A TIME FOR BEING SHUT
Wade E Taylor
“A garden enclosed
is My sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Your
plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits;
camphor, with spikenard, spikenard and saffron, calamus and
cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with
all the chief spices.” Song of Solomon 4:12-14.
Her first testimony had been, “My
beloved is mine.” The Lord accepted this, and
allowed the Bride to have all of the things she had desired.
At the same time, He began to draw her to Himself by causing her
to notice His interest in her.
He stands behind our wall, He looks forth at the windows, showing
Himself through the lattice.” Song of Solomon 2:9b.
As she noticed that He was looking
through the window toward her, longing to be invited into the
“room” of her spiritual experience, there arose within her a
deep inner stirring toward Him. She
began to intently desire “Him,” rather than the “things”
she had once sought after.
He (Jesus) acknowledged her “single
eye” which was beginning to look toward Him alone, and in
a penetrating expression of love, He said to her, “O
My dove” (Song of Solomon 2:14). Because of her
single eye, He could now begin to inwardly change her into the
Bride He desired her to be.
In her first
confession she had said, “My
mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of
the vineyards; but my own vineyard have I not kept.” Song
of Solomon 1:6b.
She had been a very dedicated worker for
the Lord. Even in the heat of the day, while others rested,
she worked until she became burned by the sun, (“I
am black, but comely”). During this time, she did
not personally know the Lord; neither did she know His voice or
His leadings. She did only as others told her to do (“They
made me the keeper of the vineyard.”)
She had been so faithful in
doing all that was required of her, that her own vineyard had been
neglected. This neglected vineyard speaks of the
“ground” upon which the Lord comes in order to change us.
This ground encompasses all the people and the circumstances which
the Lord uses to bring about our spiritual development and growth
It is encouraging to know that the Lord
will come to meet us, even in the place of neglect, when we
confess our need to Him. It becomes “good ground”
(Matthew 13:8) when we place the Lord in full control of all that
pertains to us, and invite Him to come within the “room” (closet) of our spiritual experience to abide with us.
We should have a special “place”
that we have sanctified and “set apart” for our times of
fellowship with the Lord.
you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have
shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your
Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly.” Matthew
Along with this “set apart” place
for intimate communion with the Lord, we should make the total
area of our life experience to be as an “open door” for Him to
enter. We can do this by keeping the “poise” of our
spirit upward toward the Lord, no matter where, or what we are
doing. It is this which encourages and releases the Lord to
become active in making of us the Bride that He desires.
the Bridegroom go forth of His chamber, and the bride out of her
closet.” Joel 2:16b.
The Lord will always use us to minister
to, and meet the needs of others. However, our times of
communion with Him are more important to Him than anything that we
could do for Him. He is to have the first place in our
"Come, My beloved, let us go
forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages. Let us get up
early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether
the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth:
there will I give you My loves.” Song of Solomon 7:11‑12.
Notice that we are to “come”
before we “go”
forth in ministry. Our ministry will be much more effective
and productive when it is the result of, and flows out from, our
times of communion with the Lord.
Many servants of the Lord who fail or
get into serious problems, do so because of negligence at this
very point. They work so hard for the Lord that they become
spiritually weakened and succumb to temptation. This
happened to the Bride. Thus, she confessed her failure, “My mother’s children were angry with me.”
It is crucial that we maintain quality
times of worship, prayer, waiting upon the Lord, and devotionally
reading the Word. She had neglected her own spiritual
development and growth, along with her times of communion with the
Lord, through being busy working diligently for Him. We must
keep in mind that our ability to impart spiritual substance and
life to others, results from that which we have first received.
We are called to work with
the Lord, rather than for
“And He goes up
into a mountain, and calls to Him whom He would; and they came to
Him. And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and
that He might send them forth …” Mark 3:13-14.
If we are faithful in our part, which is
“being with Him;”
then He will be faithful in His part, to “send
I learned a principle many years ago
that greatly affected my life. “If we build God a house of
devotion, He will build us a house of ministry.”
“That I may cause
those that love Me to inherit substance; and I will fill their
The bride had asked the Lord to “stay
me with flagons, comfort me with apples.” (Song of
Solomon 2:5a). In response to her desire, He brought her to
the banqueting table and blessed her so abundantly with all she
wanted, that she became filled beyond the capacity that she had,
at that time.
I am sick of love.” Song of Solomon 2:5b.
We are to enjoy the blessings, and use
to the fullest all of the gifts that the Lord has given. Yet
these are not meant to be our goal. Rather, they are to be
the means of meeting the needs of others, and of enlarging our
capacity and our desire for Him.
