‘His Desire Is for Me’
The Personal, Pursuing Love of Christ
Article by Scotty Smith, Pastor, Franklin, Tennessee
I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me (Song 7:10).
King Solomon’s life tells the story of how a wise man became a very foolish one. The love in the Song of Songs, so rich with exclusive affection, eventually devolved into 700 wives and 300 concubines. But the words of his Song, authored by a greater hand and heart, call us to survey and savor God’s great love for us in Jesus. And not just his love for us in general, but his love for each one of us in particular.
Though the gospel must not be privatized, it must definitely be personalized. None of us is the point, yet we all matter. And though every text in God’s word has an original setting and meaning, no text is fully understood until the blossom of the passage finds its bouquet in Jesus — including the Song of Songs.
Not Special — but His
To be able to affirm these words, “I am my beloved’s,” is to participate in the heights of christology, the wonder of biblical theology, and the riches of the gospel. The one truly deserving of the title “beloved” is Jesus himself. He is the Son of our Father’s delight (Matthew 3:17) — the one to whom all Scripture points (Luke 24:44), and of whom the Spirit is constantly making much (John 16:14).
To see Jesus revealed in the Bible as Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer of all things; the Lion of Judah; the Lamb of God; and the Lamp of the New Jerusalem is to fall down in reverent awe. It is to join legions of angels, and all of creation, in proclaiming Jesus’s eternal glory and ineffable majesty (Revelation 4–5). Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory — the exact representation of who he is (Hebrews 1:3). With God the Holy Spirit, Jesus enjoyed the full measure and fellowship of God’s glory before the world began (John 17:5).
But it’s even grander to be able to say, “I am my beloved’s.” I, as in me — not just the spiritual giants who seem much worthier of such an honor and privilege. Am, as in right now — not will be, when I am good enough, holy enough, or glorified in the future. Right now I belong to Jesus as much as I ever will. My beloved’s, not simply our beloved, as in the whole body of Christ. Wonder of wonders — Jesus is my beloved. “The Son of God . . . loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). This doesn’t make me special; it makes me his. Hallelujah!
Our Greater Hosea
Pause for a moment. What do these words and images stir in your heart? Is the gospel primarily a set of theological propositions you defend? Or is he a Person in whom you focus your greatest delight? Where do you go, as Solomon did, when Jesus is not enough? Do you see how allergic you are to God’s grace? Can you grieve the depths of your unbelief? Do you hear Jesus saying to you, in this very moment, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness” (Jeremiah 2:2; cf. Revelation 2:4). Rejoice in the tenacity of his pursuing love.
As Tim and Kathy Keller write in The Meaning of Marriage, Jesus is the spouse we always wanted. All other forms of romance and intimacy must be celebrated and stewarded as pointers to his love, and the fruit of his relationship with us. Every other marriage, except our marriage to Jesus, is temporary — very important, but very temporary.
We are Jesus’s beloved because he, the Beloved one, set his inexhaustible and unwavering affection upon us. We are the Gomers who looked (look) for love, and gave (give) our love, to anyone and anything other than Jesus. Jesus is the great Bridegroom who, on the cross, became the not-loved one, that in him we might know the lavish love of God for us — for you, for me. May we never get over or get used to this bold declaration: “For our sake he [God] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Love That Surpasses Knowledge
Perhaps even grander still are these incomparable words: “and his desire is for me.” It’s one thing to be certain we will go to heaven the moment we draw our last breath — a glorious hope indeed. It’s altogether wonderful, and essential, to affirm that Jesus is both our full forgiveness and our perfect righteousness. But to know in this very moment, in our heart of hearts, that Jesus — the altogether lovely, pure, and beautiful one — actually desires us, and delights in us!
Oh, my dear friends, what can compare with this glorious state and standing in grace? The gospel may still be true to you, but is it beautiful and real? Does it both take your breath away, and give you breath to worship and serve such a wonderful, merciful Savior as Jesus?
Father, by your Holy Spirit, free us from under-believing the gospel and over-believing our fears, heart-idols, excuses, and shame. Grant us a greater, fresh sighting of the beauty and love of Jesus. Restore to us the joy of your salvation for us. Because we are dull, but because we are yours, “may [we] have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that [we] may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18–19). We pray with renewed gratitude and hope-filled anticipation, in Jesus’s name. Amen.