Song of Solomon 2:16 (ESV) … “My beloved is mine, and I am his; he grazes among the lilies.”
Persecution often backfires! Instead of intimidating the new believer, it often has the opposite effect. Far from being discouraged by the attitude of her family, the Shulamite, in her heart of hearts, only gave herself more fully and completely to her beloved. So she told of her passion, a passion that expressed itself in passionate loyalty. “My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away” (2:16–17a).
Nobody can really come between our soul and the Savior so long as we are determined to be loyal to Him. The Shulamite encouraged her heart with a threefold thought of her beloved. “My beloved is mine, and I am his,” she said. That is, she occupied herself with his relationship. It was more real to her than any family tie. “He feedeth [his flock] among the lilies,” she continued. That is, she was occupied with thoughts of his royalty because the lily, as the Lord Jesus Himself declared, was more beautifully robed than even Solomon. “Until the day break, and the shadows flee away …” she declared. That is, she occupied herself with thoughts of his return. It was with such thoughts that she fueled the flames of her heart and kept alive her loyalty to her absent beloved. No power on earth could undermine her love for him when her heart was garrisoned with such weapons as these.
We have the same three weapons with which to fight the hostility and pressure of the world. Let us think of our Beloved and of His relationship. “My beloved is mine, and I am His.” We can never think that thought too often. Norman Clayton has put it like thus:
Now I belong to Jesus,
Jesus belongs to me;
Not for the years of time alone
But for eternity.
It is a relationship that is absolutely unique in the universe. None of the heavenly hosts know anything to equal it. No angel or archangel; no cherub or seraph; no principality, power, throne, or dominion could sing the song that we sing. Israel knew no such relationship! None of the Old Testament saints came anywhere near it. Not even John the Baptist, of whom Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater” (Matt. 11:11), knew a relationship like this. Abraham, the friend of God, did not have the relationship we have. David, the man after God’s own heart, did not have it. Neither did Daniel, the man greatly beloved. God has given to us a relationship to the Lord Jesus that will be the source of endless astonishment to all created beings in the universe, throughout all of the unborn ages of eternity.
Let us think, too, of our Beloved and His royalty. Who can compare with Him! Take Solomon, for instance. He reigned with a pomp and pageantry unsurpassed in the annals of Hebrew history. But Jesus bluntly said of Himself, “A greater than Solomon is here” (Matt. 12:42). His is the true magnificence of the lily.
Sculptured lilies adorned the temple in Jerusalem. The high priest, coming forth from the sanctuary, was often likened to a lily in the sacred writings of the Jews. Our Lord is at home there in the heavenly temple, where lilies add their luster. He not only wears the purple of a prince but also the white linen of a great high priest. His royalty is a royalty greater far than that of any Hebrew king. Not even David or Solomon can compare with Him. His royalty unites the majestic office of the king with the ministerial office of the priest.
Let us think, moreover, of His return. The lonely hours of separation are only “until the day break, and the shadows flee away.” That is the great hope of the church! It is a purifying hope because he “that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:3). Thoughts of His imminent return will help to keep us true to Him and unspotted from the world, no matter what pressures are brought to bear.
So, the Shulamite tells of her passion and tells how it expressed itself in passionate loyalty. It also expressed itself in passionate longing: “Turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether” (2:17b). The mountains of “Bether” are rendered by some translators as “the mountains of separation.” Rotherham renders it thus: “Liken thyself, my beloved, to a gazelle or to a young stag upon the cleft of mountains” (Emphasized Bible). Darby’s footnote reads, “cloven mountains” or “mountains full of ravines.” The Shulamite saw her beloved as a deer at home upon those mountains and able to leap over their obstacles.
In the Bible, animals of the deer family represent swiftness, grace, and gentleness. The Shulamite thought of her beloved in those terms. The mountains of separation might stand between them, but they were nothing to him! He was free as a stag or a gazelle, able to come and go at will.
The absence of our Lord should quicken our longing for Him. The mountains of separation seem so ominous to us. They have stood solid and silent now for nearly two thousand years. It is so long, so very long ago since the word came from the excellent glory: “This same Jesus shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.”
Those mountains of separation have loomed large in terms of distance as well as time. We are here; He is there. We are imprisoned on a rebel planet in a world of time and space; He inhabits eternity. We are creatures of mortal clay; He is the uncreated, self-existing Son of the living God. The mountains of separation seem so large, so ominous, so real, so threatening. We need to remember that these mountains are nothing to Him. One of these days, He will rend the heavens and come down, annihilating all distance and dissolving all time!