My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
Of all the books of Scripture, none is so expressive of communion and fellowship as the Song of Solomon. Solomon, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit captures the glorious nature of the love between the bridegroom and his bride, Jesus Christ and His church. That is why Solomon’s song is called the “Song of Songs.”
Chapter 1 of the Song records Christ and the church expressing their love for one another. The bride says, “Thy love is better than wine” (Song 1:2). On the other hand, the bridegroom says, “Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes” (Song 1:15). Chapter 2 begins with the bridegroom speaking of himself, but then turns to the bride speaking about her bridegroom to the daughters of Jerusalem.
First, the bride rejoices to hear the sound of her bridegroom approaching (Song 2:8). Next, she actually sees him (Song 2:9). Finally, she hears him speaking, calling her to rise up and come away so that they can fellowship together in the glorious spring.
“My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” “My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.”
Imagine a young bride enthralled with the thought of seeing her bridegroom again. He had been away. How long we do not know. But, from the bride’s perspective, too long. Many of us have experienced that to a degree when we have been away from our spouse. Not having the modern convenience of the telephone, the bride had not been able to fellowship with him. Seemingly, ages had passed. Now her heart yearned for him.
After the long wait, she finally hears him approaching. That is why she calls out, “The voice of my beloved” (Song 2:8a). Literally, we could translate, “The sound of my beloved.” Imagine her heart beating in anticipation: Here he comes! I can hear him! She continues, “Behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills” (Song 2:8b). The fact that he leaps upon the mountains and skips upon the hills shows that he is coming quickly and nothing can stop him.
But if the sound of his coming delighted her, his voice actually speaking to her was more delightful: “My beloved spake….” The bride wants the daughters of Jerusalem to know about it. “My beloved came and talked to me! He even called me his ‘love’ and his ‘fair one’!” Calling her “my love” he acknowledged that she was his special companion and friend. In addition, she was also his “fair one.” She was beautiful to look upon outwardly, and she was beautiful inwardly. He enjoyed her companionship and delighted in her beauty, as is right and proper in a relationship of bride and bridegroom. We see in the bride a delightful longing for her bridegroom.
That is the kind of love that ought to characterize the relationship of husbands and wives. But Solomon, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is talking about Christ and the church. Just as the bride longs for and rejoices to see and hear her bridegroom, so the church of Jesus Christ rejoices to hear His approach. “The voice of my beloved! Behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.” Jesus Christ is coming! Leaping and skipping. Is it not a wonderful thing? He is coming quickly to accomplish our salvation. The church delights to hear that glorious message. “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen” (Rev. 1:7). “Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book” (Rev. 22:7).
Behold, He cometh!
For whom is He coming? He is coming for His love, the church, whom He has loved with an everlasting love. He is coming for the church, with whom He delights to dwell in covenant fellowship. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (Rev. 21:3). His desire is to dwell with us in perfect covenant fellowship! He is coming for His fair one, the church, which is so beautiful in His eyes. To her he says, “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee” (Song 4:7).
Do we rejoice in our Savior? Do we rejoice that He took upon Himself human flesh and died for us on the cross? Do we look forward to the marriage feast, as the bride in our text obviously did? Do we delight in the fact that Jesus Christ loves us and looks upon us as His beautiful and dear companion?
Behold, He cometh!
If that is our rejoicing, then listen to the sweet voice of the bridegroom calling us: “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.”
The bride mourns in the bridegroom’s absence. As long as He is away, there is darkness and sorrow. As long as we have no fellowship with Him, we are in misery. But in Christ’s presence is fullness of joy. At His right hand are pleasures evermore (cf. Ps. 16:11). Wonderfully, the bridegroom arrives and reassures the bride of His love for her and His delight in her by calling her “my love” and “my fair one.” Then he says to her “Rise up and come away.” Don’t stay in that miserable condition. Come away with me!
So, too, is the church cast down under a sense of her sin. Sin brings misery because it separates us from fellowship with God. But Christ says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Jesus Christ reassures us of His love for us and His delight in us. Then He calls us to “rise up and come away!” Rise up! Sit no longer in the gloom of your guilt. Come away and enjoy sweet comÂ¬munion.
But how can that be? How can the bride enjoy such a privilege?
“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone” (Song 2:11). The winter of cloud and storm is gone. The time of unsafe and uncomfortable travel, of bad roads and impassible rivers, is over. Spring has arrived: “The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the sing ing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away” (Song 2:12-13).
We were in desperate darkness and in the shadow of death because of our sins and sinfulness. But God tells us that the dark winter of His wrath is over and gone and that the tempest is not against us anymore. “And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me” (Is. 12:1). God’s fierce anger is turned away because Jesus took that wrath upon Himself. Now the darkness of hell does not hang over us. Rather, the sun of righteousness shines upon us in favor. “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall” (Mal. 4:2).
How can the bride be so sure that the winter is past and the rain over and gone? Look around! Listen! Smell! The flowers have appeared. The birds are singing and the voice of the turtledove is heard. The fig tree manifests its green figs. The grape vines with their tender grapes give a sweet smell. All these give evidence of springtime.
How can the children of God know that His gracious face shines upon them? By the gracious work that He Himself has worked in us. He causes His new life to manifest itself in us even as He causes flowers to bloom in a wilderness. When the graces of the Spirit show themselves in us, it can only be because the Son of righteousness has shined upon us and caused the winter of misery to pass. When the sun of righteousness arises in our hearts, then there will be abundance of singing. In song, we will recount what Jesus Christ has done for us. That glad song will be heard in every land. Finally, actual fruits of God’s grace will begin to grow. All these give evidence of God’s grace in our lives.
The comfort for the child of God is that the springtime of God’s favor is ours now. In light of that knowledge, there is every reason to rejoice in Christ our Savior.
Not only that; one day we will hear His voice calling to us, “Rise up and come away.” Rise up out of your graves and come away into the most blessed and sweet communion in heaven. How wonderful will those words of our beloved sound! May we look forward to that day.