I am dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, Like the tents of Kedar, Like the curtains of Solomon. Do not look upon me, because I am dark, Because the sun has tanned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; They made me the keeper of the vineyards, But my own vineyard I have not kept.
As I encounter Jesus; I am brought before the Holy. Jesus is purity, there are no imperfections in Him. The eyes of the Holy sees through the soul. Like the woman at the well in John 4, everything is exposed. In the light of Jesus, we become aware of our darkness; for it is written that no one was found righteous. Through the blood of Jesus and only through faith in Him are we filled with light and clean. Through the work of the cross; the Father sees the righteousness of Christ when He looks at us. Though we are sinners, God sees beauty within the repentant heart. Though I am weak, He sees my reach for Him. Though my love for Him is immature, He sees sincere and real love. Though I am dark, I know that I am lovely to Him.
Here in the Song, the Shulamite is in a crisis. Many read this through the lense of a believer’s journey with Christ, with the Shulamite representing the believer. The “mother’s sons” could speak of the church, just as Israel was often referred to as mother and Jesus extended this language to the Church. Throughout this song, the vineyard or garden can speak of the heart. In the immature zeal of her youth, the Shulamite provokes others in the body to anger. Some is good challenge to the brothers, but some is foolish zeal. I can most definitely see this in my journey and in the lives of many young people. It is helpful to discern what is just immaturity and what is rebellion when leading young believers.
Because of her zeal and energy, she is given a lot of ministry opportunities. The Shulamite discovers that she has become so busy with caring for others, that she has neglected her own heart. This provides us with the importance of not neglecting our own hearts; for within the heart is the wellspring of life. This is the wisdom that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25. The five wise virgins took the time that it takes to tend to their hearts. We “keep” our vineyards through intimacy with Jesus. This provides me with wisdom as I lead young believers. It is important to help them, as a shephard, to steward their youthful energy. That they could discern within their own hearts where to invest their strength and resource.