QB62 Come Away With Me (Part 2)
10 My beloved speaks and says to me: Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, 11 for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. 12 The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. 13 The fig tree ripens its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away. Song of Songs 2:10-13 (NET)
When it comes to the Song of Songs, otherwise known as the Song of Solomon, we are faced with an immediate disagreement amongst scholars over the interpretation and therefore meaning and application of this most unique and it has to be said, quite erotic book in the Bible. My aim is not to go into those arguments here, only to say that despite the controversy surrounding this enigmatic love song, it is generally accepted in both the Jewish and Christian canon of scripture, and therefore I too am happy to accept it in the same way that Paul wrote to Timothy, “all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work”. 2 Timothy 3:16 ESV
The challenge we are faced with then is not whether it should be accepted, but in knowing how this ancient love song applies to us today. By its poetical nature, the text is somewhat obscure and allegorical, and therefore we should be careful to avoid an overly literal or restrictive hermeneutical approach. My preference is to glean from this wonderfully portrayed romance, an understanding of the essence of love with all its nuanced suggestions of intimacy and delight, then regard this understanding as it pertains to the affection held between Jesus and His Bride. That’s because, irrespective of any original characters portrayed in these eight short chapters, when it comes to the manner and excellence of love, Ephesians 5 teaches the love between a husband and wife typifies the love between Jesus and His Bride. If we can accept this approach to the Song of Songs, there opens to us the most enthralling insight and engagement of our hearts into a Divine romance barely conceivable. Can it be true? Is God romantic towards us? I guess that depends upon our definition of romance. But if by romance we mean an intense desire to be with another, or to love beyond reason, or to feel a sense of deep longing when apart, or to set our hearts on intimacy with someone to the exclusion of all others, then yes, absolutely, there is a Heavenly romance between the Lord and His Bride. Listen to how the Lord describes His love for Jerusalem
8 “When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord GOD, and you became mine. – Ezekiel 16:8 ESV
This chapter in Ezekiel records in great detail the love story between Jehovah and Jerusalem. The language used is one of romance; an intense love affair with highly emotive symbolism describing the nature of their relationship but tragically also the betrayal of this love by Jerusalem. The use of sexual metaphors for Jerusalem’s unfaithfulness and idolatry later in Ezekiel 16, is deliberately provocative and used many other times in scripture. Thankfully, there has been a redemptive plan of God in place from before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20). The book of Revelation climaxes with this restoration of all things, and at the core of God’s eternal purpose is the wedding of the Lamb, and the New Jerusalem coming down from Heaven dressed like a Bride beautifully adorned for her husband Revelation 21:1-2.
The Lord calls us His Bride for that is truly who we are, and how He sees us. His feelings towards us are those of a Husband towards His wife. O what bliss we encounter; when we pass through the veil of holiness, an intensity of love awaits. Can you hear Him call you even now? “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away with me”. We have settled for far too less an encounter than the one available to us, a portion too small at His table. Until we enter the abandonment of a love awakened by the tenderness of His kiss upon our soul, we have not yet known the magnitude of intimacy our Bridegroom longs for us. There is no greater delight we might experience in life than one of deep and intimate communion with Jesus Christ. Yes, still, He appeals to our hearts, “Come away with me”.
“Come”. In just one word the approachability of Jesus is defined. In just one word an invitation for romance is given. “Come”. How it echoes through the ages. We cannot say “He does not see me”, neither “I am of no consequence to Him”. How wrong if ever such thought should find its place in our mind. For our Beloved sees you right now, and loves you intensely. The passion of His heart that led Him to Calvary, still burns with the same desire today as it did then. No passing of time, not two thousand years could ever diminish the Saviour’s love for you, but more than Saviour, He is your Bridegroom, and salvation is merely the door into a romance you dare not miss. This romance is not without hazard, for love always carries with it great risk. Love risks much in the hope of love’s reward. With love comes vulnerability. It has to be this way, otherwise, we are guarded by the fear of hurt or the denial we could ever truly be loved and therefore dip our toe into the water from the sidelines, rather than immerse fully into love’s adventure and be swept along by its course. You see, the invitation is not only to “Come”, but “Come away with me”, and therefore it implies a journey, a destination other than where we are at right now. There’s somewhere we have to go. O this is escapism, yes, but in its finest expression, not from reality but towards it! Towards the truth of all we are in Christ, all He is and all He has done. Our Bridegroom is calling “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away”, what will be your response today? Will you go? Will you allow a bridal love to be quickened within you? Will you take that risk, daring to believe there is so much more for you than you have yet known? Then arise and posture your heart for romance and position yourself for a new journey. Where? To the place Jesus has set aside for you to know Him more deeply.