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Arise Now (Song of Songs 3)

“I must arise now… I must seek him whom my soul loves.” – Song of Songs 3:2

When our souls first come to love Jesus, we can hardly believe that His love and fellowship are so readily available to us. However, there comes a time when we cannot find Him from our vantage point. He seems to have moved on. Peter and the others were busy fishermen when Christ sought them out, saying, “Follow Me.” But shortly after that, they woke up after a night of miracles and could not find the Lord (Mark 1:35-37). They had to rise and search for Him. The bride in the Song of Songs could not find her bridegroom from the vantage point where she slumbered. She had a choice to either drift back to sleep or to “arise now” and find her beloved.

Perhaps you literally lay on your bed at night and feel hungry for God, but do not feel any closer to Him when you call out, so you just drift to sleep. Maybe you wake in the middle of the night feeling far from Him. You have the thought to “arise now” and seek Him. We may fail at times to rise from bed, but it is spiritual slumber, not physical sleep, that is our enemy. I am so grateful for the rest Jesus gives to my heart. But just as the bronze serpent by which God delivered Israel eventually became an object of their idolatry, it is possible for us to turn the rest for our souls which Jesus promised us into a spiritual slumber that He never intended. While on our way to heaven, we may be asleep to what He would have us do, purposes He would have us walk in. He sought us so we could be ever-increasing seekers of Him! Have we said “yes” to this calling?

When we “arise now,” no longer content with a ticket to heaven, but desperate for God Himself, we find “watchmen” who are also awake in the spiritual darkness, watching out while others rest, guarding against enemies, and sometimes selflessly blowing the trumpet to awake and alert the sleeping citizens of God’s city, often to the irritation of the very sleepers they aim to protect. This is why the corporate body of Christ in the local church is so crucial if we are going to follow Him wholeheartedly. The spiritual life in someone else may be something I need in order to grow. Not only that, but God longs to use His Spirit within each of us to bless someone else.

Notice that the bride found the Bridegroom after she left the watchmen (3:4). I am so grateful for the voices of watchmen in my life, but even the most faithful, godliest preachers are meant to lead us to Christ. When we have found Jesus, may we be able to say, like the bride, “I held on to Him and would not let Him go” (3:4). May we be like the warriors around King Solomon, “wielders of the sword, expert in war; each man has his sword at his side, guarding against the terrors of the night” (3:8). They had a sword to defend themselves, but they were also in the presence of the king. If you find yourself troubled at nighttime, or distressed at the spiritual darkness around you, God has given you the sword of His Word. The King has given you His very presence. With the Spirit and the Sword, you and I can win every battle, if we will arise.

Alex Mack

Teaching Pastor

The Rock Church

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