See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.
Song of Solomon – or Song of Songs (as it is in NIV) – is the last book in the series of books of wisdom and psalms – Job, Psalm, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. 5 great, great books that were beautifully written. If you want to know about suffering, read Job. If you want to learn how to pray, read Psalm. If you want to know about how to conduct yourself, read Proverbs. If you want to know about life, read Ecclesiastes. And if you want to know about true love, read Song of Songs. For the most part, at least. Somebody once told me that the Song of Solomon is to the Bible what the Sonnets of Shakespeare is to Literature, and at times, I’m inclined to agree. At first glance this verse may not seem to have anything to do with love, but in essence, it revolves around an epic love story. Song of Songs 2 sees the continuation of the he/she/he/she alternating verses and passages of profound and graphic declarations of love. This verse is part of her speech, but she is quoting him here, as he calls for her to arise, the winter is past, we can go out and play now. As Christians we believe that the rains will not shower upon us forever. As Christians we believe spring will come after winter. In today’s study, we will be looking at how the imagery of winter and rain applies to us in a spiritual sense.
The winter is past – I live in a tropical country that has no winter, so winter is often more metaphorical and conceptual to me than it is physical. There are obvious connotations of winter that even a tropical kid like me would know – cold, unpleasant, uncomfortable. A season where most activities are restricted indoors – people are at times kept within doors, and travelling around becomes difficult, even arduous. Roads turn bad, rivers freeze, planes cannot fly half the time. Yet at the same time, you get to indulge in some winter-only activities. That is my impression of winter. How do we translate it into a spiritual sense? Matthew Henry suggests that the winter may mean years passed in ignorance and sin, unfruitful and miserable. There is perhaps a sense of constantly feeling cold about God and about the fellowship of believers. Being shackled and stuck. Spring comes after winter, and with it comes a new lease of life. The dark days are over. The troubled days are over. The cold, unpleasant days of ignorance and sin are over.
the rains are over and gone – It rains often where I live, though. We’re so used to it and you see the city councils throwing money into building sheltered walkways everywhere these days. Rains are cold, wet, troublesome – rain is a kind of weather, and unlike winter, which is a season, it is not so consistent but a lot more temperamental. It comes when it wants to – sure, you can read the forecast, and it’s still related to the seasons, but they are like shorter term bouts. Storms and battles that signified our internal struggle as we lived in guilt and sin. They are gone, though. Just as the days of sin are over, so are the feelings and the struggles we have with sin. The rain is over. The sun, of righteousness, has risen and has dispelled the rain – But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings [Malachi 4:2|Article]
See! – This is extremely important, and I left it for discussion to the last, because I would like to emphasize its significance. It seems a pretty redundant word or instruction at times, but often, that’s what we need most. We frequently need someone to point out the obvious to us. Do we know that the winter is past? We do know, but often, we don’t really realise it until we take a good look at the weather. Do we know that the rain is over? We don’t often realise if we’re stuck indoors in our offices, our churches, our homes – unless we look out of the window, unless we draw the curtains, unless we step outside. We need to see. We need to know that Christ has already come and redeemed us, and we can be free from the shackles of sin. We need to see the hope and the light that is in our Lord. If we do not see, we will merely stay stuck in our old lives, waiting and waiting for something that has already arrived.
Many, many verses in the Bible – many, many authors in the Bible – instructs us to see. See, because we’re sometimes so blind to the goodness and the mercy of God. See, because we’re so indulged in our own miseries and helplessness that we forget that we still have hope. Winter may come again, yes – there is no doubt that the Christian walk of faith is a turbulent one; but let us pass each winter with hope of the Spring that will come eventually. And the moment Spring arrives, let us be the first to rejoice.