Arriving at this passage in the Shulamite’s story, I looked deeper for I knew there had to be more.
What surprised me (I shouldn’t be surprised anymore when the Lord surprises me, but He has mastered the art!), was not that there was more about these mountains and mountainous regions beyond a geographical significance, but their impactful application to our present-day lives. Then He threw in a bonus connection just for the fun of it. He’s like that. Personally into the details. But of course. The Word of God is a living, present Word.
Let’s start with the bonus. For as linear as we seem to be in our thinking at times, the Shulamite’s journey is intended to be both forward and upward. Which means that over many moons there are many mountains. So it was in Jesus’ life, with several defining instances where mountains held great significance in His humanity:
Jesus’ proclivity for heading to the hills to spend time with His Father is clear in Scripture. When the press of the crowds and the idiosyncrasies of the twelve got on his last good nerve, Jesus would take a hike. His Abba was the only one who understood all that He was experiencing in this earthbound flesh. While Jesus’ mother Mary ‘pondered all these things in her heart’, He knew His Abba held the answers to ‘all these things’. The mountains provided Him the needed atmosphere in which to think, pray, inquire, and relate with His Dad.
Following His baptism, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.”1 Scripture tells us the tempter came to Him there with the first temptation. Then he took Jesus to the holy city (Jerusalem) and had him stand on the highest point of the temple, tempting Him to prove who He was (Jesus knew a thing or two about the science of gravity and refused the test). Finally, Satan took Him to a very high mountain with a sweeping view of the kingdoms of the world and all their splendor. Jesus refuted the invitation to bow down in worship to this traducer2 by resisting Him with vocalizing the flawless word of God.
Next was a high mountain, unnamed in Scripture but known to us as the Mount of Transfiguration.3 Here, Jesus’ Abba declared for the second time, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased…” with the added admonition, “Listen to him!” The mountain where Jesus’ transcendent glory was revealed in all its blindingly breathtaking beauty. Those with Him fell face down. I wonder if even the mountain trembled in His presence?
And then, Golgotha. The mount of The Skull on which Jesus sacrificed His life that made ‘finished’ the work of the Old Covenant. No more the blood of bulls and goats, the acceptable sacrifice of the New Covenant would now be the sacrificial surrender of ‘a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart,’ and repentant sorrow for sin.4
It was at this point in the Song that Holy Spirit linked together for me the mountains in Jesus’ own life. Then He brought home the application, once again through the becoming bride now ‘sheltered’ in the mountains.
“Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon.
Descend from the crest of Amana,
from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon,
from the lions’ dens and the mountain haunts of the leopards.”
Song of Songs 4:8 –NIV84
If you have followed Vineyard Days in part or full, by now you realize there is more to be discovered if we but look beneath the surface. Wellspring of Life has always been about the heart of the believer, and Vineyard Days about the spiritual development of a bride suitable, worthy, and made ready to be joined to her Bridegroom King, the Lord Jesus Christ.
For that reason, I don’t apologize for not bringing forth laborious geographical details that, if you care to, you can research on your own. Instead, it is in the meaning of the names of these specific mountains that the Lord is speaking directly to the heart of the matter – and the heart of His beloved – asking her to “Come with Me from…”
Lebanon – which means the white mountain from its snow (also a range of mountains in Palestine)
Amana – meaning a certain portion, permanent, fixed, covenant; (also a river near Damascus) and from a deeper root meaning of stony/a stone – weight/differing weights, hailstones, rock and stones, jeweler, lapis lazuli (sapphires), cornerstone, plumb line, and more
Senir – meaning peak or snowy mountain, to be pointed (also a summit of Lebanon)
Hermon – prominent, rugged; abrupt connoting to ban, devote, exterminate: to annihilate, set apart by destroying completely (for an entertaining yet truth-filled explanation of this, read Sacred Bovine); Chermon (a mount of Palestine)
The lions’ dens and mountain haunts of the leopards will be covered next time in Part Four.
Still His darling and His dove, it is here – on these high places of His covenant promise – that the Bridegroom’s terms of endearment change. His impassioned heart declares her ‘my bride’ while and even more so, He woos her on to “Come with Me from…”
I hope you’ll come with me for more in and on the mountains next time…
~ Gracefully Free
1 Matthew 4:1-11
2 traducer: to speak maliciously and falsely of; slander; defame: to traduce someone’s character
3 Matthew 17:1-9
4 Psalm 51:15-17