My lover is mine, and I am his.
I am my lover’s, and my lover is mine.
I am my lover’s, and he claims me as his own.
(Song of Solomon 2:16, 6:3, 7:10)
Relate: I am doing something today that I almost never do. In fact, I am pretty sure this is the only time I have ever done it. You see, every day I read through the One Year Bible’s daily reading and then select a verse from that reading when writing my post. Yes, I might pull stories or illustrations from other portions of scripture but I am pretty sure that this is the only time I have ever had the verse or verses to meditate on not come from that day’s reading. Today, I have combined three verses. The first is from today’s reading but the other two verses technically come from tomorrow. There is a reason for that.
I am not the biggest fan of love stories. Song of Solomon was never my favorite book of the Bible. Not even close. In fact, if I were to rank the books from favorites to least, this song would be competing with Numbers and Leviticus for the most challenging books to endure. (Hosea, Hebrews, and John would round out my favorite three) Part of me believes the only redeeming factor is that in the Hebrew, Song of Solomon is a wee bit risque. When I was in college I learned just enough Hebrew to get myself in trouble. In that process, I also learned why Puritans and young Hebrew boys both were not allowed to read this book. If we were to read it with a more accurate understanding of some of the idioms and metaphors… let us just say this would not get a PG rating. Solomon was channeling his inner DH Lawrence, not his inner Shakespeare.
With that said, there is something beautiful that is going on with the overall arc of the story. At the very beginning the beloved, the “lady” is all “my lover this, my lover that.” He is her possession and she enjoys showing him off. Then, near the end of the second chapter, she makes the first of her three profound statements. “My lover is mine, and I am his.” She still holds priority in her own mind, but she has acknowledged mutual ownership. As much as he belongs to her, she also belongs to him. Time and events and the faithful pursuit of her by her lover gradually bring a switch to that priority in her mind. At the beginning of the sixth chapter she makes the second of her profound statements, “I am my lover’s and he is mine.” This is the same exact statement except the priority is flipped. The fact that I am his now takes precedence. Eventually, that fact overwhelms everything else. As the story begins to draw to a close she makes her third profound statement. “I am my lovers and he claims me as his own.” She has come to a place of complete surrender. Her eyes and heart are so much for him that there is no longer any place for claims of ownership. I am his and that is all.
React: Where am I on this continuum? Am I still like an immature child claiming ownership of God while not offering up an inch of surrender? Of course, none of us would say it that way but is that the statement we are making with our prayers and actions? Are we throwing a spiritual temper tantrum every time God does not come through in the way and timing we have demanded of Him? Do we claim ownership of Him while tacitly acknowledging that we also have responsibilities of obedience and surrender as well? I will occasionally try to live up to His calling on my life but it is still far more important that He lives up to my expectations of Him. Is God now running a close first in our lives? He has taken the top spot in our heart and mind but it is a photo finish. We have given Him kingship but we would still like to play the role of grand vizier. Or does He have everything? Have we come to a place of complete surrender? I really wish I could say this is true in my life. Occasionally, I do see glimpses of what a beautiful life that would be. But when I am honest, I must admit that I am not nearly there yet. There is still far too much of me that needs to be surrendered to Him in heart and deed, not just with words. God, help us all to continue moving in that direction.
Help me to come to that place of total surrender. Help me to get to that point where I am no longer even part of the equation. Help me to be able to say, like the beloved in Song of Solomon, “I am my Yours, and You have complete claim of my life.”