“Place me like a seal over your heart, or like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, and its jealousy is as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame.” – Song of Solomon 8:6 NLT
This is probably one of the most hotly debated books in the Bible. The interpretations of its meaning are countless and questions regarding its purpose are endless. Some see it as an allegory with deeper spiritual meaning. Others read it as an actual autobiographical story featuring events from the life of Solomon himself. There is little debate that it is a love poem. That is clear from a cursory reading of the eight short chapters. But why is it in the Bible? If all Scripture is profitable for teaching, reproof and training in righteousness, why is this book included? What is it attempting to teach us? As I read through it this morning I was struck by the many times that it caused me to reflect on the love of God. It seems to reveal the kind of love God has for His people and that He longs for them to have for Him. It is the same kind of love that Christ has for His bride, the Church, and that He desires to receive in return. And finally, it is the kind of love that any husband should feel for his wife and she willingly returns to Him.
It is indeed a book about love. Whether it is about real people and real events, I can’t say. But it IS about love. And a faithful, eyes-for-you-only kind of love that God illustrates in His love for those He calls His own. It is the kind of love that caused Christ to take on human flesh and die a sinner’s death in our place on the cross. This kind of love is selfless and sacrificial. It is passionate and powerful. It is intimate and intense. I cant help but read this book and be reminded of my Father’s love for me. I am blown away by the way in which Christ expresses His love for me each and every day. God the Father and God the Son call out to me daily, longing to have a love relationship with me that is two-way, not one-way. But so often I am more than willing to accept their love, but refuse to return it. The Song of Solomon shows love that is given and received. Neither character can live without the other. There is a level of infatuation in the poem that borders on embarassing. The words these two use to describe their love for one another are syrupy and saccharine. The almost feel a little bit over the top and uncomfortable to read – like you’re looking at someone’s private love letters. But the love expressed here is genuine and sincere. It is intimate and personal. There is a sense of infatuation and focused quality behind the love expressed in these eight chapters that reflect the way we are loved by God and the manner in which we should return that love to Him.
Father, may my love for You and Your Son grow to such a degree that it is almost embarrassing for others to listen to me express it out loud. May I discover the intense kind of love for my heavenly Father and His Son that they have expressed to me so often. Help me to learn to love as I have been loved. And help me to recognize just how loved I really am. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men