Song of Solomon 3-4 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He planned intimacy for us to enjoy

Tom and I recently celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary.  We thought we were really in love the day we got married, but when I think about our love today and how much it has grown over the years I realize our early love was just a drop in the bucket of what it would become.  Our young couple in Song of Solomon has just embarked on their marriage journey; and as can be expected, it is with great excitement. 

@ Song of Solomon 4
You are beautiful, my darling, beautiful beyond words. Your eyes are like doves behind your veil. Your hair falls in waves, like a flock of goats winding down the slopes of Gilead. Your teeth are as white as sheep, recently shorn and freshly washed.” (1-2) Solomon, you sweet talker!  Well, he started out right – every woman wants to be called beautiful, but the references to farm animals are lost to me.  For the shepherdess woman, however, these words held their own special charm.  Solomon wooed his new bride with compliments, and compliments are never lost on anyone.

“Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon. Come down from Mount Amana…” (8)  The young man invited the young bride to come away with him as they started their home together and asked her to leave all the beautiful mountains and places she may have known in the past that held meaning for her.  This was the beginning of their marriage as Jesus described in Matthew 19:5-6, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’ So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”  Leave and cleave, one flesh, forever – this is God’s plan for us.

I must admit that even today, after all these years together, when I catch a glimpse of my husband across a crowded store or room and our eyes meet, my heart often does a little thing.  I’m not exactly sure what it is, but take it from me, it’s all good.  I’m relatively sure that Solomon understood it when he said, “You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes.” (9)

We may feel somewhat like voyeurs as we read the passionate words of this young couple so desperately in love, but the love language they share and the commitment they profess should only serve to enrich our personal relationships to be what God has intended.  Then, when we think of God’s love for us that is really too intense, too deep to be contained in simple words such as these, we should be challenged to come away with Him.  May we be inspired to leave all the things familiar to us in exchange for a time of intimacy with Him because His deep love has captured our hearts. 

Moving Forward:  I’m exceedingly blessed by His love and by his love today and so very thankful for both. 

Tomorrow @ Revelation 7-11

I Chronicles 25-29 (NLT link) 

Discover His heart: He created us to enjoy intimacy with Him 

@ I Chronicles 28
“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind.” (9)  David was rounding the final bend of his life when he gave these wonderful principles to help guide his son.  Even though his life had some rough moments, David was qualified to give this exhortation because we know from reading the Psalms of his intimacy with God.

When I read them, I think of my mom expressing these words to me, “And Phyllis, my daughter, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately…” because she, like David, enjoyed an intimate relationship with God.  As a young girl, it took me quite a while to grasp what David was expressing to his son.

Many years ago I listened to a group of women discuss the challenges of keeping a fresh daily relationship going with the Lord while raising children, working and traveling, and I understood the struggle all too well.  There are days when it’s difficult to even get a brush through our hair, much less spend some devotional time with the Lord.  The consensus in that meeting was that God understands if we put our relationship with Him on hold for a few years until we have more time.  I don’t think so.

The truth is that God loves us no matter what, literally to the point of death, but I don’t think He understands being put on hold until we can make some time for Him.  Somehow in our busyness we have lost our purpose if we think He isn’t going to miss us, and just as David was reminding his son of life’s priorities, we need reminders on our journey as well.

The message is clear from Genesis to Revelation—God created mankind with much more in mind than providing a caretaker for His garden.  We were created for Him to lavish His abundant love on us through an intimate relationship.  Made in His image, our desire for loving relationships in our lives reflects His desire for loving relationships, and He has chosen us!  Our purpose for being is not the roles we enjoy as husband or wife, father or mother, etc.  No, God has given us breath today for intimacy with Him, and everything else, while worthy and fulfilling, is secondary.

I wish I could say that I’m the poster child for intimacy with God, but unfortunately, that would not be true.  In recent years, however, I’ve changed my priorities each day.  Sleep is less important to me if I need to get up earlier to spend time with Him. In fact, I desire to put everything else on hold instead of Him.  I’ve learned that the day goes better when I first fulfill my purpose for breathing.

 I’ve learned that He doesn’t require marathon devotions every day.  He just wants to touch me and be touched, to love me and be loved.  Just like every other relationship, this requires time and care that sometimes may last for only a few minutes or sometimes for much longer. I’ve learned that the more intimate we become with Him, the more there is to learn about Him, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. 

Moving Forward: I’m thankful for the reminder from David to continue to know my God intimately.  God is my first priority today. 

Tomorrow @ Psalm 108-110

Genesis 1-3 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: The One who gives us breath desires our fellowship

As we read our scripture today, we were traveling at the breakneck speed of 66,000 per hour around the sun and spinning several hundred miles per hour at the same time, but I didn’t feel a thing.  At that speed, it seems like life would be a chaotic blur, but instead we enjoy order throughout the Universe. I just don’t have enough faith to believe as some do that this just happened on its own.  That our creative, eternal God brought the universe into existence? This I can accept.

While traipsing around the desert for 40 some years, leading a few million Israelites and providing a place of worship, food, shelter and guidance, Moses somehow managed to find the time to write the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch.  Genesis records the amazing story of creation, the universe and all its speeding parts, as well as our first ancestors.  Remembering how and why we are here provides a firm foundation as we begin our journey through what God is saying to us through His Word. 

@ Genesis 2
I really don’t give much thought to dust.  Other than the occasional writing in it on the surface of my furniture, dust is little more than a nuisance, even though, strange as it may seem, dust is in my DNA.  “Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground…” (7)  Even though scientists have tried through the years to clone humanity, to my knowledge, they have not been able to keep our dust out of the mix.  No matter what lofty heights we may reach while on earth, it helps to keep our humility in check by remembering that we, all of humanity, came from dirt.

“…He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.” (7)  This statement has intimacy written all over it.  Please excuse the imagery that comes to mind, but very little we do is more intimate than sharing one’s breath with someone because of the closeness it requires.  And what does His breath give to us? Most agree the breath He shares as recorded here is Hebrew for spirit or soul.  God spoke the animals into existence, but mankind was formed, created in His very own image, and given a spirit to separate it from all other creatures.  We are not an accident or the outgrowth from scum on a rock as some would suggest.   No, our creation is very personal.  Without His breath however, we would not be. 

@ Genesis 3
No wonder the enemy’s first line of attack on mankind was to introduce the element of doubt into God’s love and intimacy with His creation, “One day [the serpent] asked the woman, ‘Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?…‘You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. ‘God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.’” (1,4-5)  Was God not honest?  Did He not care for her and want what was best for her?  Doubts.  She should take matters into her own hands.

From this dialogue, we understand who the source of doubt is regarding God’s love for us and His desire to care and provide for us. It is when these doubts come that we must remember why He created us, “When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden.  So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’”(8-9)   We were created to be more than mere caretakers of His garden.  God has always, since the garden, and will always seek out His creation for fellowship. He wants to be with us. 

Moving Forward:  Reminded today of the intimacy with God that brought about my life and of the fellowship He desires, my first thoughts are of Him.  As I breathe throughout this day, I will not doubt His love and care for me. 

Tomorrow @ Joshua 1-5