The Passionate Suitor – Part 1
As I consider my own life before the Lord, I am aware that one of my deepest longings is to be desired, to be cherished and seen as the delight of the heart of another. While this can happen to a wonderful degree at the level of human relationships, the reality is that down deep inside, we have a sense that we were made to love Someone and to be loved by Someone in an infinite way. We know there is something inside us that will not be satisfied until we are able to release our love in a fervent single-mindedness that brings focus and passion to everything we do. The awareness of this longing causes an ache in the human soul that simply cannot be assuaged except by the touch of the infinite Lover, and by our response—a fervent commitment to Him. Only He can go that deep, only He can love that way. Only He can elicit that kind of response.
This is the reality that is at play in the staggeringly beautiful encounter between the Shulamite and the king at the end of chapter 1 and the beginning of chapter 2 of the Song of Solomon. In verse 12 of chapter 1, having been invited to the place of intimacy in which she could come to know the heart of the king, she begins to express the romantic inclinations of her heart by declaring that her perfume is drawing his attention, even as he sits at the dinner table. She muses on the passions of her heart, giving poetic expression to that which burns inside:
A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me, that lies all night between my breasts.
My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blooms in the vineyards of En Gedi.
The king responds, articulating the very thing she longs to hear, his fiery words instilling in her heart a passion deeper than she has ever known:
Behold, you are fair, my love! Behold, you are fair! You have dove's eyes.
To be considered fair by the king! In his words are the power of life and death. And he calls her fair! The power of it grips her soul, entering deep within the secret chambers of her heart, the places of insecurity and fear that have not been completely healed. She is not yet the mature bride who will emerge later in the Song. She is still the immature maiden who knows there is weakness in her, who is painfully aware of her propensity to unfaithfulness and sin.
His words begin to change that. He speaks of her as having “dove’s eyes.” To us, that sounds poetic but sort of meaningless until we understand that a dove has the capacity to focus its eyes on only one thing at a time. It sees only one thing. And when the king is speaking this reality over the Shulamite, he is declaring to her that in his view she has already reached the single-minded fervency of love that her heart desires. He sees her as fair and faithful, and this at the very beginning of their relationship. How can this be?
In our article next week we will explore further the answer to this burning question: How can God call me beautiful before I’ve done anything for Him? Blessings on you all!