I Sleep, But My Heart Waketh

To hear this poem presented in church with an introduction and devotional challenge, please click here:

I Sleep, But My Heart Waketh

I sleep, but my heart waketh – my Shepherd is near –
The voice of my Beloved is knocking;
I’ve grown so comfortable here in my room –
Outside, in the cold, I hear Him talking.

“Arise, and come away with Me, My love,”
He tenderly calls to me, but I waver.
Though due to my sin, He withdraws Himself;
Yet, in the night air, I still smell His savour.

Slowly, I rise, but can’t feel His presence:
The dark street seems so desolate and empty;
I cannot find where my Beloved has gone –
My own lukewarmness made Him depart from me.

The watchmen of the city wounded me sore,
They tore my veil away and left me senseless;
Stripped of my covering, there was nowhere to hide;
My own compromise had left me defenseless.

My heart leaped in anguish and I cried out in fear;
Repentant, I sought Him whom my soul loveth;
No longer desiring to be left on my own,
Quickened again, I called out for my Beloved.

“What is thy Beloved more than another beloved?”
The daughters of Jerusalem wondered,
“Where has He gone, that we may seek Him with you?”
And then, within my heart, the answer thundered:

“My Beloved is gone down into His garden,”
Feeding among His children, He meets with them there –
I am still my Beloved’s, and He is still mine!
Rejoicing, restored, I seek Him now in prayer.

May 9th, 2022
Jerry Bouey

In the Song of Solomon, Solomon, the Shepherd, is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ and the woman in the song, the Shulamite, represents the believer. This poem is based mostly on Song of Solomon chapter five, with some references to other verses within that book. That chapter covers a time of backsliding in the believer’s life until she gets her focus back upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and is restored to her Shepherd and Saviour.

For a study based on this theme/chapter, please read: Is Your Armour On?

Less people must read and study the Song of Solomon than I previously thought. Instead of digging in deeply to this poetic allegory that presents an awesome picture of our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, they neglect this book completely or quickly read through it without attempting to understand it – which is sad and frankly discouraging. If we can study and trace out the symbolism of the book of Revelation through the rest of the Bible, surely we can do the same with this book. It is a blessing to understand the picture and how it fits our walk with the Lord, our struggles, and our victories, ending with the longing for our Beloved Bridegroom to take us home to be with Himself – just as the final book of the Bible ends with (Revelation 22:20).

I challenge you to compare what is said in this poem with chapter five of the Song of Solomon. Do not be afraid to dig in deeper or make others (like me) seem to be out to lunch because you personally haven’t bothered to take the time to see what this book of the Bible says for itself and have only the wacky words or comments of some carnal or unsaved preacher to go by who tries to make this book about sex. The believer in the book is not even married to the Shepherd yet (see Song of Solomon 3:11 and Matthew 1:18). The whole Bible warns against fornication and adultery (and the New Testament word for fornication is porneia – which we are commanded to flee from in 1 Corinthians 6:18), and we are commanded to be pure and holy in our walks with the Lord; therefore God is not going to write a pornographic sexual song for His people. If you have that viewpoint and this book makes you uncomfortable because you are bringing sin and your carnal thoughts into it, then the problem is with you – not with this devotional or the Song of Songs, which many sound believers of the past have referred to as the Holy of Holies of the books of the Bible.

I know I am standing on good ground in my interpretation of this book because I have taken the effort to trace out much of its symbolism through the rest of the Bible (as I do with any symbol or type found in its pages – which I might add is always consistent through the whole Bible), and I have studied out some of the great preachers of the past on this book – Charles Spurgeon, Matthew Henry, Hudson Taylor, and some others – and have found them standing in the exact same place as I am – or to put it better, I have found I am standing in the exact same place as they are. Don’t take my word for it, check out their writings, their commentaries and books that touch upon this poetic book, and see for yourself. Don’t neglect this wonderful book because you don’t understand it yet. All Scripture is holy, pure, and written for the benefit and blessing of all God’s children, from the youngest believer to the oldest saint (therefore God would never allow or put anything impure or unholy in it), and it all teaches about our Saviour (see 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 3:14-16; Luke 24:25-27; Psalm 40:7 and Revelation 19:10).

Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Leave a Reply