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The Pathway to Love (Song 1:8)

sheep_flock-1
If you do not know, most beautiful of women,
go forth in the footsteps of the flock, and
tend your young goats near the shepherds’ tents.
~ Song 1:8 ~

Finally! Here in verse 8 Solomon sends back an answer to the Shulamite in verse 7 about how she can find him.  I hope it arrived faster than it took for me to return here. :-)  Now the only question remaining is, “Will she venture out?

I want to share a few things I see in his response.
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  • It is a ‘how’ path, not a ‘where’ path.

Do you notice there is no exact location given where the Shulamite is to meet him?  Instead he tells her ‘how’ to get there.  There is delightfully as much wisdom in his answer as there was in her question; for again if the note was intercepted, the reader would not understand the parable, nor take the steps to understand.  But his woman would!  She had the heart of a disciple, and would walk in the dark to find him, if she had to.  I believe this was a rare quality among the many women that Solomon was in relationship to, who didn’t love him wholeheartedly like she did.  Likewise there is a difference between an interest in the Lord Jesus for His power and His riches, and an interest in His heart and His body.  In coming to earth He gave up the first two, and “as a lamb to the slaughter” had the second two broken on the Cross.  This is the same path for those who seek to follow and be with Him in heaven.¹
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  • She is ‘covert’ on the path.

Remember in the last post how the Shulamite wanted to see the King so badly, perhaps on the verge even, of venturing out veiled and alone by the shepherd camp where she would be seen as a harlot?  It is interesting that Solomon’s return instruction about this is for her to graze her goats there.  In the Hebrew it is young females specifically, which is unusual.  Since it’s the only place in the bible that uses this specific phrase, it suggests to me a coded reference for her friends, the “virgin daughters of Jerusalem” who the Shulamite is seen influencing all through the Song.  I sense protection here; Solomon not wanting her to ‘blow her cover’ (so to speak) too early for the world to handle who she is to him and vice-versa. There is more that needs to be said about this.:)
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  • There is ministry to others on the path.

Whether the Shulamite was a literal shepherd is not important, but spiritually it is implied that she had some people in her life to influence and nurture, and she was to bring them along on the journey to Solomon.  She was to also tend them openly and alongside other shepherds.  There is a certain relational richness to me in this image.  The Bride is to be a loving nurturer of others on her journey of intimacy with Christ ², and share this in a humble, symbiotic relationship with others who are doing the same.
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  • There is submission to others on the path.

Last, but actually first, the Shulamite is to humbly follow the footsteps (Hebrew: heels, rear of the army, etc.) of other sheep on her way to Solomon. Likewise, in foreknowledge of our journey toward spiritual maturity and reproduction, God places ‘markers’ on the path for us – gifts of people – who follow the voice of the Shepherd. Learn from them. Some we have here for only a short while but they will play a critical role in our growth.  And be mindful to honor them, for no one ever stops being a son or daughter, or a brother or sister, when having a family of one’s own. ³

Open your eyes.  Relationships born of God are the building blocks and the stepping stones to heaven.

Hurry, it’s almost noontime.  It’s time to venture out! :)

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If anyone would be be My disciple, let him give up all other desires,
and take up his cross and come after Me.
Mark 8:34

Thomas said unto him, ‘Lord, If we don’t know where You are going, how
can we know the way?’ Jesus said unto him, ‘I am the way.’ John 14:5-6

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Don’t drag your feet, but be followers of them who, in committed faith and
patient endurance, are walking in their heritage…
Heb.6:12 (bbe) also 1 Cor. 11:1

Likewise, younger ones [in Christ], subject yourselves to the elder ones.
Yes, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility:
for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.
1 Pet.5:5

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Peter, [broken] do you love Me?… feed my sheep  John 21:15

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¹ Isa. 53:7 cf. Rom. 8:36; Matt. 16:24, 10:17-28 / ² 1 Cor. 11:1, John 21:15  / ³ 1 Cor. 4:7-16
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17 comments

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  1. jimpuntney

    Thank you for pouring yourself out, so that His Love, and expression is manifest.

    This ‘way’ to find Him is indeed dependent upon both the vertical, and horizontal relationships. Our Lord provides our all, and in His provisions we must recognize Him, and His expression in the other living stones that He provides.

    This is a beautiful post, rich with relational gold,

    “Although the Lord has given you bread of privation and water of oppression, He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you,

    “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.”

  2. Jamal Jivanjee (@JamalJivanjee)

    Pamela,

    Such a rich post, thank you. This line from the article greatly speaks to my heart:

    “Likewise, in foreknowledge of our journey toward spiritual maturity and reproduction, God places ‘markers’ on the path for us – gifts of people – who follow the voice of the Shepherd. Learn from them. Some we have here for only a short while but they will play a critical role in our growth.”

  3. Vinny

    It occurs to me that in my pursuit of the one that loves me so much I have meet many on this journey .
    I wish It were even more but those that put HIM first and share that passion are unbelievable gifts!
    I thank the Lord for you and you know who you are ! :-D Luv Ya’s !

    1. Shelby Shock Marsh

      Vin….ditto!!! Super love you. Miss that mug!…until we meet again. Well, until we meet again & forever.

  4. Paul Rodgers

    Pam, again you have expressed the beauty and purity of a what a surrendered heart treasures!

    May we never be so full of our own gift, so confident in our own enlightenment that we fail to grow beyond our own understanding. The arrogance of any such believer is so obvious to the assembly.

