Saturday, March 28, 2009

I Belong to My Lover

“I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me” (Song of Songs 7:10).

Song of Songs is, on one level, about marriage & marital intimacy. But Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:31, 32 that marriage is about much more than simply marriage. It is a shadow of Christ & the church. Taking our cues from Paul, Song of Songs is about the intimate relationship to which we have been called in Christ.

I belong…

We know from verses such as 1 Peter 1:19 that we belong to God because he bought us with the precious blood of Jesus. But this is a merely legal ownership. Song of Songs speaks of an ownership based on mutual desire, a covenant in which both partners willingly forsake all others to belong to one another. Exodus 21:2-6 gives laws about Hebrew slaves and brings out the difference between these two types of ownership. By law, Hebrew slaves had to be released after serving 7 years. “But,” the law says, “if the servant declares, ‘I love my master…and do not want to go free’…he will be his servant for life” (Ex. 21:5,6). One slave serves his master then takes his freedom. Another gives up his freedom & himself out of love for his master. Many came to Jesus to be fed, healed, or delivered, then went their way. Ten lepers were healed but only one worshiped the Lord. Crowds thronged after Jesus but only 12 gave themselves to Him (Mark 10:28).
Another poor, but functional analogy would be buying a cat. Once we pay the price, the cat is released from her pet store cage & comes to our home. She belongs to us, but whether any affection or closeness develops is another matter. Likewise, we may be purchased, we may belong to Jesus, we may enjoy being fed by Him and reap the benefits of being in His household, but intimacy with Him is another matter. It is this belonging of intimacy that Song of Songs presents.

I belong to my lover…

I belong to my Lover—not to one who expects me to please him; not to the 10 commandments; not to ministries; not to a denomination. I belong to my Lover. I belong to Him who is so taken with me that He says, “You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance from your eyes” (SOS 4:9). He is the King of kings. All authority in heaven and on earth rests with Him (Matt. 28:18). But I know Him in His chambers, where His kingly garb is gone, where His scepter is laid aside, where His commands are the kisses of His mouth (SOS 1:2).

I belong to my lover, and His desire is for me.

His desire is not for me to do something or be something. His desire is for me, period. Before His eyes, I am uncovered and laid bare, but He says, “All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you” (Heb. 4:13; SOS 4:7). His response to my nakedness is desire. There is no shame, no reproach. His arms enfold and cover me. His banner over me is love (SOS 2:4, 6).
We need to hear the viewpoint of our Lover: “Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens,” “your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely,” “Sixty queens there may be…but my dove, my perfect one, is unique” (SOS 2:2, 2:14, 6:8-9). Sometimes we may secretly feel that God merely tolerates us, that He is obligated to put up with us because of the blood of Jesus. We may acknowledge He loves us yet feel that we can’t be very appealing to Him. Song of Songs shows us that there is no such mixture in God’s thoughts toward us. His desire is for us. He wants us. He is head over heels in love, without reservation, without cold feet. Only by knowing the totality of His love for us will we be changed and love Him unreservedly in return (1 John 4:19).

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