THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE
‘Jesus lover of my soul … Thou, O Christ, art all I want.’1
Read Song of Songs 5:2 – 6:3
2 I slept but my heart was awake.
Listen! My beloved is knocking:
“Open to me, my sister, my darling,
my dove, my flawless one.
My head is drenched with dew,
my hair with the dampness of the night.”
3 I have taken off my robe—
must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet—
must I soil them again?
4 My beloved thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
my heart began to pound for him.
5 I arose to open for my beloved,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh,
on the handles of the bolt.
6 I opened for my beloved,
but my beloved had left; he was gone.
My heart sank at his departure.[a]
I looked for him but did not find him.
I called him but he did not answer.
7 The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
They beat me, they bruised me;
they took away my cloak,
those watchmen of the walls!
8 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you—
if you find my beloved,
what will you tell him?
Tell him I am faint with love.
9 How is your beloved better than others,
most beautiful of women?
How is your beloved better than others,
that you so charge us?
10 My beloved is radiant and ruddy,
outstanding among ten thousand.
11 His head is purest gold;
his hair is wavy
and black as a raven.
12 His eyes are like doves
by the water streams,
washed in milk,
mounted like jewels.
13 His cheeks are like beds of spice
His lips are like lilies
dripping with myrrh.
14 His arms are rods of gold
set with topaz.
His body is like polished ivory
decorated with lapis lazuli.
15 His legs are pillars of marble
set on bases of pure gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon,
choice as its cedars.
16 His mouth is sweetness itself;
he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved, this is my friend,
daughters of Jerusalem.
6 Where has your beloved gone,
most beautiful of women?
Which way did your beloved turn,
that we may look for him with you?
2 My beloved has gone down to his garden,
to the beds of spices,
to browse in the gardens
and to gather lilies.
3 I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine;
he browses among the lilies.
- Song of Songs 5:6 Or heart had gone out to him when he spoke
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink of a difficult season you’ve had in a relationship. How did it resolve?
Late at night the doorbell rings. But when we get there, the person has gone! We can sympathize. Is this a dream (5:2) reflecting the girl’s fears, or is it an actual episode in the couple’s relationship? Either way, it suggests that there is some difficulty – ‘my heart sank’ (5:6).
Her lover – ‘drenched with dew’ – has been out through the night (5:2). The conversation through the door reveals, perhaps, playful and arch reproach: (‘Shall I get dressed again?,’ 5:3). Then he is gone and she begins her desperate search which ends in tears (5:7). ‘Is he worth it?’ friends ask (5:9). When driven to distraction by some aspect of your efforts to live faithfully as a disciple of Jesus, are you sometimes tempted to give up? Perhaps you have friends who ask you, ‘Is it really worth it?’
In response, echoing the man’s earlier words (4:1–15), the woman describes her lover (5:10–16). Again, such images in our western twenty-first century world may make us smile. But the sensual, rich picture points to a deep love: ‘This is my beloved … my friend’ (5:16). This is not some superficial infatuation, but a profound relationship. ‘OK,’ her friends say, ‘we’ll help you find him’ (6:1). The young woman reasserts her commitment to him: ‘I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine’ (6:3).
1Charles Wesley, 1707-1788, ‘Jesus, lover of my soul’
Have you wavered or become lax in your relationship with God? How can you reassert your commitment to Jesus today?
Christ, be my all in all. Be my first and last thought, my bright and morning star.