Rabbi Schneider - What Does God Think of You?
As we follow the Shulamite bride in the Song of Songs, what we find is her going through the various stages of development in her relationship with God. In historical sense, as I've been teaching, this is a book about the Shulamite bride and her relationship with King Solomon. But this book was never designed to simply be about a natural relationship. It is a prophetic shadow of Father God's relationship with us through Yeshua and our response back to His love, so that we enter in to something that can only be compared to a marriage. That's why the book of Revelation culminates in chapter 19, with the marriage supper of the lamb.
So the Song of Songs is about the king's love for the Shulamite bride, whom he's about to marry. And what we find, is how the Shulamite bride matures and how she eventually comes in and enters in to the fullness of the king's love. So with that said, we're gonna go right back to the text. I want to encourage you to watch the previous episodes online, because I've already laid a great foundation through the earlier messages. We're going today to chapter number 1, verse number 5. The Shulamite bride is encountering his love, but when she encounters the love of God, when she encounters the love of the king, she begins to feel shame. Let's take a look at the text. She says, "I am black but lovely". She's got two things going on. She feels self conscious. "I am black but lovely".
Look what she says in verse number 6. "Do not stare at me because I am swarthy, for the sun has burned me". What happened here, was that she was coming from the lower economic class and as a result of being in a lower economic class, she found herself having to work in the fields every day under the sun. And because she was in the sun every day, her skin was marked by that. And because her skin was marked by the sun, it became obvious to the rest of society that she came from a lower economic class, because she had to be in the fields every day.
Let's look again. "I am black but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon". Which is just, you know, a shade of color she said. "Do not stare at me because I am swarthy, for the sun has burned me. My mother's sons were angry with me; they made me a caretaker of the vineyards". She recognizes that, "Here I am, from the lower economic system here, a simple laborer of the lower tier in life financially and I'm in a relationship with the king and I'm uncomfortable with myself". And yet somehow, even though she realized that according to the natural world she was coming from the lower class, she knew inwardly there was something so incredibly beautiful in her to her lover. So look what she said, verse number 5. "I am black but lovely".
There's the paradox. On the one hand she recognized there was darkness on her, but on the other hand she recognized inwardly there was still something so precious and beautiful to God in her. Now I want to make application to your life and my life. The darkness here that was on her skin, I want to take you to the spiritual realm and talk about the darkness, beloved, that's in our souls. The Bible says, "He that says he is without sin is a liar". And what happens is, because we realize there's darkness in us we feel shame sometimes. And if we're not comfortable we'll allow that sense of shame, because of the blackness in us, because of the darkness in us, because of thoughts that we have that we know we shouldn't be thinking, because of negative thoughts that we sometimes think about people, because we're selfish and we get angry with people. In other words, someone cuts in front of you in the road and you just feel hatred or rage in your heart.
For me it's difficult in airports, there's so many people running this way and running this way and cutting in front of you this way and cutting in front of you. I just feel selfishness inside, just like get out of my way. You know the negative attitude that we can have sometimes towards people that we know is wrong, just wrong thoughts that we have, whatever they might be; because of those thoughts sometimes, because of those dark thoughts, we can feel shame. And if we're not careful we'll let that shame define us in our own mind. And if we let our negative thoughts, or our negative attitudes define us, then we're gonna be separated from God.
Remember when Jesus wanted to wash His disciples feet? What was Peter's initial response? He said, "No Lord, You can't wash my feet never". Why did Peter exclaim that he wasn't gonna allow Jesus to wash his feet? It was because Peter didn't feel worthy. He felt unholy. He felt shame. He didn't feel worthy of receiving Jesus' love. It just completely caused him to retract when Jesus got down on His knee and humbled Himself to wash Peter's feet. But what did Jesus say? He said, "Peter, unless you let Me wash your feet, you can have no place with Me".
Do you see the problem that was there though? Peter's sense of his sin caused his ability to receive God's love to be hindered. You and I need to realize, although there is sin in us, although there are dark places in our thought life, or in our attitudes at times, we are still, here's the key church, we are still despite our sin beautiful to God. Despite your sin, despite your negative thinking, despite your selfish thinking, despite the evil thoughts that we all sometimes have, you and I are still to this day, right now, beautiful to God. And God wants us to know that we're beautiful to Him. Don't let your sin separate you from God. Jesus has taken that problem out of the way.
