Rightly Do They Love You (Song of Songs 1:4 part 2)

I haven’t blogged about Song of Songs since October, but I’ve still been reading and meditating on it, of course. And it is high time I continue my journey through it with all of you.

“We will exult and rejoice in you;” Song of Songs 1:4d

The speakers here are the “others,” the daughters of Jerusalem, the community of believers. Of course, since the speaker attributions aren’t actually in the original text, different translations interpret who says what slightly differently at times. I think, though, that the content of what is said is in this case more important than who technically says it.

I love this rejoicing in Jesus. HE is our celebration. It’s not even rejoicing in his blessings; it’s just simply celebrating who he is, though of course who he is is expressed and displayed in what he does. But like lovers enjoy one another’s personalities and not only actions, so our purest worship and joy is centred solely on Jesus’ heart.

I will rejoice in you, in your character, in the very essence of your personality. I celebrate who you are–who you have always been, who you will always be.

“Yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:18
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10 (Dang, now there’s a verse that deserves a blog post unto itself!)

“We will extol your love more than wine; rightly do they love you.” Song of Songs 1:4e

Here’s the wine motif again. And I love that word “extol.” To me, this sounds like “I can’t stop talking about your love, more than any other thing or pleasure.”

I extol a lot of stuff. A friend asked me yesterday what Doctor Who was all about, anyway. I talked for ten minutes, and I daresay she understood about half of what I said. I would have gone on longer if I hadn’t ought to get back to work. I love Doctor Who; give me half a chance and my praise of it just bubbles out.

But Jesus is the ultimate one worthy of our extolment. (Yes, that’s a word, I looked it up.) He is so, so worthy. Rightly do we love him. He actually deserves every ounce of adoration I could ever give and infinitely more. Not just because he’s God– many “gods” throughout mythology have proven themselves so unworthy of worship by their character alone. He deserves love because of his deep love. He is good, he is holy, he is so completely humble and sacrificial. This is the God who is worth extolling above everything else.

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

As a matter of fact, the New King James Version says, “We will remember your love more than wine.” The word translated either remember or extol is the Hebrew זכר, zakar, means “to mark (so as to be recognized), that is, to remember; by implication to mention” and is variously translated in the NASB as be mindful, boast, celebrate, mention, and remind. (Strong) It’s a public remembering, not only private, telling the story again and again so that everyone can honour the subject together.

And what is the story we tell? Why is it right and fitting for us to love him? What is the ultimate expression of his worth?

“And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.'” Revelation 5:9-10

He is worthy because of the love expressed on the cross. He didn’t stop short of that, but gave everything. That’s what we love him for.

“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.” Philippians 2:8-9

Let Us Run (Song 1:4)

This should have been posted yesterday, but I instead spent the afternoon reading Mortal by Ted Dekker and the evening reading The Host by Stephanie Meyer. I do not see any contradiction in this, nor am I ashamed of my use of time yesterday. Except that I neglected to post a blog. Boo me.

So back into the game–here’s another taste of my thoughts on the Song of Songs!

“Draw me after you;” Song of Songs 1:4a

This verse is my absolute favourite of chapter one. I love the yearning in it, the longing for intimacy, partnership, adventure. Draw me after you, Jesus. Seduce me. Woo my heart.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” Hosea 2:14

He draws me away into the secret place by revealing his beauty and whispering his love for me until my faze is completely captured and my heart is overwhelmed with love. All the world is so still there; nothing else exists. Everything else fades away and it’s just the two of us, gazing at each other, whispering tenderly to each other’s hearts. When he begins to open my eyes to who he is, who I am, and the glorious destiny he has planned for us together, every fear and doubt fades away and my only desire is to follow him forever.

“Let us run.” Song of Songs 1:4b

Then comes the running. Let us run, Jesus. I want to run with you.

I picture Jesus taking my hand, winking at me, and whispering, “Run.” And then off we go, leaping over mountains together. Oh, the running. Seriously, there’s an outrageous amount of running involved.

Okay, Whovians, I know you know (I know you know) exactly where I’m going with this. Think of that first moment when the Doctor took Rose’s hand in the dark when she was about to be attacked. She had never seen him before, but in that moment he became her saviour. He said only one word: “Run.” And they ran together through all of time and space. For the Doctor and his companions, it’s always the running–to danger, from danger, always together, always running.

That’s me and Jesus.

What does running with Jesus actually look like on this planet? What sort of adventures are in Jesus’ heart? I think running with him is partnering with the passions of his heart. It’s Isaiah 61:1-3, for starters:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

Running with Jesus means running to the battle, whether that’s in intercession, justice, evangelism, whatever. It’s all of these and more, maybe in the nations of the world, maybe in your corner grocery store. It’s bringing hope, freedom, joy, and beauty. It’s proclaiming the favour of the Lord, and also his righteous judgment. It’s seeing what he’s doing in the world around you, and acting with him to bring his Kingdom. There is a massively glorious partnership here. We do all of this with his hand in ours, having been drawn away in intimacy so that our heart beats in unison with his. We know his  voice and we move when he moves.

