The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. They beat me, they bruised me; they took away my cloak, those watchmen of the walls! – Song of Solomon 5:7
In Song of Solomon 5:7 we see a clear spiritual picture of one test that all believers will eventually go through in our journey with God. To give some context, the Shulamite maiden has gone out to look for her beloved after he had withdrawn his presence from her in a season of testing. We need to understand that God never tests us to see how we will respond for He already knows. He wants us to see what is in our heart so we can get healed and delivered and grow into maturity. Someone once said – you never fail God’s tests, you just get to keep taking them over and over until you pass. The longer I walk with Him, the more I realize how true that is. Now, if I feel I’m being tested, I ask Him to help me pass it so I DON”T have to take it again!
The maiden goes out into the city streets in search of her beloved and runs into the watchmen, who represent spiritual leaders or authorities. Watchmen are responsible to stand guard on the city walls during different watches of the day and night, and alert the people to prepare for battle should an enemy approach. In her zeal to find her beloved, they beat and wound (or bruise) her and take away her cloak, or covering.
A stranger can accuse or slander you, but only someone you’re in relationship with can wound you. David spoke of this in Psalm 55:12-14: “If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers.” If you haven’t faced this test already, you probably will, just as many of the saints in Scripture did.
David faced rejection and betrayal with Saul who became jealous to the point of trying to murder him. Joseph endured this from his older brothers. Moses was rejected by his own people, and later by his brother and sister. Jacob was betrayed by his uncle, Laban, and Jesus was betrayed by Judas; these are just a few examples. So what response is God looking for when we face similar trials? In Song of Solomon 5:8, the maiden passes the test by remaining lovesick and unoffended: “O daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you — if you find my lover, what will you tell him? Tell him I am faint with love.”
Betrayal and rejection from leaders or friends is painful, but we must forgive and refuse to take offense if we want to grow in spiritual maturity. Jesus is our chief example, for He was not only betrayed by Judas, but rejected by humanity – the ones He created in His image and then died to save! He understands what it feels like and enables us, by His all-sufficient grace, to follow His example and that of the Shulamite maiden. He is waiting for a lovesick bride that refuses to allow offense or anything else to come between them.