“I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh’s chariots.” (Song 1:9)
By using the word “compared,” there is no doubt that the Holy Spirit is trying to teach us something about the Bride by getting us to look at horses.
Historically, Solomon did much horse trading. He bought thousands of horses from Egypt and had them transported to Israel (I Kings 10:28-29), even though this was contrary to God’s explicit commands for the kings of Israel as found in Deut. 17:15-16. In this sense, the comparison seems to be one of quality: when it came to horses, the best of the best were to be found pulling Pharaoh’s chariots.
The larger picture however is that a horse has certain attributes with which Jesus wishes to compare his church. Remember that the King has just been comparing his believers to flocks and kids. Branching out into horses is simply his means of presenting a balanced picture. Several traits that are true of horses and should also be evident in us would include the fact that:
1) Horses come in all shapes, sizes, colors and types – God has made us all different. Although we are all made in the image of God, he has given us individual traits that make each person unique and special to him.
2) Horses all have different jobs to perform – some horses are battle steeds, others plow the fields; some make deliveries or carry messengers while others carry royalty. In the local church God has given every believer a vocation that they are to walk worthy of. (Eph. 4:1) Some of those jobs are humble and rather undesirable while others carry great responsibility or put one in the limelight – but all are necessary if a local church is to operate in a manner that pleases Christ.
3) Horses have several characteristics of the heart that should be true of believers – strength, honour, fearlessness and trust. Job 39:19-25 gives God’s perspective on horses where he clearly holds such character traits up before Job as something that should be emulated in his life.
4) Horses begin wild and then must have their will “broken” and submitted to the master if they are to be usable. All men begin as independent, rebellious, lost sinners. Only Jesus Christ can break the heart of sin and give us an external control that truly sets us free. Until our will is submitted to the Master, we are unusable in his service.
5) Even broken, horses continue to need a bit in their mouths to be under their masters’ continual control. We too need the constant, daily reminders of the word of God in our lips if we are to daily serve our Lord.