Is it just me or do today’s love songs leave you a little cold? I nearly laughed out loud at the lyric above when I heard it on the radio a few days ago. Then I realized it was supposed to be a serious sentiment and I wanted to cry. What has become of romance?
She walks in beauty like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
And now we have the tattoo song? Surely Lord Byron, William Shakespeare and Elizabeth Barrett Browning are doing the proverbial grave roll as today’s “love songs” waft down through the loam.
Did it ever occur to you that we are to be singing love songs to God? For some reason we focus on the father-child relationship when the scripture also emphasizes the husband-wife bond.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you, Isa 62:3-5.
Maybe we feel a little uncomfortable talking to God as if he were our “beloved,” especially the gentlemen among us. Yet David several times uses that term in his psalms. Certainly romantic love isn’t the only metaphor used of the relationship between God and his people, but each one has a particular emphasis, and perhaps by avoiding this one, we miss an important point.
What kinds of things do we say to our spouses? Just think of the love songs from your own decade. I would climb the highest mountain, swim the deepest sea; Until the twelfth of never I’ll still be loving you; I can’t help falling in love with you; You mean the world to me, I know I’ve found in you my endless love; All I ask for is one love, one lifetime, say the word and I will follow you. All of these emphasize the point of marriage—a love for someone that causes you to change yourself, to give up anything and anyone, and be willing to bear the tribulations of life together, “ for better or for worse, until death do us part.” Isn’t that a good description of the commitment you once made to the Lord?
And what is it Jesus says is the greatest commandment? Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind, Luke 10:27 (Deut 6:5). I hope at least once in your life you have said to your spouse, “I love you with all my heart.” If you haven’t, you had better make tracks and do so right now!
Then we see the matter of fidelity in marriage. Just as one today might put away an unfaithful spouse, God in righteous indignation will put away a people who make commitments to anything or anyone besides him—Isa 50, Jer 3,11,12, Ezek 16 and 23, and Hosea 1-3 to name just a few passages where the figure is used. Any who have had to deal with it firsthand know that divorce is a painful experience; that one grieves after it just as if they lost a spouse by death. Certainly we do not want God to put us away in a similar way—yet he most certainly will.
So today, think about God as your beloved, the one you love most in the world, the one you have changed your life for and plan to live with forever. Don’t take that relationship for granted, as you sometimes do your earthly marriage. Sing a love song to God.
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
When I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. Psalm 63:1-7.