    “Likewise there is a difference between an interest in the Lord Jesus for His power and His riches, and an interest in His heart and His body. In coming to earth He gave up the first two, and “as a lamb to the slaughter” had the second two broken on the Cross. This is the same path for those who seek to follow and be with Him in heaven.”

    1 Corinthians 7-14- what a powerful truth, exemplified only by those who persevere on that narrow path of surrender!

  5. Marsela Sava

    Dear Pam,

    As already been said, this post is indeed rich. And verse 8 has arrived just on time, not late, thank you, is just that some of us seem to be impatient :-) .
    I am sharing again what I already did on your previous post, as it relates more to this one.

    Verse 1: 8 reminds me of The Lord’s words, to a restored backslider Peter, “follow Me” and “feed my lambs”. Christ has His flock and His shepherds in this world, He Himself being the Chief Shepherd who leads us in green pasture. Paul also said ” follow Me as I follow Christ”. To feed others we must follow Christ, and If we follow Christ, we will desire to feed the little lambs, for in feeding others we are ourselves fed. Following Christ and feeding others, that is food and rest for our souls!

    How awesome it is indeed, for in Himself in makes all the provision for us “Follow in the footsteps of the flock”. What a rich inheritance we have in Him, those who have gone before us, whose written ministry still influencing us today, and those who He brings in our lives now, who hold on to the Word of His Testimony, following the Spirit.

    I also like how you refer to the young goats, the connection you make with the virgin daughters of Jerusalem, that she influences throughout the song.
    It is ” the virgins that love Him uprightly”. Those are the pure at heart, Jesus said they are blessed, for they will see God. And pure just means simple, it is Him they are after, not mixer. When the gold is purified by fire, means all other elements are gone, is just one left, it is pure gold. Peter refers to our faith in that way, 1 Peter 1:7.
    Our Jesus is more precious than the finest gold, and there is nothing the virgins desire more than Him!

  6. jimpuntney

    This post is rich, and this morning the beautiful story of Ruth & Naomi comes to mind. How Ruth was knit together with her mother in law, and through adversity, and embracing a new culture Ruth clung to Naomi.

    The riches of ‘seeing’ the people that our Father brings into our lives, the deep beauty that is expressed as we esteem one another, this is beyond compare. He knits us together in Love.

    This is a beautiful post, and the comment section adds to this beauty.

    “One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple” Ps 27:4

  7. Pamela

    Blessings all, for your comments!

  8. Joe Simmons

    “Likewise there is a difference between an interest in the Lord Jesus for His power and His riches, and an interest in His heart and His body”.

    Such a thought provoking statement. At first I thought of the following words of St. Paul: that I may know him and the power of his resurrection (Phil. 3:10) The great Apostle of Grace was more than willing to count count all that he ever was a loss just for the joy of knowing Jesus.

    And yet there were also those who initially came to Him for lesser things; healing for self or loved ones, deliverance from all sorts of “stuff”, even for the daily needs of food. Jesus provided what ever they required. Most certainly, some having received from Him simply took and left, never to return and others having received, continued on with Him even as far as Golgotha, the grave, and beyond.
    Jesus, was moved with compassion towards all people. Oh, that I too would be like Him. He is the lover of my soul.

    Pamela, I love you. You enrich my life.

    1. Pamela

      I love you too, Joe!

  9. Shelby Shock Marsh

    Good stuff. One question, you say it isnt a where path, but a how path. Do you think there is significance of ‘near the shepherd’s tents’? Or did i miss that?

    1. Pamela

      Hi Shelby! Nope, you didn’t miss anything :) I just don’t have a great deal developed in my thinking about it – except a thought that it seems to be a place that the Lord meets us, but not necessarily the safest place for this young, veiled woman to be coming! Thus the upcoming “Mare Among Stallions” post. :)

      And in case I didn’t understand your question exactly, as to the “how not where” idea… it seems to me in verse 7 that the Shulamite already hinted at going to “a” shepherd’s tent area – because she asked Solomon “where do you rest at noon”, and, “why should I be as one veiled by the shepherd’s tents”. She just didn’t know exactly where, as these set-ups were nomadic depending on where the green pastures were, and, it was a journey that could have dangers.

      That was a great question by the way. I know there is so much more that can be developed here and I so appreciate your input and encouragement.

      1. Shelby Shock Marsh

        I’m just thinking about the tent…..so, so many things happened in a tent, near a tent…plus we had one very, very special tent-maker.i dont know if i’ve ever voiced my super-crazy love for Paul of Tarsus…the tent-maker. There is something very, very special about tents!”

        http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Tents

  10. jimpuntney

    Shelby & Pamela,

    The question by Shelby is a good one, not sure that I can answer it to your satisfaction but here is what I see.

    First off the Song is coded script, and we are delving into this via The Holy Spirit, so the where seems to be ever changing, this seem to lean toward the how path.

    “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Jn. 3:8

    The other thought is this represents a ‘way’ for all when we look at it from a how perspective.

    So beautiful saints, how (or where) does this settle with you?

    1. Paul Rodgers

      I was going to leave my own comment about the ‘where’ and ‘how’, but the more I kept looking at Jim’s response, I couldn’t come up with anything that His comment didn’t already answer in such a concise inspiration!

    2. Pamela

      Me too, Paul :) It’s excellent Jim! And thanks for the tent link, Shelby. Will be checking that out real soon. I like what you said elsewhere, how lots of things happened in a tent or near a tent.:) I would add beds too. They are an interesting ‘place’ where things happen, too. :) Love you all.

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