THE TURNING POINT
But suddenly the Lord is gone. She was in the banqueting house with such a rich enjoyment, but He was outside. What happened? This is the point of this book. If we are going to enjoy the Lord as life, we must see this discrepancy. The seeking one was enjoying the Lord in such a rich way in the banqueting house. She had the rest and the enjoyment. She was satisfied. But suddenly, while she was resting, He was leaping and skipping. What a discrepancy!
Song of Songs 2:8 is an important turning point in this book. Suppose you were the one in the banqueting house. Would not that be wonderful! Many of you who are in the church life have been brought to such a position. You have arrived in the banqueting house, and you have already discovered that the Lord is gone. You are still in the banqueting house, but His presence is gone. Perhaps two months ago He was with you, but now He is not. Perhaps last year He was with you in the banqueting house, but this year He is not. You would say, “What’s wrong? I am still so much for Him. I am still seeking Him, and I am still enjoying Him. But something is missing. He is still lovable, but there is something separating us. I don’t love the world. The world is through with me, and I am through with the world. If someone were to give me the world, I simply wouldn’t want it. I just love my Lord.”
I do believe that by the Lord’s mercy so many dear ones in the church life today would say these things. Yet, something is missing. He is out, and you are still in. You can see Him, and He can see you, but it seems that there is still some distance between Him and you. I have been asked by so many concerning this one thing, but I have never answered because I knew that the answer would be given when we covered the Song of Songs.
THE MAIN HINDRANCE TO THE LORD AS LIFE
What is the problem? Before answering directly, we need to see something in the Gospel of John. John 11 records the case of a dead man. Jesus is life, but how could this dead man experience Jesus as life? John 11 shows us a real discrepancy between the lovers of Jesus and Himself, and this discrepancy is exactly the same as in the Song of Songs. Martha is the best representative. She represents you and me. Martha and her sister, Mary, along with Lazarus, their brother, really loved the Lord Jesus. I do not believe that you and I could love the Lord Jesus more than they did. Lazarus became very sick, and Martha and Mary sent a petition to the Lord Jesus for Him to come and help them. But it seems that the Lord did not have any human feeling. He was just like a piece of wood or stone. He heard their petition, but He did not go. He did nothing, and He said nothing. Many times the Lord will remain silent, and at those times, His silence is more important than His utterance.
Then after a few days, the Lord decided to go. But Martha did not thank the Lord for His coming. She did not say, “O Lord, how marvelous that You have come! Thank You for Your presence.” Instead, she complained that the Lord did not come soon enough. “Lord, if You had been here earlier, my brother would not have died.” This means that she put the whole blame upon the Lord. They thought, “Now what is the use for Him to come? Lazarus is already dead.” At the time they wanted Him to come, He did not come. Now when they did not need Him anymore, He came. Then the Lord told her, “I am the resurrection. It is not a matter of time, whether it is too early or too late; it is a matter of Me. I am the resurrection. If I came five days ago or three days ago, it would be the same. Now that I have come a few days later, it is also the same. I am the resurrection, and your brother will rise again.”
Then Martha became the best expounder of the Bible, for she really knew the doctrine of resurrection. She said, “Yes, Lord, I know that he will be raised up at the last day. We know that doctrine already.” Then the Lord said nothing more to her, but Martha went to tell her sister that the Lord had called her. It was not, however, the Lord who had called her, but Martha.
Finally, the Lord came to the grave, and Martha voiced her opinion again. “Lord, he’s stinking by now. He’s been in the grave four days.” But do not laugh at Martha. Laugh at yourself. She represents all the believers who love the Lord. We do love the Lord, but like Martha, we are always the greatest hindrance to His being our life. This is because we have never been subdued. Our personality and character have never been dealt with. To take the Lord as our life, we must take His character and His personality as our personality. It is not enough simply to quote Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…who loved me, and gave himself for me.” We must repudiate our personality and take Him as our unique Person. Then we will have no concepts or opinions, for our personality will be gone. He, as a living Person, will be our life.
If Martha had really learned the lesson, she would not have asked the Lord to come in that way. She would have said, “Lord, we would like for You to come. But whether You would come or not, is up to You. Whether You would cause my brother to survive or not, is also up to You. Whether You would do anything, is up to You.” To say this is easy, but to learn this lesson and to be brought to this point takes years.
By reading through John 11, we see that Martha did absolutely nothing to help the Lord. Instead, she did everything to hinder and frustrate the Lord from being life to them. If we can see this, it will be easy for us to understand the experience that is recorded in the second chapter of the Song of Songs. The seeker in the Song of Songs is just like Martha. The Lord is training and disciplining the seeking one to forget about herself, her personality, and her will, and to take the Lord Himself as her Person.
The Song of Songs mainly teaches us this one unique lesson. Strictly speaking, it is not a book of love. It is not a matter of learning the lesson of faith, patience, or how to become more powerful. For so many years, the Lord will train us in one thing: to put our personality aside and to take Him according to His intention, His way, and for His goal.
Many people love the Lord but few of them really know how to take the Lord as life by forgetting their self and their personal character. And so many do not have any intention to learn this lesson. Just as the seeking one in the Song of Songs, they have no intention of responding to the Lord’s call.
(Life and Building as Portrayed in the Song of Songs, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)