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For your love is better than wine. - Song of Songs 1:2b NASB

How so?

How is the love of the this Shepard King better than wine?

Wine pretends to be a provider. It offers to provide joy, peace, comfort, hope, escape. But it’s provision is brief and fleeting. Its refreshing doesn’t last past the night, and in the morning what it supplied is gone, and what’s left is deeper need.

By contrast, the Lord’s love is enduring, His provision is real and lasting. The provision we receive from Jehovah Jireh supplies felt needs as well as real needs we may not even know we have, with an everlasting supply.

The joy that comes through relationship with the Lord is not dependent on circumstances.

The peace given by the Prince of Peace is incomprehensible, a peace that passes understanding.

The comfort of the Lord is not a pat on the hand and a sympathetic hug. The Lord’s comfort comes to us in the form of the Holy Spirit. He comes beside us and brings us strength for the day and wisdom to choose for tomorrow. Where wine may calm us with a false peace and comfort, that is gone in the morning, the Spirit, the Comforter, walks with us through the valley of death and provides peace and hope each step of the way.

The escape wine offers simply delays or masks the circumstances we want to flee. In the Spirit, there is a courage that faces trouble with hope based on the sure knowledge that the Lord has a plan for us and a way has been made.

Think of Jesus getting on a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. In the midst of a life-threatening storm, he sleeps, knowing His Father’s will awaited on the other side of the lake. The assurance we have as we follow Him tells us our end is in His hands, and so, is sure.

By His love, we learn to love in like manner. His love restores our relationships and gives us the ability to love even our enemies.

His love is better than wine at every turn.

Thanks for coming by,

See you again soon,

Ben

3

For your love is better than wine. Song of Songs 1:2b NASB

What does wine say to you?

  • Luxury?
  • Desire?
  • Passion?
  • Intoxication?
  • Longing?

Our humble maiden is struck with all of this.

She looks at this Shepherd King and this lowly maiden from a nearby village is drawn into the thoughts of luxury, of the lush life, of a life with the man of her dreams in royal robes and plush surroundings.

She sees his rugged handsome beauty and she wants to spend time in His arms.

One look as He passes by stirs passion deep within her.

She imagines that drinking deeply of the scent of Him would surely intoxicate her.

She has a deep longing for intimacy with this man!

You know, for Christians our longings can be tricky. We feel like passion is a problem. We try to suppress our longings—to bury them. For centuries, longings of any kind have been frowned upon in the Christian world.

We find ourselves expressing our longings in ways that are destructive, and so we begin to repent not only for the sin but for the longings and desires themselves.

This is a problem since God created these longings and built them into who we are. They are deep inside, and if we live life suppressing our longings and passions, we end up denying the very life God intended us to live, and the wonderful things He intended us to feel and experience.

Mike Bickel and Deborah Hiebert wrote a book called “The Seven Longings of the Human Heart” where they detail 7 longings (there may be more, but this book lists 7) in every human.

  • A longing to be fascinated
  • A longing to possess and feel beautiful
  • A longing to be great and successful
  • A longing to know intimacy without shame
  • A longing for assurance of being enjoyed
  • A longing to be wholehearted and passionate
  • A longing to make deep and lasting impact

These longings are not part of out sin nature, they are built-in by our creator. They require attention and management, but not necessarily suppression.

In fact, God’s intends fulfillment for each these completely in your life, both here and in eternity.

Don’t forget, this is the God who put in the pen of David

“Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; In Thy presence is fulness of joy; In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.”(Psalm 16:11 NASB)

This is from the God who created pleasure. What sorts of deep passionate pleasures await us in heaven. I suspect it is more than we could ever think or imagine.

Personally, I love my life here, but I can’t wait.

Fact is, God’s intention is for us to walk in a great measure of this pleasure and wonder here and now, and as we unfold this Song we will see the joy and fulfillment of partnering with the One who created us, and designed us, and bought us, and loves us all to crazy!

