#55 Women of the Bible: Shulamite woman waits for the Bridegroom
By way of background, Israel has been written about as the bride of God to show the deep relationship God wanted with that nation. Before Solomon and after Solomon there are many writings that talk about her behaving like a harlot.
In stark contrast to Israel, the bride of Solomon is constant and loyal, even in his absence. She incessantly searched for him when he had disappeared and asked all and sundry about his whereabouts (eg Song 3:3, 5:6). She admitted that she was lovesick for him (Song 5:8), that he was more handsome than any rival (5:10-16) and that seeing him and hearing his voice in the secret place was her strong desire (2:14).
There is so much beautiful imagery that we could fill a book in explanation, but sufficient to say that the bride is the church of Jesus that has been oppressed in his absence (5:7) but faithfully tarried as she awaited His return from heaven (which is referred to as ‘his garden where he fed his flock in the gardens and gathered lilies’ (6:2)).
At no time has the bride ever really been alone in his absence for the love of her beloved filled her heart, just as if he had always been with her. How was this possible?
Jesus left us the Holy Spirit, in His absence, to fill our hearts: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him” (John 14:16-18). That Counsellor was the pure love that the Shulamite frequently referred to: “we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (Rom. 5:5).
Song of Solomon is cited to talk about the fierceness of God’s love towards us: “Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?” (James 4:5). This is James’s paraphrase of: “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame” (Song 8:6).
Even though the Shulamite longed for her bridegroom to return, she didn’t despair because the Holy Spirit bound them together inextricably. Like the Shulamite in her final plea, we cry out to our Heavenly Bridegroom to “Make haste, (our) beloved and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spices” (Song 8:14 NKJV).
The final verses in the Bible reiterate this ancient song: “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life”…..and the Beloved answered, "Yes, I am coming soon.".. and the Bride replied, “Amen. Come, LORD Jesus (Rev. 22:17, 20).
NLT used except where otherwise stated.