Sermon #3                                                  The Song Of Solomon Notes


            Title:               The Footsteps of The Flock

            Text:               Song of Solomon 1:7-11


            Subject:          The Preserving, Sanctifying Nature Of Gospel


            Date:               Sunday Morning - May 10, 1998

            Tape #             U-67a



            This is a message to my own heart. I am going to preach to myself. I will admonish, exhort, rebuke, and hopefully comfort my own heart. I hope the Lord will allow you to listen in. If you do, I pray that this message to my own heart will be profitable to you. Let’s read the Song of Solomon 1:7-11 together.


(Song of Songs 1:7-11)  "Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions? {8} If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents. {9} I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots. {10} Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold. {11} We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver."


It is my task as a gospel preacher to keep the vineyards of your souls. By the choice of God’s people and by the good providence of God, this task has fallen upon my shoulders. I delight in it. I continually give thanks to God for his grace in putting me into the ministry. But I know something of my own deficiencies. The work of the gospel ministry is a heavy burden for such a weak and worthless vessel. With Paul, my heart cries out under the weight of this burden, “Who is sufficient for these things?” I cannot tell you what a relief it is for me to know that, “our sufficiency is of God.”


There is one great trial, one great danger, one spiritual peril which every faithful gospel preacher faces, which is in great measure unknown to other believers. While ministering to the needs of others, preachers sometimes fail to diligently guard their own souls. I face the very real danger of neglecting my own soul. While attending to your vineyards, I am fearful, lest I should have to confess, “Mine own vineyard have I not kept.” So, I am preaching this message to myself.


            It is my responsibility to preach at least ten to twelve times every week. I tell you many precious things about Christ. Sometimes I feel that I am the only one who enjoys them. Sometimes, when my own spirit is dull, you seem to enjoy them. And sometimes we enjoy the precious truths of the gospel together. But my daily fear is that while I open the texts of Holy Scripture to you, they shall be closed to me. I fear that while I am feeding you, I will starve my own heart. I fear that while I am proclaiming good things to others, my own soul will not partake of those good things.


My prayer is that the Lord Jesus Christ will show me where he feeds his flock, and let me feed with them. And then I pray that he will allow me to lead you into those green pastures and beside those still waters. It seems that new doors are opening for us continually around the world. We dare not refuse any opportunity to preach the gospel of Christ. But with every new endeavor, my fear increases.


I am made to pray like Moses, “If thy presence go not with us, carry us not up hence.” It would be a dreadful thing to be so busy about other men’s souls while neglecting my own. It is my prayer that Christ himself will grant to me his fellowship, so that my labor may not be in vain. If he will graciously and continually refresh my soul, than I will be able to lead you “By the footsteps of the flock.”


Divisions:            I want to be very practical. I want to talk to you about The Footsteps of the Flock.” I will make three divisions in the text.

1.      A question asked (v. 7).

2.      An argument urged (v. 7).

3.      An answer obtained (vv. 8-11).


Proposition:            If we would enjoy the blessings of Christ’s fellowship, we must follow the path he has laid before us.


I.      Notice in the first place in verse 7 that there is A QUESTION ASKED.


Here it is the Bride, the Church, speaking to Christ. Every word, every syllable of this question is worthy of our careful meditation. It is a question which reflects the burden of my heart - “Tell me, O Thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon.” I hope you  share this intense longing to be in the fellowship of Christ.


A.    It is both wise and comforting to God’s people to flee to Christ in every time of need (Heb. 4:16).


(Hebrews 4:16)  "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."


            The ungodly rush to and fro in search of help and peace. They find no real consolation anywhere. But the believing heart flies as naturally to Christ as the rabbit does to its den. In him alone can we find refuge for our souls.


“Other refuge have I none,

Hangs my helpless soul on Thee:

Leave, oh leave me not alone,

Still support and comfort me.”


1.     We have much which causes us to blush with shame before our beloved Savior.


·        We are black with sin.

·        We labor too much for the cares of this world.

·        We are terribly neglectful both of our Lord and our own souls.


2.     Though we are so full of evil, and so unworthy of his grace, we still must cling to Christ. He is all I have and all I want.


            My friends, never let your sins keep you from Christ. Under a sense of sin, do not run from him, but rather run to him. Sin may well drive you away from Moses and Mt. Sinai, but it ought to draw you to Christ and Mt. Calvary. Christ will not reject us because of our sin. He will not deal with us harshly when we run into his arms. He will comfort and protect us.


B.   Notice the spirit in which this question is asked.


            It is not, “O thou whom my soul believes in.” That would be true, but she has gone further. It is not, “O thou whom my soul honors.” That is true too, but she has passed beyond that stage. Nor is it merely, “O thou whom my soul trusts and obeys.” She is doing that, but she uses warmer and more tender language than that. Her soul is full of fire and enthusiasm. She says, “Tell me, O Thou whom my soul loveth.”