The Bible says, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus". In other words, God does not condemn us at all, zero condemnation upon us. "There is therefore no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus". So she exclaimed here, "Do not stare at me because I'm swarthy". But she also said, "I'm lovely. I'm black but lovely". You're beautiful to God. And so I want to encourage you today to know how beautiful you are. Over and over again in this book Jesus prophetically is speaking over God's people and He's saying to them, "You are beautiful to Me. You are beautiful to Me. You're beautiful to Me".
You see the devil wants you and I to condemn ourselves because of our sin. He wants us to disqualify ourselves from the love of God. He wants us to think that we're not worthy to experience God's love. He wants our heart to stay closed like Peter's heart was closed at first when Jesus went to wash his feet. But the truth is, we're beautiful to God. And the Shulamite bride recognized that. She said, "I'm black. I know that I've got sin in my heart, but I'm still beautiful. I'm still lovely. It's not my blackness that defines me, it's God's value in me". The Bible says that God's treasure in us is beyond our knowing. In other words, the mystery of what's inside us is so beautiful that only God knows how beautiful His treasure within us is.
I recently was walking in the forest of Colorado. It was so gorgeous. It's almost breath taking. I mean every step that you take, you turn around and you see a different rock formation with different colors and different waterfalls and rivers running through the woods and there's nobody in sight. It's so spectacular, that literally it takes your breath away. You're almost like in awe. Sometimes what I'll do is I'll go into the middle of the woods and I'll just lay down in the forest and I just close my eyes and I'll lay down in the woods and I'll ask Father God to just impart Himself to me through His beautiful creation, while I'm so close to His creation. And maybe 20 minutes later I'll get up and I'll open my eyes and when I look at where I'm at after opening my eyes, it literally almost takes my breath away. It is so majestic with the mountains and the snow on top of the mountains and the lakes.
And so as I was in the forest realizing the incredible, awe inspiring, beauty of God's creation, it dawned on me that I was created in God's own image. And all the beauty of that forest that I saw around me, all the lush pine trees and flowers, all that beauty in that Colorado forest, it's in me and it's in you. You see we're created in His own image. The forest is the manifestation of who He is and we're created, church, in His own likeness. So the beauty that you see in creation, it's inside you. You might not be able to detect it. I might not be able to detect it. We're maybe aware that we wake up in the morning, we feel that we woke up on the wrong side of bed. As soon as we wake up, we're struggling with a bad attitude you know. We got to go to work.
Maybe you got a job that you don't enjoy every day. Maybe it's early in the morning, you didn't get a good night's rest the night before. You're just feeling crummy and you feel miserable. You feel like the Shulamite bride. "I'm black," she said, "I feel the sin in my heart". But you know what? No matter how you feel and no matter what you've done, you my beloved friend, my sister and brother in the Lord, you and I are beautiful to God. And the beauty that you see in His creation, it's in you magnified a billion times over. You are so precious to Him, more beautiful than you and I will ever know on this side of glory; remind yourself of that, wake yourself up to that, know how beautiful, spectacularly, supernaturally, beautiful you are. When you see the waterfalls, when you see the colors of creation, when you see all the gorgeous birds and so forth, know that that beauty is all in you; because all that was created by your Creator and you're created in His very own image.
As we continue on here, I just want to take a second to pray before we transition to the next verse we want to look at. Father God help us I pray to know how beautiful we are to You. I want to just encourage you, put your hand over your heart with me for a second. And let's just declare something, because we bring ourselves into those things that we confess. Say, "I am beautiful to You God". Just say it again. "I am beautiful to God. I am beautiful to You God. I am beautiful to God. God You made me beautiful for You". You are beautiful to God beloved one.
We continue on here and we find that as the Shulamite bride is journeying through and time is unfolding, the winds change. Isn't that true, that the weather is sometimes like our experience in life? One day we're in the sun and it feels great and not long after that we go outside one day and it's cloudy and it's gloomy and we have no control over it. The weather is outside of our control and that's how it is sometimes with life. The seasons change in life. One season we're walking and everything feels great and then we enter into another season in our life and for sometimes reasons that we can't even explain, suddenly we feel disconnected from God. I know sometimes I'll have a day, I'll feel so connected to the Lord. I'll spend the whole day just talking to Him, loving Him, worshiping Him, devoting myself to Him. I'll go to sleep that night and the next night, the next morning rather, I'll wake up and for no reason at all, because of nothing bad that I've done, I just won't feel His closeness to me anymore. We can't control that. It's like the weather.
