Chapter 11 The Bride's Desire

Let my beloved come into His garden, and eat His pleasant fruits (Song of Solomon 4:16).

The Lord’s people are at times likened unto a flock, or a temple, or a body, or, as in this song, a bride. Here the Lord’s elect bride is likened unto a garden. The garden is enclosed, by which is meant that she is separated from all else around. As with a garden, she is set aside for the Owner’s own pleasure. The plants and flowers in the garden represent His graces and virtues planted in her by His Holy Spirit.

The elect bride has just been praying for heavenly winds to release her spices. There is often much that is locked up and imprisoned in the hearts of His people so that there is little outflow of praise to Him who made them as a garden for His own pleasure. She has prayed for the cold, chilly north wind, if need be, or the cheery, warm south wind, if need be, or that there come a combination of both, representing, on the one hand, trials and persecutions, and on the other, pleasing and gentle providences, so that there may be a release of sweet fragrance for His pleasure.

The Title She Gives Him

“My Beloved.” That is both personal and affectionate. She knows He is hers, and she desires a visitation of His lovely presence. He is her Beloved and there is no other. It is a title which expresses her love to Him. He is the object of all her dearest affections. There is none to compare with Him. There is no rival for her heart. His love, and the many demonstrations and expressions of it, bring forth a response of love in His elect bride. She has no need to mention His name. Everyone knows who she means when she says, “my Beloved.” He is distinguished from all others and more precious than all others combined. What a sweet title! What music in those two words! She dearly loves Him. He is the desire of all her heart’s deepest longings.

The Invitation She Gives Him

“Let my beloved come into His garden.” Yes!—she was His garden. He had bought and purchased her. He had redeemed and separated her from the common ground of mankind. He had planted in her His own flowers and plants. Thus she was not her own, but His. All the fruit belonged to Him. She was His property, as it were, and here she owns the fact of His claim.

Now, when we gather together to this remembrance feast, we should heartily desire that the Lord visit us in a living way with His sensible presence. We need to have some manifestation of His presence and love to us, so that we are not left comfortless. This He has promised—“I will come to you.”

It is not always that the Lord grants manifestation of His real presence, though we may believe Him to be present with us according to His gracious promise. But sometimes He withdraws His presence where He sees coldness and indifference and a lack of desire for His company. He therefore at times hides His face. It is not that He has abandoned His saints, but He withdraws in order to stir up our desire for the enjoyment of His presence. That awakened desire is expressed by the bride, “Let my Beloved come.”

The Object in Making Such Request

It is that He may “eat His pleasant fruits.” We should desire to give Him the best when things are most fresh. That is why I myself love the worship and remembrance meeting to be early on Lord’s day. Things are freshest in the morning, and our first exercise should be to give our Beloved the worship and praise of which He is worthy. We do not ask that He come and satisfy us. The worship meeting is not a prayer meeting to ask for things, nor an intercession meeting to pray for others. It is that He come among us and find His delight and satisfaction in what we offer Him.

What joy it is to Him to find a company of people whom He has redeemed and saved and rescued from sin, death, and hell! What a pleasure to Him to hear their praises and to smell the fragrance of their growing graces! What a delight to Him to see the fruits of His Spirit blossoming! This is to see the travail of His soul and to be satisfied. It is to witness the blessed results of our union with Him and the grace of God working in us. These are the fruits which are pleasant and well-pleasing to Him. So let us pray that as He comes among us there may be much for Him to gather for His own satisfaction and delight.

Oh, Jesus, Lord, who loved me like to Thee?
Fruit of Thy work, with Thee, too, there to see
Thy glory, Lord, while endless ages roll,
Myself the prize, and travail of Thy soul.

Yet is must be: Thy love had not its rest
Were Thy redeemed not with Thee fully blest,
That love that gives not as the world, but shares
All it possesses with its loved coheirs.

Nor I alone; Thy loved ones, all complete
In glory, round Thee there with joy shall meet;
All like Thee, for Thy glory like Thee, Lord,
Object supreme of all, by all adored.

J. N. Darby