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DAY 13 - WHEN LOVE IS TESTED

Updated: Mar 10



INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Read the Bible verses related to each devotion.

  2. Then follow the actions and prayers for yourself and a nonbeliever at the bottom of the page.


READ Song of Solomon 2




A friend of mine is getting married in a few weeks, and it is going to be a perfect wedding. This young man is absolutely amazing. He is truly a sign and a wonder of God’s redemptive mercy and grace. He grew up in a hard situation, fatherless, and essentially raised by his grandparents. They ran a small rural black church, where his grandma was the preacher. If you don’t know anything about this kind of church, then let me tell you a few things. First, you can’t get away with anything in a small-town church. Second, you have to stay extra long all the time; you are the first to arrive and the last to leave a service that really doesn’t have any official start or end time. Third, you learn to pray. More out of necessity than anything. Last, you have to learn to play some type of instrument, which he did. And man can he sing. Oh, and by the way his first kiss will be at the wedding. (Yeah, he is that kind of guy.) I know that he will make a great husband, and she will make a great wife.


The girl he is marrying is equally a saint. She is pretty, smart, can sing like an angel, and has a heart of deep tender love for Jesus. I have prayed with her for hours at a time and her intense desire to search and find Jesus is evident. Her song writing ability is unmatched, and her compassion for people warms your heart and makes you smile. So then, let’s talk about what will happen on their honeymoon.


They have been graciously gifted a place to stay for a week. I asked him what they would do in their spare time. He talked about the pool, walks, and lunch by the river’s edge. Of course, they will undoubtedly sleep in. This is the privilege of every newly married couple. There will be late night dinners with nowhere in particular to go and conversations that are worthy of a Hollywood movie. And there will not be any friends stopping by. So, they will just have time to themselves. What do you think will happen on the last morning?


I assume when they get up, they won’t be able to sleep as late, because they will have to be out of the hotel before check out time. They may shower, pack up, load the car, and go get breakfast. Probably in a local coffee shop with a unique breakfast twist. Definitely something out of the ordinary. Then they will begin to make their way home and come into their new apartment. This will be the first time they enter the home as a married couple (he might carry her over the threshold). Most likely, a friend will have gotten them a gift, left it in their apartment, and they will talk about it. Next, they will slowly make and eat dinner, and then go to bed. What will my friend do the next morning?


Let me ask you a question. What would his new wife think if he showed up the next morning with his bags packed, wearing army fatigues, carrying a gun, with an intensely serious look in his eyes. How would she respond? I assume she would freak out, and wonder what happened to her gentle, loving, new found husband. Imagine if he then explained to her that there was a distant war he had to go to. A war against some really evil people. And then he pops the big question. Will you leave all this to go to war with me? And this is where we pick up the story of the Shulamite and the king Solomon.


Read Song of Solomon 2:8-14


"The voice of my beloved!

Behold, he comes

Leaping upon the mountains,

Skipping upon the hills.

9 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.

Behold, he stands behind our wall;

He is looking through the windows,

Gazing through the lattice.

10 My beloved spoke, and said to me:

“Rise up, my love, my fair one,

And come away.

11 For lo, the winter is past,

The rain is over and gone.

12 The flowers appear on the earth;

The time of singing has come,

And the voice of the turtledove

Is heard in our land.

13 The fig tree puts forth her green figs,

And the vines with the tender grapes

Give a good smell.

Rise up, my love, my fair one,

And come away!

14 “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,

In the secret places of the cliff,

Let me see your face,

Let me hear your voice;

For your voice is sweet,

And your face is lovely.”


I want to go through this section by section to lead you on a journey; an amazing love story between a man and a woman. But remember this is more than just a story about king Solomon. It is also a story about the Bride and Bridegroom. It is a story about you and God’s untold affection for you. And lastly, but oh so importantly, it is a story about maturing in love; your journey of growing in love. To go from one season to the next. If you are wise, you will pay attention to these next few paragraphs and learn. What you learn may save you time and pain. You will grow up quicker and closer to God’s love, because you know the way, and you will actually be able to give your friend good advice. Instead of agreeing with them and being dragged down by the same rut they were in last year. Let’s look at this line by line.


