8 If you don’t know, O most beautiful woman,
follow the trail of my flock,
and graze your young goats by the shepherds’ tents.
9 You are as exciting, my darling,
as a mare among Pharaoh’s stallions.
10 How lovely are your cheeks;
your earrings set them afire!
How lovely is your neck,
enhanced by a string of jewels.
Here in Chapter 1, verses 8 through 10, is where the love story begins. But not in the way you think. It’s the agape, or unconditional, love of a man for a woman, or a bridegroom to his bride. In these verses, we see the young man calling the young woman beautiful, his darling and lovely. He wants her to follow his path so that she can be close to him and live in his safe and secure presence.
Interestingly enough, everything the young man says in response to the young woman contradicts what the woman believes to be true about herself. But even more interesting, he never even acknowledges all that she says.
He isn’t moved by her insecurities or imperfections but rather is in love with the truth of who she is.
And this is how God feels about us!
I will never forget the moment I realized the depth of God’s love for me. I had been walking with Jesus as an adult for years, and one day, while examining some things about my life, a thought came to me about something I’d done and repented of years before that. However, that day, another layer to the spiritual impact of that choice was revealed. I hadn’t just committed one sin in that act, I’d committed several.
Why hadn’t I noticed this sooner? Why had God let me go so long without revealing it to me so I could repent? Why had He continued to use me for His glory all these years?
He’d known all along.
Shame and guilt came rushing in, but right before they ran rampant in the home of my heart, God reminded me of His grace and forgiveness. He reminded me that when I repented, He forgave me for all of it. How He didn’t see me as that person but rather as His beloved daughter who had a humanness to sin but a heart to repent and follow Him.
He didn’t see me as a sinner, He saw me as sanctified through Christ. He saw me as a messenger of the gospel willing to teach His word to others, an author willing to share His message of hope, a voice willing to share His heart with others.
He only took me back to that place to let me know that sin has layers BUT so does His love!
God’s love for us is truly unconditional, and when we accept it, He takes all our sins, known and unknown, and nails them to the cross. He is the lover of our soul and our first love. Not because we loved Him first but because He loved us first.
Pause and Ponder: Next, find someone with whom to share God’s unconditional love.
Song of Songs 1:8-10