Despite its language that would make even Shakespeare blush, the Song of Solomon is a magnificent allegorical work about the love relationship between a believer and the Lord Jesus that will drive the reader to search out other great truths in the Bible.
By Clinton Dixon
Was I hearing right? Do my ears deceive me? Had I ending up in a Mills and Boon writing retreat? Was I somehow on the set of The Young And The Restless? Our very own Pastor Kong said what?! “A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me, that lies all night between my breasts.” In my very best Singlish, I was “shock”.
I quickly scanned the room and thought there must be some joke I was missing. But the longing language just kept on coming … “Behold, you are fair, my love! Behold, you are fair! You have dove’s eyes”. This was more than I could take! There is only so much blasphemy one can take on a Monday morning. These words couldn’t possibly be found in the Bible, I thought. Then suddenly from the pulpit Pastor Kong intuitively counters my belligerent thoughts. “Sometimes we are more conservative than God,” he taught. With that pensive statement, I was introduced to the book of the Song of Solomon.
This book, widely considered to be one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written, describes the moving love story between King Solomon and a young country girl—a Shulamite woman, and how he romantically pursues her unto marriage.
Now here’s the tricky part: it is also an allegory of the love relationship between the believer and the Lord. It tells of how a believer is brought from an initial position of intense need to one of complete fulfilment in Christ. Nearly every word has a dual meaning; for example, myrrh, a bitter herb used in embalmment, speaks of suffering and death which produces meekness, a most esteemed quality in the kingdom of heaven. “Dove”, being a bird whose eyes can only look in one direction at a time, is used to describe singleness of purpose, an attribute desirable of a mature believer whose attention is not easily swayed from God.
And so for most of the time that week, my thoughts were riding the fine line between revelation and bewilderment. This got me thinking (yes, I am starting to make a habit of this): how much of the Bible do we misunderstand because we never search out the deeper meaning?
We may read the Bible but do we come away from it with a higher understanding and a deeper love for Christ? Do we appreciate the majestic language, the nuances, the sheer grandeur and boldness of God’s written Word? This is the Word that is all things to all men and breathes life into the lost and lends strength to the found. God’s Word has changed the world but has it changed you?
In a world where we are bombarded with simplistic statements and catchy banner slogans, we sometimes unknowingly slip into the superficial. Have we somehow brought Bible reading down to a level no different from reading a newspaper or magazine (or dare I say blog)? How can we receive value from a book we don’t ourselves value? After this week’s teachings I could never take the Bible for granted. If just one book in the Bible could be revealed to me in such a way that now all I could see in it is pearl, prize and plunder, just think what other goodies lay in the other 65 books.
A grand treasure awaits those who can dig deeper.
Clinton is married to Grace, has two young boys and is fast approaching middle age (but don’t tell anyone else). He hails from the land of the long white cloud—New Zealand—and admits to having very little understanding of The Lord Of The Rings. Through his studies at SOT, he is seeking to find God’s true calling on his life.