Saturday, November 23, 2013

lip service--or kisses sweeter than wine?

The Word for today:
Song of Solomon 3:6-5:1
The Song of Solomon doesn't waste much time with (how do I say this?) hand-holding. It gives us kisses sweeter than wine in its very first line:
May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!
For your love is better than wine.
But while the heart holds sway in the Song, we do an injustice if we do not distinguish the concurrent streams of meaning which flow through its verses:
1. The Song of Solomon sets forth the glory of wedded love and the sacredness of the marital relationship as a God-given institution.
2. The Song also sets forth the love of Jehovah for Israel. That is not a new thought, found in this book alone. The prophets spoke of Israel as the wife of Jehovah. Hosea dwells on that theme. Idolatry in Israel is likened to a breach in wedded love and is the greatest sin in all the world, according to Hosea.
3. The Song of Solomon is a picture of Christ and the church. The church will be "the bride of Christ." This is a familiar figure in the New Testament (see Ephesians 5; Revelation 21).
4. Finally, this book portrays the love of Christ for the individual believer and the soul’s communion with Christ. Many great saints of God down through the years have experienced this. Paul could say, “… the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
While some of us will appreciate Song of Solomon on these various levels, we must ultimately return to "the greatest of these" -- the level of love in number 4 (above).
We talk, in the modern church, of a personal relationship with Christ. We say that phrase so much that it takes on the generic mindlessness of cliché.
When I've had enough of limp Christian lingo, I come here to see what a relationship with Christ ought to be. Song of Solomon is the great antidote to churchiness and religiosity. What a striking difference between these kisses sweeter than wine and so much of our lukewarm lip-service.
You've got but one heart to spend. Think of it in terms of one dollar. If you were given just one, where would you spend it?
Don't waste your only heart on some room-temperature relationship. Spend it foolishly and recklessly. Leave nothing in reserve. Take out no insurance. Save nothing for a rainy day.
And if these words seem extravagant to you, then keep on searching for the Jesus who inspires them. Don't stop--don't settle--for any Jesus until you've found the very same Jesus who wrote rhapsody in the heart of a Shulamite girl, and caused Franklyn to take leave of his senses.

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