|Posted by Lorraine Serra on February 12, 2016 at 12:45 PM|
Throughout Chapter 1 of Song of Solomon, we have learned of a unique love between the Beloved and the Shulamite shepherdess woman. Revealed for us is the picture of a King choosing an unlikely bride. Royalty embraces the commoner. It seems she may even have been an outcast of the community, yet she finds herself seated at the King's table.
What kind of love is this? Through the conversation in verses 7 through 17 we hear a sweet tenderness exchanged between these two lovers. I might call it a “triple threat” for any and all successful relationships: 3 Cs Compassion, Consideration, Compliments.
But, humility and respect are required from the start. Mutual humility and respect. After all, that is the essence of Christian love.
Let's look at what the Shulamite says in verse 7. She addresses her Beloved in humility and with respect, “Tell me, O you whom I love”. How's that for an opening line? She shares from her heart about being “one who veils herself”which is another way of saying “one who is an outcast”. She wants to know how to become one who is part of his flock, part of his community.
And there it is: the basic human desire to belong, to be valued and cherished, to be loved and appreciated.....would you say that is a high priority in your life? Some of us may take it for granted. I know that I do unless I pause to appreciate all the people in my life, both family and community.
Drifting happens when we fail to pause in our busyness and put aside our distractions. Be honest. Have you ever asked yourself, “Is that all there is?” “What am I missing?” In moments of frustration or exhaustion, do you ever suffer from “the grass is greener on the other side” syndrome?
Israel did, often drifting from their first love, the Almighty God. They went their own way looking for something better than the nurturing, protective relationship with Yahweh. They served other gods, and they served themselves. The result was always disastrous.
Solomon is again painting a symbolic picture and sending a message to Israel, that though she has been outside of God's will, His love remains firm, unchanging. He has waited for her to return to the flock of her own accord. God is so gracious and forgiving. He waits for us as well when we have wandered away.
And with great compassion, God shows Israel the way back. The Beloved tells his bride-to-be to return to the old ways. Follow in the footsteps of the flock and those who have gone before you. Join with the community and seek to serve God. He is all about restoration, second chances and a fresh start.
This foreshadows the incredible grace of Jesus Christ. “Come to Me, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
With consideration and compliments the Beloved encourages her and esteems her in verse 8: “If you do not know, O fairest among women.” How tender! How loving! We can be so careless with our words. How easy it is to blurt out a condescending and hurtful response when someone disappoints us or seems to have missed the incredibly obvious!
This model of 3 Cs, compassion, consideration and compliments, goes a long way to creating unity, peace and real love. The Beloved overflows with compliments, comparing her to the fine horses he brought up from Egypt, bold and strong and beautiful. He has adorned her with the finest gifts, chains of gold and ornaments, which set her apart as so special to him.
I read a beautiful interpretation of the symbolism here: As believers in Christ, we have been adorned with the finest gifts. Our ornaments are His peace, love, mercy, forgiveness, joy. Think about that for a minute. And Jesus is like the bundle of myrrh which the Shulamite describes in verse 13. His enormous, unchanging love is such a sweet and fragrant bouquet to hold tight.
What a gift! We hold Him in our hearts.
Because of Jesus' death on the cross, taking the punishment for our sin and wanderings, and His Resurrection to life eternal, we have received the finest ornaments of all: we are clothed in His righteousness and given an eternal position as a child of God.
Do you have a sense of this beauty in your life? Is this exquisite relationship with Jesus front and center? Perhaps you have a deep ache of loneliness, even within a relationship.
I have been there, too. I have felt lonely, overlooked, betrayed. It's a consequence of living among imperfect people. But, I have an unchanging, perfect, always available and present Lord who never fails me, who never leaves me, who never lets me down.
Do you know Him? Do you desire to be one with Him and His flock? Desire is the first step, then action.
Pray with me: Lord, I sometimes feel so empty, lost and confused. I run one way and then another. I desire to have an undivided heart. Forgive me for my wanderings, and please enter into my heart now. I want to know Your presence and Your peace. Settle me and center me, O Lord. With Your help, I am going to trust You and learn more of You. Thank you, Jesus, for loving me so much. Amen.
Our response as believers to this loving Lord is like the fragrance of an expensive ointment. Our awareness of His presence within us overflows all around us. And like the beams of cedar and rafters of fir described in verse 17, this relationship is very firm, very fine and very fragrant indeed.
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Categories: Song of Solomon