Awake O North Wind, Come O South
“Awake, O north wind, And come, O south! Blow upon my garden, That its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come to his garden And eat its pleasant fruits.” Song of Solomon 4:16.
Reaching the central verses of The Song of Solomon, we have come to the very heart of this love story.
It is a summary of their entire courtship and unification. In the verses leading up to this moment, Solomon is seen rising from the wilderness in kingly majesty to enter into the covenant of marriage with His bride. As a gift, He bestows upon His beloved the rights to inherit His kingdom by giving her His name in the process of a legal adoption. Secondly, He adorns His bride with the noble attributes of His character and the purity, justice, strength and self-sacrifice that define the splendor of His charms are now bestowed upon the one He loves. This is the illustration of Christ and the work of both imputed and imparted righteousness. He grants the beloved a name, which she did not earn by her good works and He then adorns her with a grace and a loveliness of character that she had no power of herself to create. Yet she is being clothed with the attributes of a queen, fitting for her King. In this final phase the Shulamite, calls for the Beloved to finally partake of the fruit that He has labored to cultivate and mature. This is an illustration of the second coming of Christ when the bride eagerly pleads for His return because the afflictions of this life are so great and with great compassion for her distress, He breaks through the clouds to become One with His wife. In this portion of the song, Solomon and Shulamite become One, she with Him and He with her. This is the essence of atonement. Yet this process is initiated by two helping hands: the north wind and the south wind.
One is for the trying of her faith and the other for the purification of her love.
With the cold north wind of difficulty she is driven to know her limitations and her need of a Savior. With the warm south wind of cleansing, she is wooed to forsake every lover, but Christ. When these two winds collide there is a storm that not only seals the bride’s affection and loyalty to God, but fills up the cup of Christ’s tolerance for evil and He awakens for the final rescue. As these two winds are simultaneously at work, the spices of her garden begin to flow out. The good fruit is distinguished from the bad, and her character, which His hand has crafted, is the “pleasant fruit”, that Jesus finally partakes of at His return. Having imputed His righteousness to her that she might have the legal right to heaven, Christ is able to partake of the fruits of the righteousness that He has imparted for her ennobling and fitness to be in His presence. The call for the “north wind” to awake and for the “south wind” to blow upon the Shulamite’s garden that “the spices therefore may flow out” is an invitation for the last and final conflict of this world to arise so that every soul may make known unto whose camp they belong. “By their fruits you shall know them.” Matthew 7:20.
It is the hand of persecution coupled with the hand of purification that reveals whether the spices of Christ’s character have been ripening in her garden of our souls.
When the north and south winds blow and challenge our faith, the fragrance of our garden becomes apparent, whether we are a “the savor of death unto death… [or] the savor of life unto life.” 2 Corinthians 2:16. The aroma of our faith in Jesus in times of affliction is what rouses Him to enter into His garden. His passions are stirred to retrieve His bride from the hands of the enemy and partake of His pleasant fruits that He has long cultivated and patiently waited for their maturation.
“Out of the south comes the whirlwind: and cold out of the north… He causes it to come whether for a rod of correction…or for mercy…How your garments are warm, when He quiets the earth by the south? …And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passes, and cleanses them. Gold comes out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.” Job 37:9-21. “Cold [comes] out of the north” and “out of the south comes the whirlwind” acting like “a rod of correction” so that “men see not the bright light which is in the clouds,” but when “the wind passes [it] cleanses them.” As the north and south winds collide, the winds of persecution come as winds of purification to give a clearer vision of the Sun of Righteousness. As fire is a purifier of metals, so “gold comes out of the north.” Out of the north comes a testing wind that cleanses like spiritual fire, which purifies the “gold” of our faith. Having separated the chaff from the wheat, the husk from the kernals, “out of the south comes the whirlwind”, to drive away the stubble. “They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm (whirlwind) carries away.” “As the whirlwind passes, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.” Job 21:18; Pro 10:25.
As the north winds of tribulation and the south winds of cleansing blow upon the soul garden, the fragrance of the Shulamite’s spices pour forth and call upon the sympathies of her Beloved. As her character is placed in trying circumstances and she carries the aroma of His truth, righteousness and meekness, He is roused to retrieve His beloved from the final hour of darkness and partake of the fruit that He has long ripened.