In our study of Song Of Songs chapter three, we look at the fact that, when we accept the gift of salvation and are set apart, we are set apart for a purpose. As we will see, that purpose is to serve the will of the Lord.
"All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him. I will get up now and go about the city, through its streets and squares; I will search for the one my heart loves. So I looked for him but did not find him." NIV translation
This song begins with the young bride (a picture of the new Christian) resting at home and wondering where Solomon (a picture of Jesus) has gone. Finally, she decides to get up and go looking for him but she cannot find him. This reminds us that faith is an action word and, if we decide to just rest, then, Jesus will seem distant instead of being close. We often hear much of resting in the Lord and many people take this to mean doing nothing but waiting for the Lord to return. We are called to rest in the Lord but that means we are to stop working for salvation but it does not mean we just lay around and do nothing. God is always at work in the lives of His children through the Holy Spirit and, if we choose to just lay around, we will miss seeing His work and will have that feeling of distance. As with any relationship, distance is not a good thing.
"The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. 'Have you seen the one my heart loves?' Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves." NIV translation
We notice that the young girl did not find Solomon until after she had asked the guards about him. This speaking to others about him is a picture of our service to our Lord. Does the Lord seem distant to you? If your answer is yes, then, the solution is to get up and start talking about Jesus to others.
"I held him and would not let him go till I had brought him to my mother's house, to the room of the one who conceived me." NIV translation
The young lady continues by taking Solomon back to her family home and this reminds us that our service to the Lord begins with our family. The home is where we keep the things that mean the most to us and this verse reminds us that our relationship with the Lord is not to be just another part of our lives that we pull out once or even twice a week. Throughout the New Testament, we see the pattern of this type of service with everyone that has heard the songs of salvation and sanctification. I have often heard it said that "the home is the toughest mission field for the believer" but I do not see the evidence of that in the Bible. Every time you see a person come to Christ, you see them immediately go to share Him with those that mean the most to them. The home is designed to be a place where a family gathers to worship the Lord and to train for going out and sharing Him with the rest of the world. It seems like the home and family environment is being devastated in our culture today and one must ask the question of: Why? If we think about it logically, we see that the goal of Satan is to put distance between us and God so that involves stopping us from sharing our faith in Him (service). If that service is designed to start in the home, then, it is no wonder that it is the place where the devil concentrates his attacks. The natural progression in logic would say that the way to defeat these attacks is to turn off the tv, smartphone, video games, etc. and spend some time talking about the things of God with our families.
"Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires." NIV translation
Once again, the young lady cautions the other women of Jerusalem about the proper timing of things. In this case, she is saying do not rush into a relationship with the Lord until you have accepted the fact that it is an active relationship.
"Who is this coming up from the wilderness like a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and incense made from all the spices of the merchant?" NIV translation
Now, the young lady describes how she sees Solomon and she speaks of the fact that he is rare and special. The Hebrew word that is translated here as "wilderness" is "midbar" and it speaks of an open pasture where cattle are driven and the girl describes Solomon as rising above the herd. The column of smoke with myrrh and frankincense speaks of the Ketoret which was the consecrated incense that was used on a special altar in the temple service. Both frankincense and myrrh were a part of that special incense and they were brought to Israel by traders from Africa and Arabia. They were valuable commercially and as medicine with myrrh being used as an antiseptic (cleansing agent). In this part of the song of service, we see that our work for the Lord is not to be ordinary as it is to rise above the herd just as the young lady described Solomon. So, what does that mean to us as Christians in the world today? There are many people and agencies that "do good things" such as giving food, shelter, and clothing to the poor as well as helping in disaster situations. They are like the herd that was mentioned but we are called (sanctified) to go above and beyond that in our service to the Lord. Jesus described this service as being willing to stand for His name and proclaim Him to everyone that we meet (see Mark 8:34-38). This is a sacrificial service as Jesus said that it would involve shame and suffering just as He faced. In our world today, many people give a portion of their excess to help those in need and they feel good about that as they often do so with big public announcements. Often these include pictures of them handing over a larger than life check to some group but this is not the rising above the herd that we are speaking about. We are speaking of using those opportunities to not only help with the physical needs of the people but also to provide them with something that is much more valuable which is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"Look! It is Solomon's carriage, escorted by sixty warriors, the noblest of Israel, all of them wearing the sword, all experienced in battle, each with his sword at his side, prepared for the terrors of the night." NIV translation
Now, the young lady reminds us that the king is coming and he is escorted by the finest of Israel's soldiers. This reminds us that, although we serve the people around us, we do so for our Lord and King which is Jesus Christ. The "terrors of the night" remind us that Satan (the prince of darkness) is our enemy and he does not want us sharing the gospel with anyone else. We also see that King Solomon (a picture of Jesus) is not alone and we are reminded of the fact that God sends angels who do battle on behalf of His people.
"King Solomon made for himself the carriage; he made it of wood from Lebanon. Its posts he made of silver, its base of gold. Its seat was upholstered with purple, its interior inlaid with love. Daughters of Jerusalem, come out, and look, you daughters of Zion. Look on King Solomon wearing a crown, the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, the day his heart rejoiced." NIV translation
Before this, the young lady has urged the daughters of Jerusalem to wait for the right one to come along but, now, she urges them to come out and see their king. This reminds us of the fact that, at the proper time, all people will behold our Lord and Savior as He reigns over Jerusalem. We notice that the inside of the carriage is "inlaid with love" and are reminded of the fact that Jesus loved us enough to come to the earth and to experience physical death for us. This is a reminder that our service is uncommon because of the fact that it is based on love and not simply an obligation. We serve Jesus by loving others because of His demonstrated love for us.