PARTNERING with JESUS in our SPIRITUAL MINISTRY
July 15 Bible Reading: Song of Solomon Chapters 7-8
"Come, my beloved, let us go forth to the field; let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine has budded, whether the grape blossoms are open, and the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love." (Song 7:11-12)
According to the Christological interpretation, the Shulamite is the bride (the Church) and her beloved Shepherd is the bridegroom (Jesus Christ). As we arrive towards the end of the narrative in this beautiful love song, her beloved has arrived in Jerusalem and they have now sealed their relationship through the bond of engagement. This is similar to each individual believer entering into a relationship with God by accepting His only begotten Son Jesus Christ as his/her Lord and Savior and surrendering his/her life to do the will of God.
Now the Shulamite is free to go to the field and the villages with her beloved due to her newly developed relationship with him. She anticipates walking in the field with him, going out at daybreak to the vineyards to check the vine and the pomegranates. Her current relationship with her beloved is so satisfying that she feels complete freedom to initiate a partnership with him in every step of her life. The open air of the fields and the villages are preferred in living out the partnership to the noise and humdrum life of Jerusalem.
The theme of this partnership is doing things together, as the phrase “let us” is repeated four times in quick succession in the above two verses (vv. 11-12). What the Shulamite means in her statement is that she wants to visit those places together with her beloved where her thoughts had been fixated during the days of her captivity. She longs for the vineyards and the blossoms, which had been so familiar to her (see 1:6; compare 8:12). Once they have returned to the security and beauty of this natural sanctuary, the Shulamite promises her beloved suitable tokens of her love.
As a spiritual application, our partnership with Jesus is expressed in our intercession to see more of His power released in our lives through His Spirit, which is expressed as His “breath” (v. 8). We should follow up with a commitment to partner with Jesus in our spiritual ministry (v. 11). Jesus will pour out His blessing and leadership as He goes with us and releases His presence through our labors as He did with His disciples in the 1st century: "They went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs" (Mark 16:20).
In a sense, we are co-laborers with Jesus and "we are God's fellow workers" (1 Cor. 3:9). We need to go into our field of service (v. 11), which is already ready for harvest: "Behold…look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" (John 4:35) The field of service begins in our family, job, church and neighborhood. This is where God has placed us, and we do not have to get on an airplane to serve in His field. The villages and vineyards refer to our ministry areas where God wants us to focus. Let us be diligent to fulfill the tasks that God has given us. The budding vines, the grape blossoms and the blooming pomegranates speak of different people and ministries that need both growth and maturity (4:12, 13; 6:11).
From our end, we too need maturity to partner with Jesus in our spiritual ministry while we are in the midst of disappointments, difficulty, and persecution. We need to walk in intimacy with Jesus while embracing hardship. In his own words, Apostle Paul describes that he had labored in ministry more than all the other apostles and suffered great difficulties: "I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me" (1 Cor. 15:10). Even then, this was the desire of Apostle Paul that we should adopt as well: "That I may know Him (intimacy with God) and the power of His resurrection (ministry), and the fellowship of His sufferings (hardship), being conformed to His death…" (Phil. 3:10)