Look not on me, because I am black, because the sun has looked on me: my mother's children were angry with me…
I. We commence with THY TITLE: "O Thou whom my soul loveth." It is well to be able to call the Lord Jesus Christ by this name without an "if," or a "but." Learn to get that positive knowledge of your love to Jesus, and be not satisfied till you can talk about your interest in Him as a reality, which you have made infallibly sure by having received the witness of the Holy Spirit, and His seal upon your soul by faith, that you are born of God, and belong to Christ. Speaking, then, of this title which rings the great bell of love to Jesus, let us notice first the cause, and secondly the effect of that love.
1. If we can look into the face of Him who once sweat great drops of blood, and call Him, "O Thou whom my soul loveth," it is interesting to consider what is the cause of our love. And here our reply is very quick. The efficient cause of our love is the Holy Spirit of God. why do we love Jesus? We have the best of answers — because He first loved us. Moreover, we have another is present dealings towards them. What has He not done for us this very day? He has made us glad; our spirits have leaped for very joy, for He hath turned again the captivity of our soul. Nor is this all. We love the Saviour because of the excellency of His person. We are not blind to excellence anywhere, but still we can see no excellence like His.
2. I shall now for a short time speak on the effects of this love, as we have dwelt on the cause of it. When a man has true love to Christ, it is sure to lead him to dedication. There is a natural desire to give something to the person whom we love, and true love to Jesus compels us to give ourselves to Him. When the pupils of had nearly all of them given him a present, there was one of the best scholars who was extremely poor, and he said to Socrates, "I have none of these things which the others have presented to thee; but, O Socrates, I give thee myself"; whereupon Socrates said it was the best present he had had that day. "My son, give Me thy heart" — this is what Jesus asks for. True love next shows itself in obedience. If I love Jesus, I shall do as He bids me. He is my Husband, my Lord — I call Him "Master." "If ye love Me," saith He, "keep My commandments." True love, again, is always considerate and afraid lest it should give offence. It walks very daintily. If I love Jesus, I shall watch my eye, my heart, my tongue, my hand, being so fearful lest I should wake my beloved, or make Him stir until He please; and I shall be sure not to take in those bad guests, those ill-favoured guests of pride and sloth, and love of the world. Again, true love to Christ will make us very jealous of His honour. As Queen Eleanor went down upon her knees to suck the poison from her husband's wound, so we shall put our lips to the wound of Christ when He has been stabbed with the dagger of calumny, or inconsistency, being willing sooner to take the poison ourselves, and to be ourselves diseased and despised than that His name, His cross, should suffer ill. Oh, what matters it what becomes of us, if the King reigneth? If we love Christ, again, we shall be desiring to promote His cause, and we shall be desiring to promote it ourselves. We shall wish to see the strength of the mighty turned at the gate, that King Jesus may return triumphant; we shall not wish to sit still while our brethren go to war, but we shall want to take our portion in the fray, that like soldiers that love their monarch, we may prove by our wounds and by our sufferings that our love is real. The apostle says, "Let us not love in word only but in deed and in truth." Actions speaks louder than words, and we shall always be anxious to tell our love in deeds as well as by our lips. And once again, if we love Jesus we shall be willing to suffer for Him. Darkness is light about us if we can serve Him there.
II. The second point of consideration is THE DESIRE OF THE CHURCH AFTER CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD: having called Him by His title, she now expresses her longing to be with Him. "Tell me, O Thou whom my soul loveth, where Thou feedest." The desire of a renewed soul is to find out Christ and to be with Him. Stale meats left over from yesterday are very well when there is nothing else, but who does not like hot food fresh from the fire? And past communion with Christ is very well. "I remember Thee from the land of the Hermonites and the hill Mizar;" but these are only stale meats, and a loving soul wants fresh food every day from the table of Christ, and you that have once had the kisses of His mouth, though you remember the past kisses with delight, yet want daily fresh tokens of His love. A true loving soul, then, wants present communion with Christ; so the question is, "Tell me where Thou feedest? Where dost Thou get Thy comfort from, O Jesu? I will go there. Where do Thy thoughts go? To Thy cross? Dost Thou look back to that? Then I will go there. Where Thou feedest, there will I feed. Or does this mean actively, instead of being in the passive or the neuter? Where dost Thou feed Thy flock? In Thy house? I will go there, if I may find Thee there. In private prayer? Then I will not be slack in that In the Word? Tell me where Thou feedest, for wherever Thou standest as the Shepherd, there will I be, for I want Thee. I cannot be satisfied to be apart from Thee. My soul hungers and thirsts to be with Thee. She puts it again, "Where dost Thou make Thy flock to rest at noon," for there is only rest in one place, where Thou causest Thy flock to rest at noon. She wants to get away to hold quiet communion with her Lord, for He is the brook where the weary may lave their wearied limbs; He is that sheltered nook, that shadow of the great rock in the weary land where His people may lie down and be at peace.
III. THE ARGUMENT USED BY THE CHURCH. She says, "Why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of Thy companions?" Thou hast plenty of companions — why should I be turned aside? Why should I not be one? Let us talk it over. Why should I lose my Lord's presence? But the devil tells me I am a great sinner. Ah I but it is all washed away, and gone for ever. That cannot separate me, for it does not exist. My sin is buried. The devil tells me I am unworthy, and that is a reason. But I always was unworthy, and yet it was no reason why He should not love me at first, and therefore cannot be a reason why I should not have fellowship with Him now. Why should I be left out? Why should I be turned aside? I am equally bought with a price. I cost Him, in order to save me, as much as the noblest of the saints; He bought them with blood; He could not buy me with less.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.