his flesh to keep him from exhorting himself, even Paul the apostle.
I take serious the fall of the human heart. I take serious the redemption of Jesus that makes us beautiful in our fallen nature. So what most people do is say, “I’m dark of heart”. They acknowledge their struggle. They acknowledge their bondage. They say, “I am dark of heart and I am ugly to God, I am ugly to myself, and I am ugly to anybody who understands me”. I’m dark but ugly. That’s not the beginning point. You will never mature in the first commandment unless you, at least in an introductory way, admit that you are dark in your struggle, you are dark when you drop the ball, but I am indescribably lovely to a God who is beautiful and shares His beauty with a crown of redemption.
All of chapter 1, and the first half of chapter 2 are the first seasons in her progress. She is on this journey. There are a number of steps. This is an eight-chapter love song. It shows step after step of her journey, her progression into holy passion. This book has to touch us, sometime, somewhere as a people, to swim in the refreshing waters, to know the fragrance of God that it in this book. We are asking for the kisses of the Word here.
For the first chapter and a half, the Lord reveals Himself to her in His loveliness. In addition, He reveals how she is lovely in her immaturity. It begins there. There are five different faces of Jesus in the eight-chapter love song. Five different times He shows Himself entirely different than the time before, and she is so filled with the pleasure of God. She is so rejoicing.
In Chapter 2: 3, she’s struggling. She’s in a place of immaturity. She is sitting, not striving. She’s in a place of rest. It’s His shade, not her shade. It’s the shade of the tree, the shade of the cross, the finished work of the cross. She’s resting in the shade of that great tree, on which Jesus paid the price of sin. She’s sitting; she’s not striving. She’s feeling great delight. She can feel that God likes her, and she likes Him. She likes her fellowship with God. His fruit is very sweet to her. She’s broken, she’s immature, she’s very young in the things of the Spirit and the Word, but she has the capacity, the right view of God, to sit in shade, rest, eat sweet fruit in great delight. She’s enjoying Jesus in this season of her life.
Do you know why so many of us don’t enjoy the Lord, even twenty or thirty years later? It’s because we are standing; we’re not sitting. We’re trying to create our own shade, instead of resting in His. We are trying to present ourselves to God based on our own maturity. When our maturity is low, we feel rejected. When our maturity is high, we feel secure, of course then pride comes with it. We either feel rejected or pride when we gauge ourselves by our own maturity level. It’s not your shade. It’s His. It’s the shade produced by the tree that He hung on. You sit in it, you receive and it’s sweet, it makes even the journey have a touch of delight in it. Therefore, she’s thoroughly enjoying God here.
Suddenly, it all changes. This is the second face of God. He’s not the one feeding her grapes in a shade tree, laying on a bed, behind a fence and closed doors. He changes. Now, in chapter 2:8, He’s skipping and running over mountains and hills. Mountains speak of obstacles. Nations that are opposed to God are mountains. He has all authority. That’s wonderful. It’s new to her, but it’s wonderful. It’s the Jesus with the mandate to disciple nations.
He looks at her. She’s there lying on her bed, eating grapes. He says to her in vs. 10,
Come with Me.
Come with Me on the mountains.
You are My partner;
I don’t want to go without you.
She will never enter into the fullness of her beauty, she will never know what life is all about, until she leaves her comfort zone and goes with Him on the mountains. The mountains mean different things to different people in every season of your life, but Jesus is confronting the comfort zone.
Peter was in the boat when the storm came. Jesus was on the water, and Jesus said, “Come”. That’s the same idea. Come out of the boat of the comfort zone. Because it is safer with Jesus on the water, than in the boat without Jesus. We all know that, but that terrifies us to walk it out. We all could probably teach sermons about it, but when Jesus is out of the boat and wants us to come to Him, or when He wants us to skip over mountains, we all say, “No, let me pray about it for a while”. It’s a great concept, but it’s another thing in reality to do.
He’s on mountains and He says, “Come with me. It is safer with me on mountains, than it is on your bed behind locked doors. You are my partner. Your beauty will only be fully experienced in the context of being in my embrace discipleing nations”. Those nations are your neighborhoods, your families, and your workplace. You don’t have to get on a plane to disciple the nations, the nations are in your backyard. The nations just mean the people that God has put you in front of.
