SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON/Are You Drawn to Christ?
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 12:00 AM
"Draw me after you and let us run together! The king has brought me into his chambers. We will rejoice in you and be glad; we will remember your love more than wine: the upright love you." (Song of Songs 1:4)
It's a simple enough question. Are you aware of a tugging on your heart and life toward Christ? Do you find something about Him to be absolutely irresistible and compelling? And if not, then why? Oh, we know what it means to be drawn to something. We often attribute such an orientation to certain individuals (our spouses, for example) or a particular vocation, or even an intriguing location, and it is to these relations and places that our hearts and minds often turn. But are you drawn to Christ?
In these opening verses of the Song we are introduced to a woman who is head over heels in love with the king. Now, I understand the Song as an allegory designed to speak to the beautiful relationship that exists between Christ (the king) and the Church (the woman). And here it is the woman (the church) which is seeking fellowship with the king (Christ). She expresses her great desire to be drawn unto him so that the two of them may run together (ie... have fellowship one with each other). It isn't difficult to capture the sense of urgency in her request. There is nothing she desires above him - no place where she would rather be than in his presence. And so she pleads with the king that he might graciously draw her unto himself.
Of course, her motive is perfectly clear as expressed in the preceding verses. In verse two she speaks of his love "which is better than wine". Wine, in the Scriptures, often is esteemed for its cheering effect upon those who drink it. This woman, then, is reflecting upon how his love for her has filled her with great gladness. Actually, in the Hebrew text, the word used is found in the plural form - "loves". It isn't the singularity of his love that amazes her, but perhaps the manifold expressions of that love - the overflowing nature of his love - for truly it continues as a fountain that never runs dry. His love is repeated toward her in diverse ways and at all time she basks in the wonder of it. His love, you see, draws her to him.
Then she also mentions his kiss. James Durham took this to be speaking not only of his affections for her but his very breath - that is, the product of his mouth that results in her blessing. And oh how the outward-breathed spirit of Christ and His Word do both result in rich blessings for us, the Church! What a fragrance of life is bestowed upon us whenever He speaks to us and causes us to hear!
Then finally she lauds the pleasing nature of his name, likening it to purifying or healing oil. Can this be speaking of anything other than the real nature of Christ who is our healing balm of Gilead? Is not His Name as a refreshing elixir which brings us hope and calms our fears? In the midst of our troubles, isn't it true that we have only to mention His Name and a peace which surpasses all human understanding comes to be experienced by us?
Is there any wonder, then, that she begs to be drawn into his presence, and are we not by this reminded of the words of Jesus Himself who taught us that "no man comes to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (John 6:44)? And does this not also cause us to appreciate Christ's own promise to draw all men unto Himself (John 12:33)? Yes, for sure, this drawing power of God is essential. Without it not one of us would go to Him. Apart from it all of us would fall short of reaching Him. To be drawn by the Father unto the Son surely includes the giving, not only of the desire to pursue Christ, but the strength to run after Him until He is attained. And it is this that the woman here seeks.
And look at the blessed fellowship she anticipates as she is drawn to the king. It is into the king's inner chambers that she is summoned signifying the most intimate of fellowship. While there is nothing of beauty in herself (vv. 5-6), she is reassured of his love for her as open access to his presence is granted. Therefore, we hear her declaration of will: "we will rejoice in you and be glad". She seeks his presence (his fellowship) because nothing else will satisfy her longing. No other adequate substitute can be found to take his place. She must have him or life itself is not worth the living.
Wow! What a beautiful picture of Christ's love for the Church and of what our reciprocal love for Him should be like! Drawn, by God's grace, to Christ, we then are oriented toward Him and pursue even closer fellowship with Him. We come to prize His companionship over all other relationships. There is fostered within us a willingness to abandon eagerly all other pursuits to advance in this one. And once having sampled the sweetness of His embrace, we can content ourselves with nothing less.
So how about it? Do you feel that tugging of God, drawing you to Christ, drawing you to a closer walk with Him? Drawn to Christ we are drawn to healing and forgiveness. In kindness God draws us to taste of Him and see that He is good. By grace we are drawn into the safety of the shadow of His wings and invited to surrender to Him all our anxieties and to know His peace. What a wonderful summoning - drawing - we witness here! Are we, then, not stirred to respond as does this woman who longs to "run together" with the king? May that be your desire today!
The Rev. Donald Caviness is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, MS.