Unless you’ve had an “earthquake” experience, like Isaiah did (Isaiah 6) when he saw the Lord, lifted up and holy, and said, “Woe is me, I am a man of unclean lips,” unless you’ve come to a realization of the depth of your sin — not just before Christ, but ongoing — then you are not going to truly be able to walk in line with the Gospel. The King has brought the Shulamite maiden into his chambers, and uncovered her, and she is suddenly aware of all her imperfections. When the holy light of God first falls on us, we are overwhelmed by our sin. The Shulamite pleads, in Song of Songs “Do not stare at me because I am dark…” (S. of S. 1:6) — she has an awareness of her unworthiness, but does some blaming (those brothers of mine made me work in the sun!) There is a dialogue between her and the King that is intriguing. Hudson Taylor, the great missionary who began China Inland Mission, puts it like this:
She has seen the King’s face and cries, “Ah, I am black!”
“But lovely,” interjects the bridegroom with infinite love and tenderness.”
“No, black as the tents of Kedar!”
“But to me you are as lovely as the tent curtains of Solomon — a lily among thorns…”
The truth is we are black in our sin — our depravity is deeply stained within — yet His blood can take out the worst stain, making us as white as snow.
I remember my fear at realizing the holiness of God when I first came to Him, but then, how He relieved my fear.
I feel I’m having a new awakening in my life, now, forty years later — a new realization of sins I’d lived with, excused, even blaming others — my selfishness, my worry… I am dark. Yet I am so loved — amazing love. And that makes me want to live for Him today.
Please share your reflections.