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“How fair is your love, my sister, my spouse! How much better is your love than wine! and the smell of your ointments than all the spices!” Song of Solomon 4:10
Now, it’s one thing for me to say, “God, Your love is way better than wine!” And of course that is more than true. But I have to stop and think about what I’m reading today. Well, at least, if Song of Solomon is also a picture about You, Lord, and Your bride, then I really have to pause here. Why? Because You, God of the Universe, Redeemer of our souls, God of Angel Armies, the Mighty One is saying something so profound and so unexpected here, I need to take a seat to take it all in. What if this is You, God, speaking to me and to all the body of Christ? Because here is what You are saying to each of us and to us as a whole, “Your love is much better than wine!” Who’s love? MY LOVE? Yes. My love!
I’m not sure if I can fathom that You, Lord, are saying my love is that wonderful. How could my love ever taste that good to You, the Perfect, Holy One? I can’t help but think of Ezekiel again describing Your choosing Jerusalem even though no one else saw her worth. And how You cleansed her and raised her and how YOU GAVE HER BEAUTY. And that is so much what this is about. So I have to look back at Song of Solomon chapter 4 here and ask some questions as I read along.
You call Your bride fair. That means beautiful, and I would suppose You are talking of both inner and outer beauty. Well, who made her beautiful? If I think of Ezekiel, I know it’s because of what You did for her. If I think about me, I know it’s what You are doing in my life. Because I certainly am not beautiful unless I’m clothed in Your righteousness inside and out.
Who made my form? Who made my eyes that You notice? Who designed my hair? Who formed my teeth and my lips? You notice my temples and lips and so much about me. And You are so much more than just a Husband. You created each part of me and You are personally invested in every inch of me. I am Your handiwork. But I am not just a weekend project. I am Your handiwork of love. I am Your glory. I wonder if I can even explain that?
Now, this minute that I am living and breathing on earth, I’m not fully there yet. But this is how You look at me because there is no doubt that the work You have begun WILL be finished in me. You are God and I can count on that because I can count on You, ALWAYS. And You actually delight in Your work in me. Not only that, but You delight in me. You enjoy the fragrance of You that comes from me, the fragrance that You bathed me in. You look at me and all my spots are gone because You make me beautiful in Your holiness and Your spotlessness. The Lover says, “You have ravished my heart.” (Proverbs 5:5) “You delight Me to ecstasy!” This is how God looks at us! This is how strongly He feels for us!
See, if I read this and I don’t even have to think about it very hard at all, You, Lord, are pretty “excitedly intoxicated” over Your love here. This love is beautiful, exciting, and pure. It’s the same love my husband ought to demonstrate for me, just as intensely. It’s the same love I ought to demonstrate for him, just as intensely. But here’s my question. How could our love not be that intense? Is my love for You everything it ought to be? Do I really realize the immensity of the love that You have lavished on me?
And if I look at my own marriage, my physical marriage on earth, does it model Your love on both sides? As wife, is my desire toward my husband to build him up into all that You are building him to be, Lord? Am I looking at him through the eyes that You are looking at Him? Because You look at Him with the same eyes You looked at me. I was left naked and bloody as a baby out there on my own with no one who saw my true value. So was he. We all were. But You chose me out of that and You cleaned me up and You loved on me and cared for me and adorned me in Your beauty. And You are still doing that. And You are passionately involved in doing that still. Do I look at him through Your eyes and see his worth and value and beauty in You? Because Your desire is toward us. You are making him for me for You and I ought to join in with You in that lavishing love kind of self-sacrificial way. And if we were all understanding our parts, well, my husband would look at me through Your eyes in that same way too.
And if we were all looking at this love thing through Your eyes, Lord, we would run to the “fountain of gardens” and “the well of living waters” You were forming in each of us because it would be like running to You. We would each be a haven of refreshment for the other because You would be flowing forth.
What if both men and women understood this concept better? Right now I can’t even put it all into words. But what if there is this bride of Christ and men and women fall under that domain. What if every man who trusts in You and every woman who trusts in You must understand what it is to be loved by the Groom? What if every man and every woman must understand what it is to be the bride of Christ and to have His love lavished on us, before we can really understand what our love is supposed to look like in this world? It just seems awfully humbling to me to think that You, God, expend Yourself for me and value me, and that Your desire is toward me. That is just crazy. It’s the craziest love I know. And if my Holy God can want and lavish the best over something that wasn’t like Him at all and make it into His own image just because of love, then surely, I can catch that passion and love others in that same crazy way.
You know, I never deserved the immensity of the love that You have bestowed upon me. Nothing I have ever done has warranted this feeling of Yours toward me. But this is who You are. You are love. And You make me loveable. Knowing this, how could I not be ecstatically head over heals passionately in love with You?
That brings me to 1 John 4:19. “We love Him, because He first loved us.” And I wonder if that only means because You loved us first, Lord? That Greek word for first is “protos.” Strong’s says it means “foremost (in time, place, order or importance).” So what if it means more than first? Because everything I’m reading about You is telling me that. I mean, yes, You loved us before we loved You. So You did love us first in that order. But didn’t You even put us foremost in importance? You gave of everything of Yourself including Your Son. You gave Your honor. You are PROTOS. You desire and delight to impart Your protos in us. It’s more than You loving me first. It’s all about You and Your Chiefness and the Beginning of Beginnings and the Best of the Best making me like You. I love You passionately because You are the only way that I ever, ever can realize the immensity and beauty and gift of being loved and cared for and made into Your beautiful image. I love You because You have taken on this task above all tasks, to impart Yourself to me. Yes, this is the craziest love I’ll ever know, but no other love will ever satisfy. Yes, I love You, Lord, because You have chosen to so love me and I am Your priority.