Foreword by Mike Bickle

Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength.  So much in the kingdom of God flows from our response to this glorious commandment, including the second great commandment – loving others as ourselves.  But as John the apostle taught, it is impossible to grow in our love for God and people without first growing in the knowledge of His love for us.  (I John 4:16-19).

Many in the church today are trying to love God and serve others, but they are missing the critical foundation – the revelation of God’s extravagant love for them.  It is not enough to know with our intellect that God loves us.  Mental assent alone will not result in the quality of worship that He desires nor will it produce lasting change in our lives.  The apostle Paul taught that we are transformed in our hearts by renewing our minds (Rom. 12:2).  Therefore as we renew our minds with the revelation of God’s love, we will find our hearts transformed in the process.  I have found the Song of Solomon to be a powerful portion of Scripture that the Holy Spirit uses to impart deeper understanding of Jesus’s extravagant love for His people.  When read as an allegorical story, the Song of Solomon gives us insight into how Jesus the Bridegroom King feels toward the body of Christ as His cherished bride (Eph. 5:27-32).  However, we only read the Song of Solomon through the lens of who Jesus is and what He did as revealed in the New Testament Gospels, epistles, and the Book of Revelation.

I encourage you to turn this portion of God’s holy Word into an affectionate prayer-dialogue with the Lord Himself.  Those who engage in long and loving meditation on King Jesus using this Song, praying the very Word of God back to Him, will find their hearts exhilarated with the knowledge that Jesus’s heart is ravished over them (Song 4:9).  It is this understanding of the Lord’s love for us that will enable us to love Jesus in the overflow of the love the Father has for Him (John 17:26), the very love that will bring the body of Christ to maturity as a prepared bride (Rev. 19:7).

King David wrote, “You people will offer themselves willingly in the day of Your power, in the beauty of holiness…”  (Ps. 110:3).  I believe the Holy Spirit is raising up a generation of men and women, young and old, who will worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness because they have glimpsed the depths of His incredible love for them.  This is a paradox in God’s kingdom:  the width, length, depth, and height of His love is beyond our ability to fully comprehend (Eph. 3:18-19), yet the Holy Spirit delights to escort our hearts into the vast ocean of His love (Rom. 5:5; I Cor. 2:9-12).  Those who ask the Holy Spirit to do this, as they seek to know and love Jesus with all their hearts in the beauty of holiness, will be the kind of people who will follow the Lamb wherever He goes (Rev. 14:4).

-MIKE BICKLE

DIRECTOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PRAYER

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI

 

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