9 Of the wood of Lebanon Solomon the King Made himself a palanquin: 10 He made its pillars of silver, Its support of gold, Its seat of purple, Its interior paved with love By the daughters of Jerusalem. 11 Go forth, O daughters of Zion, And see King Solomon with the crown With which his mother crowned him On the day of his wedding, The day of the gladness of his heart.
Young women love weddings – from serving as bridesmaids to walking as the bride, from enjoying others’ weddings to anticipating their own, from designing wedding dresses to choosing out just the right one for their wedding. Weddings are the transition point for many young women – the transition from being young women to being married women – and so many years are spent in anticipation.
Knowing this hunger, the daughters of Jerusalem are invited in our text today to witness the wedding procession of King Solomon:
Go forth, O daughters of Zion, And see King Solomon with the crown With which his mother crowned him On the day of his wedding, The day of the gladness of his heart.
This hunger that young women display for weddings is to teach us something as the people of God. For God in His wisdom describes the ultimate consummation of the Messianic Kingdom as the final enjoyment of the wedding feast – the day when the Church will be presented to her Groom a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. King Solomon is a mere type of the Greater King Jesus. And the day of His wedding will be the day of the gladness of His heart.
Consequently, we are to anticipate that day and strive for it with all our might. We are to make the bride – the Church – more lovely, more beautiful, more glorious. We are, as we shall see this morning, to remove her reproach, and prepare her to wed the Groom.
There are many who think that this loveliness will just happen: the wedding day arrives and – poof! – a beautiful bride magically appears. But any man who is married and any woman who has been married and any young woman who dreams of being married knows that this is a farce. It takes an immense amount of labor, invested for months and even years, to reach the day on which the bride is adorned and beautiful. Months of preparation go into a mere hour or two of ceremony. Preparing for weddings is hard work.
The bride must consider what she shall be wearing, what the attendants shall be wearing, the jewelry that shall adorn her, and how she can best honor the Groom. All these details and thousands more have to come together. And this is the picture given to us of the ultimate destiny of Christ and the Church. We are to be planning for that Wedding Day in the same way in which a young woman prepares for hers. We are to meditate upon the glory that will be ours, consider the joy that shall be ours, and give attention to the garments of holiness in which we shall be arrayed. The anticipation of this great day will demand an incredible amount of labor on our part as we make the Church more glorious by making ourselves more holy.
So reminded that we are called to labor for the beauty of the New Jerusalem and that that beauty is amplified by our own holiness, let us kneel and confess that we have failed to pursue that holiness with passion.