Today’s Reading: Song of Songs 1-2
Stories – they are all around us. Sad stories, triumphant stories, tragic stories, funny stories, mysterious stories. I love them all but love stories are probably my favorite. Let me tell you a love story about a young woman who had a sincere desire to grow closer to the One she loved – Jesus.
At first she focuses simply on enjoying Him and what He can do for her, how His presence makes her life more wonderful. Then she discovers the indescribable joy of being loved BY Him. Her relationship with Jesus grows throughout the story as she realizes how much He delights in her and desires a relationship with her. She matures spiritually while on this journey to intimacy. She is no longer simply a worker for Jesus – she is now a devoted lover of Jesus. Do you recognize this story? It can be found in Solomon’s Song of Songs.
It took a long time for me to understand this book and, quite honestly, I was uncomfortable diving into its meaning. At the 2012 Come to the Fire conference, Aletha Hinthorn gave me new eyes and new ears of understanding for this beautiful book. There are many interpretations of Solomon’s writings but I choose to re-read these scriptures from the angle Aletha has provided in her book, RECEIVE HIS LOVE.
Let’s consider Song of Songs as a young woman’s journey to intimacy with Christ and see what He might teach us about the potential of our relationship with Him.
Kiss me and kiss me again, for your love is sweeter than wine.
How fragrant your cologne; your name is like its spreading fragrance.
No wonder all the young women love you!
Take me with you; come, let’s run!
The king has brought me into his bedroom. – Song of Songs 1:2-4
Consider the meaning of the word “kiss” as receiving a word from the Lord, a word from His mouth. Now reread these verses. She longs to receive a word from the Lord. I can relate to that. I wake up each morning and enter into a private room with Jesus out of my desire to hear from Him. Time in His presence is like a “spreading fragrance” and I run into His presence each morning, longing to experience intimacy with Him as I cling to His words.
I am dark but beautiful, O women of Jerusalem –
dark as tents of Kedar, dark as the curtains of Solomon’s tents.
Don’t stare at me because I am dark – the sun has darkened my skin.
My brothers were angry with me; they forced me to care for their vineyards,
so I couldn’t care for myself – my own vineyard.
Tell me, my love, where are you leading your flock today?
Where will you rest your sheep at noon?
For why should I wander like a prostitute among your friends and their flocks? – Song of Songs 1:5-7
I look at myself and I see the dark nature that is mine when I live life away from my Savior. Everything under the sun that I have experienced in life has left its scars and dirt on me. Exposure to this life has darkened me. But where are you going today, Lord? I long to be with you, participating in your work today rather than working in someone else’s fields. I desire to give you all of my love rather than sharing my love and desires with what this world has to offer.
If you don’t know, O most beautiful woman, follow the trail of my flock,
and graze your young goats by the shepherds’ tents.
You are exciting, my darling, as a mare among Pharoah’s stallions.
How lovely are your cheeks; your earring set them afire!
How lovely is your neck, enhanced by a string of jewels.
We will make for you earrings of gold and beads of silver. – Song of Songs 1:8-11
How beautiful! He looks at me – looks beyond the darkness of my past and sees the beauty of my future. He sees what He can make out of my life! He says – If you don’t know what to do and where to go, follow me! Those who follow after Him have left a trail for me to walk in. Those who have accepted the calling of “shepherd” have prepared a field in which I can graze and grow in my understanding of my Savior. The horse represents the beauty and strength that is within me. He looks beyond the scars on the outside and sees the beauty and potential He created inside of me.
The king is lying on his couch, enchanted by the fragrance of my perfume.
My lover is like a sachet of myrrh lying between my breasts.
He is like a bouquet of sweet henna blossoms from the vineyards of En-gedi.
How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful!
Your eyes are like doves.
You are so handsome, my love, pleasing beyond words!
The soft grass is our bed; fragrant cedar branches are the beams of our house, and pleasant smelling firs are the rafters. – Song of Songs 1:12-17
Lord, thank you for the couch – the place of rest – you prepared for me this morning. We met together and you found me beautiful. We met together and I found your love like nothing I can obtain in this life around me, like the myrrh and sweet henna blossoms. It is like something distant and beyond my reach that you graciously bring close to me.
A relationship with you, Jesus, is pleasing beyond words! You give me a comfortable place to lie and a firm foundation on which to build my life, while also giving me blessings to make this spiritual journey pleasant. Thank you for your “kisses” – for giving me a word from Your mouth this morning. My heart desires to hear from you and I am not disappointed. I drink in your presence like a delicious cup of my morning coffee.
[Aletha Hinthorn’s book RECEIVE HIS LOVE can be found at http://www.cometothefire.org/books/]