“Thou hast ravished my heart…” The Hebrew word for ravish is libabtini and can be translated: “taken away my heart,” “given me courage,” or “aroused my passion.” Although the several usages seem quite diverse, they are all sublimely descriptive of the passion expressed here.
“Thou hast taken away my heart.” He is so much in love with the one object of his affection that he is ‘heartless’ to everything else! He has only one burning passion—his spouse—and the love he sees in one glance of her eyes so captivates him that he has no heart for the rest of the world. She is his unique chosen treasure (Exodus 19:5), and he finds that indeed, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). His heart is with his cherished bride, and with her alone. His eyes are riveted on her. No wandering eyes; no wandering heart; no wandering affections! She has totally ravished him and taken away his heart. She is his treasure, and his heart is with her. What an overwhelming expression of devotion! The second translation is equally thrilling: “Thou hast given me courage.” There are numerous times in the Bible when people are told to take heart and be “of good courage,” but there is not a single reference to anyone ever encouraging Jesus in this way, nor is it ever recorded that God “took courage” in any situation. Christ is our mighty Savior who will charge into battle with “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” written on his thigh (Revelation 19:16). Did our almighty Savior ever need courage?
Yes. Once. In the Garden of Gethsemane. Luke records for us, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). There is not another recorded instance of a human sweating blood, but several of the largest mammals, including elephants, hippos, and rhinos—when they have exceeded their maximum stress limit—have been known to burst capillaries all over their bodies and ooze blood from their pores, given them a heart-breaking red sheen.
Such was the strain on our Savior. Did He need courage? As the Son of Man, I believe He did. Where did he get it? I believe this secret is revealed in the Song of Solomon: “Thou hast given me courage.” The passion he felt for his bride—what he saw in her eyes—gave him the courage he needed to endure the cross. (See Hebrews 12:2, “for the joy that was set before him” combined with Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”) So, we see that we are our Lord’s singular passion, that his love gives him courage, and now: “Thou hast aroused my passion.” No woman would ever sigh for a lover like the one from her favorite romantic novel if she fully understood this verse. The Song of Solomon is the most passionate romance ever written…and each of us is the “heroine!” All of these wildly erotic expressions are meant for us! If we could only understand our Savior’s love, all other loves and stories of romance would fade into insignificance! Why sigh over the ardor of another man’s passion when you can read about the passion of someone who loves you infinitely more?? “Thou hast aroused my passion.” Have you ever considered the nature of love’s passion? What is the drive above all drives that you feel? It is the desire to be one…to be united. The passion of romance is for two to become one flesh. Passion is the urgent desire to merge two separate beings into one entity. It’s the fire that melts two metals so that they can be melded together into one new substance. It’s the wild burning of two spirits and souls to ignite and become one great fire together…the feeling that what can be produced together is of greater value that than which can be produced alone…the sensation that the object of one’s passion is more precious than life itself, and that continued existence is somehow intertwined with absorbing and being absorbed by the cherished one until the two have merged into one.
This is passion—the overpowering, compelling emotion which drives the lover to become one with the object of his affections. Can you feel the heat of our Savior’s love for us? A heat that gave him courage to “march into hell for a heavenly cause.” An infinite energy that could not be consumed though all the fury of God’s wrath struck like lightening to devour a burnt offering. A love that saw in his beloved’s eyes something for which he was willing to suffer the agony of separation from the Father in order to unite his bride to himself…“That they also may be one in us” (John 17:21).
(These pictures are from a traditional “Easter Fire” celebration near a small German village where Alan and I once visited.)