There is a passage I have commented on a number of times as one of the saddest in scripture.
2 THE SHULAMITE I sleep, but my heart is awake; It is the voice of my beloved! He knocks, saying, “Open for me, my sister, my love, My dove, my perfect one; For my head is covered with dew, My locks with the drops of the night.” 3 I have taken off my robe; How can I put it on again? I have washed my feet; How can I defile them? 4 My beloved put his hand By the latch of the door, And my heart yearned for him. 5 I arose to open for my beloved, And my hands dripped with myrrh, My fingers with liquid myrrh, On the handles of the lock. 6 I opened for my beloved, But my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. Song of Songs 5:2-6 (NKJV)
What is happening here? If we look from a purely natural perspective it is clearly a missed intimacy opportunity between the Shulamite and her beloved. What if we look from a spiritual perspective, viewing the Song of Songs as an interaction between Jesus and His church, between He and us? To that end I will refer to the characters here as the Bride (us/church) and the Bridegroom (Jesus).
The passage above begins with the Bridegroom seeking the Bride. However, the precursor tells us something key.
16 THE SHULAMITE Awake, O north wind, And come, O south! Blow upon my garden, That its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come to his garden And eat its pleasant fruits. Song of Songs 4:16 (NKJV)
The Bride has invited her Beloved to a place of intimacy and in 5:2-6 we see what happened when He responded.
What is the issue for the Bride? The Bridegroom shows up at an inopportune time. She does not want to be inconvenienced? What happens? She hesitates in her response and rationalizes why she can’t respond. Then the yearning of her heart wins out over her rationalization and she finally responds. However He is gone. She is left with only reminders of His presence but doesn’t have Him. The oil and fragrance represent a left over anointing without a living presence. So that leads us to some reflective questions.
- Have we invited Jesus to draw near then not responded when He came?
- Do our busy lives/things keep us from intimacy with Jesus?
- Are we willing to be inconvenienced to be with Him?
- Do our hearts long for His presence when He draws near?
- Are we satisfied with some level of anointing without His actual presence?