Today’s Reading: Song of Songs 6-8
I slept, but my heart was awake, when I heard my lover knocking and calling:
“Open to me, my treasure, my darling, my dove, my perfect one.
My head is drenched with dew, my hair with the dampness of the night.”
But I responded, “I have taken off my robe.
Should I get dressed again?
I have washed my feet. Should I get them soiled?” – Song of Songs 5:2-3
The One who loves her more than she can even imagine is calling out for her to come to Him and she is counting the cost. Counting the cost – something we are probably all guilty of. God has created us for an intimate and personal relationship with Him, but we count the cost – do I have the time to spend with God, do I have the energy after a long day? We are essentially using the “I have a headache” excuse with our Savior.
But when we consider how much He loves us…
When we consider how much He has done for us…
When we consider how he died for us…
When perfume is dripping from our hands and myrrh from our fingers (5:5)…
When we consider how much our salvation cost Him – His life – we run to the door!
I opened to my lover, but he was gone!
My heart sank.
I searched for him but could not find him anywhere.
I called to him, but there was no reply. – Song of Songs 5:6
There are times when we feel we have missed our opportunity. We count the cost and decide to seek Him. We call out but there is no reply. We feel like He is no longer there for us, like He is too far to be found. Know this, my friend; God is always here – always within reach.
My lover has gone down to his garden, to his spice beds, to browse in his gardens and gather the lilies.
I am my lover’s, and my lover is mine.
He browses among the lilies. – Song of Songs 6:2-3
In her book “Receive His Love”, Aletha Hinthorn describes the lilies as God’s people. When we walk into the garden where God’s people are gathering, we can find God in their presence. When we are searching for our God, a great place to look for Him is among His people as they gather together to be with Him and to call on His name.
There are two moments in this love story found in Song of Songs where the young woman experienced dark times. The first is when those who were supposed to protect her and care about her instead mistreated her (5:7). The second is the result of giving into temptation and allowing her desires to pull her towards temporary physical love instead of toward the eternal spiritual love God is offering her (6:12).
Return, return to us, O maid of Shulam.
Come back, come back, that we may see you again (Song of Songs 6:13).
Love is calling her back – love is healing and love is redemptive. Did you hear that? Love is redemptive…forgiving…full of grace.
Even among sixty queens and eighty concubines and countless young women,
I WOULD STILL CHOOSE my dove, my perfect one …
Oh, how beautiful you are!
How pleasing, my love, how full of delights! – Song of Songs 6:8-9; 7:6
I aroused you under the apple tree, where you mother gave you birth,
where in great pain she delivered you.
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave.
Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame.
Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it.
If a man tried to buy love with all his wealth, his offer would be utterly scorned (Song of Songs 8:5-7).
Oh, how He loves us! When you have wasted time counting the cost, He loves you! When those around you have left you scarred and hurting, He loves you! When you have fallen to temptation and need forgiveness, He loves you! He is jealous for you and welcomes you with grace in His eyes. Oh, how He loves you! You cannot waste time maintaining regrets when you step into the presence of a God who loves you THIS much – who is calling you to intimacy with Him. He calls you to dwell in the garden. He longs to hear your voice (8:13). Let Him hear your voice.
And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…
Oh, how He loves us oh,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all
How He loves
(“How He Loves” sang by the David Crowder Band)
[Aletha Hinthorn’s book RECEIVE HIS LOVE can be found at http://www.cometothefire.org/books/]