Holy God, accept my praise; Your grace is amazing, Your love is unending. I’m glad to be with You now.
Read Song of Songs 2:8-3:11
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
“Love is patient, love is kind. … It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (1Cor. 13:4-5). We need God’s enabling to love like this.
If the first set of songs we read yesterday concentrates on the joys of closeness and intimacy, today’s begins with movement. First, the man is described as vigorous, leaping sure-footedly like a gazelle, a combination of beauty and strength. Yet he is patient and loving with her (2:9b). Happily, their growing love coincides with the spring, and there is a feeling of innocence in these exchanges. But there is also a sense in which every vineyard in the Bible alludes to Israel as God’s people and every garden is a Garden of Eden, with its reminder of sin and lost paradise. So here, in v. 15, there are foxes that will ruin the vines. They are only little foxes, but it’s interesting that there is an element of caution, even in the most passionate outpourings.
“My lover is mine, and I am his” (2:16); that strong sense of mutual assurance is a world away from seeing the bride as an object of exchange, of ownership in a one-sided way. It is also a good reason why adultery is to be taken seriously–because every desirable person is someone else’s.
Can we–should we–say of our relationship with Jesus that “I am his, and he is mine, forever and forever” in the words of an old hymn? Jesus makes it very clear that, for his part, he will keep us (John 6:36-39). The emotionality of that hymn comes from a time when evangelical Christianity was accused of appealing too much to the emotions, and there may still be some truth in that. We need not be afraid of the emotions we might feel when we realize the extent of God’s love for us; the difficulty comes when that feeling is no longer there, and is replaced by habit or fearfulness.
Thank God for his faithfulness. What can you do to show your faithfulness to him and to those close to you?
Father, grant me wisdom to know how to pray about this aspect of life. May I be faithful and show others what true faithfulness is and means.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.