Truths are first clouds, then rain, then harvest and food.
~ Henry Ward Beecher ~
How perfectly matched was the Shulamite to her Shepherd Lover. Just as there was nothing in His appearance that would warrant a second look, neither was there in hers. She was swarthy – a colorful word for dark, black, brunette, sunburned.
He lived with the sheep. She lived laboriously.
He was often alone except for his woolly charges. Others held position over her and assigned her the least welcome task of the vineyard…the job of chasing out the little foxes that threatened to bring ruin to the young vines.
Yet there was something about her. Her companions, the daughters of Jerusalem, took note and admired her for it. Even she considered herself with an air of legitimacy as she remarked to them…
“I am weathered but still elegant, oh, dear sisters in Jerusalem, Weather-darkened like Kedar desert tents, time-softened like Solomon’s Temple hangings.” (Songs 1:5 MSG)
She had a foundational understanding of acceptance, for she knew her Shepherd Lover loved her in spite of the outer wrappings. However, she had yet to learn and embrace that the wrappings served to hide the gloriousness within. (Psalm 45:13) The truth of who she was, this Bride-Queen, was a seed planted deep. Would it grow and bloom, or would it wither on the vine?
It was for this she had been one of many called. To be chosen – for there is a distinction* – would mean that this truth must be moved up and out from the interior places of her heart. It would require coming into agreement with her ending and His beginning; her lack and His fullness; and her cooperation with His ability to finish what He had started. How she would respond to her Loved One’s advances would make all the difference. The culmination of a thousand little choices, one might say.
*(Matthew 22:14 KJV) – polloi gar eisin klētoi (called) oligoi de eklektoi (chosen)
Being cultivated into a thriving, fruitful vineyard would necessitate embarking on a route off the beaten path…
“For narrow is the gate, and constricted is the way that leads away into life, and few are the ones finding it.” (Matthew 7:14 LITV)
In every vineyard is a hut. Contained therein are the tools and implements necessary for the cultivation process that ultimately renders crops of grapes, even bumper – abundant – crops.
What the Shulamite did not know is that the little hut in the vineyard was the very place she would be shielded and receive strength. In it a table awaited her, spread with portion upon portion of lasting substance. It was her place of deliverance, shelter and strong tower. It was also the place of her transformation.
All the tools and implements necessary to deliver and free, shape and form her were available in the hut. Waiting there to be wielded in the hand of the Husbandman with strokes strong and sure that matched the keenness of His eye.
The hut was the heart of her beloved Shepherd King, and He was calling to her…”Come away, my beloved.”
Holy Spirit still calls to the called. Have you been sensing His stirring? Does everything in you yearn for more? I bear testimony that no matter where you are in your spiritual development…there is always more. The Father’s covenant of love is endless.
If only the things of this natural world we live in were not so evident, so in your face. That would make responding a whole lot easier. On the other hand, fantasy and denial never did anyone favors either.
Is your mind in conflict with your heart? Do your natural senses war with the spiritual part of who you are as a believer?
Let us journey on with the Shulamite; her story is only just begun. There is much more…
Shammahs Field LLC/Shammah Ministries is the biblical counseling, life coaching, and spiritual growth ministry entrusted to Wayne & Nancy Bentz. You can learn more about the resources they have to offer at www.shammahsfield.com.