“I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not” (Song of Solomon 3:2)
The Bride had sought her Beloved in the prescribed way (as taught in the Word of God). But she found Him not using God’s way. Now in verse 2, she tries another path of her devising, but the results were the same, “I found him not.”
But praise God, even as we try in the flesh to find God, His Secret Will is being done. God had the solution; the Watchmen of the City found her and pointed her in the right direction.
However, the Bride had the “I” syndrome. Four times this singular personal pronoun is used in this verse: “I will rise now”; “I will seek him”; “I sought him”; and “but I found him not.”
This is usually what happens when we have tried God’s way and nothing appears to happen, we determine that “I” must try my way. “I” have to do something.
Note the Bride’s actions, “I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways”; now that all else has failed, I am going to arise.
First, “I will rise now.” Here the Bride has made the decision to add to God’s revealed way. (His Way is prayer, confession of sins, be still and wait on Him; then proceed at His direction.) She had tried that, but became impatient in waiting on God. However, the Bride will discover (in this same verse) that all human efforts fail. God revealing Himself to a Child of Grace lies in His own Will and Purpose.
However, human efforts to move God to do what they want God to do are not without some positive benefits.
One positive benefit is learning by experience that all human efforts are vain, unless directed by God. This is a very necessary lesson to be learned by the Bride, to come to full communion with God. Many church members are deceived in their “human efforts” (their works and their good deeds). They think this is communion with God. This deception continues until God brings these “do-gooders” to come to see that all works are vain without faith (James 2:14-26).
This deceived condition leads to confusion in the one deceived and even in the church itself. The deceived one knows something is missing. (His prayers are memorized phrases, which sound good in public. His fruit is of the flesh and not of the Spirit. He has no power of the Holy Spirit to be a daily overcomer.) But he keeps on the same path in serving God, until he is revealed by Christ that his works are meaningless unless directed and energized by the Spirit of God.
Even in this deception of the flesh, God’s Secret Will and Purpose is going to be accomplished (Proverbs 19:21; Psalms 110:3; Philippians 2:13). In the case of our text verse, God had His “watchmen” find His Bride and redirect her.
Second, “and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways.” Here we look at the place of her decision to rise up now and do something. Here we see where she went to find her Beloved. “The city,” in “the streets” and in “the broad ways” may be interpreted in two ways. The “city” could represent the world at large; the “streets” and “broad ways,” revealing the scope of the Bride’s inquiry. Or the “city” may be speaking of the City of God; even Jerusalem, Mt. Zion (Mt. Sion, New Testament); or even the Church in the New Testament. Jerusalem in the Old Testament is the city selected by God to place His Name upon. Here the king dwelt; and here was the Temple, the Dwelling Place of God.
Based on verse 3, the latter interpretation is preferred; for the City of God is where “the watchmen” perform their mission of “watching out” for God’s People, His Sheep; to keep them from danger and to teach them the ways of God. (See Ezekiel 3:17; 33:1-33.)
The answer is not merely being in the membership of the Church. You can run here and there seeking advice from this one and that one; from this view and that view. However the Bride’s problem is not a “doctrinal problem”; but a personal problem, labeled “no patience.” The communion she seeks is not with the body (or the members), but with the Head (Christ), her Husband.
There are a myriad of ways to define “the streets” and “the broad ways” in the city. It is not the mission of this devotion to define the different things one can search out in the city. But you don’t find Christ in “activity” of the flesh in the city.
But the Bride is determined, so she states again, “I will seek him whom my soul loveth.” But the results were the same, “I found him not.”
The truth is, you will never find Christ in “activity” in the confines of the Church or outside the Church. You can rise now, tomorrow, forever; trying to find Christ in fellowship in the power of the flesh. Even if the motives are good, even if the works may be good, they will not avail you a special audience with Christ in the inner chambers of sweet, sweet communion.
But as said before in this devotion, the positive effect of the flesh seeking Christ and His communion is that God has a plan to find us and direct our steps toward Him through the ministry of the “Watchmen” of the city.
Reader, please accept the following suggestions to help you in this struggle:
- First, examine your activity in your efforts to find Christ to have special, special communion with Him. Do your activities match God’s Word? Are you in the flesh or in the Spirit?
- Next, read 1 Kings 19:9-18; the Lord was not in the “great and strong wind,” the “earthquake,” or in the “fire.” But He was in the “still small voice” (verse 12). You must be still and listen for God’s voice.
- Third, be patient. God sees you and knows you. And He has a definite plan to prepare you to leave the works of the flesh and seek Him in the Spirit (Proverbs 19:21).
So it is in a physical marriage that is “in Christ.” You, the Bride, are to be still and patient; wait in your position of surrender and submission according to Ephesians 5:22-25. You cannot force your Beloved to move to you by using the philosophy of the flesh, but only of the Spirit. Your efforts to seek his love are not by worldly standards of attitude, actions, or attire. But you must show him your surrender to God, your submission to His Word; you must obey God, rather than man. This will move your husband. If he knows Christ as Savior and Lord, he will be moved by the Spirit of God to join you in sweet fellowship, in the bed chambers.
Do it God’s way and stop trying in the flesh. Allow God to work in the marriage. The efforts in the flesh will not last, but only fade with age.