Study 4 SITTING DOWN IN HIS SHADE
THE SONG OF SOLOMON
by Francis Dixon
Key-verses: “I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love” (Song of Songs 2:3-4)
The Song of Songs set forth in tender symbolism the love of Christ for the Church (His Bride); and the love of the Bride (His Church), for Christ (the Bridegroom). In this small section of scripture the bride is speaking about her bridegroom, and in what she says we have a glimpse of the sufficiency of our Lord. The bride speaks of her estimate of her loved one and tells us what she possesses in him. She describes him (in verses 3,8,9,10,16) as her “lover”, and she concludes by saying, “My lover is mine, and I am his.” It is exactly like this with the Lord and His people. We are married to Christ (Romans 7:3-4). How rich and how blessed we are! – look up Romans 8:16-17; Ephesians 1:3 and 1:11; Colossians 2:9-10. Do you wonder that David could say – look up Psalm 87:7 (last phrase)? Or that Wesley could say, “Thou, O Christ, art all I want; more than all in Thee I find”? What are the rich blessings which are ours in Christ, our Lover?
1. IN CHRIST WE HAVE PERFECT REST
We learn this from the words in verse 3: “I delight to sit in his shade.” In the first part of this verse the Lord is spoken of as a beautiful citron tree, rich in fragrance, abundant in foliage and fruitfulness. This was by far the best among the trees; thus, our Lord excels all others, and here the bride says, “I delight to sit in his shade”, indicating the perfect rest she found in his presence (Matthew 11:28-30). After His work on Calvary, Jesus “sat down”, because His work was done (Hebrews 10:12); and because He has finished the work of our redemption we may “sit down” and enter into a two-fold rest; peace with God (Romans 5:1), and the peace of God (Philippians 4:7). Do you know rest from the burden of sin, from a guilty conscience, from the dominion of sin and from the demands of the Law? This can only be found in His “shade” or “shadow” – look up Psalm 91:1, and compare Psalm 27:5; 31:10 and 32:7.
2. IN CHRIST WE HAVE COMPLETE PROTECTION
We learn this from the words in verse 3: “in his shade” – that is to say, under the shade of the citron tree, protected from the fierce rays of the sun. The word “shade” in scripture denotes protection, as in Judges 9:15; Job 40:22 and Psalm 63:7. What is the protection which we have in Christ? It is two-fold: spiritual protection for the soul for time and for eternity (John 10:28-29); and physical protection so long as God wills it (Romans 8:28). Our protection is summed up beautifully in Colossians 3:3!
3. IN CHRIST WE HAVE ABOUNDING JOY
We learn this from the words in verse 3: “I delight”. How does the bride feel as she sits with her lover? Surely she is filled with joy and delight – look up 1 Peter 1:8, and compare Psalm 16:11. Thus we, as believers, enter into and experience the Lord’s own joy (John 15:11), a joy which was full even on the eve of His death, a joy which is supernatural and which is experienced even in the midst of trials and testings – look up Acts 5:41 and Acts 16:25. Do you know His abounding joy?
4. IN CHRIST WE HAVE BOUNTIFUL SUPPLY
We learn this from the words in verse 3: “His fruit is sweet to my taste.” The reference is to the fruit of the tree under which the bride was sitting with her lover. She found complete sufficiency and absolute satisfaction in his gracious provision for her. What is this sweet satisfying fruit that we, as Christians, experience and that is only ours because of our union with the Lord Jesus? It is mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. We cannot produce this fruit; it is “the fruit of the Holy Spirit, the work which His presence within accomplishes” (Amplified Bible) – look up and compare Hosea 14:8 (last phrase). How satisfying His fruit is! – “His fruit is sweet to my taste”!
5. IN CHRIST WE HAVE PERSONAL GUIDANCE
We learn this from the words in verse 4: “He has taken me to the banquet hall” – notice the “‘he’ and the ‘me’. The bridegroom puts his arm around his bride and leads her lovingly into the banquet hall, and this is exactly what the Lord is doing, or wants to do, for us – look up and compare Psalm 32:8 and Proverbs 3:5-6. His guidance is personal. His leading is gentle, and His direction is accurate, certain and purposeful – look up Psalm 37:23-24 and see what David was able to say in Psalm 78:72.
6. IN CHRIST WE HAVE SWEET FELLOWSHIP
We learn this from the words in verse 4: “He has taken me to the banquet hall” – literally, ‘the house of delights’. This is a picture of His Church and of the fellowship we enjoy as members one of another – fellowship around His Table (1 Corinthians 11:23-26); around His Word (Acts 17:11-12); in prayer (Acts 12:5); in service (2 Corinthians 6:1); in our joys and in our sorrows. What a wonderful thing it is that through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ we are “all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
7. IN CHRIST WE HAVE CONSTANT VICTORY
We learn this from the words in verse 4: “His banner over me is love”. Through faith in Him, and because of His victory, we are “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37). It is His banner that is over us, not ours; it is His victory we share, not something which is the result of our trying or effort. The banner is the symbol of victory, and His banner is over us and over all God’s children.
If we really do have all this in Christ, our Lover, what more can we want, in time or in eternity?