Outwardly, she seemed to be satisfied
and content. However, the Lord knew that inwardly, she could
not continue to be satisfied and fulfilled by just having these
things. She had seen Him, and was moved deep within her
being toward Him. Now, He was ready to show her that there
was something “better” that He desired for her, beyond all
these “things” that He was able to give her.
He was waiting for her to invite Him to
come within the secret place, to commune with Him alone. To
accomplish this, He allowed her to enter into, or experience, a
time of spiritual darkness.
night on my bed I sought Him whom my soul loves.” Song of
During this time of darkness, all
spiritual “things” seemed to become elusive or obscure.
She realized the emptiness of the possession of things alone, and
frantically began to search for Him.
“I will rise now,
and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will
seek Him whom my soul loves.” Song of Solomon 3:2a.
During this time of searching, she began
to understand how incomplete she had been without Him. By
the time she found Him, a real change had taken place within Her.
She was now able to say: “It was but a little that I passed from
them (all of the things she once sought after), but I found
Him, whom my soul loves: I held Him, and would not let Him
go ...” Song of Solomon 3:4.
The Lord expresses this same
spiritual principle to the Laodicean Church.
“Because you say, I am
rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know
not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and
naked: I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire,
that you may be rich.” Revelation 3:17-18a.
The Laodiceans sought after and were
satisfied with possessions. Therefore, the Lord spoke to
them concerning their true need, “gold
tried in the fire.” Gold speaks of the divine
nature, His image and likeness being wrought out within our being.
We will become like Him, as we spend much time with Him.
Now the Lord is ready to take her a step
further. In order to make a deep and lasting impression
within her concerning Himself, He brought before her a glorious
revelation of His person and presence, as He came forth from the
wilderness, clothed in all of His manifest glory and sovereign
is this that comes out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke,
perfumed with myrrh
and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant? Behold his
bed, which is Solomon's; threescore
valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel.” Song of
Through this experience, she realized
her need for Him, and she felt the comfort and the security of
being with Him. She saw the portrayal of His love for Her,
along with the display of His ability to protect her and bring her
through even the most difficult of situations.
Immediately after the excitement and
glory of this experience, the Lord made an arrangement where she
became as a “Garden
enclosed.” Here, she was separated, for a time,
from all material influences and outside activities, unto the Lord
Himself. During this time of “separation” within the
Garden, all that she had come to know about the Lord will be made
a “personal reality” within her spiritual experience.
Then, in His time and way, that which she became, while within the
Garden, will find its full expression and outworking through her
life experiences. She is about to experience what the Lord
meant when He said,
of Me gold tried in the fire.” Revelation 3:18.
enclosed” was (is)
designed to bring forth the very best from the potential that the
Lord had seen to be within her (us).
Although it was situated in a very beautiful setting, it
represented a realm of intense “personal dealings,” so she
hesitated in entering. The Lord knew she would attempt to
leave before He could accomplish within her, all that He desired.
He therefore built a high wall around the Garden, making it
completely “enclosed” so she would not be able to leave.
The Lord is able to keep us where He has placed us.
This high wall also hindered all, except
the Lord, from entering. It separated her from the
fellowship of her friends, and from those who would attempt to
occupy her time, or divert her to a lesser realm of spiritual life
experience. Also, during this set-apart time, her gifts
failed to operate, and her “ministry” is cut off. She is
now separated from all of the people and things she had been
accustomed to, and dependent upon. She has become as a
“Garden enclosed,” separated unto the Lord, Himself.
The nine plants (Song of Solomon
4:13‑14) that are mentioned as being in this garden are
types of the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit. These represent
the “quality” of life that is beginning to develop and become
manifest within her, during this time of separation. The
Garden in “bloom” speaks of the spiritual maturity now
unfolding within her, a beautiful display of righteousness, peace,
and joy, as she grows in spiritual understanding and wisdom.
During this time of being set apart, there was often a desire
within her for expression, or ministry: “If I could just get out
and share this.” But the Lord had made her a “Garden enclosed.”
Through being shut in by the Lord - for
a season, she became much more sensitive in her ability to
recognize His presence, and she was able to respond more promptly
to His desire for her fellowship. We were created for His
pleasure (Revelation 4:11). There are times when the Lord
desires to be personally alone with us, that He might sup with us,
and then we with Him (Revelation 3:20). This will lead us
into the experience of the “fellowship
of His sufferings” (Philippians 3:10) in which He shares
His burdens with us.