1.     This question arises from a heart of love for Christ.


            Whatever she may feel herself to be, she knows that she loves him. She is black and ashamed of herself, but still she loves her Bridegroom. She has not kept her own vineyard as she should have. She knows that and acknowledges it. But still she loves him. She loves him as she loves no one else in all the world. Only Christ could claim such a title as this - “Thou whom my soul loveth.”


            Beloved, no one in all the world can be compared to Christ. He has no rival. He is the Lord of every believer’s heart. He is the monarch of our affections.


a.      Our love, to be sure, is not worthy of him, but we love him supremely and we love him intensely.


b.     It is this love for Christ which governs our hearts and motivates our lives (2 Cor. 5:14).


(2 Corinthians 5:14)  "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead."


            Others serve by the rigorous rule of the law. The true believer serves Christ from a heart of love. Settle this matter in your own heart. Do you love the Lord Jesus Christ? (1 Cor. 16:22).


·        Do you serve him out of fear?

·        Do you serve him because of your desire for gain?

·        Or, do you serve him because you love him?


(1 Corinthians 16:22)  "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha."


2.     This question is addressed to Christ himself.


            “Tell me, O Thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon.” She goes directly to him. She desires to have him speak directly to her heart.


            NOTE: I love to hear the gospel. I love to read the gospel message. I love to preach the gospel to you. But the thing that I desire is to hear it from Christ himself. If he will but speak the Word directly to our hearts by the power of his Spirit, then our souls shall be fed and refreshed.


C. Now look at the question itself.


            She desires to know where Christ is and where he feeds his flock, where he meets with and refreshes his people. “Tell me, O Thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon.”


·        What are those truths by which you feed your people’s souls?       Gospel Truths!

·        What are those doctrines which make the weak ones strong?      Doctrines Of Grace! (Jer. 6:16)

·        What are those promises by which you comfort and refresh your people?      Covenant Promises!


            These are the things that I want to know for my own soul. And these are the things that I seek for you.


II. Secondly, we see in this verse AN ARGUMENT URGED (V. 7).


            “For why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?”


            John Gill suggests that these are not real companions of Christ, “But false friends, hypocrites and heretics, rivals with him, who set up schemes of worship and doctrine in opposition to his.”


            Satan is a wise and crafty enemy to our souls. He knows that we are not likely to turn aside and follow men who openly oppose Christ. Therefore, he makes his ministers the ministers of righteousness. We are ever being pressed to turn aside from Christ to pursue this or that.


A.    There are many pretended companions of Christ which allure our souls.


            There has always been an abundance of false teachers and those who follow them. I raise this word of warning, not to create strife or division among God’s people, but to urge you to cling to Christ alone.


1.      Some have been turned aside to religious ritualism.

2.      Some are turned aside to Arminianism.

3.      Many are turned from Christ by pressure from husband or wife.

4.      There are many who turn aside from the gospel of Christ to provide religious toys for their children.

5.      Many are turned aside to “Church truth”.

6.      Many turn aside to “prophetic enlightenment.”

7.      Multitudes are turning aside to legalism. They leave Christ for Moses. They forsake Calvary for Sinai. They turn from grace to law.


            Be warned, my friends, Satan does not care what you turn to, so long as you turn from Christ. If he can get you to leave Christ for anything, he has won the day. Would to God I could get the ear of every preacher in this world. I would say to him, as I now say to myself, “why should we be as those who turn aside by the flocks of Christ’s pretended companions, when we can walk with Christ himself?”


            It grieves me to see so many leaving Christ, turning aside to follow something or someone other than Christ.


B.   But why should we be turned aside from him?


            When the multitudes turned and walked no more with Christ, he turned to his disciples and said, “Will ye also go away?” With Peter we must answer, why should we be turned aside unto the flocks of thy companions? “Lord, to whom shall we go?” We have found all that we need and desire in him.


            Why should we turn aside by the flocks of others and miss his fellowship? There may be reason for others to leave him, but not for us. His rich, free, eternal, redeeming love has bound me hand and foot, so that I cannot leave him.


            I speak pointedly to you who are members of this church. If it should ever come to pass that this church turns aside from Christ, you will be wise to turn aside from this church, but do not turn aside from Christ. Why should any of us leave him (Lk. 22:35)? Is there anything which your soul needs that you do not find in him in infinite abundance?


·        Pardon?

·        Righteousness?

·        Comfort?

·        Reproof?

·        Motivation?


C.   Let us endeavor to live in fellowship with Christ himself.


            We seek not the blessings of his hand, but the presence of his person. It is good to have the truth of Christ; but it is better to have Christ himself. If we miss his fellowship, if we turn aside from him, his truth will have no aroma. If we lose fellowship with Christ, we will have the standard, but not the Standard Bearer. We have the candlestick, but there will be no light upon it. If we miss the fellowship of Christ, will we not be stripped of our strength, our joy, and our comfort?


Let us take up this prayer - “Tell me, O Thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?”


“Thou, O Christ, art all I want!

More than all in Thee I find!”


III. Thirdly, we have AN ANSWER OBTAINED from Christ himself in verses 8-11.


            She asked him where he fed, where he made his flock to rest at noon. And now he replies to his beloved Bride. He speaks in love to comfort her heart and assure her.


