I’m feeling quite blue today. I am very tired. My wife has had a very painful weekend, which doesn’t seem to let up. I am feeling very unlovely.
In the middle of my blues, I am also studying the Song of Songs for the class I am teaching tomorrow, and I was struck by this passage (as well as my studies in an excellent commentary by Iain Duguid):
5 I am very dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon.
6 Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept!
The girl is dark because she works in the vineyards all day. She is poor (therefore working) and socially inferior. A mark of wealth and status was fair skin. Only one who had servants to do the hard work in the sun had fair skin, so that was what was considered beautiful. Beautiful socialites in ancient Israel did not sun themselves on the beach.
This girl had neither status nor wealth. And she did not meet the standards of loveliness in her culture. She was used to being “gazed upon” with contempt by the social elite in Jerusalem.
But she was loved by her beloved. And her beloved thought her beautiful. And her beloved TOLD her she was beautiful. So she WAS beautiful.
And this thought brings to mind another thought. Our God also loves us and thinks us beautiful. When we are unlovely, broken, discouraged, and bitten by the sun of tribulation, our beloved calls us his bride, and he longs for the consummation as much as we do! (Eph. 1:23)
Isn’t that an astounding thought? Our God, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, considers himself incomplete until His bride is by His side. He calls to us. He sanctifies us. He loves us. He considers us beautiful!
Therefore we are beautiful and loved. We are chosen by name and loved by the one we love. He calls us beautiful, and adorns us as a bride for her husband!
17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zep 3:17 ESV)
Amen! Come quickly, Lord Jesus. How our flesh and blood and souls cry out for the Living God!