When we understand the extent of God’s love for us, we begin to get a clearer picture of who he is.
Desired by God
By Van Moody
In Song of Songs chapter 5, a lover (standing in for God) stands at the door of his beloved and knocks. The woman (who represents each one of us) is already in bed for the night and does not want to get up. When she hears the knock, she responds with, “I have taken off my robe—must I put it on again? I have washed my feet—must I soil them again?” (v. 3). She delays getting up, making excuses for why she won’t open the door. Then, by the time she does open the door, he is gone. It’s a clear picture of God extending his love to us, pursuing us and being rejected. Song of Songs is a love poem about God wanting to lavish his love on his people. Not only is this Old Testament book a picture of God’s love, but the entire Bible is God’s love letter to us.
The reason God desires us is simple: He is love, so he gives us love. It’s who he is. But the reasons God’s love is often rejected are more complicated, and that’s what this book is all about. God has created us in his image, so every time we fall in love, whether it’s with a book or a band or a sports team or a person, unwittingly we’re starting on this same cycle of love. Whether we realize it or not, we’re wired the same way as God with the desire to love and be loved. We have the same yearnings for connection through relationships that God does, and sometimes we experience the same love given-rejected-accepted cycle when our relationships don’t work out the way we hope.
So who is this God who—as we will discover—loves us even more than a man or woman yearning for his or her lover? To understand God’s desire for us, we need a fresh, new and accurate picture of God. Because before you can connect to God, you have to know him as he really is. But the problem is that we don’t really know or understand God. If we develop or adopt a false picture of who he is, we end up with several problems in our search for a real, authentic relationship with him:
• Little or no desire for a relationship with him
• Wrong motivations on our part
• Searching for understanding or knowledge instead of a real relationship
My desire is to give you a fresh and true picture of God as a potential lover—desiring with all his heart for you to know who he really is—so that you will fall in love with him and return the powerful feelings of love he has for you. When you understand the height and depth and breadth of his love for you, then you can return that love and move forward into a fresh, new life, with new perspective. And when you understand that he loves you in spite of your rejection of him, well, you’re on your way to grasping a little bit more about the nature of God’s love for you.
Remember the television show Cops, where a TV crew followed police officers around as they carried out their duties? I will never forget one particular episode. An elderly lady in a trailer park had a troubled son whose life had been ruined by drug addiction. He was not in good health, he was missing one of his legs and he lived with and depended on his mother for help. When the police came to arrest him for something he’d done, the cameras followed the action. As the man was being led away by the police, he became angry and started cursing at his mother. He thought she had turned him in to the police (and maybe she had). The cameras closed in on his mother’s face, her expressions changing from sorrow to anguish as her disabled son was dragged away.
Then, she remembered his artificial leg. Knowing he would need it in jail, she quickly ran to the other room to get it for him. When she returned, her face was still filled with sorrow, but it also shone with a mother’s love for her son as she stretched out her arm toward him, holding out his prosthetic leg.
I’ll never forget his response, because his face turned even uglier and darkened with hate toward his mother. He refused to take the leg, and, as he was pushed into the backseat of the police car, he leaned out and spat at his mother. At that moment, her love was pure and sacrificial as she tried to help him at his lowest point. He responded by rejecting her and her love with one of the worst insults he could possibly deliver.
What would you have done if you were that mother? How far would you go in order to love someone who didn’t love you back? What do you do when you face rejection from the one you love? Let’s see what God does when he is consumed by desire for those he loves, and follow him through each stage as he handles the cycle of love given, rejected and accepted with his people. Here’s a hint— there was a time long ago when God’s love relationship with his people involved a series of solemn vows and agreements called covenants.