The Joy And Pain Of Love
God of light and all comfort, today I want to meet You anew, and discover Your joy in different ways and places.
Read SONG OF SONGS 2:8—3:11
8 Listen! My beloved!
Look! Here he comes,
leaping across the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
9 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Look! There he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattice.
10 My beloved spoke and said to me,
“Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, come with me.
11 See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me.”
14 My dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the hiding places on the mountainside,
show me your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.
15 Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom.
16 My beloved is mine and I am his;
he browses among the lilies.
17 Until the day breaks
and the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
on the rugged hills.
3 All night long on my bed
I looked for the one my heart loves;
I looked for him but did not find him.
2 I will get up now and go about the city,
through its streets and squares;
I will search for the one my heart loves.
So I looked for him but did not find him.
3 The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
“Have you seen the one my heart loves?”
4 Scarcely had I passed them
when I found the one my heart loves.
I held him and would not let him go
till I had brought him to my mother’s house,
to the room of the one who conceived me.
5 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.
6 Who is this coming up from the wilderness
like a column of smoke,
perfumed with myrrh and incense
made from all the spices of the merchant?
7 Look! It is Solomon’s carriage,
escorted by sixty warriors,
the noblest of Israel,
8 all of them wearing the sword,
all experienced in battle,
each with his sword at his side,
prepared for the terrors of the night.
9 King Solomon made for himself the carriage;
he made it of wood from Lebanon.
10 Its posts he made of silver,
its base of gold.
Its seat was upholstered with purple,
its interior inlaid with love.
Daughters of Jerusalem, 11 come out,
and look, you daughters of Zion.
Look on King Solomon wearing a crown,
the crown with which his mother crowned him
on the day of his wedding,
the day his heart rejoiced.
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.
Being in love can at times be a roller-coaster ride. Think of the ups and downs you’ve experienced. Are there parallels in your experience of God?
Dreaming about one’s lover, by day or night, is part of being in love. In 2:10–14 the woman reports the words of her lover. Most commentators regard 3:1–4 as a dream sequence. The use of the same Hebrew verb (“arise,” “get up”) in 3:2 as in 2:10 and 13 seems to link it to what has gone before. The whole passage may be a description of what goes on in the woman’s imagination.
She thinks of the excitement that grips her whenever she sees her lover approaching. Overcoming all obstructions, he arrives and calls her to join him in the lovely spring countryside. All commentators find 2:15 puzzling. Perhaps the woman is being a bit coy: “Let’s take care that we don’t go too fast and spoil things.” However, she luxuriates in knowing that theirs is a committed relationship of mutuality (2:16). Her words evoke the covenant formula, “I will be your God and you will be my people” (Lev. 26:12; Jer. 7:23). Then the nightmare comes. She fears she has lost him and searches frantically for him. Four times in 3:1–4 she refers to “the one my soul (heart) loves.” Maybe the poet expects us to remember the first commandment: Love the Lord your God… with all
your soul” (Deut. 6:5, quoted by Jesus in Mark 12:29,30).
Relieved at finding him, she drags him to her “mother’s house” (3:4). The context suggests that mothers had a major role in arranging marriages in Israel (cf. Ruth 1:8,9). She then repeats her warning to others not to rush love (3:5). The danger is that we fall in love with love, its emotions and passions, instead of building a mutual, committed relationship like hers. In 3:6–11 she may be dreaming about her wedding day when she will be united with her “king.”
Is seeking emotional highs a “fox” (2:15), harming your attempts to build a good love relationship with someone or with God?
Lord, teach me about love, real love, Your kind of love. Fill me with that love. Guide me in that love so that I can live by that love.
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