Come on back next week!

See you then,

Ben

Wine photo credit: keeva999 (on vacation) via photopin cc

photo credit: Mr. T in DC via photopin cc
photo credit: Mr. T in DC via photopin cc

How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much better is your love than wine,
And the fragrance of your oils
Than all kinds of spices!

Song of Songs 4:10

It was all the way back in the second line of the Song that our Shulamite maiden called out to her heart throb, this Shepherd King that His love, then just an imagination to her, was better than wine.

She looked at Him from afar, dreamed of a day when He would hold her, when she would breathe Him in, when they would spend luxurious mornings together talking, laughing, loving.

Now they are married, on their honey moon, and the dream is a reality, and the words echo back to her from her past, and from His lips.

This wonderful Shepherd King has taken His place in her life as her King, her Love, her Brother, her Everything, and He breaths those words back to her.

How much better is your love than wine.

This brings me back to the realization of how far Jesus travels to make our relationship work.

Many speak of the Christian life as though it is hard work to keep up our relationship with the Lord, a struggle, a striving, just to keep your faith.

But in this wonderful Song, this picture of the relational nature of faith, we see that her (our) moves are slight, and He (Jesus) is the one leaping over mountains, bringing army’s to bear, and making call after call, pursuing us relentlessly.

One turn of her head, and glance of her eye toward Him and His heart beats faster.

I love that the Lord travels all the distance that separates us when we turn our desire toward Him.

The work of faith is to look to Jesus, turn your eyes on Him.

What a great Savior!

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

Walk in blessing in 2014.

Ben

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Wine photo credit: keeva999 (on vacation) via photopin cc
Wine photo credit: keeva999 (on vacation) via photopin cc

He has brought me to his banquet hall, And his banner over me is love. ~ Song of Songs 2:4 NASB

This is one of the few verses in the Song of Songs that many people who have been in the church for a while are familiar with. When I was young often sang a song called “His Banner Over Me Is Love” that included this verse, “He lifts me up to His banqueting table, His banner over me is love.”

But in doing a bit of word study on this verse I find that these words translated banquet hall or banqueting table, are not uncommon, but they never, anywhere else in scripture are rendered this way.

Everywhere else this word for banqueting shows up it is translated “wine.” The word used for hall, or table, is more often translated house.

There are a few less common translations that give us this more common form of these words such as:

He hath brought me in unto a house of wine, And his banner over me [is] love (YLT)[i]

I believe the reason they have gone this way, is wine speaks of Luxury, and to the common man, would not be part of a normal day. It would accompany a feast, and so the leap from house of wine to banquet hall.

Remember back in the 2nd verse of the Song, she declared to her then fantasy lover, “Your love is better than wine” and at that point it was a longing of her heart to be with this Shepherd King, but now her deepest longings are taking shape in reality.

So what is a good tea totaling “EvangChariCostal” to make of all this wine?

The path is clear for me is clear:

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit ~ Ephesians 5:18

But this raises a new interpretation of the idea of being drunk or filled with the Spirit.

If God is love, then the Spirit is clearly Love. Paul”s exhortation could be boiled down to be filled, or even drunk, with love. We will see in a week or two that this is what is described in verse 5 of Song of Song chapter 2. We will find our girl lovesick.

So today I invite you to the house of wine – sit at the master’s table and dine, and taste the sweet wine of His Love. [Tweet This]

You say – pretty word pictures Ben, but how do I do it – how do I find this intimacy with Jesus?

I’ll tell you what – start with His name. Worship Him.  Don’t have a ‘quite time,’ where you read a set number of verses and say prayers – reading your spiritual grocery list to Him. Worship Him.

Meditate on His name, tell Him your deepest thoughts and fears. Scream, cry or be quiet before Him.

Ask Him to speak to you and then be quiet and listen for His voice.

He wants to talk with you. He wants to sit in the house of wine with you.

BenNext week we will talk about this Banner of Love.

See you then.

Ben

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