Summary: The Song of Solomon contains much allegory related to the church today -- this sermon deals with condemnation of others.
A. We are going to be examining a scripture from the Song of Solomon, looking at its meaning and its implications for the church today.
B. In the Song of Solomon, the Shulamite girl is representative of the Bride of Christ, or in this and several other instances in the Song, representative of the individual believer.
C. The girl has just sinned against her husband.
D. We find in verses 1-2 that he came to her, after suffering much tribulation, represented by the water upon his head, (think of the tribulation of the cross) wanting fellowship with her, and she turned him away.
E. In v.3, she made excuses as to why she did not want to get up and fellowship with her husband.
F. But in v.4-5, in her love for him, she repents of her selfishness and gets up to open the door, only to find that he has withdrawn himself in v.6, bringing us to our text.
G. Song of Solomon 5:7 -- "The watchmen that went about the city found \me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me."
I. WHAT IS A MINISTER?
A. Watchmen = ministers.
B. We will be looking today at what I call "bad ministry."
D. If someone sins, as ministers, we are to "restore such an one in the spirit of meekness;" (Galatians 6:1).
E. Let’s look at what the watchmen did.
II. BAD MINISTRY.
A. "They smote me."
1. In the story, this literally means that they beat her.
2. In the application, the smiting is Spiritual!
3. This is similar to a Christian who has sinned being condemned by people in the Church.
B. "They wounded me."
1. The Shulamite girl suffered great pain from those who she turned to for help.
2. Similarly, many people who have already been convicted of the Spirit and are in need of restoration from the Church have literally suffered psychic wounds from those self-righteous in the Church who would berate them even after they repented of sin.
C. "The keepers of the walls took away my veil from me."
1. The Hebrew word translated "keepers" is shamar, meaning to protect, to guard, or to look after.
2. The word translated "walls" is showmah, referring to a wall of protection.
3. These words suggest that "the keepers of the walls" were ministers that were supposed to protect her.
4. Instead, they tear her marriage veil, which to an Eastern woman is tantamount to spiritual rape.
5. Some would object to this language, but unfortunately, it is very accurate.
6. It is the same thing as a repentant Christian coming to be ministered to, and instead, having their faith questioned or outright denied.
7. Tearing the marriage veil off of the Shulamite girl was the same thing as one believer telling a brother or sister who has sinned yet has come to repentance something like "you call yourself a Christian?"
8. Those assigned the duty of protection and restoration were the very same who tore her veil in condemnation.
9. How many people have to suffer because of the condemnation of the self-righteous within the Church? I have counseled with people who had grievously sinned, and wanted to come back into fellowship with Christ, but even in their repentance, when they turned to the Church, the Church turned them away in condemnation as if they could not be renewed to grace!!
10. This is NOT the work of the minister or any Christian for that matter! But, unfortunately, it happens far too much in the Church.
III. OTHER EXAMPLES OF BAD MINISTRY.
A. In the book, "God’s Psychiatry" (which I recommend highly), Methodist preacher Charles Allen recounts this historical incident:
"There was a hunchback by the name of Ugolin who fell sick. He never knew his father, and his mother was a drunken outcast. He had a lovely sister named Solange. Because she loved Ugolin so much and because she could get the money to buy his medicine in no other way, she sold her body on the streets. People talked so harshly that Ugolin drowned himself in the river, and Solange shot herself. For their funeral, the little village church was crowded. The minister mounted the pulpit and began his sermon: ’Christians’ (the word was like a whiplash), ’Christians, when the Lord of life and death shall ask me on the day of judgement, Where are thy sheep?, I will not answer Him. When the Lord shall ask me the second time, Where are thy sheep?, I shall yet not answer Him. But when the Lord shall ask me a third time, Where are thy sheep?, I shall hang my head in shame and I will answer Him, They were not sheep, Lord, they were a pack of wolves."