Text: Song of Songs 3:1-5, 1 Kings 4:20-34, Isaiah 55:1-13
Friends, we are so close to the wedding scene, the main event of this beautiful poem. But first, before he details wedded bliss, Solomon details the night before. After all, before the morning must always come the night.
Out of the entire Song of Songs, this passage might be the one I resonate with most. Many commentaries suggest this portion represents a dream Shulamith has the night before her wedding in which she is separated from her beloved. She resolves to get out of bed and seek after him. The repetitive language shows the desperation of her quest: “I sought the one I love; I sought him, but did not find him… I will seek the one I love. I sought him, but did not find him” (Song of Songs 3:1-2).
That frustration of knowing what it is like to be united with your love, and then being suddenly separated—it is anxiety-inducing. It is frightening. The night feels dark without him. You feel lost without him, and you are not at rest until you are in his arms again.
This, I would say, is what most of our time here on earth feels like—like the night before the dawn, the night before the reuniting. We feel afraid and lost and desperate. We feel like something—someone—is missing, and we begin this search until we find it.
Christ, our Beloved, has come and He is coming again. But until He does, the night feels long.
Something I like about Shulamith’s quest is how focused it is. She is looking for one person and one person only: her beloved. She doesn’t get sidetracked or distracted; she knows her heart only beats for one man.
I cannot say so much for myself. Though I know what I ache and long for is actually my Savior, I have often set off on quests in the wrong direction, believing maybe this relationship or that person’s approval is actually what I need. I spend money on what is not bread and my labor on what does not satisfy (Isaiah 55:2), instead of going to the living water that has promised me life. I get confused in the night and restless, and too often this results in seeking the wrong person, place, or thing.
Shulamith eventually finds her love, and when she does, she holds on to him and does not let him go (Song of Songs 3:4). Think about that. When your desperate nighttime quest leads you into the arms of Christ, and you recognize Him as what your soul has been longing for this whole time—as the redemption you are so undeserving of, yet so in need of—you do not let go. You cling to the cross and thank God that the night is almost over and the morning is near. You’ve been reunited with your love, your Savior.
For now, we cling to Christ in the night. His return has not yet come, but it soon will. And when it does, the final union between us and our Bridegroom will be even more wonderful and holy and beautiful than Solomon’s poetic words can capture. Until then, may we continue our quest in the night, and may it lead us to the arms of Christ.