My thoughts (Keith Phillips):
Many moons ago I spent a week every summer as a counselor at a Baptist church camp for high schoolers. I’ll never forget the year I led a daily Bible study based on the Song of Solomon. Who would have guessed that adolescents could get so excited about the Bible?
There’s something about this psalm that has the same physical sensuous quality as the Song of Solomon, especially in the New Revised Standard Version. And unlike the Song of Solomon, this psalm is clearly describing the relationship between the psalmist and God. Listen to these phrases: “my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you;” “I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory;” “my soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;” and “my soul clings to you, your right hand upholds me.”
Before you question me, saying, “It’s all in the eye of the beholder,” let me point to Song of Solomon 2:6 — “O that his left hand were under my head, and that his right hand embraced me!” Not too dissimilar to “my soul clings to you, your right hand upholds me,” I’d say. The psalmist longs for God with the eagerness of a lover to be touched by the beloved.
Literally dozens of times each day, I tell God, “I love you!” And just as frequently, God tells me, “I love you!” To say that this relationship is just spiritual or platonic would denigrate my relationship with God. I know that God does not have a physical body, but I can seek God and I can desire to be intimate with God in ways like the psalmist seems to be suggesting.
The truth is that much of the time God and I are like an old married couple, with me being kind and saying nice things to and about the other but taking God too much for granted. The passion that was once there has dissipated. I’ve developed a routine, the same-old thing, with the one with whom I want so much more. Wouldn’t it be nice to relate to God, just once in a while, with a little ecstasy, going beyond or outside of myself? To be caught up, to be enveloped in the being God is?
I’ll never be an adolescent again in my relationship with God, but I do desire a bit more pizzazz because I love God more than anyone, more than anything, with my whole body, mind, and soul.
Thought for the day: What might it look like for you to love God more holistically? How would a little ecstasy in your relationship with God feel?
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.