There are many “levels” of
separation. There are those who are primarily called to a
ministry of intercession. Being an intercessor requires much
more from us than our times of prayer. It involves our
becoming identified with the problem, or need, in order to pray it
through. Intercession is born of the Spirit and operates
through inner travail. It means getting alone and wrestling
with a burden until it is brought to birth through the agony of
birth pains. A ministry of intercession produces far greater
results than most may realize. There are those that are
called to this hidden ministry of intercession who are not known
to man, but known only to the Lord, and have become as a “Garden enclosed” to Him.
There are others who are shut in with
the Lord in “hidden” ministries, who have a part in bringing
to birth those who desire to go beyond their present spiritual
experience. Some of these had a vital part in the forming of
my spiritual life. During times when I was going through
some very intense struggles, through the agony of their
intercession, prayers, and words of wisdom, God was able to
accomplish something special within me. Without them, I
could not be where I am today. There is much responsibility
and reward in a hidden ministry of this type. The Lord is
looking to and fro across the earth for someone to “stand
in the gap;” someone who will stand between the need and
the Lord, and then travail until the Lord is able to move upon the
situation and accomplish His purpose.
There are those whom the Lord leads into
this “Garden enclosed”
to remain there. Some of the Lord’s choicest saints have
been separated from all spiritual activity, and are enclosed
within this Garden, that the Lord might come to them, as He
desires, to enjoy times of fellowship and communion with them.
The extravagance that our Lord expressed
in His creation is evident to us, which we all enjoy as we witness
the manifold and multi‑colored flowers of spring, and then
the rich brilliance of color in the departing leaves of fall.
So also, the Lord can afford the luxury of being extravagant in
setting aside “whom He
will” for His purpose and glory. Thus, within this
“Garden enclosed” are those who are so completely given to Him
that they are known to Him alone.
There are still others whom the Lord
draws into this Garden to stay for only a limited time. He
leads these back out again to become a witness of all they
received while there alone with Him, whom they intensely love.
These reluctantly leave His presence to minister to those without,
who desire more of the Lord, but are not yet ready to be drawn
into this Garden experience. As they pick “fruit” from
the lives of those who have been within, they also will stirred to
come within this Garden, enclosed.
As the Lord entered the Garden of old to
walk with Adam (Genesis 3:8), He comes into this Garden enclosed
to commune with His Bride. Here, as she basks in the warmth
of this presence, she prayed that the wind (The Holy Spirit) would
come and blow upon her Garden. She desired this new inward
beauty that is developing within her, to become as a beautiful
fragrance that will flow out from her being, and fulfill His need
for intimate communion.
“Awake, O north wind; and come,
you south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof
may flow out.” Song of Solomon 4:16a.
is a type of the Holy Spirit. When Nicodemus came to Jesus,
the Lord dealt with him about entering the Kingdom of God.
Nicodemus asked if this was comparable to re‑entering the
“womb.” Jesus responded by likening it to the
“wind.” He said,
wind blows where it pleases, and you hear the sound thereof, but
can not tell from where it
comes, and to where it goes.”
Then He added, “So
is every one that is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8.
The north wind represents chastening, or
correction; the south wind speaks of edification and blessing.
This two-fold working of the wind brings, first, correction to our
spiritual walk, either through or along with teaching; and then,
secondly, blessing and edification. The desire of the Lord
is to bring us through as painlessly as possible.
When the Bride prayed, “Awake,
O north wind,” she was giving the Holy Spirit permission
to bring about these needed changes within her life, that she
might be in alignment with His desire for communion with her, and
for her involvement with Him in the outworking of His purposes.
Whatever the cost might be, she desired to flow in harmony with
Him. The Lord’s chastening hand upon our lives is truly a
great blessing when we understand the purpose for it, and feel His
love as it is applied.
whom the Lord loves, He chastens.” Hebrews 12:6.
As the Holy Spirit worked within her in
answer to her prayer giving Him permission to chasten her, she
noticed the changes that were beginning to take place within her.
Now she understood that the purpose of the “north
wind” was to change her, that she might become a Bride
who could truly please the Lord. This caused worship and
thanksgiving to rise up within her, and flow out to Him.
Now, she was able to ask with confidence, and respond to His
correcting hand as it was applied to her life experience.
and come, you south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof
may flow out. Let my Beloved come into His garden and eat His
pleasant fruits.” Song of Solomon 4:16.
As she felt the warmth and comfort of
the south wind, she was able to enter a place of rest in His
presence, knowing that He would do what was right in her behalf,
and that her response was pleasing to Him.
There is a “lifting” quality to the
presence of the Lord. As we respond to His presence, we will
begin to flow with it, as being lifted by the wind. As we
continue to wait in His presence, we will be quickened by the Holy
Spirit and empowered to move with Him, as He leads.
