Daily Discipline

by Colleen Donahue

We began studying last month the Song of Solomon - Solomon's finest accomplishment in writing. In looking at Part I which I entitled "The Assurance of Acceptance and Love", we saw the Shulamite maiden drawing close to her lover and future bridegroom. Despite his praise of her, next to Solomon she saw herself as very dark and desired greatly to be under his care and protection.

So it is the same with us and our relationship with Jesus. The closer we come to Him the more we see our own sin and darkness. Nevertheless, Christ is able to "save to the uttermost" those who come to Him, and He longs that each one of us would let Him take up residence in our hearts.

We will continue the final portion of Part I of the Song of Solomon and then go right into Part II.

THE SONG OF SOLOMON

The PART I - Assurance of Acceptance and Love (SS 1:1-2:7) --Continued

READ SS 2:3-6 - The Maiden's Praise

Day 1 In these verses she compares the king to what is actually the citron tree. This is a unique tree that doesn't lose its foliage and produces fragrant and nice tasting fruit. So too, Christ is the tree of life. He is the only place where all men and women can find shelter, fruit and shade all the time. Psalm 57:1/91:1-6 (shelter) / Psalm 121:5 (shade)/ Isaiah 25:4 / 55:1-2(fruit)/ Revelation 22:1-2

Day 2 And so, in the Bridegroom's presence she has found rest from toil; shelter from the heat of the day and fruit that is sweet and nourishing. Have you come to Christ for rest in the heat of YOUR day?

Matthew 11:28-29 / John 14:27/ 16:33

Day 3 Just as the king took the initiative to bring his bride into a new place with him, so too each new spiritual experience that we have with our Saviour is initiated by Him usually in response to our heart's longing.

Song of Sol. 2:4/ Revelation 3:20

Day 4 Having her needs all met she is led into the banqueting house (Hebrew meaning "house of wine") to taste the fullness of His joy and the rapture of His love. The banner tells of the conqueror and of victory gained. What does it mean for you and I that Christ's banner over us is love? Romans 5:8-10 / 8:28-39

Day 5 At times the Lord grants to His children an overwhelming sense of His love and presence and protection that they must cry out as this bride did. The Lord delights to satisfy our desires. Song of Sol.2:5 / Psalm 37:4/ 103:5/107:9/ Isaiah 58:11

Day 6 With the banner of love over her and the arms of love around her, the Bride has attained what she longingly expressed in Song. of Sol. 1:1-4. She has the assurance and enjoyment of the bridegroom's love. Song of Sol. 2:6

Day 7 She expresses what every child of God must feel when they find that every desire of their renewed nature has been satisfied by the love of Christ. Psalm 63:3-8

READ SS 2:7 - The King's Charge

Day 8 The bride is now experiencing the heart of rest and peace that we are meant to have when we know that we belong to Christ and that He loves us. It is never by the Lord's will that this rest in Him be disturbed. And so He charges those that would

stir up the rest of faith with carnal activity to be still. Song of Sol. 2:7 / Psalm 4:8

THIS ENDS PART I. She has journeyed from the Inner Chamber to the House of Wine. Her spirit is at peace and she knows that she is secure in her bridegroom's love. Now the king wants her to rest.

PART II - The Call to a Resurrected Life...Hesitation (SS 2:8-3:5)

READ SS 2:8-10A - The Call to a Resurrected Life -Scene II opens with the Shulamite shut up in her home - alone, somehow separated from her beloved. She is wakened by his voice which is unmistakable to her.

Day 9 What a wonderful fact it is that the Lord of the whole universe thinks of me and my life, my happiness, my holiness. You and I are such a concern to Him that no matter what the difficulties and hindrances might be (represented by mountains and hills), He is able to overcome them all to come to us and call us into a fuller life with Him. Song of Sol. 2:8

Day 10 The idea behind a wall in her thinking is to enclose herself and the Lord in together so they can enjoy sweet communion while meanwhile shutting out the needs of the world. But the Lord can never be imprisoned behind our walls. We must never use our own strength to hold the Lord but must let Him lead us on. Christ is not only within ourselves but He's in all the circumstances of the world. Song of Sol. 2:9

Day 11 The method of Christ coming to us is revealed to us in this verse. He will first draw near and wait patiently (he stands behind our wall). Then he searches (gazing in at the windows) looking into our hearts to see what is there. And finally he reveals Himself (looking through the lattice-he speaks) to the one who sees Him and is ready to receive Him. SS 2:9-10A - See also Revelation 3:20 / Luke 24:15-31

(The Lord approaches us from without to draw us away from our experience within.)

