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Song of Songs: Day 9

In the Garden

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Today's Text: Song of Songs 6:1-13, Psalm 48:1-14, Romans 12:1-2, 12:9-13

Text: Song of Songs 6:1-13, Psalm 48:1-14, Romans 12:1-2, 12:9-13

The word “garden” gives me heart palpitations. Although I come from a long line of green thumbs, I only remember to water the plant sitting on my coffee table approximately once every three weeks. The friends who gave it to me as a birthday gift promised it was a low-maintenance variety, heavy on the grace. Unfortunately, I’m heavy on forgetfulness.

We seem to be doing okay so far, this little plant and me. But the thought of having a whole garden has me pre-grieving the blooms that would be under my care. I did once live across the way from the most wonderful garden—one that made me set aside my preconceived notions and wish for a greener thumb. It was in the center of a thriving artist community, and quickly became my favorite place to gather my people. We spent afternoons sprawled out on blankets, surrounded by those who came to make art with their hands, their paintbrushes, or their conversation.

God loves to gather His people in gardens, too. And not only that—it’s also where He does His best art, growing up glory as only The Creator God can. From Eden, the garden of sin; to Gethsemane, the garden of suffering; to Golgotha, the garden of victory; and to eternal paradise, or “garden of delight”—we see that clearly, God faithfully waters what He plants.

Matthew Henry tells us, “Christ’s church is a garden enclosed, and separated from the open common of the world; it is his garden, which he has planted as he did the garden of Eden, which he takes care of, and delights in.” I think that was my favorite part about my own neighborhood garden: because someone else delighted in it and cared for it, I could enjoy its beauty. I’m still in awe of that individual who was so fruitful in an area where I was so lacking.

While gardens are a recurring theme in Scripture, Song of Songs highlights just how lush and beautiful gardens—and love—can truly be.

My love has gone down to his garden,
to beds of spice,
to feed in the gardens
and gather lilies.
I am my love’s and my love is mine;
he feeds among the lilies.
-Song of Songs 6:2-3

The garden is a delight, but what we see happening inside its walls is even more beautiful. The couple is lavishing honor on one another, making clear their love by the way they hold one another up above themselves. The self-sacrifice of the One who is love does the same for us—His bride, the Church. He cares for us and tends to us, but even more than that, He reconciles us to Himself.

It was in a garden that paradise was found and lost.
It was in a garden that we are lost and found.

In gardens, God calls His Beloved in and teaches us about Himself. He reminds us of the ways He has provided for the soil, so that we might remember He is also tending to our hearts. Only when we learn more about the Gardener and the soil of redemption we’ve been planted in, do we begin to see that our broken seeds of faith will grow into holy and living sacrifices after all (Romans 12:1).

We are His Beloved, and His faithful love endures forever (Psalm 118:1). Hallelujah.

SRT-SOS-Instagram-9s

 

  • I have not met very many gentle men (men who are gentle) in my life. I’m very good at building thick walls around me. I’m 6 months deep into a relationship with my VERY gentle boyfriend and, whether he knows it or not, he’s been challenging me to be more vulnerable with him and with God. This study has reassured me that it is OKAY to let God in. God won’t be rough with my heart. But He will nurture it and make sure it grows. And that’s a good thing I shouldn’t run away from.

  • “It was in a garden that paradise was found and lost.
    It was in a garden that we are lost and found.”

    Thank you for pointing this out. It is very enlightening.

  • This is beautiful! I love this —> “God faithfully waters what He plants.”

