Enjoy. It feels like such a difficult word. A friend once said to me that I need to learn how to (take a break and) enjoy.
Maybe my friend was right.
Maybe I need to learn how to enjoy just spending time basking under the light of joy.
Maybe that’s why, this 2019, I set one of my two yearly goals as this: To delight in the LORD and enjoy Christ.
Excavating the Old in 2019
Two months after the start of 2019 I strangely had the desire to study the Old Testament books, most especially the select books that I had been neglecting — This is an area that I should brush up on. I know the Old Testament books by title but I never was able to get through the first few books apart from the Psalms and Proverbs and a few passages that are usually taken out of context.
This time I studied the books in reversed order. And then I made a discovery! There’s this book that despite sticking out like a sore thumb I never had the interest to read: The Song of Solomon.
At first glance the book looked perfect for my goal: It talks about the joy of love, albeit romantically. And it explores the wondrous feelings of the heart.
Maybe this book will teach me how I can better enjoy Christ.
The Song of Solomon is a poetic book that is 8 chapters long. And here are my key takeaways from my discovery:
1. Made for one another.
The book tells a tale of two lovers: A Shulamite woman and her beloved, a shepherd/king. From the king’s eye, the woman stands out among the rest. He described her with many rich words spanning across almost all the chapters of the book, an exuberant expression of his admiration of her.
It stands the same for the woman, he was described with many rich words. Their admiration of each other spans the entire book. It is of no argument that they revered each other. It almost seems like they had no other else.
2. Seeking, and not finding, yet still seeking.
Yet despite of seemingly made for one another, the book did not shy away from exposing their struggles. The book tells a pattern of seeking, not finding, but still seeking (Chapters 3 and 5). Chapter 5 climaxes to this point where the woman goes out to search for his king but only to be beaten down by the city guards. Yet despite of this beatdown, the very first words that comes out of her lips are this: “If you find my beloved, tell him that I am sick with love.”
Her mind is consumed with the thought of him and her heart consumed with his person.
3. Intensity of love.
It is also quite clear how the book is filled to the brim with passion and feelings. The intensity of their love is almost like the centerpoint of this book. The book is filled with all these passionate and creative expressions of their love for one another.
There are two points that stand out to me however: First, how the king describes the woman as a “sister”. Second, how the woman has this habit of using the phrase “Sick with love.”
I can wonder. Maybe the word “sister” denotes the woman as being a “sister in the faith”. Maybe this was written to signify the importance of constraining romantic love and marriage to fellow believers. To the second point, maybe this phrase was used to denote that the signs of love possibly causes symptoms of “being sick”, where the normal things give its way for the abnormal.
Christ and the Church
The book may have been included in the Bible canon to describe a Biblical model for the husband and wife. To that I agree, but if I may add also, to my eyes, it also paints a picture of Christ and his Church.
I can see the book as describing this relationship: Christ as the king/shepherd who loves his church; And the church, being in a fallen world, experiences this struggle of seeking the LORD Jesus Christ.
Sin is this thing that keeps our hearts from seeing the LORD.
But just like the bride, we are called to have our heart unswervingly seek him still.
To persevere and not give up.
To have our thoughts consumed by the wondrous overwhelming thought of Him.
And in devotion and passion, to have our hearts stirred up by Him.