There would be no fruit or fragrance apart from the plentiful supply of water. Where there are still waters, it is usually a picture of the Word of God. Where we find running water the significance is generally linked to the Spirit of God. If we have a deluge of water, we are thinking of the judgment of God. Here, even the water from the well is described as “living waters.” The Spirit of God is essential to the production of fruit for God and hence, fragrance too.
We are born of the Spirit, baptized in the Spirit, sealed by the Spirit, indwelt by the Spirit, and filled by the Spirit. The Spirit is essential to our personal and assembly life.
“A garden fountain” may be linked with “the fountain of living waters” (Jer 2:13, KJV), and pictures the Father. “A well of living waters” mirrors John 4:14; “a well of water,” relates to the Son. “Streams from Lebanon” are like the “rivers of living waters” (John 7:38, KJV), highlighting the Spirit. The triune God has a vested interest in the local assembly and its fruitfulness, fragrance and freshness. Praise, adoration, and thanksgiving could become repetitive and stale apart from the freshness produced when the Holy Spirit has free course.
THE BRIDE’S PRAYER for fragrance and fellowship (4:16)
“Awake, O north wind; and come thou south.” These winds cause the fragrances of the garden to be wafted out for the enjoyment of her beloved. The north wind speaks of cold and showery weather. The south wind is soft and warm.
If, in our personal and assembly lives, the odor of a sweet smell is to be forthcoming, we need the winds of adversity as well as prosperity. We may not desire the winds of adversity but it is often in adversity God receives most from our individual and corporate lives. Think of the church at Smyrna, the suffering church, and hear Christ’s appraisal, “but thou art rich” toward God.
Paul could address the Philippian saints, “I know how to be abased and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and suffer need” (Phil 4:12, KJV).
The Lord also derives fruit from our lives when He chastens or trains us, depending on our reaction to it. “Afterward, it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised by it” (Heb 12:11, KJV).
The winds of adversity and prosperity can be seen in the experience of the Jerusalem assembly in Acts 8:1; 9:31. “And Saul was consenting unto his death (Stephen). And at that time there was great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem.” “Then had the churches (church) rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.” What a contrast between two chapters, and the main difference lay in the conversion of Saul of Tarsus!
Following her request for fragrance is her call for fellowship. “Let my beloved come into his garden and eat his pleasant fruits.” Whether this request for His presence pertains to the local assembly gathering or to Christ’s second coming is a matter for discussion. Personally, I see no reason why both aspects may not be incorporated here. They are not mutually exclusive.
What a delight when the Lord is present at the meetings of the saints and we give Him His portion. It is His by right after all: “His garden” and “His fruits” imply this. Fellowship with Divine Persons is delightful. “I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Rev 3:20, KJV). What are assembly gatherings worth if there is no sense of His presence or if the Lord is getting little or nothing from His church?
THE BRIDEGROOM’S PRESENCE for feasting and friends (5:1)
The Satisfaction of the Bridegroom; Marital Bliss
“I am come into my garden” is the response of the beloved to his spouse. Notice the four “I’s” and nine “My’s,” all indicating that the garden and everything in it is the possession of the beloved.
One day the marriage of the Lamb and His Bride, the Church, will take place in glory. The Lord will leave heaven for the battle of Armageddon. His victory will be followed by the establishment of His kingdom on earth. This period of 1000 years is the “reception” or “supper” following the union of Bride and Groom in heaven. The Groom will enjoy all the fruitfulness of His Bride, and she will experience His complete possession of her, as suggested by the proliferation of pronouns in our text.
Of the local church, Paul writes, “I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2Cor 11:2, KJV).
The first combination of items from her garden is myrrh and spice. Myrrh speaks of the bitterness of Christ’s sufferings. Spice carries the fragrance. Hence, our Beloved receives the fragrance of our recall of His sufferings at Calvary, reminding us of the non-sweet savour offerings, the sin and trespass offerings.
The next combination is honeycomb and honey, perhaps suggesting our remembrance of our Lord in relation to the sweet savour offerings, the burnt, meal, and peace offerings.
Third, we have the combination of wine and milk. Wine in Scripture is often associated with joy and maturity. Would this not remind us of the joy brought to the Beloved when mature saints worship and adore Him? The milk might well represent the thrill He gets when new converts give expression to their thankfulness and adoration for His Person and work.
The Satisfaction of the Friends of the Bridegroom; Millennial Bliss
John the Baptist is the “friend of the bridegroom” (John 3:29, KJV). Matthew speaks of the “children (sons) of the bridechamber” (Matt 9:15, KJV). During the reception or marriage supper, Israel will be closely involved. John the Baptist is possibly the best man. “The bridechamber is the chamber containing the bridal bed; the sons of the bridechamber being the friends of the bridegroom, had the charge of providing what was necessary for the nuptials” (Expository Dictionary, W. E. Vine).
Those friends of the Bridegroom are exhorted to eat and drink. They share in the celebrations and, although not as close to the Groom as His Bride, are described as “beloved.” Paul uses a similar word of the remnant of Israel when he writes, “as touching the election they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes” (Rom 11:28, KJV).
Is the Lord getting His portion from the garden of my life? Is He getting satisfaction from the garden that is His assembly?