by Wade E Taylor
“Who is this that comes up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?” Song of Solomon 8:5
There is a particular quality about this “one” who is coming up from the wilderness that attracts special attention. She is “leaning” upon her Beloved. This position of leaning demonstrates the fact that she has become completely “dependent” upon Him. Something has changed during her time of being in the wilderness, which has resulted in her becoming “submissively dependent” upon the Lord.
Throughout Biblical history, the Lord often used the wilderness to “test” His servants in order to “perfect” His purposes within them. The wilderness speaks of a barren and desolate area. It is a place where inner needs become intensified as they seek satisfaction, as there is no availability of the things that are necessary to meet these needs. Here, needs can only be met through an external source.
In contrast to this barren wilderness, the Lord had planted a garden in Eden, supplying everything that could be desired. It provided an environment of both beauty and provision – complete beyond imagination.
“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Genesis 2:8-9
Adam and Eve were placed in this garden and commanded:
“…Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17
This made them dependent, as they were required to obey the word that the Lord had spoken to them.
Two specific things were required:
- They were to eat of the tree of Life in order to maintain eternal life (Genesis 3:22).
- They were to abstain from eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
The only restraint to their eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the “word” that the Lord had spoken to them, telling them that they were not to partake. This tree was in the midst of the garden. It was very desirable, and easily available to them. Eve had observed that the fruit of this tree was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired (Genesis 3:6).
Herein was Eve’s problem; the fruit of this tree was very appealing. However, she knew that God had said “no.” Therefore, when Satan approached Eve, he came against the Word that the Lord had spoken by raising doubt: “Has God said?” In effect, he was saying, “Would God tell you to give up something that is really good, something that you like, and want?” Even though the Lord had said, “You shall not eat,” the attraction was so enticing, and the fruit seemingly so desirable, that Eve disobeyed and partook.
Through this act of disobedience, Adam and Eve forfeited their position of “willing dependence” upon the Lord. They failed to “overcome” their fleshly desire in the test that had been placed in their pattern of life and became spiritually separated from God. As a result of this, the process of death entered their being, and they no longer “leaned” upon Him. Along with this, they lost all that would have developed on their behalf, had they been obedient and overcame in this testing.
The Word of God is silent concerning what might have taken place in their relationship to the Lord, had they chosen to remain submissive and obedient to Him. The only clue that we have as to what might have been, is to consider the outcome in the testing of the “Last Adam.” Jesus took upon Himself, in human form, the identity of a new Adam, and then faced a test that was similar to the one that the first Adam had faced.
“And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward hungry. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If You be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:2-4
Jesus, as the last Adam, overcame in every situation where the first Adam failed. As a result of this, after paying the penalty for our sin on the cross, He was resurrected and then ascended to sit with His Father in His throne.
“…Even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His Throne.” Revelation 3:21
An “overcomer” is one who “submits” to the Lord, and then abides in a “leaning” position upon their Beloved. This is an indication of their complete trust in, and dependence upon, the Lord. It is the result of having become obedient and submissive to the will of the Lord.
Our becoming an “overcomer” means that we are rising above all that is less than the Lord’s revealed, or known, best. It involves our facing the test of the wilderness, and remaining dependent upon the Lord for provision.
Adam and Eve were tested concerning the possibility of their becoming overcomers. Because of the desirability and the attraction of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they choose for their own seeming good, and failed to overcome.
All spiritual gain must be tested, if it is to abide and become productive. Adam and Eve failed their test while abiding in a perfect environment, and entered death. Jesus, as the “Last Adam,” had to face a similar test in order to qualify for the place in life that the first Adam had forfeited.
In contrast to the perfect environment of the Garden of Eden, Jesus faced Satan in the barren environment of a wilderness that provided nothing.
“And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward hungry.” Matthew 4:2
There was nothing available that could satisfy the intense hunger that Jesus felt. Then, Satan appeared to Jesus and suggested that He turn stones into bread in order to satisfy this gnawing hunger.
There was nothing inherently wrong with turning these stones into bread, except that God had not said to do so. Jesus refused to act on a word from Satan, and waited for supply from His Father. Had Jesus exercised His Deity in order to provide for His own need, He would have become independent. He qualified, by remaining in a place of total dependence upon His Father for provision. This was exactly where Adam and Eve failed, for Satan had said to them:
“For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5
Satan told Adam and Eve that they could be independent from God, and do as they felt best. They could decide for themselves what was right or wrong. Now, Satan was telling Jesus that He could act on His own to provide for Himself, just as he had told Eve to do.
Jesus confirmed His complete dependence upon God when He said:
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
He refused to act apart from a Word from the Lord, and came forth from the wilderness in the “power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14).
As a result of His willing obedience by which He remained dependent upon His Father, He is qualified to say to us:
“To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.” Revelation 3:21
We also will be tested, as Jesus was, “if” we desire to come into this relationship of “submissive dependence” upon Jesus. Those who choose to abide in this position of “leaning upon Him” will then be led by the Holy Spirit into a specially prepared wilderness, (a place of spiritual barrenness) where we will develop a deep inner hunger (dissatisfaction), along with an intense desire (frustration), in some area of our being.
Then at a critical moment, when it (apparently) seems to us that the Lord is no longer interested in our problem, and that He is (wrongly) delaying His answer, the enemy will be “allowed” to come and tempt us. He will try to provoke us to act in some way to produce, or to bring about the satisfaction that we desperately long for, which is presently apart from the Lord’s provision for us. If we will steadfastly refuse this temptation and stand fast, in due time, the Lord will feed (satisfy) us.
“But He knows the way that I take: when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10
If we will be patient during our times of being tested, and “wait” for the Lord’s provision for us, then it can truly be said:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.” I Corinthians 2:9
The first Adam failed and lost his place, or position as an overcomer. This was regained by Jesus, who overcame as the last Adam. He was faithful in maintaining His place of dependence. As a result, He is seated with His Father in His Throne. Now, Jesus is offering to all who overcome, a place with Him in His Throne. These overcomers are the ones who were seen coming up from the wilderness “leaning upon their Beloved.”
There is no greater joy than that which comes from making a determined choice to become dependent upon Jesus, and then to faithfully abide in this newfound place of “submissive dependence,” until the greater day comes.