God of Wildness

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires (Song 2:7)

The intrinsic element of desire must necessarily be at the core of our being to pursue God in the manner He prescribes. Love cannot be formulated. There is an element of deep, reckless longing that must burn beneath the exterior forms of our worship. It cannot be forced or calculated. In Deuteronomy 12:4, the Lord tells us of the pagans, “You must not worship the Lord your God in their way.” In this, He was not just talking about the form or methodology of their worship services, or what types of altars, incenses or instruments they used. Moreover, the Lord was saying he does not want slavish service in which we follow patterns and shadows of worship, with no inner life or spontaneity.

God Himself wants to lead our worship, because He can – he is a living God. The prophets of baal cut themselves and cry aloud, trying to find the formula for him to appear, but the spirit of Elijah makes a mockery of them. Elijah literally asks, “Is baal out relieving himself? Where is baal?” Our God, however, is real, present and responsive. Ever-present Emmanuel. You can’t see baal; he’s out to lunch. Our God is motivated not by empty sacrifice and formula, but by burning desire. This is why we do not pray for Him to bless our ideas. Since He is a living God, he can initiate His own. We are blessed when we get onboard with His plans.

Real. Responsive. Alive. Close at hand. Moreover, completely untamed and uncontrolled. He is a good lion, but not a tame lion.

Listen! My Lover! Look! Here He comes, leaping across the mountains, bounding over the hills. My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag. Look! There He stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice (verse 9).

Gazelles and does of the field speak of a wildness. These are not livestock that move at the command or will of man. Love originates in the will and spontaneity of God. The arousal of love is not a predicated, legislated thing. It must be invoked by a deep “desire.” One cannot will himself to love. A relationship cannot be a forced thing. It takes you off guard. It is a thing of poetry. A glance of the eye that catches you by surprise. It is the spark of the breath of life that animates a man.

:: listen, look ::

Notice here, that first the senses are turned to God. Listen. … Look. … Desire comes first by peering at the object of our affection. When we see Him, we will be like Him. On the same token, when we see Him, we will fall in love with Him. It is inevitable. This is why prayer is important. Its purpose is to fix your eyes on Jesus. As we pull aside to gaze at Him, we become entangled with His beauty – enamored to the point of infatuation.

What surprises us the most, perhaps, when we look at Him, is that He has been staring intently at us all along. Waiting for a chance to step into our awareness.

We put up walls and barricades from this kind of intimacy, but the Lord is a faithful peeping tom, always gazing at us through our blinders and veils and lattices. We insulate ourselves from His fire, from this intimacy – asking Moses to go and speak to Him for us, instead. We would rather have a nice, normal church service. A picket fence Christianity. Live life as usual. Keep Him at arm’s length. We don’t like the uncontrollable wildness of His whims. We like to pretend that He belongs in our boxes.

But He is a wild stag. A life in the Spirit is far more wild and unpredictable than a worldly life. And a religious life is the driest of all. If you are bored with your walk with the Lord, something is wrong. Even as the Lord leaps across the mountains in this passage, we see those in His army doing the same in Joel 2:

With a noise like that of chariots they leap over the mountaintops, like a crackling fire consuming stubble, like a mighty army drawn up for battle (Joel 2:5).

And also …

In that day the mountains will drip new wine. … (Joel 3:18).

The wine and wildness that emanate from the presence of God release us to operate in the Spirit of Might (see Isa. 11). This is a tangible anointing of boldness and power. We take on the same wild nature of His own authority and dominion. This is a place of resurrection power, in which God Himself rises up within us with strength and ability that is far beyond ourselves. This is a far cry from the emasculated religion of Jezebel’s priests.

You have exalted my horn (my strength, authority) like that of a wild ox; fine oils have been poured upon me (Ps. 92:10).

He strengthens us not just like an ox, but a wild one. Is this clean, predictable Christianity? The stall is clean when there is no ox, but if you want the strength of the ox, things will get messy. Understand that this is not blind zeal of which I speak, but zeal coupled with wisdom. That is the potent formula for spiritual dynamite.

This wildness is not a lack of self-control. However, it is a wholehearted giving over of one’s self to the control of God. This power and authority, this mighty breaker anointing, only comes through an awakening of divine intimacy in the inmost parts.

John Crowder, 6/1/2005 1