Study 1 THE BRIDEGROOM AND HIS BRIDE
THE SONG OF SOLOMON
by Francis Dixon
Key-verse and Theme of the Book: “My lover is mine and I am his” (Song of Songs 2:16)
In this book we have the best of the one thousand and five songs written by King Solomon (1 Kings 4:32), and it has been incorporated into our Bible - look up 2 Timothy 3:16. There are difficulties in connection with this book; for example, the name of God is not mentioned and it is not quoted by our Lord or by any of the writers in the New Testament; also, sometimes the language is obscure and it is not always easy to be sure who the speaker is. However, it has been a source of endless delight to the saintliest men and women all down the ages. It is a beautiful love story presented in poetic form. All through the book the love of the bridegroom for his bride, and of the bride for her bridegroom, is emphasised, and this pictures the wonderful union which exists between Christ, the Heavenly Bridegroom, and His Church, the Bride of Christ - and thus, between Christ and the individual believer. Throughout scripture, metaphors based on the marriage relationship are used of Israel’s relationship with God and the Church’s relationship with Christ - look up Psalm 45; Isaiah 54:5-6; Jeremiah 2:2; Hosea 2:14-23; Matthew 9:15; John 3:29 and Ephesians 5:23-27; and this is beautifully summed up for us in the key-verse of this first study, in which we hear the bride joyfully exclaiming, “My lover is mine and I am his.” Let us consider these words and see something of the nature and significance of this holy union which has been effected between Christ and the believer.
- (1) It is a Divinely accomplished union. When the bride says, “My lover is mine and I am his”, it is the initiative of the bridegroom that is emphasised. How wonderful it is that as believers we are “married to another”, even to the Lord Jesus the Lover of our soul (Romans 7:4); and we are made with Him ”one flesh” (Ephesians 5:30-32).
- (2) It is a Gracious union. The hymn is right – “Loved with everlasting love, led by grace that love to know.” The bride was unworthy of her bridegroom’s love - as we are unworthy of the great love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ - look up and compare Romans 5:8.
- (3) It is an Eternal union. We are eternally united with Christ, our Heavenly Bridegroom. Not even death will part us - look up and compare Malachi 3:17; Romans 8:35-39 and Colossians 3:3. “I am His, and His forever!”
Let us consider this union a little more closely and see exactly what it means to those who can truly say of the Lord, ”My lover is mine, and I am His.”
1. HE IS MY BRIDEGROOM AND I AM HIS BRIDE
There is no closer, more intimate or more sacred union than that of husband and wife, and we have this emphasised in Ephesians 5:23-33. Just think of it! The Lord Jesus is my Bridegroom, the Lover of my soul, and I am His bride! What does this mean? It means two things in particular:-
- (1) It means that I share His love. Over and over again in the Song of Songs the bride calls her bridegroom her “lover”. This is a beautiful title; no-one can compare with Him, and again and again she speaks of his love for her and also of her love for him. This is something they share together - just as we, as believers, share the love of the Lord Jesus for us and our love for Him - look up Song of Songs (his love for her) 1:2; 2:4; 2:10 and 13; 4:7 and 7:10; and (her love for him) 1:7; 2:5; 3:1,2,3 and 4; 4:10; 5:8 and 7:12.
- (2) It means that I bear His Name. In a marriage the bride takes the name of the bridegroom; and the same is true with the believer who becomes united by faith to Christ - look up Song of Songs 1:3. We as believers are called ‘saints’, because of our union with Christ - look up Romans 1:7; we are also called ’Christians’ for the same reason – look up Acts 11:26.
2. HE IS MY FRIEND AND I AM HIS COMPANION
In speaking of the beautiful character of her bridegroom, the bride (in Song of Songs 5:16) says, “This is my lover, this my friend”; and Jesus, to the believer, is the Friend of friends, and we are His chosen companions - look up John 15:15. This means two things in particular:-
- (1) It means that He tells me His secrets. This is something distinctive about friendship. Friends share secrets. Abraham was ”the Friend of God” (James 2:23); and compare John 15:15 and Psalm 25:14. What a wonderful thing it is to share the Lords secrets! – look up Proverbs 3:32. See also the special promise recorded in John 7:17.
- (2) He understands my weakness. There are at least two instances in the Song of Songs where the bride, through carelessness, neglect, laziness and indifference, grieves her bridegroom, but he does not abandon her - compare Song of Songs 3:1-3 and 5:2-8. He is not only her bridegroom, but he is her friend, and he understands her through and through - look up Proverbs 18:24. How wonderful it is that our Lord Jesus Christ bears this relationship to us, and that we can claim Him as our Friend! - look up John 15:14.
3. HE IS MY KING AND I AM HIS SUBJECT
Solomon, who in all his earthly glory and prowess represents the heavenly Bridegroom, was a king in his own right, and he therefore correctly portrays the Lord Jesus, who is our King. Remember this: He is not only our Bridegroom and our Friend, but He is our King (Song of Songs 1:4; 1:12; 3:9 and 11; and compare Revelation 19:6). This means two things in particular:-
- (1) As my King, I own His authority. In other words, if He is my King, I must be His loyal subject. This is beautifully brought out for us in Ephesians 5:23-33, where we are told that ”the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church” (verse 23); that ”the church submits to Christ” (verse 24); and that the wife is to “respect (be in subjection to and live in obedience to) her husband” (verse 33).
- (2) As my King, I rely upon His wisdom. How wise King Solomon was! - look up 1 Kings 4:29 and 34; Matthew 12:42 and Luke 11:31. But how wise our King is! - look up Colossians 2:3 and 1 Corinthians 4:10. He who is our “Wisdom” waits to bestow wisdom upon us – look up James 1:5.
We have only taken a brief look at this holy union, the glorious relationship that has been effected between Christ and the believer. How do you stand with regard to all this? Is He your Bridegroom, and are you His bride? Is He your Friend, and are you His companion? Is He your King, and are you His loyal subject?