“The voice of my beloved!

Behold, he comes

Leaping upon the mountains,

Skipping upon the hills.”


She now sees the king in the most intense way, and she is thinking this is not the guy I signed up to spend the rest of my life with. Instead of waking up and having coffee, he is shouting, running across the mountain tops, talking about a distant country far away. In the same way our own walk with God takes this turn as He calls us from one season to the next. You may have started your walk with God in this amazingly awesome and delicate season. There was seemingly nothing wrong. Every worship song was amazing. Your Bible reading times were energizing, and every conversation with others was remarkable. But then something changes. You don’t feel God like you used to, conversations aren’t the same, and you may become a little confused or fearful at this time, because this is not what you signed up for.


“My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.

Behold, he stands behind our wall;

He is looking through the windows,

Gazing through the lattice.”


She refers to king Solomon as a gazelle or a young stag. He is vibrant, powerful, and ready to run! But he is standing behind their wall. He is not coming to morning breakfast for coffee. Instead, he is standing outside of their breakfast spot, intensely staring, his eyes telling a story of a far-off place, a battle yet to come, and his every motion is asking a question of her heart. You might have started out your walk with God, and it was awesome. But then one day, it changes. God's eyes, His devotion, His plan, His divine will stares intensely at you. And that once comfortable chair, bed, or luxury, no longer seems so comfortable—when He gazes fiercely at you with those piercing eyes!


My beloved spoke, and said to me:

“Rise up, my love, my fair one,

And come away.


Then it comes. King Solomon, the one that found her in the field, the one that saved her from a job of toil, the one that brought her into the chamber, the one that has given her the finest things—beckons her to come away from the very comfort he gave her. The fairy tale is over, or is it actually just beginning? In your life, there is that day when God calls you. It may come right away, or it may not. But He will call. He is not coming to sit in the same spot anymore. Instead, He is faithfully determined to go to war.


For lo, the winter is past,

The rain is over and gone.

The flowers appear on the earth;

The time of singing has come,

And the voice of the turtledove

Is heard in our land.

The fig tree puts forth her green figs,

And the vines with the tender grapes

Give a good smell.


The springtime is when all kings go to war. Actually, they plan all year, carefully watching the harvest to see if their kingdom will have a bountiful harvest season, one where they can provide for the kingdom and the army—then they go to war. If the season is good, then they can provide; if it is bad, then the nation is in trouble. You see at that time, there were no stores to go to. You grew what you ate. And a king had to go to war to protect his kingdom, or else they may end up being taken over by the kingdom next door, and his household destroyed by the enemy. In the same way, Jesus is battling a very real enemy—satan. He is trying to destroy your household, your neighbors, your city, your nation and the nations of the earth. And Jesus is going to war. Will you come?


“Rise up, my love, my fair one,

And come away!”


King Solomon was calling her to come away and go to war. He had awakened her in love. He shared his heart, speaking tenderly and affectionately to her, while meeting her every need. But then he calls for her to go to war. It is more than just going to war. He wants to share a part of himself with her. This is about intimacy! There is coming a time when Jesus will share His heart with you. He will call you out of your comfort zone and bring you where He is. The safest place is where He is. If He is out of the boat, walking on the water, that is the safest place. And with Him is the only place you will know more about Him—the source of true love.


“O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,

In the secret places of the cliff,

Let me see your face,

Let me hear your voice;

For your voice is sweet,

And your face is lovely.”


King Solomon is talking tenderly to her, casting vision, and inviting her nearer to His heart. At this point, her love is immature. It is sincere, but weak. She just thinks about what king Solomon

means to her. Their relationship is very one sided. This is a test. What will she do? She knows him as the king that rescued her; he brought her into his chamber. This is the rags to riches fairy tale story that every young girl dreams about. But now she has a test. In order to grow in love, you have to past tests. Tests that confront your own heart. Tests that teach you what you did not know. Tests that take you on adventures in far off places. Tests that bring you much closer to the ones that you love. God has called you, or He will call you, and invite you on a journey of love.

