Rise Up, My Love (214): Beautiful Shoes on Beautiful Feet

beautiful-sandalsSong of Solomon 7:1 “How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter!” I first began meditating on this verse during a communion service after just returning from taking the youth from our chapel on a mission trip to the “hills and hollers” of West Virginia, where we worked among the destitute of Appalachia…one of the poorest areas of our country. Thirty-four children had come to the Lord in our vacation Bible school programs, thousands of items of clothing had been given away, hundreds of dollars of food distributed to needy mountain folks, the missionaries’ house painted, and the gospel sung out in open air concerts. In thirty years of Bible study, the obvious never hit me! Our Lord was pleased with his bride for working out in the vineyard “with shoes on.” As the bridegroom begins his last great exaltation of the bride, he begins by commenting on her feet with shoes on.

Nowhere else in the Song is her clothing mentioned as praiseworthy. It is her body he admires so intensely. Bare feet are always considered more sensual and attractive, so why does Solomon praise her for wearing shoes? Because she has just returned from gathering fruit for him…from a labor of love which required her feet to be “shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15). This “daughter of peace,” wearing the shoes of peace, had been gathering the fruit of peace in the mountains and valleys, and her Lord praised her. “Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:6-7)  beautiful-feetIn the bride—the body of Christ—feet may be beautiful…but how much more beautiful when they are adorned by the shoes of the gospel of peace! The word for feet is pa am which is elsewhere translated “steps” and may refer not so much to the physical form of her feet as to where she’s gone and what she’s doing. As one poet wrote, “Beautiful feet are those that go, Quickly to lighten another’s woe” (–L.M. McPhee, The Romance of the Ages).

It is interesting to note that the first time the bridegroom eulogizes his wife’s beautiful body, which is in chapter 4, he describes her from her head down, focusing first on her eyes, which are the gateway to her heart and love. It is the love he sees in her eyes that first arrests him. Now he describes her from her feet up, focusing first on her actions—the fruit of their love. As the bride of Christ, it is our love and devotion that Christ always desires first, and later on, as we become more like him and learn to move (dance) at the impulse of his spirit, he delights in our service. But still, it is always our love that most arrests and captivates him. Do we love Him with all our heart and soul and mind and strength? Are we aware of how much He loves us? Are we serving him with all our heart and soul and mind and strength?

“If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

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