A.    First the Lord tells us how beautiful his people are in his eyes - “O thou fairest among women” (vv. 9-11).


            In our own eyes, and in the eyes of others, we are black and scornful. But in his eyes we are fair and comely. I would rather trust his eyes than my eyes. If my eyes tell me that I am black, I will weep. But if he assures me that I am fair in his eyes, I will believe him and rejoice. Listen to the Son of God, my brother, my sister, as the speaks to you about you…


(Song of Songs 1:9-11)  "I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots. {10} Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold. {11} We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver."


1.     Christ sees us in the beauty of his own imputed righteousness and declares that we are perfectly beautiful (Ezek. 16:13-14).


(Ezekiel 16:13-14)  "Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. {14} And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD."


“In thy Surety thou art free.

His dear hands were pierced for thee:

With his spotless garments on,

We’re as holy as God’s own Son!”


            Christ does not exaggerate the beauty of his people. We are perfectly beautiful and gloriously complete, so much so that we may confidently exclaim, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?”


2. Besides that, our Lord sees us as we shall actually be when he is finished with us (Eph. 5:25-27).


Illustration: The artist sees the statue which he will

                                        make in the huge block of marble he has



(Ephesians 5:25-27)  "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; {26} That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, {27} That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."


3. In this passage (vv. 9-11), our Lord uses a well known picture of royal beauty to typify the beauty of his people in him.


a.      He compares us to a company of horses in Pharaoh’s chariots -

·        Beautiful

·        Chosen

·        Costly

·        Strong.


b.     He shows how he has adorned us by his grace.

·        Rows of jewels - The graces of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22).

·        Chains of gold - The blessings of graces in him (Eph. 1:3-14).


c.     He tells us what will yet be done for us.


“We” (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) “We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.” A symbolic picture of the heavenly Jerusalem (Isa. 54:11-12; Rev. 21:18-21).


(Isaiah 54:11-12)  "O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. {12} And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones."


(Revelation 21:18-21)  "And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. {19} And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; {20} The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. {21} And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass."


B.   Now, look at the Lord’s answer to our question (vv.7-8).


(Song of Songs 1:7-8)  "Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions? {8} If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents."


            Here is his word of instruction for our hearts - “Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents.”


            Here we are told where to find our Lord, where to find food and rest and refreshment for our souls. If you would find Christ, you will find him in the way of the holy prophets, in the way of the patriarchs and in the way of the apostles. Follow the footsteps of the flock, feed be the tents of his shepherds, and you may find him.


A.    What are the footsteps of the flock?


            They are simply the paths in which God’s people have always walked. They are the paths of the Lord’s sheep. They are not hard to find. They are plain and clear. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob walked in these paths. These are the paths of David, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. Peter, James, John, and Paul followed these paths. Let us walk in them too.


1.      They are the paths of faith and trust.

2.      They are the paths of submission and obedience.

3.      They are the paths of righteousness and godliness.

4.      They are the paths of love and kindness.

5.      They are the old paths of doctrinal truth (Jer. 6:16).


(Jeremiah 6:16)  "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls."


B.   Who are these shepherds, by whose tents we must feed?


            There are many in these days who have set themselves up as shepherds, who feed their sheep in poisonous pastures. Keep away from them.


·        Do not follow a man.

·        Do not cling to a church.

·        Find a man who is preaching the gospel of Christ, and feed by his tent. The church where the gospel is preached is the shepherds’ tent. The man who is preaching the gospel is one of Christ’s shepherds (Jer. 3:15).


(Jeremiah 3:15)  "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding."


            Find a man who is like Paul, “Determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified,” and you can safely feed by his tent. Those who are the true servants of Christ preach Christ, they preach all of Christ, and they preach nothing but Christ.


1.     We preach Christ crucified as he is revealed in Holy Scripture.


·        His Godhood.

·        His Manhood.

·        His atonement.

·        His righteousness.

·        His justification.

·        His exaltation.


2.     We preach the doctrines of the gospel of the grace of God in Christ.


            We must be very particular that we preach the truth of God, the whole truth of God, not just a part of it, but all of it. The doctrines of grace are to me like a field of clover. Religion without the doctrines of grace is a barren wasteland.


·        Divine Sovereignty.

·        Unconditional Election.

·        Total Depravity.

·        Effectual, Particular Redemption.

·        Irresistible Grace.

·        Perseverance Of The Saints.


            Let others turn aside if they must to the empty cisterns of religious philosophy. We have found a refreshing fountain of life in Christ himself, and we have found rich pastures for our souls in these blessed doctrines of the gospel.




1.      Children of God, let nothing turn you from Christ.


2.      I pray that God will now effectually reveal the beauties of Christ to your hearts.


            If ever the Lord makes himself known to you, you will love him. If any of you want him, he wants you. If you long for him, he longs for you. If you seek him, he is seeking you. If you will now call upon him, he is now calling you.