It is not actually a journey of war (yes, the King is going to war). But this is more about love. You see in the whole existence of time, in all of eternity, your life on earth is only a short moment. It may seem dreadfully long for you, but it is not. You have to put things into perspective. This is a small moment when Jesus is inviting you closer to His heart. You will only grow more mature in love by learning about His heart and following His will—and His will is always on the mountain tops.


Let me add here that king Solomon says two important points. He wants to see her face and hear her voice. He wants to be with her to grow in love. How? He wants to look at her and hear her response. He wants to process with her. But not in the safe comfortable coffee spot that they have been in. Jesus wants to see your face and talk with you. But maybe, just maybe He is calling you away. Maybe the season you are in, or going in, is by His design. Maybe He is calling you to war. But what happens next will startle you:


“Catch us the foxes,

The little foxes that spoil the vines,

For our vines have tender grapes.”


The Shulamite’s brothers actually respond. They are calling her back. Back to work in the fields. She has a dilemma. To go to war or stay. If she goes with king Solomon, then she will have to face some really big challenges. (The big one being fear). She will have to run over mountains and leap upon the hills. But if she stays, what will her brothers make her do? Will they try to get her to work in the fields again? But in the fields (I hope you get this part) in the fields, she had to chase foxes.


Chasing a fox, which only comes out at night, is an act of war. The foxes, running through the field looking for a tasty treat, would have crushed the vines and actually spoiled the crop. She would have to stay up late, as a watchwoman, and go to war. So, her past war actually trained her for the season king Solomon was inviting her into. Your past actually trains you for the next season that God is inviting you into. But He is not asking you to do this alone. No, instead He wants to see your face and hear your voice.


“My beloved is mine, and I am his.

He feeds his flock among the lilies.”


This statement reveals all. Her relationship with king Solomon is not about his needs and desires; it is really about her. Her love is just budding and is an inch deep. It is sincere, but weak. Like a newborn baby, who just loves mom, mostly because of food and comfort, she declares, “My beloved is mine and I am his.” She is saying, “He makes me feel great, and I make Him feel great.” Her love is weak, but sincere. She has to grow in love. God is the perfect leader. He loves you each step of the journey, in exactly the best way that you need to be loved. But then He gently, and perfectly, leads you to the next season. The same God that David called, the Great Shepherd of Israel, the One that led him to still waters for a drink (in Psalm 23) is the same One that led David to war. And He is perfectly leading you. He will mature you in love — if you let Him.


“Until the day breaks

And the shadows flee away,

Turn, my beloved,

And be like a gazelle

Or a young stag

Upon the mountains of Bether.”


How does she respond? The Shulamite is afraid. She has finally made it into the king’s chamber. She finally made it in life. She finally got to a place where she was comfortable. She finally got to a place where she was in control of her life. She finally had peace. And now, the very one that brought peace, was threatening to take it away. She was losing control. She had to act quickly. Fear was tightening its grip around her heart. Anxiety was causing beads of sweat to roll down her back. She had to answer quickly. So, she did! She chose comfort and said, “Go away!” But she calls him beloved. She loves him, but she just can’t go. God is calling you. But maybe you were not able to say yes, and that is ok. He knows you love Him. Actually He knew exactly how you would respond. But, just don’t stay there. Why? Because that comfortable will not bring comfort you tomorrow—it never does, because comfort, true comfort is only found obediently in His presence.


ACTION4U

Read through Song of Solomon 1 & 2 again (it will only take a minute). Then write God a short letter. Ask Him, “what does this show me about who You are, and what You think and feel about me? Then write down the response.


PRAYER4U

Father, I know that You are a safe leader. I know that Your love is better than wine. I know that You rescued me from sin. But today I need You to rescue me again. I need You to take me from one season to the next. (place your hand over your heart). Father, draw me away in love. Draw my heart after You.


ACTION4ONE

Give them a Bible if you can. I know this might not seem appropriate, but at this stage in the journey it may be the turning point in everything. You usually buy a nice Bible online or get one from your local church. Just hand it to them as a gift.


PRAYR4ONE

Father, I ask that You will talk to ___________. I ask that You speak to them through Your word. Let the Words of Your heart and mind touch theirs. (spend a few more minutes asking God to break into their lives.)

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