Rise Up, My Love (195): The Power of your Love

Song of Solomon 6:5 “Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me.” In this new song of praise, which not only reaffirms but also reveals an enlarged admiration for the bride’s deepening character, the bridegroom responds very differently to his wife’s eyes. Compare this praise with that of chapter four: “Thou hast doves’ eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.” Those dove-like eyes now burn with such intensity that he is overwhelmed! It reminds me of another of Shakespeare’s lines from Romeo and Juliet: “This bud of love by summer’s ripening breath may prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.” Indeed, the bride’s love, tested and purified by the fires of separation and persecution, now burn with an unquenchable flame…her “bud” of love has opened into a magnificent bloom, and it takes his breath away. It takes his breath away… and melts his heart! What he sees in her eyes liquefies him…like heat melting a piece of hard, red, transparent balsam into a fragrant liquid. He feels his heart slipping away like wax dripping from a candle. A stony heart feels the blows of the chisel and hammer, but a liquid heart does not, because it moves and conforms instantly. Think about it. If you pour a fluid into a vessel, it rests peacefully within the boundaries of the vase. There is no battle over the will of water. Even so, a liquid heart can be poured out into any vessel and be used to fill it… The bridegroom feels her eyes melting his heart…his heart stops beating…he stops breathing…is this what it means to fall in love? “Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me.” Here is another puzzle I’ve turned over and over in my mind. It is one of those verses where I find myself “digging for wisdom” because it is like buried treasure which is difficult to mine. I find myself bringing the phrase before God and claiming James 1:5-6, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.” That has been my daily exercise in prayer in this search for understanding The Song of Solomon…although sometimes the insights seem to be lying on the ground in front of me, and at other times they seem to be buried under an avalanche of debris in the mine shaft! Why would the king feel overcome, and why would he ask her to turn her eyes away? Well, the universal opinion is normally that he was overcome by desire…but why would that make him ask her to turn her eyes away? Why wouldn’t he just draw her to himself in marital communion if he were overcome by desire? Let’s work backwards and see if we can understand his heart through deductive reasoning. What makes a person turn his eyes away? I believe it’s when the intimacy becomes greater than the person is comfortable with…or able to bear. Have you ever had a stare down (intentional or unintentional)? To my mind, the person with the stronger will—the dominant person—wins. Dogs, bears, or most any wild animal will be more likely to attack if you look straight into their eyes, because they take that as a challenge and affront. In the book Bear Attack, people are warned to avert their eyes if they see a bear in order to avoid being attacked. Gazing into another’s eyes is a confrontation of sorts. It is a challenge to intimacy, to understanding, to establishing authority and order. A dog will stare lovingly into his master’s eyes but growl ferociously at a stranger who stares at him. Why? Because the dog is eager to convey submission and love to his own master but resists even entering into a contest with any other potential owner. “No man can serve two masters.” The dog—dubbed man’s best friend because of his undying loyalty—does not care to even try! How does this knowledge of the physical world relate to Christ’s revelation of himself in his reaction to his bride in the fifth verse of chapter six? What does he see in her eyes that overcomes him, and why does he ask her to turn away? Here is one of the most profound insights into the love of Christ found in the whole Bible. What he sees in her eyes must be love, and I think the reason he asks her to turn away must be to keep him from being tempted to surrender to her will.

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