And then the most glorious phrase of all–

“The king has brought me into his chambers.” Song of Songs 1:4c

The King of Kings, my King, has drawn me into the place of deepest intimacy. This is the place of encounter. This is the Holy of Holies.

I don’t even know how to write about this. A deep, warm silence falls on me every time I think of it.

The King has brought me into his chambers.

I’ll leave you with that, then. Go meditate. Ask the King to draw you away into the most secret places of his heart.

And then you’ve got an awful lot of running to do.

Better Than Wine (Song 1:1-3)

One thing IHOPKC is really big on is the Song of Solomon. That’s perfect for me, because I am too. It’s been my favourite book for years. I’ve savoured all of it, even though I’ve only understood pieces of it. It’s so great to finally get some good solid teaching on it verse by verse as a spiritual allegory. If you like, you can get the whole series free HERE from mikebickle.org. I’m just going to share the first little bit of the Song today, because there’s sooooo much good stuff but these first few verses are what I’ve spent the most time with. And I’m just going to summarise a few highlights; there are like three or four bombshells per verse you can get from Mike’s notes. Do it.

The Song of Solomon, also called the Song of Songs (my preferred title), has two main ways to interpret it: the natural interpretation, which celebrates romantic love between a man and a woman leading to marriage, and the allegorical interpretation, which celebrates the love between Jesus and his Bride. This can certainly be taken for the Church as a whole, but it also works beautifully to see it as an individual journey between you and Jesus.

“The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s.” Song 1:1

The best song ever, the ultimate. It’s like what we mean when we say “King of kings and Lord of lords.”

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!” Song 1:2a 

This is the woman, the Bride, speaking. Notice that she’s not talking to her beloved; the first sentence is to a third party. In the allegorical interpretation, that would be the Father. She is asking the Father to let Jesus kiss her. What does it mean to have Jesus kiss you with the kisses of his mouth? What proceeds from God’s mouth? It’s his Word. “…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) So really what she’s saying is this: “Father, let Jesus kiss me with the kisses of his Word!” She longs for that tender caress of hearing Jesus’ words spoken to her heart. (Insert all of Psalm 119 here.)

This has become one of my favourite things to pray. I long for that touch, that intimacy. And I love that it comes through his Word! Logos and rhema, Greek scholars– the written word and the word spoken by the Spirit to my heart. That’s where my life comes from.

“For your love is better than wine.” Song 1:2b

The second part of verse two is spoken to Jesus. “Jesus, your love is better than wine.”  She’s declaring her priorities, and saying that more pleasure can be found in his love than in any other kind of pleasure available anywhere. Nothing can satisfy like his love can. We were given the capacity to experience love and pleasure because HE is the ultimate love and pleasure! Why do we run to so many other things when his love is better than all of it?

And it’s not just the sinful or even the neutral pleasures of this world, either. His love is even better than his blessings. He gives so many good things, but his raw LOVE is better than them all.

“You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” Psalm 4:7
“…In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! …” Psalm 34:8

“Your anointing oils are fragrant” Song 1:3a

Guys, what does Jesus smell like? What scents surround his throne? Can you even imagine? It must be so sweet, heavy, wild, intoxicating.

Paul talked about the “fragrance of the knowledge of [God.]” (2 Corinthians 2:14) I like that idea, but I also think it has to do with the fragrance of sacrifice. “…as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:2)

How do you release the fragrance from a plant? You crush it. “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) His crushing released the fragrance.

I want to take in Jesus’ wild, sweet fragrance. I want the scent of heaven to saturate me.

“Your name is oil poured out” Song 1:3b

His name is the essence of his character; it encompasses all of who he is. He is like oil poured out… Mike talks about his name being poured out over all the nations, his fame spreading and his glory covering the earth. I like that, but continuing the sacrifice theme makes it more personal to me.

“And he said to them, ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.'” Mark 14:24

Paul talked about being “poured out as a drink offering.” (Philippians 2:17; 2 Timothy 4:6) How much more was Jesus poured out for us? He poured out his blood like wine, like oil, flowing down that cross and covering us.

“Therefore virgins love you.” Song 1:3c

“We love him because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

His love draws us in. His love seduces us. Even those who only know him a little bit, ie new believers, can’t help but love him. Our love is a response to the revelation of his love. You want to love Jesus more? Get a revelation of his love for you.

And I think I’ll stop there for today. I’ll save my favourite verse of chapter 1 for next time. 🙂