READ SS 2:10B-13- The Fullness of a Resurrected Life

Day 12 "He (the bridegroom) sees the one whom He would win, as shut up in herself, in her own house. She is there in the gloom and the darkness, with a lack of liberty, a lack of light, and a lack of joy and fellowship. There she is shut up. That is a very striking parable of the life of a CARNAL CHRISTIAN. There is no liberty, no fresh air, no gladness in Christ, no communion with the Lord. She is just shut up in herself. That life is not the resurrection life , 'Not I, but Christ', but it is a gloomy, weak, fruitless life." (On To Sacrificial Service, by Barclay Buxton p.15,16)

That is the bridegroom's call to her and the Lord's call to us--i.e., to rise up and come away from all that. SS 2:10B

Day 13 Just as the king gives his bride a picture of what he is calling her away to, so the Lord gives us a picture of the Resurrection life He is calling us to. SS 2:11-13

Day 14 Whatever the gloom, or trial, or hindrance that has been in our souls it is past. Sin has been atoned for and conquered. Trust the Lord's own assurance to us that it is gone and take for granted that He will bring you into His light. John 8:12/ Romans 6:11/ 8:1

Day 15 It is because Christ has cleansed our hearts by His blood on the Cross that we can now walk in this newness of life........Romans 6:1-4 / II Corinthians 5:15-17

Day 16 ....and experience.......

A) the beauty, music and harmony of life -

Song of Sol. 2:12A

B) the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit bringing our hearts into communion with God - Song of Sol. 2:12B and...

C) a life of fruitfulness - Song of Sol 2:13

Ephesians 2:4-10 / Ezekiel 11:19-20

READ SS 2:14 -The Second Call and the Call of the Cross

Day 17 The king's call to her to "come away" is like Christ's call to us to come away from our old, gloomy life. He reminds us that we are safe in Him (in the cleft of the rock) and that we know the secret of life in Him (in the covert of the cliff or "the secret of the stairs"). But His call is not only to come out of our old wintery self. He is calling us to Himself. He is longing for a deeper fellowship with us that has no walls in between!

Song of Sol. 2:14/ I Corinthians 1:9/ Ephesians 3:17-19

READ SS2:15 - The Removal of Hindrances

Day 18 As the bride is moved by the king's call she realizes that there are many "little foxes spoiling the vineyards". The little foxes break the tender vine branches and destroy the possibility of fruit later on. It is often not the "big sins" destroying our fellowship with Christ but rather the hidden "little foxes" - pride, jealousy, lust, irritability, impatience, etc. that harbor in our heart and keep us from being fruitful. Song of Sol. 2:15/ Isaiah 59:2 / Mark 7:21-23

READ SS2:16-17 - The Bride's Answer to the Call

Day 19 Rather than rising up to go with the king the bride rests comfortable in the fact that the beloved belongs to her and she to him. She reasons that when the conditions are just right and the shadows in her life are gone, then she would go. She is content to send Him out to work in the world without her and to enjoy His love later on. SS 2:16-17

Day 20 We cannot serve "SELF" today and the Lord tomorrow. We deceive ourselves to think we can serve both simultaneously. Luke 16:13A

Day 21 What words did Jesus have for those with excuses before they could follow Him? Luke 9:57-62

READ SS3:1-5 - Failure and Restoration

Day 22 With her excuses, the beloved goes and she now finds her rest gone. She realizes by the acute pain of His absence how much she loves Him. The Lord at times must withdraw the "feelings" of His presence so as to draw us up and out. The bride has not moved from her circumstances. She is seeking Him in the wrong place.

Song of Sol. 3:1 / Isaiah 55:6

Day 23 How should we seek Him? Psalm 27:8 / Psalm 119:2,10/ Daniel 9:3 (To seek His face with our whole heart requires that we go where He is.)

Day 24 The pain of the Lord's absence should cause us to rise up from our circumstances to seek God. The "watchmen" are those entrusted by God to guard the souls of His people. Notice that they can point the way but WE still need to do the seeking. Song of Sol. 3:2-4A

Day 25 The Lord doesn't always reveal Himself immediately so that our wall of reserve will come down and we will seek Him with a whole heart. What does God ultimately promise to anyone that earnestly seeks Him? SS 3:2B-4 / Proverbs 8:17 / Jeremiah 29:13-14A/ Matthew 7:7

Day 26 The bride had gotten up but she still hadn't gone forth with the king. Rather she again brings Him to her safe spot and holds Him tight. Although she hadn't learned all her lessons, the Lord knows how much testing we can bear and so charges the Daughters of Jerusalem (those casually associated with the Lord) not to interfere in His loved one's spiritual development. She must rest now and so God gives to us times of rest after times of failure or testing. Song of Sol. 3:5/ Psalm 91:4/ 131:2

We'll close our study a little early this month as this is the end of Part II. We'll continue next month with Part III - The Communion of Love.

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