Will You Go With Him From Lebanon?
8 Tests of Love from the Song of Solomon (Chapter 4)
“Come with me from Lebanon, my bride,
May you come with me from Lebanon.
Journey down from the summit of Amana,
From the summit of Senir and Hermon,
From the dens of lions,
From the mountains of leopards.”
The cedars of Lebanon are mentioned many times in the Bible. The strength of the wood made it Solomon’s choice building material for the Temple (I Kings 5:5–6). And even in the rebuilding of the temple, they gave … to the masons and carpenters … to bring cedar wood from Lebanon (Ezra 3:7).
As well as being used to God’s glory, Lebanon’s Amana and Senir, another name for Mount Hermon (Deuteronomy 3:8–9), were also mentioned in other contexts. Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Aram, a great man before his master, highly respected, deemed Amana better than all the waters of Israel (II Kings 5:1, 12). And the allegorical ship of Tyre, perfect in beauty, filled and very glorious in the heart of the seas, had planks of fir trees from Senir and a mast made from a cedar from Lebanon (Ezekiel 27:3, 5, 25).
We can see that Lebanon, Amana, and Senir are sources of beauty, strength, and grandeur, but the Bridegroom warns that they are also home to the dens of lions and mountains of leopards (Song 4:8). Namaan, being accustomed to luxury, was furious at having been told to go and wash in the Jordan to be healed of his leprosy (II Kings 5:10–11). And Tyre also became proud in her magnificence, saying, “I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods” (Ezekiel 27:2). The goodness of Lebanon came to symbolize a lifestyle where we place our own comforts and pride above God’s commandments, even above God Himself (Isaiah 2:12–17), a lifestyle that leaves us vulnerable to attack from our adversary, the devil, who prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (I Peter 5:8).
Strength, beauty, grandeur — these are not inherently evil, indeed they can be used to honor God, but they can also captivate so as to distract us from following Christ. So Paul encourages,
“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.”
(I Corinthians 6:12)
To go with Him from Lebanon, one must deny himself, and take up his cross (Matthew 16:24). There are many wonders out there for us to achieve and experience and possess but what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? (Matthew 16:26).
“Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.”
(I John 2:15–17)