“…they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.” (Song 1:6)
A vineyard is known for producing grapes and wine. The term “keeper” points us to the fact that this verse is emphasizing the work involved in maintaining a vineyard. Jesus told a parable in Matthew 20 about labourers in a vineyard with much emphasis made upon the labour and struggles involved in this type of work. This verse points to the fact that the Bride was given a task that involved so much work that she was unable to care for her own vineyard.
If we are not careful, we too can find ourselves in the position of having the cares and affairs of this life heaped upon us by the world. This can reach a point where our lives are choked with distractions that make it impossible for us to deal with the things that matter most. “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” (Matt. 13:22)
What happens when the believer tells the world “No!” and refuses to be controlled by these things anymore? Quite often the offended boss, teacher, relative, or acquaintance will get angry. The potential then exists for persecution. These results are implicit in the verse.
The Bride was so busy living up to the expectations and requests of others that she failed to maintain her own personal responsibilities. Perhaps she was so distracted by the persecution of the world that she lost sight of the importance of maintaining her personal relationship with the King?
The purpose of a vineyard is ultimately to bear fruit, and herein lies the spiritual lesson. The distractions of world can keep us from our chief responsibility – to worship, serve and please Jesus Christ and to bear him fruit. Compare this with the very ending of Solomon’s Song (8:11-12) where the final emphasis of the book is upon the importance of producing fruit for the King!
When one finds themselves in the situation of too many distractions and cares to properly serve Christ, there is but one solution – to RESTORE fellowship with the King! This will be the new theme in verse seven. The distractions must be put aside. Persecutions must be put in their proper place where we remember that such troubles are all about Jesus, not us! We need to re-establish our priorities, making our walk with Christ paramount. We must seek the Lord’s guidance so that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.