Today’s Reading: Song of Songs 3-5
Yesterday we began looking at Song of Songs from the perspective presented by Aletha Hinthorn in her book “Receive His Love.” There are many different interpretations of this beautiful, poetic story. I am comfortable with many of the existing views. We can look at this book from the perspective of a passionate young couple in love and enjoying the sexuality given to them by God, and we can see that God created us to love in this way.
We can also choose to read the book from a different perspective – to consider how much God loves us and how He provides intimacy when we purposefully spend time with Him. This relationship with God is different from, yet can also be compared to, the intense love of a man and woman. I can see that God loves me strongly and I can become passionate about my spiritual relationship with Him.
My brothers were angry with me; they forced me to care for their vineyards,
so I couldn’t care for myself – my own vineyard. – Song of Songs 1:6b
How often are we so busy doing for other people that we fail to take care of ourselves? We are so busy working in the vineyard – living life, maybe even doing ministry – that we fail to make time to slip away into the quiet God is calling us to.
Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love,
the grapevines are blossoming. – Song of Songs 2:15
The grapevines are blossoming. We are growing in our relationship with God but beware of the foxes. Beware of the little things in life that creep in and prevent us from experiencing intimacy with God. They become distractions and they seek to ruin the vineyard. We become so focused on the foxes that we find ourselves feeling distant once again from God. We look around and wonder where He is. We have lost our focus and need to find it again.
One night as I lay in bed, I yearned for my lover.
I yearned for him, but he did not come.
So I said to myself, “I will get up and roam the city,
searching in all its streets and squares.
I will search for the one I love.”
So I searched everywhere but did not find him.
The watchmen stopped me as they made their rounds, and I asked, “Have you seen the one I love?”
Then scarcely had I left them when I found my love! – Song of Songs 3:1-4a
Where is God? We have all found ourselves, at one time or another, asking that question. We have faith to believe He is present, but we also have a strong need to feel His presence because of the severity of our circumstances. We yearn for His touch. We slip away to a quiet place and listen for Him, searching for comfort and peace.
When we seek God, we will find Him. When we search for intimacy with our Savior, He will come to us and provide a place for us to be strengthened and refreshed by Him. His left arm will support our head, giving us rest when we are weary or comfort when we are mourning. His right arm will embrace us. We will feel the arms of God loving us and holding us up in even the most difficult of situations.
Like the finest apple tree in the orchard is my lover among other young men.
I sit in his delightful shade and taste his delicious fruit.
He escorts me to the banquet hall; IT’S OBVIOUS HOW MUCH HE LOVES ME.
Strengthen me with raisin cakes, refresh me with apples, for I am weak with love.
His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me. – Song of Songs 2:3-6
God’s love feels just like King Solomon described. It feels like being wrapped in the strong arms of your Father – it feels safe, warm and comforting.
My lover said to me, “Rise up, my darling!
Come away with me, my fair one!
Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone.
The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come
and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.
The fig trees are forming young fruit, and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming.
Rise up, my darling!
Come away with me, my fair one!” – Song of Songs 2:10-13
Oh, how He loves us! He calls to us – come away with me! He longs for us to step out of the chaos and noise and experience intimacy with Him. When we look at ourselves, we may see how our experiences and choices have “darkened” us, but He loving calls out, “Come away with me, my fair one!” This kind of love reminds me of one of my favorite songs in Christian music playing today – “How He Loves Me” by John Mark McMillan and sang by David Crowder.
“He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.
And oh, how He loves us, oh,
Oh, how He loves us,
How He loves us all…”
[If you are looking for a good book on Song of Songs, I recommend Aletha Hinthorn’s book RECEIVE HIS LOVE – http://www.cometothefire.org/books/]