© 2008 by Minister Deidre Campbell-Jones
February Theme: Love
Lover: Solomon 1:4; Solomon 8:6-7
Friend: Solomon 5:16; John 3:29
My husband is an actor. Recently he had pictures taken for new headshots. Every time he does, he always chooses a picture that is so handsome he almost looks like a different person. You see, on a daily basis my husband is cute and attractive. Every once in a while he’ll show up looking “not-so-cute” and frequently he “cleans” up to be very handsome (much like his headshot) for one occasion or another. But in this particular round of pictures there was one (that he and his management team did not choose) that is decidedly H.O.T!! Good grief! I have never seen this man before!
Of course, I snatched the picture, and I tease my husband by calling this particularly gorgeous picture of him, “my boyfriend”. And when I do, my husband makes a decidedly, very “un-cute” face and amusingly complains that I only like “that guy” because he’s a “rough-neck” and a “heart-breaker” – the kind of guy that is bad news. I answered him yesterday with a deeply longing sigh, and said, “Yeah, you’re right – but the good news is, I’m married to him.” Oh, if only he’d show up! Admittedly I think I would be giddy if my husband revealed this side of himself to me – truly that could be every woman’s dream – the full package. Knowing he’s got it inside of him really makes me anticipate the possibility of seeing “him” with excitement – much to my husband’s confusion (and now embarrassment, I’m sure)!
“Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.” Solomon 1:4 – and in fact this entire very short, very romantic book, specifically describes a bride and groom, two lovers who are mad about each other! The bride in this particular verse is saying if he, her lover and husband King Solomon, would just beckon her, just call to her; she would run to him. He has brought her into his most intimate places and likens his deep love for her as his private chambers – and the love she finds there is sweet, intoxicating and righteous. Throughout the whole of the book, this young bride describes how handsome, and how alluring and enticing her husband is. He is a roe, he is a buck, and he is a stallion! And yet he is gentle, romantic, sweet and loving. Solomon was one bad (shut ‘yo mouth)! And trust me, he knew it! He embraced exactly who he was!
Now you know God did not just have the Song of Solomon included in our Holy Writ as simply a pure and holy example of a loving and intimate marriage. No, the whole book is a parable of God’s love for his people and the love he desires us to have with him! It is supposed to be an intimate, enticing, joyously exciting and loving relationship filled with the anticipation of spending time with Him in the privacy of the King’s chambers!
Apparently, many good men, (nice men, decent men and especially righteous men) have difficulty looking at themselves as being enticing, intimate lovers. How much more difficult then is it for ANY man to think of a relationship with God in this manner!? A deeply intimate and romantic relationship with God!? It seems blasphemous and sacrilegious, as well as indescribably impossible, even at the writing of it!
And yet one tiny verse in the middle of the Book of Solomon explains it this way: “His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.” (vs. 5:16)
Have you ever had a friend closer to you than any girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse? This is the kind of friend who knows the intimate details of your life and who understands the intricate details of your heart and being. This friend gives without reservation, loves unconditionally, laughs wholeheartedly, and seeks your presence with anticipation! I had a friend like this once and I remember telling her, “If I ever find a man who is just like you, he’ll be the PERFECT husband.”
John 3:29 describes this perfect friend and husband: “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.” Does God fulfill your joy? No man can do it – not even for himself. Lovers can't do it at all and no spouse can do it all. And friends, as well as their intimate, joyful friendships can be but for a season.
Believe it or not, God is aching for, longing for, and anticipating this deep and abiding, intimate lover and friendship relationship with each of us. Daily He finds ways to call to us, waiting for us to run to Him. But so often we look right through Him, not recognizing the intimacy He offers; looking instead to someone here on Earth for the intimacy they are incapable of giving, sustaining, recognizing or accepting for themselves.
Think of your lover or your spouse on their best day, and that friend you’d rather be with more than anyone else. This is the relationship God wants to have with us and more. Solomon 8:6-7 “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love; neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.”
What can a man (or woman) give if he doesn’t know he has it? What can a man (or woman) accept if he doesn’t know what it is he wants?
God knows what we have because He has created us in His own image. God knows the intimacy we are capable of because He has created us according to His likeness. The unfortunate part is we don’t recognize it in ourselves. We shun it, reject it, try to extract it and deny it. And when we see these qualities we don’t recognize in others, in our friends, lovers, spouses, children, parents and neighbors, we denounce them, chastise and chide the individual for them, and withdraw from them. And until we embrace the “all” of ourselves, the whole of our being just as God created us; we cannot accept the whole of His being and the whole of the intimate loving relationship He is offering to us.
If we were to look at ourselves through God’s eyes, we would see beauty; sweet, enticing, alluring, dynamic, exciting, powerful, joyful, and lovable beauty. And trust me, God LOVES what He sees! If we were to see that in ourselves, and more so if we were to love that in ourselves, how much more would we see and love that in the Lord our God? God is waiting for us to embrace the creations He has made! Oh, my sweet embraceable me!
Your Home Study homework: Last week you read about a friend who sticks closer than a brother, consider this week the friend who sticks closer than a lover. How does this concept relate to our lesson above as well as through Matthew 22:37?
(Note: Aspects of this lesson are taken from the book “Father, Brother, Lover, Friend: Finding “The One”, expected to be released by Destination Publications in June 2009.)