I praise You, Lord, that Your banner over me is love and that I am welcome at Your banquet table.
Read: SONG OF SONGS 1:1—2:7
Solomon’s Song of Songs.
2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
for your love is more delightful than wine.
3 Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;
your name is like perfume poured out.
No wonder the young women love you!
4 Take me away with you—let us hurry!
Let the king bring me into his chambers.
We rejoice and delight in you;
we will praise your love more than wine.
How right they are to adore you!
5 Dark am I, yet lovely,
daughters of Jerusalem,
dark like the tents of Kedar,
like the tent curtains of Solomon.
6 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 had to neglect.
7 Tell me, you whom I love,
where you graze your flock
and where you rest your sheep at midday.
Why should I be like a veiled woman
beside the flocks of your friends?
8 If you do not know, most beautiful of women,
follow the tracks of the sheep
and graze your young goats
by the tents of the shepherds.
9 I liken you, my darling, to a mare
among Pharaoh’s chariot horses.
10 Your cheeks are beautiful with earrings,
your neck with strings of jewels.
11 We will make you earrings of gold,
studded with silver.
12 While the king was at his table,
my perfume spread its fragrance.
13 My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh
resting between my breasts.
14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
from the vineyards of En Gedi.
15 How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes are doves.
16 How handsome you are, my beloved!
Oh, how charming!
And our bed is verdant.
17 The beams of our house are cedars;
our rafters are firs.
2 I am a rose of Sharon,
a lily of the valleys.
2 Like a lily among thorns
is my darling among the young women.
3 Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest
is my beloved among the young men.
I delight to sit in his shade,
and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
4 Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
and let his banner over me be love.
5 Strengthen me with raisins,
refresh me with apples,
for I am faint with love.
6 His left arm is under my head,
and his right arm embraces me.
7 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.
Reflect: HOW DO YOU REACT WHEN SOMEONE PAYS YOU A COMPLIMENT? DO YOU ACCEPT IT OR BRUSH IT ASIDE?
Although some of the compliments paid in this exchange may seem strange to us, the passion, enthusiasm and sheer delight shine through across the centuries. The couple are completely besotted with one another and can’t stop telling their friends about it. Their love is declared publicly, like a great banner.
I love the backwards and forwards flow of poetry in this passage. The feelings expressed are clearly reciprocal. Both are freely giving and receiving expressions of love. God loves us much more than we could ever love him. Yet often that truth becomes little more than theory or fact to us; we lose the excitement of receiving his love afresh. It’s right that we should praise him, but sometimes we also need to pause and allow him to speak of his love for us.
God is love. He can’t help but love us, right? But God doesn’t love us only because he has to. He actually finds us lovely—each one of us. The woman describes herself as “dark” (i.e., physically unappealing in that culture) and as having a difficult relationship with her brothers, yet still her lover adores her. Even with our defects and the baggage of our past, God thinks we’re fantastic.
What is something about yourself that you find hard to love? In this moment hand over whatever it is to God.
Lord, I have so many reasons why I love You. Thank You for loving me.
Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide