The Daughters of Jerusalem
We must not settle for
a “second-hand Christ”;
we must seek to experience
The Song of Songs shows us two different kinds of lovers of the Lord. First, there is the Seeker herself; from the very beginning of the this book she is drawn to run after her Beloved by her desire to be with him. But, there are also “the daughters of Jerusalem.” C.A. Coates (1862 – 1945), the last of the great Brethren teachers, states of them:
The “daughters of Jerusalem” form, in this Song, a class by themselves. They represent lovers of Christ, for they pave His palanquin with love (chap. 3:10); but they are on less intimate terms with Him, and less intelligent in the thoughts of His love, than is suitable to the spouse….
One may say that the first question raised by reading the Song of Songs would be, Am I a lover of Christ? And if I can answer uprightly that I am [1:3-4], the next question raised would be, What kind of a lover am I? Do I love much or little?[Luke 7:47]. Is the quality of my love that which suits the spouse, or is it such as might be found in the daughters of Jerusalem?
— An Outline of the Song of Songs, pages 11-13.
Throughout the Song of Songs the daughters of Jerusalem never once speak to the Beloved, nor do they ever deal with Him in a direct way. Rather, they only interact with the Seeker, speaking to her and asking her questions.
In brief, their relationship with the Beloved is almost entirely second-hand. What a warning to us, not to be this kind of lover of the Lord!
In our previous Note (“The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved”), we considered how each of the Lord’s believers is unique in His sight, and is therefore truly the disciple whom Jesus loves in a unique way.
(I should add here that I paused sending out these Notes for several weeks. This was because I was working on finishing up some projects at the end of the year, but also, I was considering the best way forward for this labor.)
It is very good and healthy for us to appreciate the fact that the Lord loves us in a unique way. But, there is still the question: how do we love the Lord? And the extent to which God can bring us into the experience of His love, and all He desires to give us, is determined by our love for Him and the extent to which we pursue Him.
This picture in the Song of Songs shows us that we must not be passive in our seeking of the Lord, nor should we be content with having only second-hand interactions with Him.
Rather, may we rise up today to be the Lord’s true lovers and seekers, like the Seeker in the Song of Songs! May we give ourselves to Him and pursue Him in such a way that He may work in our lives to bring us into the full experience of His love, and of all He desires to give to us!
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—1 February 2022 —