Song of Songs: Day 10

Praise of Love

by

Today's Text: Song of Songs 7:1-9, Ephesians 5:22-30, Revelation 19:6-10

Text: Song of Songs 7:1-9, Ephesians 5:22-30, Revelation 19:6-10

I have to admit, today’s reading was a hard one for me, and not because of the descriptive language. As it’s been said throughout this study, Song of Songs can be read as an allegorical text—a poem that parallels God’s love for Israel and points toward Christ’s love for the Church. When I read Song of Songs 7:1-9 in light of Ephesians 5:22-30, I noticed a depth to Christ’s love for us that I hadn’t really considered before, and, if I’m being honest, am still grappling with now.

For some reason, it’s easier to formalize Jesus’ love for us, the Church—to think of Him as a benevolent politician who cares for His people. It’s easier for me to keep Christ’s love at a distance, to imagine Him standing at a podium, rather than by my side. But this is not the type of love we see in Song of Songs.

If the way Solomon speaks of his bride is any indication as to how Christ views us, His bride, then He’s in no way a distant politician waving to a crowd. What we see in Chapter 7 is a deep, intimate, and passionate affection.

Solomon and Shulamith have been reconciled after a time apart, and upon their reuniting Solomon praises his bride’s body and character. He knows every inch of her, every curve and feature. Not one part of her goes unnoticed, unpraised, or unaccepted. Solomon has nothing to say about Shulamith but adoring words of love, devotion, and awe. She is “the handiwork of a master” (Song of Songs 7:1).

This is what made me feel uncomfortable while reading these verses. To allow yourself to be loved in this way takes an incredible amount of vulnerability. To be examined and aware of your every flaw and sin, then be told you are the exact opposite of how you see yourself—that you’re actually the beloved and beautiful handiwork of a master—is a truth that can sometimes be harder to live with than the lie of shame.

Yet, this is what Christ’s passionate affection means for us. As Ephesians 5 says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Because of Jesus’ atonement for our sin, this is who we now are: holy, blameless, without stain or wrinkle.

There is an element in our relationship with Christ that requires great vulnerability from us if we are to fully experience His great love. For the striving, earning, and achieving Christian—as well as the guilt-ridden one—this may be one of the greatest challenges of the Christian life: to let ourselves be loved by Him. To allow Him to examine us and declare us good and right and lovely in His sight.

I wonder what would change in your life and mine if we allowed ourselves to bask in Jesus’ love for us, as Shulamith does in Solomon’s—to just sit in it and learn to accept and embrace it. I wonder how we would see ourselves, those around us, and how it would change our relationship with our Savior.

I pray this is the new truth we walk in today: that we would see the purity and passion in Christ’s affection for us, and that we would walk in confidence as His beloved.

SRT-SOS-Instagram-10s

  • WOW! So moving, so powerful! Thank you Jesus!!

  • Michelle C.

    So good. God sees us, sees me, as pure, blameless, because of Jesus’ sacrifice. not because of me. not because I’m a good person, or talented, or dedicated, but because of Him. Purely because of Him. Thank you Jesus. Help me to accept that, this amazing gift you’ve given me.

  • moodyllama

    Thank you, Andrea. I am sitting here bawling in the wonder of being loved so much and so deeply by my Creator!

  • Christina

    Doesn’t being fully known take a certain amount of submission to being known? Submitting ourselves to the “scrutiny” of another? Even though in reality, the Other in this case is the One who formed us in the first place. We tend to comfort ourselves with the security of covering ourselves. Not that we should walk around immodestly, but the flaws we so eagerly hide must be laid open to the One who looks upon them and attributes them to His Son and His Son’s perfection to us. Never needing the acceptance of our Master Creator results in never being included into the marriage supper of the Lamb. Until we recognize the vulnerability that is already true about us, we cannot submit to His acceptance of us. We will continue to delude ourselves into thinking we are in control of our acceptance or rejection, and we will miss out on eternity with our perfect Prince. What a very vulnerable, uncomfortable, but eternally filling lesson to learn!

