Monday, September 22, 2008

Shadow of the Tree (part 1)

(Remember: I'm a girl; therefore, this is written from a female point of view)

Song of Solomon is one of my favorite books in the Bible. I discovered the treasure that it is several years ago when my husband was on an extended business trip. He sent me an e-mail that closed with a Song of Solomon reference. Naturally, I looked it up. And, then, naturally, I looked to find one that I could close my next e-mail to him with. Song of Solomon has two levels of interpretation. 1) Solomon and his bride or 2) Christ and His bride. As close as we are to our spouses, we should be even closer to Christ.

If you are married, do you remember when you first fell in love with your husband? Do you remember how you tingled? Do you remember the first time you touched him: held his hand or touched his face? Can you remember? That is what it should be like in Christ’s presence. He is the lover of your soul.

Mr. H is the closest person to my heart. When he goes away on a business trip, I can’t wait for him to come home. It’s not because he might be bringing me a present. I don’t really care about that. It’s because I want him: his presence.

Most often, when we as children of God pray, when we go into His presence, what do we do? WE TAKE THIS LIST!! How would Mr. H feel if, every time he came home, I met him at the door with a list of everything that had gone wrong while he was away, and a time-table as to when I wanted it fixed. No hug, no kiss, no “How was your trip?” or “I’m so glad you’re back.” So often, we seem to treat God and Christ as merely gift-givers. We go to God only when we need something, something that only He can give. We treat Him more like a wishing-well than the Sovereign of the Universe. As much as we want to be with our human loved ones, we should desire, above all else, just to BE WITH God.

"Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother's sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I have neglected." ~~Song of Solomon 1:6

The Beloved rested in her Lover’s shadow. She knew what it was like to be tired. In SoS 1:6 she says she had to take care of the vineyards. She was so busy that some of her work didn’t get done. Only when you are truly weary, do you truly recognize the value of rest. She could appreciate shade because in v. 1:6 she says she was sunburned. She knew about the burning sun, so she valued the shade.

"Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love. Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love. His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me." ~~Song of Solomon 2:3-6

The word translated “sit” (yaw-shab’) in SoS 2:3 means to dwell or to settle down. When we settle down, we usually get comfortable. The Beloved’s action makes sense. It is a perfectly natural thing to do. There is nothing formal or ritualistic about it. There was the tree: she sat down in the shade.

The Beloved was refreshed in her Lover’s shadow. His fruit was sweet to her taste. If she hadn’t been in His shadow, she couldn’t have reached the fruit. But since she was right there, all she had to do was accept what surrounded her. She didn’t even have to get up. It was all right there at her hand. She could have starved to death if she hadn’t accepted what her Lover was bestowing upon her. How often do we say, “No thanks” to blessings that God is offering us? It’s because we don’t recognize who is doing the offering and what it is that’s being offered. He is the giver of every good and perfect thing. Hebrews 4:16 tell us to “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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