The Song of Solomon 3:1
Commentary, Henry Law- 1879
3:1. "By night on my bed I sought Him whom my soul loves--I sought Him, but I found Him not."
The Church lies low in deep distress. It is a season of darkness and despondency. She seeks her Beloved, but the search is fruitless.
The time of this scene is night. Life is not uninterrupted sunshine. The bright rays sink into shade. Gloom spreads its mantle, and night recurs. So, also, Jesus is not always present. For a season His smile may cease to cheer. The light of His countenance may be withdrawn.
Various causes tend to produce this lack of comfort. Faith remits active exercise. Unbelief comes in with deadening power. This hiding of Christ's face is midnight to the soul.
But this night has not forever blotted out the day. That cannot be. In the darkest time the sun is not more distant than when it brightly shines. The love of Christ is never quenched. It is enduring as His own being. Communion may be interrupted, but vital union is eternal.
Of this we have proof in the Church's present trial. If Christ's love had ceased, all grace would utterly have fled. The soul would have been bound in fetters of spiritual death. But such is not the case. In its desertion it still shows signs of life. In this her night, the Church puts forth some effort. She seeks Him whom her soul loves.
The appellation of her Lord is evidence that grace still lived within. She professes that her search is in pursuit of Him to whom her soul was warmly joined. Where this love is once implanted by the Spirit's gracious hand, it may languish, and flicker like a feeble flame. But the power which first caused its birth will still cherish. The originating motives are too strong to allow it to vanish with apparent absence. Its liveliness may wither, but its life endures. In the darkest night of desertion the believer will seek Him whom his soul still loves.
It is stated that the Church sought Him on her bed. She is lying lazily in indolence. She seems unwilling to be roused. Energies and activities are drooping. She yields to languid torpor. She puts not forth any power. She girds not up the loins of her mind. Drowsily inactive, she would like to continue in repose.
It is no marvel that such search is ineffectual. Disappointment might be anticipated. "I sought Him, but I found Him not."
Solemn is this warning. If we would soon regain the presence of the Lord, we must resolutely break from the enfettering enticements of ease and indolence. We must not be slothful, but followers. "We ask and have not, because we ask amiss." We seek and find not, because our seeking is half-hearted.
But let us be assured, that the Lord though absent is not really departed. It is a tender word and should be cherished in the heart, "Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end." Yet there are times when He "is a God who hides Himself." But these withdrawals really spring from the deep fountains of His love. They tend to invigorate faith. They cherish patience. They cause hope to look out with more ardent longing, and when His presence is restored, the soul is filled with redoubled raptures of delight.