A Purified Appetite
MEDITATIONS FROM THE SONG OF SONGS
“Your teeth are like a flock shorn, which came up from the washing; all of which bear twins, and none is barren among them.” Sgs 4:2.
The Song of Songs is an interplay between a man and a woman, between a figure called Solomon (whose name means “peace” or a “garment”) and a woman named Shulamite (whose name means “peace” or a “garment” in the feminine form).
These two characters most truly represent Christ and His bride.
As much as this passage may refer to the physical appearance of the Shulamite in which her teeth are clean and none of them are missing, the statement definitely takes on more significant meaning when we keep in context with the sanctuary. Just like the coverings of the sanctuary were a picture of the different layers of the human body, the organs, bones, flesh and then clothing so the teeth have spiritual significance and can be found in the sanctuary. Teeth are used to devour and are most often spoken of in reference to the spiritual appetite and the devouring of someone through wicked plots, through slander, gossip and an aim to destroy a man’s life with one’s words. “The wicked plots against the just, and gnashes upon him with his teeth.” Psalms 37:12.
This is a picture of her appetite being cleansed and every one of her desires finding their mate in Christ.
None of her teeth are barren or “robbed” of their companion. In the cleansing the heart from a love of pride, of superiority over her fellow brothers and sisters, in restraining of her natural inclinations towards self-glory and in subduing the desire to obtain worldly praise and fill an appetite that is longing for love with the fickle ties of human affection, she shall find her mate in Christ who will not leave her wanting, but shall fulfill her longings. The “teeth” were also an article in Solomon’s temple. “Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold.” 1 Kings 10:18. The King’s throne made of ivory represent the teeth of one’s authority, it is the King’s power to consume and destroy as one who is judge. The “teeth” in which “each have its mate” tells of the King’s wisdom to make judgments in favor of justice as well as in mercy and to leave nothing lacking. The throne of judgment has found one worthy to be seated upon it. The matters set before Him do not want in meeting the wisdom of righteousness as well as an advocacy for the poor and oppressed. Therefore in all matters of justice “each have their mate, and there is none barren among them.” In the description of the temple’s beauty, the focus is not primarily upon the temple, but Him who inhabits the temple. Likewise, in bestowing these beautifying attributes upon the Shulamite, the source of her comeliness is not focused upon herself. Rather the focus is upon on Him who is seated upon the throne in heaven and also reigning in her heart who has beautified her teeth that she may speak justice and not rob the needy of their rights for her own appetite has been fulfilled in Christ. She has no need to gain self-esteem by slandering others, no desire to devour the poor in spirit by exalting herself above them.
The Shulamite’s “teeth” that are shorn are a picture of her natural appetite, inclinations and passions that have been “cut off” or “shorn” in Christ. Pride and selfishness have been put to rest, and the morsels of sin that carry its savor are no longer relished. Before meeting the Prince who holds every virtuous charm, the Shulamite was like “the wicked [which] plots against the just, and gnashes upon him with his teeth.” Psalms 37:12. For “There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.” Proverbs 30:14. In a heart unsubdued, drawn away by the passions of rebellion, Her mouth was verily as guilty as those who derided and cried out against the Crucified Savior. Her voice was heard among the ones who mocked the Innocent One in His time of trial and need. For in the varied circumstances of her life, He has manifested His character in times past and in the untrained appetite of her youth, His meekness and lowliness has seemed to her unattractive and His respectful company unwelcome.
However, having become acquainted with the King of heaven “who, though He was in the form of God…emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men,” her teeth are shorn and her speech is cut down to size. Philippians 2:6-7. She learns to deflate the speech that would exalt herself, by looking upon the One who is worthy of honor and glory humble Himself to bear insult and even death. Therefore, the words that were once accustomed to speak her own praise are now silent. No longer exalting herself above her brethern or uttering lofty words of worship for the objects of this life, she is like the cherubim in the temple and the “ten bases” for Solomon’s laver, which were “shorn” to “one size” (qatsab: shorn). 1 Kings 6:25; 7:37. Serving as God’s angelic ministers of fire, she is “one size” with her brethern working for the uplifting of humanity by raising the light of the gospel. For “there is that speaks like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.” Proverbs 12:17.
Like a well ordered flock, all appearing the same size after their sheering, coming up from the washing her teeth let loose orations that have been humbled and purified. Coming up from the washing her spirit has been cleansed and renewed by the commandments of Christ, who has taught her self-sacrificing love and made her whole as a good husband will do. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” Ephesians 5:25-26. By His word, which searches the heart for fidelity and exposes all that is not love and loyalty, the Shulamite is cleansed.
The Shulamite’s teeth have found their mate, “every one having its twin, and none is barren among them.”
This is a picture of man’s desire finding its complete satiation in God. Not only has she found her mate, but she is also fruitful in their union for “none is barren among them.”
“Seek you out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it has commanded, and His Spirit has gathered them.” Isaiah 34: 8, 16. None of the Shulamite’s hope shall fail and just as every word that departs from the mouth of does not come back void, but shall accomplish it’s work, so her hope shall not “want her mate”. The Lord’s word is sure and not only will He deliver her from death, making her a co-heir of Life, He will also be to her a Husband, a companion, a comforter, a friend and will be every good and wonderful thing her heart has ever longed after. And so He will be to those who satiate themselves in the abundance that He has provided with His presence and love.