(7) Tell me, O you whom I love, where you feed your flock, where you make it rest at noon. For why should I be as one who veils herself by the flocks of your companions? (8) If you do not know, O fairest among women, follow in the footsteps of the flock, and feed your little goats beside the shepherds' tents.
In the last couple of verses, we saw the Bride was in an identity crisis. She was struggling with who she was, and feeling the guilt, shame and rejection of it. But in verse 7, the spiritual crisis escalates. Speaking directly to her Bridegroom, she confesses that although she loves Him, she has been following Him from afar (veiling herself by the flocks of her companions). She now asks to know where He HIMSELF feeds & nourishes & allows His rest & peace to come. She realizes in her busyness and in searching for Him through others, she has lost her nearness to Him. This is a dangerous place for the Bride to be.
Can you relate? I have been here many times in my walk with Jesus. We come to a place many times, without even realizing it, that we substitute our intimacy with Him for the latest teaching, or the anointed minister, or the church that's 'on the move'. We sometimes substitute our own ministry or calling in place of nearness to the Lord. Again, this is a dangerous place to be. The enemy would love for us to substitute anything and everything for intimacy with the Lord. But our Bridegroom is a jealous God. He will not allow it to continue in His Bride. He will destroy everything that steals our heart from Him. He loves us so!
The Bridegroom then answers her spiritual cry by first affirming how He sees her. What a difference that affirmation makes. Have you ever been in the heat of an argument or disagreement with one you love, only to have them say "You are beautiful to me!" ? Those 5 little words can change your whole outlook! They can soften your heart, calm you, and assure you that even in the midst of the issue everything will be OK. This is what the Bridegroom King speaks to his Bride in the beginning of verse 8. He wants to make sure she knows how He sees her, even in the midst of her identity crisis. You see, He is the only one who perfectly knows our heart, and even in times of spiritual crisis, He sees the deepest desire of our heart to please Him. That is how He relates to us!
He then speaks to the 3 temptations the Bride has in crisis; these are also temptations that we have when we are in crisis. The first temptation is to isolate ourselves from the rest of the body, the second is to react out of selfishness & self-centeredness, and the third is to have an unteachable, or a closed spirit. Jesus is exhorting her in this time of crisis to first of all, stay in fellowship with the body, secondly, not to neglect the ones He has called her to minister to, and thirdly, to have an open spirit to those in leadership over her, no matter how imperfect they may be.
In times of spiritual crisis, we are more naturally prone to listen to the voice of the accuser (either accusing us, or accusing a fellow believer) and agree with Him, but Jesus is exhorting us as His bride, not to give in to that voice. Recognizing and breaking agreement with the voice of the accuser is a sign of maturity in the Bride. Not only that, but walking in maturity will cause us to get through a spiritual crisis much faster and easier, and get us back on the pathway of victory He has ordained for us.
Next week we will look at how our Bridegroom King continues His exhortation to bring her completely through this season of spiritual crisis.