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Diane Huntsman

    I’ve kept 12 plants alive for two years now in my home and I feel as though I deserve a trophy.. I am a green thumb wannabe and there is little I appreciate more than a lush garden alive and thriving.. someday I may fully dive into the waters of real gardening and learn the tricks of the trade, but for now I’ll admire and covet the skills of the true gardener.. my heart is a garden that needs moment by moment tending.. seeds of discontent, jealousy and even resentments get planted and sprout up quickly, if I’m not on top of those weeds they will take over any good seed that’s trying to sprout.. it’s so vital to plant seeds and then water and care for them as the begin to grow..I often spend time in the Word, good seeds are planted and then I scroll my phone and see things on social media that plant seeds of discontent and soon that seed is overtaking the good one that just got planted!! I have to guard the good seeds that have been planted.. I have to turn my eye away from things that bring the weeds of destruction.. I need to return to the promises in Gods word far more than I look to other things.. if I spend more of my time putting in truths than I do scrolling feeds, I know my hearts garden will be lush and beautiful..moment by moment choices as to how I want my life to be.. healthy or sickly.. my choice.. God has given all of us green thumbs when it comes to cultivating our hearts.. we just have to choose right in order to flourish.. choose Him, setting our affections and finding our strength in Him and His Words.

  • I can’t help but also correlate the garden we’ve been planted in to the one we have within us. That’s why it’s so important to nourish and care for our garden because if we allow it to start growing with weeds and all things that ruin us like self-loathing, resentment, anger…. then there’s no room to grow. We need to love ourselves and care for ourselves the way our Creator has and always will. We’re a part of this beautiful garden that’s constantly blooming with different colors and types of flowers. Our garden within us has to be a reflection of that. Know your worth, fall in love with yourself, and slowly start to pick out the weeds in your life with the help of our God who will use His living water to nourish your garden. I pray this for all my SRT sisters and for myself <3

    • MA

      Thank you Katalina for this beautiful response, specifically about knowing your worth and falling in love with yourself, and then slowly picking the weeds.

  • Wow. The Garden is a place of life, and I don’t have to worry because I have the perfect Gardener to take care of me. Reminds me of Kari Jobe’s new album, called the Garden. Super good. Also, visited Liberty again this past weekend!! Ahh. I think that’s where I want to go. Where God wants me to go. As I was thinking about it though, I remember that when I was there, I thought I saw someone who is the brother of a girl who I used to be friends with in elementary school, but there was a whole drama/betrayal and it ended. And I’ve thought of this before, cause I know some college freshman that went to my elementary school and are at Liberty. And I’m scared it will be like my private elementary school. But idk, I think it won’t be the same cause it’s a bigger school and everything. And I shouldn’t base my decision on other people. Gotta pray!!

    • Sarah K

      Don’t worry, Sarah! You’ll love wherever you go to college, and the Lord will work in all your decisions. People change too, so don’t be worried about who they were or what they were like in elementary school. If you decide to go to Liberty, you’ll know if God doesn’t want that. And if nothing, he’s probably given you the OK. Just gotta trust Him!

    • Denise

      Hi Sarah D – I agree with what Sarah K said. Not one of us is still the same person that we were in elementary school. Thanks be to God for that ! Put all your fears and misgivings into God’s hands and leave them there. He will guide you and guard you. As Paul says in Philippians 3:13
      New International Version
      Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead

      So look ahead. Your last sentences show wisdom – God is working in you. Blessings on you and keeping you in lifted up in prayer.

  • Tochi Heredia

    My mum’s green thumb inspires awe and praises to whomever gets to see her garden. People come over to our house and love standing in the middle of it, surrounded by the trees, plants and flowers, astonished by its beauty and the prowess of the gardener.
    May people look out our lives and see God’s tender care reflected on them, and may we obediently surrender ourselves when pruning season comes.

  • Churchmouse

    Thank you, Kaitlin for reminding me of the four gardens. They all have love in common. The garden of Eden, though it became the garden of sin, was created for man out of love, where God and His created could walk together. The garden of Gethsemane, though a garden of intense suffering, also revealed the great love of the Son for His Father,”Thy will be done.” Golgotha, although a garbage heap of unspeakable death, is a garden of victory as death is defeated by Love Himself. “It is finished.”. Might I add the empty garden tomb, though a site for decay, was a powerful and majestic sign of God’s loving reconciliation with man. Ah…and eternal paradise, the garden of delight, where God and His beloved once again are united in perfect harmony, the culmination of Love’s greatest story, the happiest of never -endings. These gardens – all reveal His care and His tenderness and His great love for me and you. He truly is the best Gardener of all. Rejoicing in Him with gratitude today!