  • Wow! This has blessed my soul. Thank you for your lovely ministry!

  • This is such a timely message! Thank you!

  • This is so amazing. I feel like, especially in my generation, the definition of love is so distorted. It is not something described do beautifully here in Song of Songs. It is not compared to Christ’s unfailing, vulnerable, passionate love for us. It is used as a commodity, as an object of getting what we want, that feels good, and then tossing it to the curb. It is controlled by others. It is used violently. The world has ripped out the life and truly awe-some power of TRUE love. I think that’s why this is so amazing for me to see. After struggling with pornography and wanting to “feel good”, love and sex is not at all meant to be so flippant and casual. It is meant to be beautiful. Real and raw and vulnerable. It reminds me of the ending of the live action Cinderella movie from 2015. At the end, when the prince is at Cinderella’s house and she is about to see him, the fairy godmother narrates: “Perhaps the greatest risk any of us will ever take is to be seen for who we truly are.”. Cinderella was literally in rags, but she told the prince that this was who she truly was. Rags and all. She didn’t hide anything. She even told him her name was Cinder-ella, instead of just Ella. And the beautiful thing was that he accepted her, ashes and all. Wow. Thank you Jesus, your love is just like that. You accepted me and you never stop accepting me as I truly am. All my fears, all my doubts, all my worries, all my past hurts and scars. You love all of me. May I use my life to praise you because of this amazing truth. Ps 86:12-13- I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love towards me.

    • Sarah

      Thank you for this Sarah! This really blessed me this morning. And I agree with you how distorted love has become in our culture. Praise God that he gave us Jesus to demonstrate what true love looks like.

  • Yes! It is so hard knowing who I am. But if we can rest there with in the presence of God and allow Him to tell us who we are in Him and listen -really listen-we can draw closer to Him.
    Jesus said “deny yourself and follow me.” I always thought it meant my selfish ways…Maybe it also means accept who God says I am…

  • This may be my favorite devotional I have ever read in SRT. Thank you, Andrea, for these beautiful words! ❤

  • Keri McCue

    This is a kind of love I am still grappling with as well…even after so many years as a Christian. It’s hard to see your flaws and sins and the darkest parts of yourself and then to let a perfect God see those parts of you as well…it’s so hard. But that’s the Gospel isn’t it. He sees our imperfections, he sees our sin and He still loves us. I loved this, “this may be one of the greatest challenges of the Christian life: to let ourselves be loved by Him. To allow Him to examine us and declare us good and right and lovely in His sight.” So, so good!!

    http://www.littlelightonahill.com

  • Alexis Maycock

    I’m going to take on this challenge. To truly rest in the love of my Abba Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit. Even in my weakness…just rest in His love. It is there where I will find peace, hope, grace, mercy, and forgiveness. How deep the Fathers love for us ❤

  • Jeremiah 1:5 a. . Before I formed you in the womb I knew you… and Psalm 139:16-17… Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, Oh God! How vast the sum of them!

    Our God loves us so much. Our creator, is in us dear sisters. . What joy! All things have been made from nothing for His glory praise and honor. My ash, my dirt, my muck and mire.. He transforms into something only He can use for His glory. He loves us so much.
    We are His individual testimonies with unique stories of His saving grace to a lost and perishing world. Share him sisters.. He loves all He has created.

  • This idea of basking in the complete acceptance of Christ’s love gnaws at me regularly. Resting in the balance between my sin and my justification is very uncomfortable and yet with practice I find it better than wallowing in guilt or denial. I have 5 children. My first at 25 and my last at 40. That last one is now six. And that girl lives loved. She has been lavished with praise and encouragement and I’m pretty sure there is nothing she thinks is impossible for her. The harshness of life has not worn her down yet, she has rested in our protection for these first 6 years. This is how we are to live. Waking to be hugged, living to run, balance, jump,fly, and delight others. Lying down each night knowing that tomorrow it will all happen all over again. Oh, I know she will lose this precious innocence but I pray that I can model living loved to her and my other children – that they all return to their 6 year old selves, knowing our every move is watched and treasured, that the Father is beaming at us in delight. Believing that He claps his hands when we twirl in front of Him fully aware that we are fabulous in His sight.

