What is the Song of Songs all about? This article sheds some light on how we can read the book: focus on the call of Christ to his bride.

Source: The Messenger, 2010. 3 pages.

Christ’s Call of Love To His Hiding Dove

O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.

Song of Solomon 2:14

The Song of Solomon is called the “Song of songs” in its opening verse. As a song above all songs, it must have a theme above all themes: love. That love must be a love above all loves: the love of Christ Jesus for His Bride.

Christ’s bride doesn’t always experience that love. Chapter 2 speaks of winter times of cold­ness and distance from Him. Yet, He seeks her again, calling, “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away” (v.13b). Though we would expect her to run to Him with tears of amazement, she stays hidden. Though she deserves Him to leave again, He continues to call her.

He still calls her “my dove.” A dove represents gentle innocence. She is often addressed as “my dove, my undefiled” (5:2, 6:9). Especially a dove’s eyes picture quiet beauty (1:15, 6:5). Even though she is hiding, Christ still calls her “my dove.” Since she is still His dove, He continues to call her.

A Hiding Dove🔗

Though she is His dove, she remains hidden. A dove hides for safety. Imagine a dove in a quiet street. Suddenly some children run out of a nearby doorway. In fright, the dove flutters to the nearest crevice under a stairs. Imagine a dove far from home. Suddenly a hawk drops down on a nearby bird and the little dove flees as fast as she can to a cleft. A dove is a defenceless creature that can only find safety by hiding. As such, it is a humbling picture of God’s people. He shows them their weakness and helplessness.

More humbling yet is the dove’s foolishness. She is not hiding in the “rock of ages, cleft for me,” but somewhere that keeps her at a distance from Him. Hosea 7 pictures Israel as “a silly dove without heart” that seeks safety in man rather than God.

We seek our safety in so many things. Some of us have never found refuge in the shadow of the Almighty. You have lived hiding from Him in your own places of safety. But even those of us who belong to Christ are still so prone to seek refuge elsewhere.

When we wander away from Him and come in danger, we are prone to rush to others and not to Christ. We go to friends, family, doctors, or office-bear­ers for help and support. We try to find comfort in their company and counsel. We trust in our possessions or seek escape from troubles in our pleasures, sins, or good works, rather than with God.

Isaiah 28 speaks of “the refuge of lies.” Of­ten these seem nearer than Christ. They include believing that the devil will neither notice me or that I am safe even while far from God. They include the thought that since God will not help me, I must seek help elsewhere. I can hide in lies that make me presume or despond.

Any refuge apart from Christ is a dangerous place. Isa­iah 28 warns, “The hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.” If we remain in our own refuges, we will drown, like a dove hiding under the rocks in a riverbed is swept away by a flash flood.

A Hesitant Dove🔗

What a mercy that the Lord Jesus seeks His hiding dove. Listen! He calls: “O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs.” Why does she re­main hiding? In that dark and dusty crevice is no nour­ishing food, joyous light, refreshing water, or delightful company. If she stays there, she will languish and die.

If you are not experiencing Christ’s love, despite His calls, why is that? Maybe you wonder, “Does He really mean me?” He calls, “My love, my fair one,” but in the dark crevice, you look at yourself and don’t see how that name can apply to you. You stay there, thinking He is calling others and not you.

You keep hidden for fear that when you come out of that dark hole, the sunlight will expose who you are and fill Him with anger! Mixed with fear is shame. On the one hand, you long to be with Him and know His love again, but it is so painful to have to come before Him with all that dust of sin on your feathers.

Christ proclaims the fullness, freeness, and faithfulness of His love, but some­thing keeps you from surrendering to it and enjoying it. You do not dare come to Him as you are. But whatever you say and think, listen to the call of love.

A Call to Call🔗

He comes to find His dove simply because she is still His dove, however helpless, hesitant, ashamed, or fearful she may be. He calls, “O my dove ... let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice.” His love has not diminished, how­ever much hers may have. His desire for her remains as strong as it has ever been.

His love makes Him call, “let me hear thy voice.” A dove in a crevice may think, if I open my mouth, mourning sounds will come out (Isa. 38:14; Ezek. 7:16). Does the Lord who is surrounded by the angels’ praises want to hear that? A mourning voice from a mourning heart is music in the Saviour’s ears. He says, “Let me hear thy voice mourning over your coldness, sin, and unbelief. Tell me all that is wrong. Do not hide any of your fears.”

He desires to hear the supplicating voice. So often He calls to pray. He exhorts: “Tell me what your deepest de­sire is.” He also desires to hear His dove confessing her love. He asks us, “Lovest thou me?” Wherever you are spiritually, can you reply, “Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee”? Do not leave that ques­tion unanswered. Let him hear your voice.

A Call to Come🔗

Christ also calls, “let me see thy countenance.” His dove may wonder, “How can I emerge from that dusty cleft?” With Ezra I must “hang my head because my face has no beauty.” Yet, He calls: “Let me see thy countenance! I want to see you!” We express our soul in our face. “Let me see thy face” means come with your whole being be­fore Him.

“Let me see thy face” means that He de­sires to meet with His dove again. You will not see Him as long as you remain in that dark crevice. Come out and you will see who He is in His love! Seeing Him, your fear and hesitation will fade away and His love will melt your heart. He desires fel­lowship with you.

His desire is stronger than yours and makes Him call out, “Let me see thy face.” May His call overcome all your hesitations. What He desires is more real than what you feel. What He thinks of His bride is more important than what she thinks of herself. He says, “sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely (or beautiful).

A Singular Beauty🔗

How can Christ say that? Is it simply because He loves them? Love can make you see beauty in something no one else admires. A toddler thinks his “blankie” is beauti­ful, even if it is a worthless rag to everyone else. Christ has loved His bride even when she was without beauty.

Yet, His words, “thy countenance is beautiful,” are more than the language of love. If you belong to Christ, you do have a beauty. Psalm 90’s petition is being fulfilled in you: “Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.” Christ has begun cleansing, renewing, and beautifying you by His Blood and Spirit.

“But,” you say, “that is my problem. I can understand He desires to see that godly person, but I can’t say ‘my face is beautiful.’” You need not. In fact, if you are enamoured with your appearance and have never loathed yourself before God, you are not part of Christ’s bride. She looks in the mirror of God’s law and doesn’t see a beautiful reflection. Yet, Christ sees His own work of melting her heart and moulding her life.

The ultimate encouragement to hear His voice is not the beauty in you but the beauty with which He clothes you. He says to His bride, “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.” He doesn’t just say, “You are quite beautiful,” but “all fair.” That is because He gives her His own beauty! His blood wash­es away all her filth and His beautiful robe of righteousness covers her. She may ap­pear before Him in a beauty not her own and yet given to her as her own.

A Singular Blessing🔗

The wonder of grace is that a bride with no beauty is given a perfect beauty, so that she may loathe herself and yet not hesitate to draw near to Him. Looking to herself, she can be so ashamed, fearful and hesitant to come, and yet she hears His voice, “Let me see thy face, let me hear thy voice; for thy voice is sweet and thy countenance comely.”

If you are like a hiding dove and yet unsatisfied in such a condition because your deepest desire is for Him, hear His voice! You cannot understand why He calls. No one will to all eternity. He calls because His love is so great, deep and faithful for His weak and foolish dove. His heart moves Him to show His love again to His hiding dove. Do not go by your feelings. Hear His voice: “Oh, my dove, Let me see thy face, let me hear thy voice.” The freedom and power to come is in His call. By His call, He will lead you – clothed in His beauty – to shelter in His heart of love.

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