1:1-17 - The Church is the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-33). We are to be presented to Christ ‘as a pure Bride’, ‘a Bride beautifully dressed’ for Him, ‘the Bride, the wife of the Lamb’ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 21:2,9). Christ says to His Bride, ‘You are beautiful, my love’. Let us worship Him: ‘You are beautiful, my Beloved, truly lovely’ (15-16). Let us look to Christ and see how beautiful He is: ‘You are beautiful beyond description, too marvellous for words, too wonderful for comprehension, like nothing ever seen or heard. Who can fathom Your infinite wisdom? Who can fathom the depth of Your love? You are beautiful beyond description, Majesty enthroned above…’. Let us pray that His beauty will be seen in us: ‘Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, all His wondrous compassion and purity…’ (Mission Praise, 788,406).
2:1-17 - Christ comes to us in love: ‘The Voice of my Beloved! Look! Here He comes…’ (8). He calls us to come to Him: ‘My Beloved speaks and says to me, “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away”’ (10). He calls us to belong to Him: ‘My Beloved is mine and I am His’ (16). Let us come to Jesus and experience His love: ‘Jesus, how lovely You are! You are so gentle, so pure and kind…’. Let us come to Jesus and give Him our love: ‘Jesus, I love You, love You more and more each day; Jesus, I love You, Your gentle touch renews my heart. It’s really no wonder why no other love can satisfy; Jesus, I love You, You’ve won this heart of mine!’. Let us come to Jesus and receive His joy: ‘Jesus, I am resting, resting, in the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness of Thy loving heart’ (Mission Praise, 361,363,362).
3:1-4:8 - Jesus says, ‘Seek and you will find’ (Matthew 7:7). When we have found Him, we say, with joy, ‘I found Him whom my soul loves – my true love’ (3:4). What does it mean to find Jesus? It means that He has found us. Before we ever thought of seeking for Him, He came seeking for us: ‘the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost’ (Luke 19:10). He comes to us with words of love: ‘you are beautiful, my love’ (4:1). Before we ever thought of loving Him, He loved us: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’ (Jeremiah 31:3). In love, He came looking for us. In love, He has found us. We seek. We find. We say, ‘Hallelujah! I have found Him’. There is something else – His seeking and finding: ‘Amazing grace! How sweet the sound… I once was lost, but now am found…’ (Mission Praise, 31).
4:9-5:16 - There are times when the Lord comes very near to us. We pray, ‘Let my Beloved come to His garden’ (4:16). He answers, ‘I come to My garden,… my Bride’ (1). There are times when the Lord seems to be far away from us: ‘I opened to my Beloved, but my Beloved had turned and gone’ (6). What are we to do when the Lord’s presence does not seem so real to us? We must remember His promise: ‘I am with you always’ (Matthew 28:20). Sometimes, we don’t feel so good. We feel like the Lord has gone away and left us. These are the times when we need His Word of encouragement: ‘I am with you always’. In the difficult times, we must hold on to His promise. We must keep on believing that the times of blessing will return: ‘His speech is sweet; He is altogether lovely… my Beloved… my Friend’ (5:16).
6:1-7:9 - ‘You are beautiful… How beautiful you are’ (6:4; 7:6). What beauty can the Lord possibly see in us? We are sinners – ‘We have all strayed like sheep. Each one of us has turned to go his own way’. There’s nothing beautiful about that! Is this the whole story? Thank God! – There’s something more. Christ died for sinners – ‘the Lord laid all our sins on Him’ (Isaiah 53:6). When God looks on us, He does not see our sin. He sees our Saviour, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He looks at us, and this is what He sees: ‘The blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin’ (1 John 1:7). Through faith in Christ, we are sinners, saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8). This is the beauty the Lord sees in us: ‘There is, therefore, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:1). This is not our beauty. It’s His beauty!
7:10-8:14 - ‘Love is as strong as death… It burns like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it’ (6-7). Here, we see the greatest love of all, the love of God: ‘Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future… nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 8:38-39). How can we have the love of God, burning in our hearts ‘like a blazing fire, like a mighty flame’? We cannot buy His love – ‘If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned’ (7). We must receive His love as a gift: ‘So freely flows the endless love You give to me… So easy, I receive the love You give to me… Flowing out to me – the love within Your heart’ (Mission Praise, 603).