    • Terri

      Thank you, Heidi. The word picture of twirling in front of our Father with Him clapping was encouraging to me today. Since my husband of 20 years decided he didn’t “believe in marriage” anymore, I have struggled with feeling unloveable. Thanks again. I will try to think of myself as twirling.

      • Emily

        I’m so sorry, Terri. God is faithful, even when our fellow man is not. Hold on to Him!

  • I too, have a hard time reading these verses, as I don’t see myself as Christ does: Not physically, or Spiritually but this was an AHA moment for me , no wonder he loves to answer our prayers and he says nothing is to hard for him. I truly feel LOVED.

  • Thank you for closing the gap in pointing out that there is no distance between us and Christ!

    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Diane Huntsman

    For all the lies we believe and the way they enslave us, Jesus replace each lie with truth, replace each false allegation made against us by the accuser with the Words of life that bring us the sustenance we need to be healthy women of God.. we have to see us as You see us in order to thrive.. so many of us are barely surviving in our spiritual lives because we have succumbed to the age old rip off artists tactics of twisting the truth.. like you aren’t really forgiven.. you aren’t really loved.. you just don’t cut the mustard.. all we have to do is pause at the foot of the cross to see the proof.. He loved us to death.. literal death.. with that kind of proof before us we can quickly silence the lies of our adversary and thrive in His love.. oh how He loves you and me!! Undeserving? Yes! Unworthy? Yes! Loved beyond measure anyways? YES!!!! I pray for each one of us today, that we walk confidently in His perfect love today and everyday! Live loved ladies because you ARE!!!!

  • When I think of how much God loves me even with all my flaws I experience such a profound sense of worth. I want to bask in that love every moment of every day. But sadly, I tend to forget . Thank you for this reminder.

  • I really struggle to see Jesus inspecting every curve & flaw on me as an individual (as so many of you have described). But if this is an allegory of Christ and His Bride, the Church, my mind is blown. To find us lovely, beautiful, handiwork?! We are so flawed. We have perverted physical love (remember how Song of Songs was “off limits” in Sunday School..), we have perverted marriage with divorce rates the same as the unchurched, we have allowed infidelity and child abuse to penetrate the very walls He calls beautiful and lovely.

    Oh, may we as a Church rise to our identity as His Beloved and live out our calling to model His love to the lost in the world. Wow.

  • This reading left me with this question: I let myself be fully forgiven by Jesus, but do I let myself be fully loved by Him?

    Praying God will help me move into the level of intimacy that is comfortable receiving this kind of love without trying to earn it, or push it away, or trying to be “godly” and push it back on Him because I’m not comfortable just resting in it. Thank you Father for this gift of being fully known and fully loved.

    • Melissa Wall

      Such a good question to struggle with! I’m with you in that. Praying we both get to rest in His abundant love today!!! ❤

  • Today’s read was hard… the talk of the achieving Christian struggling with vulnerability to allow themself to be loved made me stop in my tracks… that’s 100% me. Thank you god for grace and unconditional love. May I extend that love to myself and to others today.

  • This touches me because I lived YEARS, believing I was worth nothing, that I wasn’t truly loved and I wasn’t enough for anyone not even God… and then when I finally realized and made the decision to love myself, I was welcomed by the overwhelming amount of love that Christ had for me all along. The love that knows no bounds, no judgements, no conditions. He loved me then and He loves me now, flaws, sins and all. How amazing is it that when we are searching for that same love here on Earth, He gives it to us freely and abundantly every single day. Today, I never question whether I am loved because I know I love myself and I have a God who has and always will love me. I don’t feel shame anymore. You are all loved and you always have been <3 Don't be afraid to accept it and learn to just bask in all that He has to offer!

