THE VALLEY OF TROUBLE
I will go and return to My Place,
until they admit their guilt and seek my face;
in their misery they will seek me —Hosea 5:15
Beloved: Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, turn, my lover, and be like a gazelle or like a young stag on the rugged hills. All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him. I will get up now and go about the city, through its streets and squares; I will search for the one my heart loves. So I looked for him but did not find him. The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. “Have you seen the one my heart loves?‘ Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves. I held him and would not let him go till I brought him to my mother‘s house, to the room of the one who conceived me.” —Song 2:17-3:4
The Lord has called the maiden to rise up from behind her wall and follow him in his resurrection Life. However, she wants to remain “on the hills of separation” (Song 2:17). She wants the Lord to turn back and be enclosed in her little world. She wants to be separated from the world until her life is more perfected. “Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away” (Song 2:17).
She prefers to have him in hiding behind her own wall. She has deliberately chosen to shut herself out from any exposure to the world, and this is at the expense of having the Lord labor out there alone without her help. The result is an incomplete union with the Lord in his interests and in his service. So, the Lord employs a new method of teaching.
He had called to her to turn her face toward him, and she started talking about the vines and the little foxes. He told her about the secret place in the Cleft of the Rock, and she sank back, trying to recapture her old experiences and said, “My Lover is mine!” She evidently cannot yet give him the fellowship he is looking for because her only concern is what he is to her.
He hides himself to see what silence will do. There never would have been any need for this if she simply left the vines and foxes to his care and obeyed his call as soon as it came.
If we would leave ourselves entirely in his hands, and responded to his voice without even a hint of hesitation or self-reflection, or any concern for ourselves and our experiences, we would be led to “dwell in the secret place of the Most High!”
His silence and the hiding of his face will jerk the slack out her. She is evidently very conscious that there is a sudden cloud in their relationship, and she seems to know now that she is not yet as fully in union with him and she thought. She is still in the dawn of her spiritual life, but it will eventually be “as the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless day” (2 Samuel 23:4).
A shadow has appeared because of his silence, so she calls out to him to “turn his face toward her” — turn with gazelle-like speed like he used to do — turn on these terrible “mountains of separation” (Song 2:17). The mountain life seems a long way off to her now, and he appears to be alone on the mountain while she is in the valley of darkness.
She may be thinking; “I thought I was supposed to be the head and not the tail?” “What happened to all my ‘faith confessions‘”? “I‘m going to throw all those teaching tapes back in so-and-so‘s face.”
Yet, the psalmist said that even if he did walk through the “valley of the shadow of death,” he would “fear no evil.” She seems to says that she can endure, “until the dawn appears, and all the shadows flee away” if he will just turn toward her, just to give her one look!
Does he answer her cry? No . . . “The Lord is silent in His love” (Zephaniah 3:17).
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts
It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.