The Song of Solomon is a very well-orchestrated book of prose with multiple scores, layers, and levels of understanding. Some interpret it to be a simple, literal, love affair between a shepherd boy/king and his Shulamite bride. Others describe it as a how-to manual on biblical love-making. It is much more than that. The Song of Solomon is a word of prophecy and the prophet Solomon is acting out a prophetic charade with his bride and the daughters of Jerusalem. This little book, once hidden behind a veil, is now being revealed to those who have ears to hear.
In this article, “A Fragrant Garden” we discover God’s intention for our spiritual lives as a type of garden that is to be fruitful and fragrant.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, [and] the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed [is] in it-self, upon the earth: and is was so.
— Genesis 1:11
When God created the earth, on the third day He made plants to produce leaves, blossoms, and fruits at certain times of the year (seasons). God designed our heart to grow like a garden—to bear herbs (leaves as beauty), flowers (blossoms emit a fragrance), and fruit (food offers nourishment) according to the spiritual maturity we cultivate in our relationship with Him. These three reflect our character in the Messiah because they all reflect the loveliness and aroma of His character.
In the Old Testament, when the question of who would be the priests unto the Lord arose, Moses placed each of the staffs from the twelve tribes of Israel into the Ark of the Covenant overnight. Numbers 17:6-8 tells us Aaron’s rod for the tribe of Levi “was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.”
As a partaker of the New Covenant, the Messiah’s bride is called a “royal priesthood” unto Him. It is His priestly remnant who will carry out His plan by sharing in the priestly duties under our High Priest, Yeshua Ha Mashiach. His Temple (the body of Christ) needs caretakers to nurture and tend to the Lord’s garden, in order to prepare for His return.
Think of how the thorn-less “Rose of Sharon” beautifully mirrors His tender love, as spoken of in Song of Solomon 2:1-2: “I [am] the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so [is] my love among the daughters.”
As you read on, you will see a believer’s life is not yet without thorns and in need of the Master Gardener’s touch. We are to be “fruit examiners” and help those who are young and tender in the Lord to grow up and mature. Just as the master gardener would not tear his plants out of the ground before they have had the chance to bear fruit, a believer must not be critical of a new or immature believer, tending to God’s garden in a judgmental way.
Song of Solomon chapter 7 tells how the bride and her beloved go out together to check the vineyards. In verses 11 and 12, the bride says to her beloved shepherd (representing Yeshua), “Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field… Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, [whether] the tender grape appear, [and] the pomegranates bud forth.”
The Lord and His beloved pictured here are working together, being attentive to the signs of new spiritual growth and fruit in her life and in the lives of others wherever they go.
Together with the Messiah, we must go out and inspect our own vineyard for character growth and maturity (not necessarily for fruit—trees and vineyards bear fruit in its season), but to make sure it is kept in order so that we will bear fruit.
Song of Solomon 4:13-14 list the contents of His betrothed’s garden:
Thy plants [are] an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices.
In this short book, we will gain understanding of this bouquet of fragrances that make us the “sweet savour of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15).