His House

Come With Me From Lebanon My Spouse

"Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon. Look from the top of Amana, From the top of Senir and Hermon, From the lions' dens, From the mountains of the leopards" (Song 4:8 NKJV). The Song of Solomon gives us the beautiful ancient allegory of Jesus and His dealings with His people, and especially with His bride, and that primarily the individual, and not the corporate bride. Through the first four chapters of this love-poem, the Beloved (Jesus) refers to His bride-to-be as "my love", which comes from a Hebrew word that means lover or female companion or friend. "Lover" is a good translation of this word. However, as we read this story, something happens in the relationship, for in Chapter four, for the first time, the Beloved begins to refer to her as His spouse, or His perfected or completed bride. Apparently, the couple married when they were away together in the mountains of Lebanon, Amana, and Hermon.

There's something about solitude that produces what can be produced in no other way. In pursuing this love affair with her Beloved, the young lover finds herself no longer among the friends of the city, but alone, traveling from mountain peak to mountain peak with her Beloved. When Jesus is going to win for Himself a bride, He often leads us, usually against our better judgment, away from the relationships that are so important to us, and that appear to us to be the very source and support for our continued growth and intimacy with Christ. He, at times, separates us from any source but Himself, that we would no longer look to others, but to Him alone, and that He might lift us to heights previously unfathomed when we looked to our mentors as our standard and example of spiritual experience. The extraordinary longing for her Beloved and His extraordinary dealings in her life separated her for a time from those who never really understood her to begin with. "What is your beloved More than another beloved, that you so charge us?" (Song 5:9). They just never understood.

Suddenly, from the mountains of Lebanon, Hermon, and Amana, she returns to those who had almost forgotten her. Oh, they didn't really forget, it's just that they were so busy with city-life that they really didn't notice she had gone. She slipped from their consciousness into irrelevance, partly at their relief, for her personality was always given too much to extremes, anyway. Now, here she is once again, and with an absolute glow upon her face, and a sort of mischievous knowing smile. "Where have you been, and what have you been up too?" "Oh, nothing much", she muses. "I just returned from Amana, Hermon, and Lebanon." They peer over her shoulder at the snow-capped mountains of Lebanon lying to the north, a familiar view of a well-known mountain range.

Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon

This photo from Ilumina Gold shows Mount Hermon, part of the Lebanon Mountain Range, rising to 9,166 feet in elevation.
Her friends from the city know these mountains well, at least from a distance. Amana, the place of covenant, Hermon, the place of solitude and of the total giving over of something, even to destruction as an act of consecration, and the entire Lebanon range, an unearthly place of mountain heights covered with a celestial blanket of glistening pure white snow and magnificent fir and cedar trees: a place unimagined by the sun-scorched sand-dwellers in the desert-lands below. From these mountain heights, she descended with a new identity, a new relationship with her Beloved. Now, she is married to Him. Her betrothal period is over, and she is known as His wife, not because she called herself by that title, as so many do, but because He made her His wife. He married her, and now, gone is the restlessness that once marked her life as she always seemed to long for something more, even to the perturbance of her companions - her companions, incidentally, who were once accosted in the middle of the night by her strange and desperate plea, "Have you seen the one I love?" (Song 3:3 NKJV).

Her long night of searching is over; her desperate wilderness trek behind her now. She simply smiles at her dear friends, whom she now enjoys more than she ever thought possible, and joyfully awaits another rendezvous on the mountain heights with her Beloved. She is at rest, at peace with herself and with others, at last. The solitude she once feared or dreaded has become her close companion and comfort, for it is there, with Him, "in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the cliff", "skipping upon the peaks" with her Beloved husband that she finds perfect rest. No one will ever know what took place on those distant mountain peaks (although, we'll have an idea when she starts to "show"), but something surely did, for it was to those very peaks the King called her when He said, "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away!", and it was from those very peaks, and from none other, that she descended, not as His lover, but as His wife. "Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon. Look from the top of Amana, From the top of Senir and Hermon, From the lions' dens, From the mountains of the leopards" (Song 4:8 NKJV).

She would've stayed on the mountain if He would've allowed. "It is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles" (Mk. 9:5). She finally found that for which she searched for so long, and she fully expected to make her permanent residence with her King there on those mountain heights. However, it was not to be her residence quite yet, but a honeymoon spot to which they would return at times. After all, though her heart forever revels on the mountain heights, her life is lived far below, and is intertwined with her friends and relatives. Her solitude was not to be home, but lodging on the way to intimate union with her Beloved. Her home is to be, at least for now, in the kitchen, the vineyard, the garden, the stalls and the market; among the daily "grind" of the simple and the mundane (as mundane as life with the King can be). It is here, among her friends and among routine that she hews out her life with her Beloved Husband, and it is from here, amidst the city-folk, that she lifts her eyes unto the hills, and remembers the joy and unspeakable wonder of that place they shared together. If she closes her eyes, she can leave the crowd, and return to that wonderful place of solitude, of intimate union - that "place" that she forever carries within herself. She went out a humble Shulamite maiden, and returned from the mountains of Lebanon the wife of the King.

It's not wise to choose solitude for ourselves, for that's a sure ticket to self-deception. "A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment" (Prov. 18:1 NKJV). However, when Jesus chooses solitude for us, there's no need to despair, for that is our call to "come away" with Him. He holds our lives in His hand. He is wise, and we can trust the way in which He leads us, no matter how difficult the path. For some, that call to come away with Him will lead to the "mountains of Lebanon" and to marriage union with our Heavenly Bridegroom. I hope you will hear and answer that highest and most beautiful of all callings.

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