"...leaning on her Beloved" This little phrase really captured my imagination this week.
What does this mean? What’s this about “leaning”?
At this stage, in the Song of Solomon, the bride has matured and developed an intimate relationship with the King giving her life completely to the Him. She has “come up” victorious over many trials; she values those that He values and she is confident in love. She trusts the King and is not offended by what He chooses to do, or not do.
She understands that it is not enough to have the Spirit living within her, or simply enjoy his presence, but that He yearns to have an intimate partnership with her – interacting, interchanging and with honest dialogue. She’s fully grasped that she is His inheritance and she wants, more than anything else, to be a blessing to Him.
So, what’s with the leaning?
The use of this word is often quite derogatory, suggesting someone is incapable of managing on their own – as if that’s a bad thing, and not the very way we were designed.
Leaning – “wanting and accepting – involving whole bodies, not just arms and legs like hugging” (Urban Dictionary – Google)
I like this definition – it makes it clear that leaning is not about the exchange of emotion, or sentiment that a hug is all about, but it involves the whole body, both wanting to lean and accepting the stance.
It is the whole body, mind and spirit that are desired by our glorious King. He wants us to lean into His indwelling Spirit as our source of power for daily living. Leaning relieves pressure and enables us to hold the ground beneath us for longer and it takes less energy to lean against another than it does to hold ourselves in an upright position.
The other thing that occurs to me about “leaning” is if we physically lean against another, we form a kind of “roof” space – a covering that protects all that is under it.
If we were to apply this principle spiritually and emotionally in our marriages and relationships how much more ground would remain holy instead of allowing our enemy to seep between us, often causing a painful divide?
It is not wise for us to trust our self-discipline, (massive business is traded on society's general lack of self-discipline) our past victories (we can experience tremendous breakthroughs one moment that are lost in an instant) or failures (a failure, no matter how long we get stuck in it, is really a stepping stone to a future victory if we will receive the courage to try again); not even our prayer life is trustworthy. Our trust is only secure with the person our prayer life gets us in touch with.
The Lord’s strategy in our lives is to produce an attitude of dependency on Him and union with Him (Jer 9:23; 1Cor 1:32)
Sadly, we have a natural resistance to leaning on Him and our flesh has a natural tendency to want to get on with the work of the kingdom without interacting with Him in an ongoing way. Many enjoy doing His work and checking in with Him a little bit here and there along the way, but that is not leaning on Him. He will knock away the props that we lean on for false comfort, success and significance because He wants the best for us and the best is Him.
We lean on how people esteem us, our position of authority, getting a greater sphere of influence or having more people appreciate us. This is a distraction and the Lord will pry our hands away from those props if we lean on them instead of Him.
Of course, it is good that we’re appreciated but we can know if we’re leaning on that appreciation by the way we react when we don’t receive it! That reaction is the alarm system – cry for help ASAP!
Leaning on something or someone involves a huge element of trust but once we are in the leaning position, with someone to lean on, we are so much more comfortable, secure and established.
At this stage in the Bride’s journey, “leaning on…” is a very strong statement and demonstrates her connectedness and trust of His leadership. She is looking to Him, reaching to Him and has no life outside of Him. The Lord’s desire and strategy is that we are totally dependent on Him (Jer 9:23)
Let’s stop trying to “live up” to Jesus and start “leaning” on Him.