  • Alexandra Edwards

    Loved this and yet I find myself still saying the “yeah but…” I find myself always getting stuck. Is it possible to really get this this side of heaven or will it always be this unreachable truth that I can mentally ascertain but that simply stays as that. I want so desperately to get this with my heart . To believe it with my whole being. To be able to voice this truth to those around me who need to hear this. To not hold back in trusting the God who knows and sees and understands. Oh how I want to live this freedom out. I want it to permeate everything I say and do.

  • One of my favorite types of art is sculpture, especially of the renaissance era. I am not sculptor myself but I learned early on, that I genuinely loved the work and especially that of marble. I find that when I am face to face with a great piece I am immobilized, frozen in awe. I can spend so much time admiring the lines, imagining the artist hammering away and sanding it out. I am always so blown away when I think about the hours, weeks, months and years it has taken great artists to create these astonishing, life-like pieces. My craving is to put my hands to them, to feel the lines, the curves, the hands but I do not, I respect the rules but ugh that craving … I just want to touch, to connect, because each time I fall in love; with the story, the work, the art. I like to imagine the artist stepping back to see his work, running his finger over it, amazed at what he has produced, at peace with his work, in love with it and it always reminds me of God’s great work … me. Did He step back to review me, did He run His hands over me, His hands cupping my jawline, His eyes falling on me? Every artist I’ve ever known connects with their work and finds something personal in each piece, why, for a moment would I think God different? He is the first artist after all. When I stand before those pieces I often close my eyes and remember God’s creation of me. While I feel aged like the art; cracked, chipped, worn, broken I know that He still sees me, beautiful. I know that the admiration I have for the art is nothing in comparison to His love over me, His astonishment of me. I know that the love and time those artists put into their statues pales so significantly to the love and care that God put and continues to put into me. I know that I am daily treasured, a living work of art, a masterpiece …. now if my heart, my head could live this out, if my eyes can see my lines the way God does; every crease, every freckle, every blemish as perfection wouldn’t that be amazing, actually living out my worth? Today, my prayer is that I recall I am made by the greatest Artist ever, and just as those statues stand tall on their podiums, I pray that I will stand tall as I walk through the day. That I will see others as masterpieces as well and that my view will shift to appreciate the Artist’s work in the same way I am in awe of earthly artists’ works. May I see in the mirror the masterpiece God made and be humbled by His time spent on me, humbled by the creation of me, humbled because He touched me and and humbled because HE is in awe of *me*.

    • Zoe

      Thank you for your thoughts! That was a really beautiful reflection and great reminder of how God truly is the greatest Artist and loves us more than anyone else could.

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      Holy cow B! You just rocked me to my core with your words!!! Truly, utterly…..tears. I too love sculptures and marvel at the skill, passion, mastery and dedication involved……and yet…..I struggle to even begin to think of myself as a work of art…..as a masterpiece….as perfect in His eyes….this is a wake up call to me. A reminder of His love for me, my value in His eyes and His love……that what I feel looking at the great works of art (oh my goodness, my time in Italy floods my memory right now) pales in comparison to how He feels when looking at me……wow….

    • Lenz

      This was so beautifully written! Thank you so much for sharing your heart.

    • Barbie

      Wow! love this– thank you for your words– just what I needed to see after completing my bible reading today.

  • I am in awe of His love for us….all of us. Flaws and all. Oh to see what He sees and to also love others how He loves.

  • Churchmouse

    This is a freeing truth today. Thank you, Andrea for your powerful words. I have bought in to the lies that Satan would have me believe about myself. Somehow, over the years, these lies have become as truth to me, a chain that silently binds me. No matter how often I read of God’s great love, there is still that critical voice that says “He doesn’t mean you.” Satan rattles the chain every time I am just about to fall with reckless abandon into my Lover’s arms. This morning I declare No. More. I am done living bound. With tears streaming down my face, I am falling. Free falling. And it feels just like falling in love, that first slow kiss. My Lover embraces me and I am smitten!