  • Sarah_Joy

    Our lives look different because of the touch of the Gardener. He tends to us with love and grace. How grateful I am that He doesn’t leave me to tend myself as I would wither up in my own abilities.

    If anyone has read The Shack you may remember an intense scene where the allegory takes place in a garden (character’s soul) and the author writes his version of what that gardening could look like. Not scripture, but a book to make you think.

  • I have always loved Romans 12:1-2. Today I keyed in on “living sacrifice”. I read a quote that says, “The problem with living sacrifices is that they keep crawling off the altar.” That’s me. I either crawl off the altar or I go to the altar grudgingly. The thing that has struck me is that while God may call some of us to physically die for Him, He asks all of us to live for Him. The idea that the King of the Universe wants me to live for Him, to glorify Him, should make me dance for joy. The Westminster Catechism says, “The chief end of man is to glory God and to delight in Him forever.” I tend to forget the “delight in Him forever” part. Being a living sacrifice should bring the greatest joy I have ever known.
    Heavenly Father, restore to me the joy of my salvation. Remind me that as Your “living sacrifice” You’re not asking me to die but to live, and, to live with joy, to live abundantly. Thank you for Jesus who was the perfect “living sacrifice”. I pray that my life will glorify You in all that I do.

    • Susan

      Beautifully written, and right where I am also! Thank you for your openness.

    • Tochi Heredia

      Thank you for sharing this, Kathy! I can absolutely relate to crawling off the altar.
      May we be delighted in surrendering our lives to Him :)

  • Christina

    Am I remembering correctly that the Shulamite woman is the garden represented here? That this is a description of intimacy?

    As the garden which God has planted, we as His children are a splash of refreshing color and vitality in an otherwise dying world. I pray my witness today persuades passersby and onlookers that God’s good tending is worth being planted here.

    • Ashley

      Yes, in all the studies of Song of Songs I have participated in or sermons I have heard, the garden is a metaphor for the woman and the intimacy the couple is enjoying. We certainly miss so much when we avoid the lessons about covenantal love and God-given sexuality if this book is read simply as allegory.
      I have been disappointed that this study has lacked the richness and accuracy of other SRT studies.

      • April

        I checked the devotional at He reads truth, and at least for today, it is mainly about marriage. I think it was similar for another day too. Perhaps the writers want to make sure as many as possible can relate to this study, and that’s why its so allegorical?

      • Churchmouse

        The Song of Songs is not an easy read. And it is not readily understandable. I appreciate both views being presented by SRT – that this is a book of intimacy and passion within a marriage and also an allegory of Christ’s relationship with the Church. One view doesn’t seem to apply to anyone not married and yet there is a depth of application if you perceive it from Christ’s great covenantal love for His followers. I’m not sure it’s a matter of right or wrong but of perspective. Also I don’t think the original manuscripts delineated even who is speaking in each section – that was added later for ease of reading it (similar to that there was no punctuation, verse numbers, or chapter headings in the original). Song of Songs (or some say Song of Solomon) is poetry also which adds to the richness of the Bible and yet the vivid language can be difficult to grasp. I’m thankful the Holy Spirit guides us and enlightens us as we read. I also appreciate everyone’s differing comments. It opens my own understanding and points for consideration as well. Blessings to all

      • Katie

        I agree with you Ashley. I wish there was a little bit more about sexuality. It’s something I struggle with in my marriage & came to this study for that. I’m so glad believers of all ages & life stages can benefit from this study though. I have really benefitted from the combination of scriptures & daily metaphors/devos. Obviously there’s much more to learn about than just sex! :)
        Xoxo

      • Rose

        while I do think that is an important part of the book as well this is the only study I have found that focuses on the allegory aspect of Song of Songs. I have read many studies that focus on the God given intimacy and I think that’s beautiful, but this study is seeking to discuss the neglected aspect of the book which is also very important and I’ve been searching for for quite a while

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