This is the “wheel
within the wheel” in Ezekiel 1:16-17. As this takes
place, it will be confirmed to us through a further unfolding and
understanding of His Word, which will cause us to more deeply love
and trust Him. It is important to understand that all
spiritual experiences must agree with the written Word of God.
As these north and south winds each had
their effect upon her, and accomplished their purposes within her;
she cried out,
“Let my beloved
come into His garden and eat His pleasant fruits.” Song of
He quickly responded to this and said,
“I am come into My
garden ...” Song of Solomon 5:1a.
This speaks of His “manifest
presence.” The Lord is omnipresent; that is, He is
everywhere. He fills heaven and earth (See Jeremiah 23:24).
But the manifest presence of the Lord is something more than this.
The word “manifest” means that His presence becomes localized,
and is made consciously apparent to one or more of our five
Through His “omnipresence” we are
made aware of the sovereign power of God and receive a sense of
Divine presence and power. However, through His manifest
presence, the Lord comes to us in such a way that we not only
sense His nearness, but also are made consciously aware of His
Person and personality. This brings us into an awareness and
knowledge of His mind, and of His feelings. Jesus said,
“If any man hear My
voice, and open the door (the point of transition from His
omnipresence into His manifest
Presence), I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with
Me.” Rev. 3:20b.
in the oriental sense, means an intimate, personal exchange.
Thus, the Lord comes to us in this intimate and personal way to
share His personality and thoughts with us.
“I am come into My
garden, My sister, My spouse: I have gathered My myrrh with My
spice; I have eaten My honeycomb with My honey.” Song of Solomon
Then He adds,
“Eat, O friends;
drink, yea, drink abundantly,
O beloved.” Song of Solomon 5:1c.
Notice the exchange, “Drink
abundantly, O beloved” then, “Eat,
O friends.” Paul understood this principle and
applied it to his ministry. He said,
we which live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake,
that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal
flesh. So then, death works in us, but life in you.” II
Paul ministered his very life to others.
All true ministry includes the giving of the spiritual substance
of the minister’s life along with the Word that he ministers.
Many come to feed upon the lives of those who have this quality of
spiritual substance within them, and then go away, leaving them
drained. This is especially true of those who are heavily
anointed and have a ministry of spiritual impartation. Thus,
ministry works death in the one who is giving, but life in all who
receive. Jesus said, “…
except you eat of the flesh of the Son of
Man, and drink of His blood, you have no life in you.”
After a time of giving out in ministry,
we must come back to the Source of all life, our Lord Jesus Christ
and partake again of His life, in order to regain that which has
been given out to others.
The Lord comes to fellowship with us,
and also to change and strengthen us, while we are alone with Him
in this “Garden enclosed.” Then He shares us with
others, who presently are not able to come into this place of
intimate communion with Him. We feed on the Lord, then
“others” come and feed on us, and thereby receive His life
through us. This places a great responsibility upon each of
us, that the true source of our life be Jesus. Others must
not be drawn to us, but directed to Jesus.
As others partake of our spiritual life
and experiences, a spiritual hunger will be created within them.
As this partaking continues, these will begin to become
discontented, and will realize that there is something better than
continuing to be satisfied with “feeding” on the experiences
of another. Thus, they will begin to look for the Lord
Himself. Now, they will be able to say to the Lord, as we
me, O You whom my soul loves, where You feed, where You make Your
flock to rest at noon: for
why should I be as one that turns aside by the flocks of
Your companions?” Song of Solomon 1:7.
The Lord answered and said,
“If you know not ... go your way forth by the footsteps
of the flock.” Song of Solomon 1:8a.
That is, find one who knows and has
experienced the way. It is very important at this point,
that we ourselves know the way, and then are able to lead those
who are seeking something more, to the Lord Himself. Many
will be enabled to come into a greater experience in the reality
of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ, and into a deeper personal
relationship with Him, because we have been spending time with
Jesus, and have learned to sup with Him.
our times of communion and prayer, as we continue to sup with the
Lord, we receive much spiritual “substance” into our being.
Now, the Lord will allow others to come and feed on us, because we
have fed on Him.
O friends; drink, yea drink abundantly ...” Song of Solomon
Notice that the Lord gladly tells others
that they can come and feed on our spiritual life and experience.
There is a tremendous need in our day
for those who have a quality relationship with the Lord, and have
spiritual “substance” within their lives. These, in
turn, will be able to feed others, whose spiritual hunger has not
yet found a place of satisfaction.