Beautiful, Even in Immaturity
What happens in verse 8-17, she doesn’t have rebellion, she has immaturity, and she has fear. In vs. 17, she turns Him away and says, “No. I can’t. I’ve got too much fear”. The Lord feels the trembling of her heart. The Lord knows that in vs. 17 she is going to say, “Turn away into the mountains. I can’t go with you right now, I don’t have the power.” So He begins to woo her in vs. 14. He’s been wooing her before n 11-14, but now He feels her heart trembling. The Lord is calling each of us out of our comfort zone. Everyone of us will be in a season where the Lord challenges us to a new level of obedience. Most of us are in a place where our hearts are trembling and we’re crying out to God, “I want to, I want to, I want to! But I can’t. Not yet!”
So in vs. 14 He says that He wants to see her face. He wants to hear her voice. He knows that she is afraid, so He wants her to ask Him for help. Now, here’s what religion says. If all you have is the paradigm of Moses, you say that you can’t ask for help. You believe that your voice is an abomination to God. The Lord says that they are sweet and that your face is lovely to Him.
The beautiful God who makes His people beautiful says, “Even a cry for help is sweet to me! I love it! I like it when you are struggling, and are caught in the mud and you cry out for help. It’s sweet to my heart. Not only that, you are lovely to Me. You are beautiful.”
Most people, when they struggle imagine that their voice is an abomination and their face is ugly to God. This is a totally new paradigm. Solomon takes completely new ground. David establishes it, but Solomon runs with it. The immature as lovely, and their voices sweet as they cry out for help.
Catch the Foxes
Then in vs. 15, she prays:
Catch the foxes,
The little foxes that spoil the vineyard.
The vineyard speaks of her love. That fruitful vine speaks of her mature love. She says that the little foxes, the little areas of fear, are destroying her vineyard, her ability to love. Her vine is being destroyed by these little compromises. It’s not the scandals that she is worried about, it’s the little foxes that are destroying her ability to enjoy love.
She says then in v. 16:
My Beloved is mine
And I am His.
She says this in the midst of her struggle, and beloved, if you can say this, then you win. She knows that He loves her, and she loves Him. It’s not an issue of Him forsaking her, it’s not an issue of being ugly because she is broken. He loves her and she loves Him. She stays in that reality in the struggle. Here’s what most of us say:
I’m a hypocrite.
I’m in despair.
It’s too late for me to walk in love.
And in condemnation and despair, they quit. But in vs. 16, she refuses to yield to that. In vs. 17, she says that she can’t go with Him. She prayed, like He asked her to do, in vs. 14 and 15, but she is still afraid. Then the Lord says OK, I understand.
The Dark Night of Love
Chapter 3, the sweet chastisement, the Lord knows that she’s in a dilemma. The Lord knows that if she never rises and steps out of the comfort zone, she will never know beauty and enjoy it to the fullness. The Lord knows that she’s His inheritance. He looks at her and says that He will be tender with her, He will be gentle. But He is going to pry her hands loose from what she’s holding onto to keep her safe and earthbound. Because He wants to bring her into beauty. The rest of the book is about the beauty of God. He wants to crown her with beauty and pleasure, but He needs to pry her fingers loose first.
Verse 1, here she is in the dark night. She’s turned the Lord away. She’s on her bed. She’s not supposed to be on her bed, that’s chapter one. She’s supposed to be on mountaintops with the Lord. She’s supposed to arise and leave the bed. It’s the nighttime in her soul right now. However, she knows that He is the one she loves. She is sincere in love; she’s just not mature. Beloved, you can be sincere and not mature. You’re not a hopeless hypocrite. You are not despised by God. You’re immature, but you still love Him. However, the night still settles down upon her soul, because the Lord has worked in such a good, holy way that she is addicted to His presence. She can’t live without feeling Him. Therefore, He uses that hunger to draw her with His presence off the bed and into greater beauty than she has ever known.
Finally, in verse 2, she will now arise. She acknowledges that the hiding of God was sweet chastisement. She acknowledges it as the sweet disciplining of the Lord to pry her fingers loose and remaining earth bound. Beloved, if God keeps us earthbound, yes we feel safe, but we’re empty, we’re despairing, we feel lonely, and we never enter into the beauty that we have in redemption. It’s God’s kindness to pry us loose. She says that she will arise and she doesn’t care what it will cost her. She wants the manifest presences of God.
God did not leave her because He was angry, He wants to woo her because He loves her so much. He wants her to feel more, and experience more.