The Lord’s Love Song

April 19, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Posted in Biblical Marriage, Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Thank you, Lord, for loving us. For teaching us that love is more than just a feeling or an emotion. It’s an action – an opportunity to obey You and to show what we believe by how we treat each other. In Christ’s name. Amen.

The Holy Spirit used the human instrument, King Solomon, to write the book of the Bible we know as Song of Solomon. There is much debate, disagreement, and doubt about its true meaning. Some feel that it is a poem which is a metaphor for God’s love for Israel and/or Christ’s love for His church. Others believe that it is a song written by Solomon to a Shulamite woman. Perhaps it is simply an ode to the love between a husband and a wife. I will confess that I happen to think that it is all three of those and much more.

Certainly, much of its language is symbolic, but some of it is surprisingly straightforward. One funny incident that comes to mind concerning the Song of Solomon happened early in my marriage when my wife and I were students in a Sunday School class of young married couples. We were using one of our church’s classrooms for a fellowship activity on a Friday evening. Our teacher planned a game similar to Pictionary, with the husbands on one team and the wives on the other. The ladies would choose a Bible verse and give it to one of the husbands, who would have to “draw the verse” on the chalkboard without using words or numbers, while the other men had to guess the Scripture reference. At one point, the ladies chose Song of Solomon 8:8. Maybe you can imagine the hilarity that ensued as one highly embarrassed husband had to draw this verse in front of the whole group!

The romantic language of pastoral Hebrew culture in King Solomon’s day can seem humorous to us. When is the last time you compared your spouse’s teeth to sheep?

Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them.

Song of Solomon 4:2

When you read Song of Solomon, it is important to remember that there are different voices or different characters speaking different parts, often within the same passages. Let’s briefly examine three main ideas from the book.

1. The importance of expressing love verbally

It is a good thing to tell your spouse, “I love you.” When I was first married, I was told by several older gentlemen that the most important phrase I would need to use in order to have a long and happy marriage was, “Yes, dear,” but I have found, “I love you,” to be more edifying, assuring, and helpful. However, even the phrase, “I love you,” tends to show a limited imagination after a while. Song of Solomon reminds us to be creative and imaginative in our verbal expression of love for our spouses.

Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes.

Song of Solomon 1:15

Compliments need to be true expressions of love, not flattery. It’s one thing to say that my wife has “beautiful” eyes (she does!), but doves’ eyes are more than attractive – they promote a feeling of peace. Tell your spouse you like the way he or she looks, but also tell him or her that you appreciate the work he or she does for the Lord.

Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green.

Song of Solomon 1:16

This might be referring to the place where the couple first met. It is important to “make memories” with your spouse, and then later to spend time reminiscing about those experiences.

Love is demonstrated more by action than words, but the Bible teaches us that it definitely needs to be expressed verbally as well. You’ve probably heard the old saw about the man who boasted concerning his wife, “I told her I loved her 25 year ago. If I change my mind I’ll let her know!” That won’t cut it if we’re trying to accurately represent the love of Christ. If you love the Lord in your heart, He certainly knows it. But He also wants us to verbalize it.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:9-10 (emphasis added)

2. Physical love (sexual intimacy) is for the marriage relationship exclusively.

I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.

Song of Solomon 2:7

That verse sounds to me like a kind and loving wife’s admonition to her friends to “keep it down!” To let her hubby “sleep in.” But the majority of Bible commentators believe that the “daughters of Jerusalem” are the young women who are not yet married. The bride in the Song is telling them to wait until marriage to become sexually active. That certainly lines up with the rest of Scripture. God’s plan for physical intimacy is that it be limited to the marriage bed. God ordained from the beginning that a husband and wife would be “one flesh” – that they would be joined together by God in a marriage relationship first – and then physical intimacy would come afterward. Fornication and adultery are condemned throughout Scripture. Take some time and pray for the children and the young unmarried people that you know – that they would remain sexually pure. Sometimes we are mighty prayer warriors when it comes to their salvation, but we are guilty of a sneaking suspicion that there is no way that they will actually be able to wait until marriage in a world where virtually “everyone does it.”

Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee. My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies. I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.

Song of Solomon 6:1-3

These women of the chorus wanted to go down with the bride to spend time with her husband, but she said, “No, he is mine, and I am his.” The marriage relationship is an exclusive relationship. It is a gift from God, and it is to be guarded. If you are reading this and you are married, respect it. If you are reading this and you are not in a marriage, respect everyone else’s!

Lack of trust is generally a negative thing among spouses, but “jealousy” is not always bad. Remember, in the prophets (such as Hosea, Isaiah, and Ezekiel), those who belonged to God, and then “cheated” on Him, were called adulterers, harlots, and whores.

3. The endurance of love

Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7

A “seal” in the Bible represents something that’s permanent.

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30

Monarchs in antiquity wore “signet rings” which were supposed to make an indelible impression. I hope you see your wedding ring as symbol of permanent love and faithfulness. Aren’t you glad that God’s love isn’t as fickle as ours? God says when you commit to love someone – your wife, your husband, your friend, even your neighbor – make up your mind to show that love even when the person isn’t acting lovely, and even when you don’t feel like showing love. “Contemned” in Song of Solomon 8:7 means “held in contempt.” When you place things in a relative perspective, I hope you are placing the highest value on the people you love rather than “things.” All the wealth in the world would be despised if it was offered in exchange for your salvation. A truly saved person wouldn’t break off his relationship with God, through Christ, for any amount of money in the world, even if such a thing were possible.

Thank You, Lord, for those in our lives that we love – and those that love us. Thank You that you are a God of love – that You are love personified. Help our love to leave the stage of feeling and emotion, but to become active. Help us to be people that show love – and make us conscious of opportunities to show love to others. In the Name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.

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