1 Kings 10: 1-10/Psalm 37
There are many seasons and all kinds of weather in our life of faith. As Ecclesiastes might have put it, there is a time to fear God, and a time to not fear God; a time to worship God, and a time to complain to God; a time to praise God, and a time to accuse him; a time to turn to God and a time to turn from God, a time to thank God, and a time to be silent. We pass through all these seasons in the Psalms—winters of content and discontent.
Today we read in the Psalm: “Take delight in the Lord, and he shall give you your heart’s desire.” [Psalm 37:4] There is a season to take delight in the Lord. If God is not immediately present to us in some kind of mystical way, God’s creation is immediately present to us. The verse just before invites us to “dwell in the land and feed on its riches.”
I wonder what was in the poet’s mind. The almond trees in bloom in springtime in the Judean hills? The wild cyclamen that bloom in profusion in early spring? The green hills of Galilee after a late winter rain? The grain fields of the coastal plain at spring harvest time? The flocks on the hillsides? The wild game of the northern highlands? The gathering of grapes and olives, figs and pomegranates?
Taking delight in God’s creation is a way of taking delight in creation’s God. It’s no accident that the “Song of Songs” is sung in a lush landscape of natural beauty and fertility. The “Song of Songs” is the Bible’s primary revelation of the possibility of “delight in the Lord”.
We can read this text, this so deliciously subversive text, in all kinds of winters and weathers and find in it a perpetual spring time. “Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for now 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.”
Solomon’s “Song of Songs” is not just about our delight in God, it is about God’s delight in us. The lovers of the Song are caught up in a sweet delirium of mutual delight. “Take delight in the Lord, and he shall give you your heart’s desire.” In giving us our heart’s desire, he gives us his very self. And it delights him to do so. “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” [Song 6:3] “I am my beloved’s and his desire is for me.” [Song 7:10]
In this is wisdom; of all the wisdom of Solomon, this is the greatest. It is the song of all songs. We delight in the Lord; the Lord delights in us. And this wisdom is to be preferred to all the caravans of gold and precious stones, and all the rare spices of Sheba’s Queen.
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