Relationships are complicated. Because of the various roles we play in life, the way we relate to others is usually controlled by those roles. For instance, I am a husband, father, grandfather, friend, etc. and these roles govern the way I relate to different ones in my life. As a husband, I have a unique relationship with my wife that governs the unique way I relate to her. But my wife is also the mother of our children and grandmother of our grandchildren and those relationships also affect the way I relate to her. The same is true for my children who are also parents of my grandchildren. The question is, have I taken time to know my children as individuals, the particular way they think or am I seeing them only as ones to be parented.
In the same way, my children relate to me based on the fact that I am their father. Have I made the effort for them to get to know me as a person, the way I think and relate to the world around me? This is an area where I have fallen short. If my position as father and parent is one dimension and their role as children is the second dimension, then the third dimension is the ability to know others on a personal level.
Queen of Sheba
There is a good Biblical illustration of this principle found in 1 Kings 10:1-8. The Queen of Sheba has heard of Solomon’s fame, his wisdom, and his greatness, but she wants to know more. She travels to Jerusalem to meet with him to find out who this person is, the way he thinks, how he relates to others. She wants to know him in the third dimension. It says, “she came to test him with difficult questions”. In verse 3, “Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was hidden from the king which he did not explain to her.” The Queen admitted that she didn’t believe the reports, but found out, “the half was not told me. You exceed in wisdom and prosperity the report which I heard”.
Our relationship with God is also complicated. To see Him as the all-knowing, all-powerful, everywhere-present being that governs the universe defines the way man sees Him. We are talking about the creator-creature relationship. This defines the two dimensions of that relationship. But God desires us to know Him as He knows us, in the third dimension. He wants us to know Him by the way He thinks, particularly about his love toward each of us. This distinction is illustrated in the differences of two books written by Solomon, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. In Ecclesiastes the emphasis is on the material realm where man is occupied by a life of wandering and a pursuit of knowledge and worldly experience, vanity of vanities. On the other hand, Song of Solomon is all about the deeper relationship with God.
Song of Songs 1:1-4
1 The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s. 2 “May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine. 3 “Your oils have a pleasing fragrance, Your name is like purified oil; therefore the maidens [hidden ones, virgins] love you. 4 “Draw me after you and let us run together! The king has brought me into his chambers [secret place].” “We will rejoice in you and be glad; We will extol your love more than wine. Rightly [in uprightness] do they love you.”
Although written as a chronicle of Solomon’s relationship to a Shulamite maiden, it is intended to speak to the dynamics of man’s relationship to God as the bride (ie. church) and the bridegroom (Jesus Christ). In verse 4, God brings the believer into his chambers, a secret place where true intimacy can be realized. “We will extol your love more than wine”. The entire book is a documentary on the development of that loving relationship. It can best be illustrated in these verses:
- in 2:16, the maiden says, “My beloved is mine and I am his”. She needs to know He is for her first
- in 6:3, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”. She now recognizes she belongs to Him first
- in 7:10, “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me”. She has no more doubt about His love for her
Abiding in His Love
God wants us to know Him by the way He loves us. In John 15:9, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” The love God has for us is directly related to the love the Father has for His Son. To abide in His love is to dwell there, to remain there, to be constantly reminded of that love. In 1John 4:16, “God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him”.
God’s love for His people has always been available. In the tabernacle, the curtain that separates the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place where the priests carried on their religious duties had a woven image of the cherubim visible throughout the year to the priests. Inside the Holy of Holies resided the Ark of the Covenant where the cherubim oversaw the presence of God. In Exodus 25:22, God says to Israel, “And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony.” I have a choice of knowing God by His image, from a distance or I can be brought into His secret chambers where I will find that His unconditional love for me is real.
This third dimension of love embraces the soul to become satisfied, fulfilled, and complete. In Psalm 63:3, “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You”.