Rise Up, My Love (196): Submitting, Not Because You’re Overpowered, but Because You Love

Rose RedSong of Solomon 6:5 “turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me.” Last week, I made several assumptions about this verse; this week I want to support my thinking. First, why do I think love must be what he sees in her eyes? Well, some will say, “Of course that’s what he sees! What else is even an option?”

The comment immediately preceding His request for her to turn away her eyes is, “thou art beautiful…terrible as an army with banners.” What do the banners say? She answers that herself in chapter two, verse four: “His banner over me was love.” The banners she wears are his banners…the banners of the love of the Son of God! The strength he sees in her is his strength…the strength and glory of God the Father.

The force of energy and light shining out from her eyes is nothing less than the radiant energy of God the Holy Spirit. God has developed in her the beauty and likeness of her maker—a fitting “helpmate” for the bridegroom, but an awesome power. Stop and consider the import of this moment of time suspended in space. Does it remind you of another time and another place where God had created and exalted another being to a position of magnificent light and beauty? It reminds me of Lucifer, “Son of the Morning,” who rebelled against the God of Heaven. Could it be that in that split second of time, Christ saw in his beloved bride the potential for her to chose evil rather than good…to become a traitor to God? Could it be that he felt his own heart so overcome by love that he felt temptation? He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness; could he have also sensed the temptation of the first Adam…to surrender to his wife’s will? “Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me.” The word for overcome is translated as “agitate” in the LXX, “disturb” in the Hebrew interlinear, “overwhelm” (NIV), “hold captive” (JB), and “dazzle” (NEB). It is found elsewhere only in Psalm 138:3, where it is rendered “make bold,” in Proverbs 6:3, where it speaks of “making sure” a friend, and in Isaiah 3:5, where it says “the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient,” or—as translated in the The Interlinear Bible, “the boy will be insolent against the elder.” Other commentators speak of the word being used to mean “make spirited” or “bewitched.” In each instance, there is the strong flavor of influence over another, and such influence could certainly be used for either good or evil.

The husband is in the position of power; the wife is in the position of influence. When the power of influence begins to overwhelm the person in authority, the person in the position of influence must make a choice: to attempt to truly overcome, or to look away as a sign of submission and surrender. Do not look at me anymore, lest I be tempted to love you more than I love my own Father. Turn away your eyes as a sign of willing submission. My heart is overwhelmed; you must love me and surrender to me of your own volition, because my love for you will not permit me to force you. Do not tempt me to surrender my will to you, for I love you as I love my own soul. You must become one with me, not I with you, in order that we may both be one with the Father. Choose to yield. Choose to submit. Don’t tempt me to yield to you, for you are not yet one with God for eternity, and therefore you still carry the potential for evil. Don’t rebel. I see your strength…it is in your love…love I gave you…but it pulls me like a magnet.

Turn away! Don’t draw me into yourself. Let me draw you into myself…in his time…which will be therefore into the perfection and will of God the Father. Could that be? I don’t know. I do know that it happens between a man and a woman. Could it happen between Christ and his bride?

The whole book of the Song of Solomon…in a deeper sense…reflects the entire earthly journey of a marriage as well as the spiritual pilgrimage of a believer. In a healthy marriage, the husband nurtures the wife until she becomes a powerful and appropriate…either “helpmate” or equal-rival. There comes a time in every marriage when the wife must choose—of her own volition—whether or not to surrender to her husband. For some, that is a choice they make each day, just as we must reaffirm in our hearts our desire to serve God each morning and moment of our lives. But, in a more global sense, the choice to submit is made initially at the altar when the woman becomes a bride, and then again at some point in the marriage…usually during mid-life (and typically as part of the mid-life crisis), after the husband has learned to truly love and admire his wife at a much deeper level. At that point the wife must choose again to surrender her power and yield to her husband’s will. There must come a time again for repeating, “Not my will, but thine be done.” Of course, ultimately both the husband and wife need to submit their wills to God’s will, as we are taught in Ephesians 5:21, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (so that God’s will is accomplished, not our own).