Song of Songs 2:8-15.
8 The voice of my beloved!
Behold, he comes,
leaping over the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
9 My beloved is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Behold, there he stands
behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
looking through the lattice.
10 My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away,
11 for behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
12 The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree ripens its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away.
14 O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
in the crannies of the cliff,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice,
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.
15 Catch the foxes for us,
the little foxes
that spoil the vineyards,
for our vineyards are in blossom.”
16 My beloved is mine, and I am his;
he grazes among the lilies.
If Ecclesiastes is meant to force us to confront the brevity of life and it’s futility, then the Song of Songs is meant to bring us face to face with our reason to keep living. Love.
The Song of Songs is a love story told on at least two levels. On the surface it is a simple story of two lovers, the Shulamite and her Shepherd, whose desire for one another drives them into each other’s arms despite all obstacles. But looking a bit deeper, the Song is the story of God’s love for his people. For those in Christ it is the story of Jesus the Shepherd’s great love for his Shulamite bride, the church. Christ the wild and free lover will never stop pursuing his love. You and me.
Over and over in the story we see the lovers separated, she behind her wall of fear and doubt. And yet there is a truth that strengthens her heart and sparks her faith and courage to pursue love over fear – My beloved is mine and I am his.
But how does she know that she belongs to her Shepherd, that she will always be his? Because the Shepherd first loved her (1 John 4:19). He keeps coming to her, calling through the wall, inviting her to run away with him – Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away.
Do you have any idea how much Jesus loves you today? Maybe you know in your head that he died for you and you can quote John 3:16. But have you ever read the Song of Songs just to hear Jesus singing to you? Can you see Jesus leaping over mountains and bounding over hills to get to you? Can you hear his voice saying leave behind your fear and shame, escape the walls of your self-preservation, and come away with me? Can you hear the One who longs to see your face and hear your voice more than anything? Can you gaze upon the beauty of the One who calls you lovely? Can you leave the winter rains of fear behind and join him in the life giving springtime of his love?
But it sure doesn’t feel like winter is past. Like the rain is over and gone. Where are the flowers and turtle doves? The figs and blossoms?
But this is the good news of the Song of Songs, and our love story with God: we always begin in the winter rain, but it is in the winter of life that hope is born. Jesus came to us in our winter rain. He leaped over the mountain of our shame and bounded the hill with his cross. He entered the grave of our death. But the Father’s love would not leave him there. On the third day he called out to the Son, Arise my love and come away.
And now “to live is Christ” means that Christ won’t leave us in the grave either. He won’t leave us behind the wall of our fear and shame. He is calling out to you and to me, Arise my love and come away. Meet me on the other side of the wall. Escape with me to the garden of my perfect love.
And as we hear his voice calling to us we can finally say my beloved is mine and I am his.
Do you know how much Jesus loves you?
You in Christ
How does your union with Christ allow you to hear Jesus’ voice calling you to come to him?
Christ in you
In what specific way can you live from the love of Jesus for you today?