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Song of Songs : Lovely by Love

A close look at Song of Songs, also known as Song of Solomon reveals its value as a reminder of how much God loves us. It also can be a book that shares what our worship of God should be like. I began this discussion with the two previous posts, “Song of Songs Study” and “More Passion.” In “More Passion,” I suggested that we all look back on what it was that drew us to Christ and declared that I believe love for God accomplishes more worship than fear of God does. I’d like to support that thinking with this post.

I begin where we left off in Chapter 1 of Song of Songs with Song of Songs 1: 5 –  7

Dark am I, yet lovely,
daughters of Jerusalem,
dark like the tents of Kedar,
like the tent curtains of Solomon.
Do not stare at me because I am dark,
because I am darkened by the sun.
My mother’s sons were angry with me
and made me take care of the vineyards;
my own vineyard I had to neglect.
Tell me, you whom I love,
where you graze your flock
and where you rest your sheep at midday.
Why should I be like a veiled woman
beside the flocks of your friends?

 

Love is understanding God 1: 5-6

I hear from people that claim to be atheist or agnostic that one thing that turns them off to Christianity is the judgmental attitude of many who identify as Christians. I know that part of that stems from the correct teaching that only those who put their faith and trust in Christ are going to Heaven. For those who do not fully understand the Gospel that sounds like if you don’t believe the way I do, you’re no good. When truly the Gospel declares, there is none good. That’s why Christ died. Then He raised himself up so that he could send his Spirit to live with us to help us experience the perfect life.

I also have been around long enough to see that we Christians help fuel the misunderstanding that we are good but no one else is good when we keep trying to “convict” people of their sins instead of convincing people of His love for all people, no matter their race, religion, nationality, life style or even political views. God’s Holy Spirit convicts. We need to stop trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit. If the politics are wrong or the life style is hurtful, then a loving God  can change the heart. I understand that a person needs to acknowledge their lost and needy condition before they can seek restoration from that, but they will hear it better coming from an equally lost and dependent person warning them out of love, not pride or prejudice.  That is what the Gospel is – a dark soul romanced by the Holy King and the continual building of that love relationship. The King sees the loveliness of whoever you are or whatever you’ve done – good or bad. The Gospel reveals our unworthiness without Him and our loveliness with Him.

Dark am I, yet lovely,
daughters of Jerusalem,
dark like the tents of Kedar,
like the tent curtains of Solomon. (verse 5)

I want to emphasize the point that I, as a Christian, should not use the Gospel to belittle someone. It is still factual that we are all “dark” and being judgmental, prejudice, envious and hateful comes naturally to all of us. An agnostic declaring conservative Christianity judgmental is also a judgment often based on stereo-types which is a form of prejudice. An atheist declaring there is no God because there is evil in the world is a judgment based on human understanding of a God they really don’t know and a narrow view of the way the world works. The Christian who hates anyone is responding to their human nature and not the King. We all need a relationship with God before we can even truly be honest with ourselves and understand our world. We often neglect “our own vineyard” because we are too busy tending others vineyards. This cools the passion for the King and responds to the human nature of selfish pride. Too many of us Christians stall here confusing good deeds and religious practices for love and worship.

Do not stare at me because I am dark,
because I am darkened by the sun.
My mother’s sons were angry with me
and made me take care of the vineyards;
my own vineyard I had to neglect. (verse 6)

Love encourages a relationship with God Who truly loves us, 1:7

The reality is that all of us are dark and struggle between right and wrong, morality and immorality and ethical behavior and unethical behavior. We choose poorly sometimes. In the passage above, the Bride is speaking to the audience, not the King-lover, verse five calls them out as the “daughters of Jerusalem.” The verse above written in The Message version says, “Don’t look down on me because I am dark.” When others look down on us, it can cause us to question our worthiness. Those who know and understand God’s love – those who truly love Him and not fear him – turn to him when they are feeling discouraged, depressed or disappointed.

Tell me, you whom I love,
where you graze your flock
and where you rest your sheep at midday.
Why should I be like a veiled woman
beside the flocks of your friends? (verse 7)

There are several thoughts on the interpretation of “veiled woman.”  I lean more toward Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers.

“probably the idea involved is the obvious one that a person with the head muffled up would not find her way easily, as we might say, ‘Why should I go about blindfold?” http://biblehub.com/commentaries/songs/1-7.htm

The Bride-to-be is wandering about alone and longing for her lover. On our own even the smartest, most experienced of us are limited in our ability to overcome our natural instincts to be prideful, desirous of more, jealous and prejudice. We need the strength and especially the holiness of God, constantly. It is the hardest thing for us to admit, but I believe it is true and that is why we resist the notion strongly. We wander about searching for answers: Why do bad things happen to good people? Why can’t we just get along? Why can’t I just stop that habit or conquer this addiction or overcome this depression? Why can’t I be happy?

The Gospel is not I’m a sinner and I needed a Savior once and now, some how I’m perfect. I still will have prejudices that I don’t even realize myself. I will still feel disappointments and hurts that I may not be strong enough on my own to conquer. The Gospel is I’m a sinner and constantly need my King-lover to romance me, support me, encourage me and make my common life extraordinary by changing the focus from self-centered to God-centered.

Categories: Life Love Passion Purpose Understanding

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Douglas Knight

I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at douglasknight85@gmail.com.

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