    • ~ B ~

      Free, was the first word that came to mind for me today too. The freedom to stand, no care or concern over my appearance, just soaking up God’s love over me without thought to any part of me. Ah, that is freedom!

  • While reading this and everyones comments it made me think of the song Live Like You’re Loved by Hawk Nelson
    https://youtu.be/Q_r47Xhkf20
    We need to live like we are loved because we are so loved even when we are an absolute mess!!

  • Sarah_Joy

    The striving, the elder brother of the prodigal son, a Pharisee… I know these are my tendencies. But Jesus.

    In His wild affectionate love “while we were yet sinners” died for us! Died for me! Seeks me out as I strive. Seeks me out as I pout about someone else’s testimony. Seeks me out as I judge others and mentally place rules on them that aren’t from God. And, and, and…

    He sees me. Every inch. And loves me because I am His – His creation, His redeemed, His daughter, His BELOVED.

    What wonderous love is this, oh my soul!! May I sink in and allow Him to take my tendencies and replace them with trust, peace, joy and love in a relationship built not on what I can bring but 100% built on His finished work and passionate, unconditional love.

    • Susan

      Yes! The unconditional love of my Heavenly Father, this love I do not receive from those close to me! Accept His love for me fully, so I may trust and find joy and then in turn pour out that love to those around me!

  • I can’t even begin to take hold of all the thoughts rolling around in my mind right now. This was exactly what I needed at this time in my life. And, the funny thing is that I didn’t even really know I needed it. I have believed lies about myself for a long time – lies that God couldn’t possibly love me the way I see Him love others. Lies, lies, lies! The question, “what would change in our lives if we allowed ourselves to bask in Jesus’ love for us” hit me like a ton of bricks. Just bask in it, abide in it, rest in it, just sit and learn to accept and embrace it. That’s my prayer for myself and all of us. As Tina described it – to know this love that is intense, deep, fierce, gracious, forgiving…
    This has so resonated with me that I’m having to make myself get up from my chair and go get ready for work. I just want to sit here in the warmth and the glow of an old, but new-found Truth. To quote Tina, again, “We are love by One who knows every inch of who we are…warts…wrinkles…stains and all! Amen.”
    Love to all. May you have a blessed day!

  • Sitting here having just spilt my tea down my front, with the wrinkles fast appearing on my face and around my eyes… I had to smile as I read….. ‘…Because of Jesus’ atonement for our sin, this is who we now are: holy, blameless, without stain or wrinkle….’

    But sreiously though, isn’t it hard to hear this Truth of how intimately and deeply we are loved by God….?
    We live in a world where the people we know, love and trust can be harsh, unloving, cruel… in their words, actions and deeds… to the point where we believe this lie they have us believing about ourselves or others, that, when the Truth comes, the real Truth of Christs Love for us… we ask …Why? Who, me? And are confused, because, we’ve not known a love so intense, deep, or so fierce, gracious, forgiving, as the one described in Song of Songs…
    Today, I am going to down the tools that I use to build the walls…, I’m going to drop my shoulders, relax, breath in the love Christ offers me, and breath out the lies I believe, the lies that hold me back from truly knowing who I am, and who loves me best and fiercely toooooo.

    Thank you Lord Jesus for your love, your love that I know, but, til now, I’ve obviously never met in the way described here, not through anything you Lord have done, but through the lies and the boundaries I have put in place for fear of being hurt, or judged, or rejected…. Forgive me Lord, forgive me.
    Lord, thank you that no matter where my heart is at, no matter how stained I am, or wrinkled you love me so, and even when I struggle with this, you continue to love me never giving up… Your love truly never fails, never gives up…Thank you Lord God, Thank you…

    Sending shout outs and love to all… We are Loved by One who knows every inch of who we are… warts… wrinkles… stains and all! Amen!

  • Phew, much to ponder on … A lot would change if I truly embraced His love for me. An entirely new self-assurance to start with. Regarding my relationship to others a quote from Dostoevsky comes to mind: “To love someone means to see him as God intended him.” In light of today´s reading this is downright revolutional …

Further Reading...