“All night long on my bed I looked for the one my soul loves; I looked for him but did not find him. I will get up now and go about the city, through its streets and squares; I will search for the one my soul loves. So I looked for him but did not find him. The watchmen found me as they made their rounds in the city. ‘Have you seen the one my soul loves?’ Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my soul loves. I held him and would not let him go till I had brought him to my mother’s house, to the room of the one who conceived me.”
Song of Solomon 3:1-4
The Song of Solomon is one of my favourite books in the Bible, although a lot of its content is still a mystery to me. I love reading commentaries on it and am always curious at their interpretation.
My favourite so far are the sermons by C.H. Spurgeon, the famous English Baptist preacher from the 1800s. Although he preached over 150 years ago, his sermons seem so timely and relevant today.
The following thoughts I wrote down after reading his sermon on the above passage.
Is Jesus our First Love?
How desperate are we for our Beloved, Christ? How earnestly are we seeking him, how deep is our desire after him?
We all “know” we need him and depend on him and that he wants to be our first love.
But when it comes to a love relationship, having the mere knowledge of what is right and true is not sufficient, we need to act and really live out this relationship.
How? By following the bride’s example, who got up in the middle of the night, in desperation, looking for her beloved everywhere, leaving nothing to chance.
She did not postpone her search until morning, when she would have had a good night sleep (after all she had had a long day and needed some rest!).
She didn’t say, “Why do I have to search for him anyway, could he not have stayed with me? Should not he be the one looking for me?”
I too often leave seeking Jesus for a more convenient time, after I have managed to do all other items on my agenda, when I finally find a moment to talk to him. But that reflects neither a desperate love nor an intimate relationship.
If I honestly look at the moments I finally do spend with him I must admit, I tend to pray the items on my prayer list and then think “I have done my duty”. Sometimes though I do try to push into more intimacy with him, but then give up, because of lack of time or because I’m tired or get distracted.
If we follow the bride’s example, we need to make every possible effort, seek him until his beautiful presence manifests, until we know he is there with us in the secret place.
It doesn’t have to be at night, but it will very likely not come easily: intentionally setting time aside, shutting ourselves in with him alone, calling on him, pouring our hearts out to him, letting him know our desperation.
And once we have him, we should not let him go.
We need to nurture this relationship with him and, I am sure, once we have tasted his presence, we will desire to do so, we will long for these hours with him.
If we truly love Jesus or want to love him in the way King Solomon describes it, it will need a lot of effort from our side, going against our flesh: our tiredness, complacency, discouragement, and resisting the distractions of the world with its busyness; and prioritising our time with our Beloved.