“I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me.”
~ Song of Solomon 7:10
Solomon was famous for his wisdom and the ability to put down in words human thoughts and feelings that express our deepest and most intimate emotions. In his “songs”, Solomon captures the beauty and essence of human desire, love and devotion between a man and a woman. And it is portrayed at times, as to leave little to the imagination.
The spiritual significance of King Solomon’s words here relate to Christ and His Church. As the man in the “songs” pursues his beloved, the woman to whom he gives his love (vs.12), so Christ loves and pursues His Church. Jesus’ desire is for you to respond to His love and to pursue Him and to desire Him above all else. May our love and commitment to Christ be so evident, steadfast and sure, it leaves little to the imagination.
Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering.
~ Exodus 25:2 (NKJV)
The Christian religion has always been a matter of the heart. Form and fashion means very little to the Lord if the follower of God does not approach Him “with his heart”. Yes, we are commanded to bring our offerings. Certainly we should seek diligently to worship and serve the Lord. But even higher and greater than these lofty tasks is the willingness of the child of God to perform them from a love for the Lord with his whole heart.
Works are not required for the justification of our persons, but as an attestation of our love to God; not as the cause of our salvation, but as an evidence of our adoption.
~ Thomas Watson (1620-1686)
Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts,
Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts,
We turn unfilled to Thee again.
We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountain-head,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill!
Our restless spirits yearn for Thee,
Where’er our changeful lot is cast;
Glad when Thy gracious smile we see,
Blest, when our faith can hold Thee fast.
O Lord, be Thou our strength and stay!
Make all our moments calm and bright,
Chase all dark thoughts of sin away,
Shed o’er us here Thy holy light.
~ Bernard of Clairvaux
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart…”
~ 1 Peter 1:22 (NKJV)
The souls of Christians must be purified before they can so much as love one another unfeignedly. There are such lusts and partialities in man’s nature that without divine grace we can neither love God nor one another as we ought to do; there is no charity but out of a pure heart. It is the duty of all Christians sincerely and fervently to love one another. Our affection to one another must be sincere and real, and it must be fervent, constant, and extensive. The Spirit convinces the soul of its impurities, furnishes those virtues and graces that both adorn and purify, such as faith, hope, the fear of God, and the love of Jesus Christ.
~ Matthew Henry, Complete Commentary on the Bible
Lord, because you have made me, I owe you the whole of my love; because you have redeemed me, I owe you the whole of myself; because you have promised so much, I owe you my whole being. Moreover, I owe you as much more love than myself as you are greater than I, for whom you gave yourself and to whom you promised yourself. I pray you, Lord, make me taste by love what I taste by knowledge; let me know by love what I know by understanding. I owe you more than my whole self, but I have no more, and by myself I cannot render the whole of it to you. Draw me to you, Lord, in the fullness of your love. I am wholly yours by creation; make me all yours, too, in love.
~ Prayer of St. Anselm (1033-1109)
“My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me.”
~ Psalm 55:5 (NKJV)
In this Psalm, King David was dealing with two kinds of fears – external fears and internal fears. He feared the loss of the kingdom. He was being overthrown by his own son (see 2 Samuel 15:7-15). The nation was in tumult and confusion. He feared what would become of his throne and the future of Israel itself. He had all these external, or outward fears that had washed over him and consumed him.
Likewise, King David was dealing with heavy and severe inward fear as well. The Bible says David’s heart was severely pained with him. And I can imagine – not only was there a mutiny in the land of Israel, but it was at the hand of his most loved and cherished son. David was struggling with the fear of death – ‘the terror of death has fallen upon me’. David was on the run for his life from his own child. In this prayer, he simply confesses it has overwhelmed him.
Fear, both outward and inward, are not something reserved for people of old. God’s people deal with the reality of fear everyday. What do you fear? Do you fear illness? Failure? Change? Death? Whatever form it takes, our fears can, at times, overwhelm us.
Yet, when we truly put God first and fear Him the most, all other worldly fears melt away. Psalm 56:4 reads, “In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” Fear of the Lord. This fear, cast out the others. The more we come to worship, trust, love and serve and Him, the smaller our other fears will seem. David took his concerns to God in prayer and his God sustained and strengthen him to cast away his every fear.
O God, Who art the unsearchable abyss of peace, the ineffable sea of love, the fountain of blessings, and the bestower of affection, Who sendest peace to those that receive it; open to us this day the sea of Thy love, and water us with the plenteous streams from the riches of Thy grace. Make us children of quietness, and heirs of peace. Enkindle in us the fire of Thy love; sow in us Thy fear; strengthen our weakness by Thy power; bind us closely to Thee and to each other in one firm bond of unity; for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.
~ Syrian Clementine Liturgy 380 A.D.