And so as we move on here, we find that the Shulamite bride in her journey, had come from a place where she just was experiencing the warmth of God's love. She said, "He brought me into his chamber". But when we get to verse number 7, she felt that he was far away. So look with me now in verse number 7. She calls out. She's calling out to the Lord, "Tell me, O you whom my soul loves, where are you, where do you pasture your flock, where do you make it lie down at noon? Why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flock of your companions? What's going on here"? Again I want to point out the shift. Earlier in the chapter she explained what it felt like when she was brought in to the king's chamber. Now however we come to verse 7 and she's calling out. She's saying, "Where are you? Where are you dwelling with your people? Why should I feel," she said, "like one who veils herself"?
What did she mean there when she said, "Why should I feel like one who veils herself"? The reason is, we have to understand that this was written thousands of years ago in a culture that we're not familiar with today. But in those days that this song was written, you only unveiled yourself, you only took your veil off if you were a woman, amongst your family. So the only people that saw you without your veil on were the people that were part of your intimate family, your closest relational unit. And yet we find here, no longer does she feel as if she's in the king's chambers. Now she feels like she's veiled amongst strangers.
Look at the verse with me again. She says here, "Why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions"? In other words, "Why should I feel like I'm on the outside? Why should I feel like you're just an acquaintance? Why am I all of a sudden feeling separated from you? How can I get back to the place where I feel and experience your love again"?
So once again church, I just want to remind you that the Song of Songs is a prophetic book that outlines for us, it's a blue print to help us understand the natural stages that we must evolve through as we mature in God. It begins with her being awakened to God's love, just like you and I were in the days that we got saved. God awoken us to His love. It seemed like He was so close. It seemed like all our prayers were being answered. But as time went on, eventually we arrived in a place in our journey, where He didn't feel so close anymore. And we wonder how can we get back to where we used to be? How can I feel Your love for me again Lord? I want to feel close to You. It's at that stage that we now find our self in, in the journey of the Shulamite bride.
So once again she says, "Why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flock of your companions"? And then Yeshua, then the king responds to her. And he gives her specific instructions to help her feel connected again. Let's look at what those instructions are beginning in verse number 8. He said to her, "If you yourself do not know, most beautiful among women". I want to highlight here, even though she was feeling disconnected to him, let's remind ourselves, he was not feeling disconnected to her. And even though she said, "I'm black but lovely," he He didn't see her sin. He's called her most beautiful. "If you yourself do not know, most beautiful among women" and then he gave her instructions of what to do to feel close again. He first of all said, "Go forth on the trail of the flock".
Now much of scripture, beloved one, is written in agricultural language. Remember a lot of the truth that Jesus communicated worked through parables that had to do with livestock, with sheep and with the fields. And so this is the way scripture is written, it's poetic. So he says, "Go forth on the trail of the flock". What does this mean? He tells her, "Get in fellowship with the rest of my people". The flock are his sheep. Jesus speaks about His children as His flock. Little flock, He calls His people. So he says to her first of all, "Listen, don't be alone. Don't try to lead a life of relationship with me in isolation".
And I want to make a point, because some of you that are watching right now perhaps are doing this. You love God, you really do, but you have no Christian fellowship. You don't get together with friends. You don't read the scriptures together or pray with people. You don't have fellowship with people concerning the things of the kingdom. You're not in church. Some of you are not in church, I'm talking about going to specific meeting places every week because of health reasons, which God certainly understands that. But others of you just don't go to church, because you've separated your self, the devil's keeping you from going, because he doesn't want you in fellowship with people. But God is saying to us here, "If you want to feel connected to Me in a deeper way, you've got to be in fellowship with My people". He says to her, "If you yourself do not know what to do, let me tell you". He said, "Go forth on the trail of the flock".
We need to be in fellowship. God didn't just call us as individuals. He called us as a family. That's why every single letter in the New Testament is not written to a family, it's written to a congregation. It's written to the church at Ephesus, to the church of Thessalonica, the church in Corinth. And so beloved we need to understand if we're gonna experience the fullness of God's Spirit, we need to be with His people. This is why Jesus said, "Where there are two or three are gathered together in My name I will be in the midst". Beloved, join me next week. This is Rabbi Schneider saying I love you. Baruch Hashem and hope you'll join me then. God bless.