Love is Holy

Posted: June 4, 2015 in Route 66, Song of Solomon
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Route 66: Song of Solomon, “Love is Holy”

Love.  Usually, when love is spoken of in a church settings, we go to great lengths to explain how there are different forms of love, the greatest of which being the self-sacrificial love exampled by Jesus at the cross, and the ideal for every Christian who follows in His footsteps.  That kind of love is indeed grand & marvelous – and we praise God for it!  But if we’re not careful, we can downplay the idea of intimate physical love so much to the point that it almost seems evil in comparison.

There can be no doubt that physical love (what the New Testament terms as “eros”) has been abused and degraded in our society.  The very idea of marriage is in upheaval as our culture moves further and further away from the Biblical notion ordained by God (one man + one woman, for life).  Physical love itself is divorced from the context of marriage & fornication and perversion runs rampant.  Pornography dulls the heart and mind to what real love ought to be, as young women endure horrendous abuse in order for a few people to make money off their pain.  It’s no wonder why the church sometimes ignores the idea of physical intimacy altogether!

Yet it ought not be the case.  When God designed us, every desire He put into us was good – including that of the intimate love between husband and wife, and their physical desire for one another.  Remember when God originally created Adam and Eve, He joined them together in the original marriage prior to the fall and introduction of sin.  God declared that husband and wife should be joined together in Genesis 2:24, and it wasn’t until Genesis 3:7 that the humans sinned and their eyes were open to the potential of sexual perversion (through their nakedness).  Mankind’s treatment of love & intimacy may have fallen, but God’s original intent for it has not changed.  It’s still good.  It is a gift He has given to husband and wife, to help them join together physically and emotionally, in reflection of the spiritual joining He has already made between them.

In light of this, it only makes sense that the Bible gives us a demonstration of what a pure, proper physical love ought to be.  The Bible gives us plenty of examples of how love goes wrong (Jacob & his wives, David & Bathsheba, etc.) – but it also gives us a few examples of when it’s done right (Boaz & Ruth, Joseph & Mary).  The Song of Solomon is one more such example.  Actually, the Song goes somewhat further.  Whereas we only get a glimpse of the relationship between historical couples in the Bible, the Song of Solomon gives us an in-depth view.  We see the holy love and desire between husband and wife.  We see their enjoyment of one another.  We see a bit of their struggles, but overall, we see a picture of what marriage could be…and it’s wonderful!  It is intimate, it is tender, but most of all…it’s holy.

BACKGROUND:
One of the aspects that makes the theme of the Song of Solomon so interesting is its author: Solomon.  If the Song of Songs celebrates the cherished intimacy between a single husband and wife, how is it that Solomon (of all people) wrote it?  Solomon was known to have a massive harem: 700 wives & 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3).  In fact, it was his insatiable desire for women that was his downfall.  In order to keep his vast harem happy, he built idols and altars to their gods, and eventually Solomon’s own heart turned away from the Lord (1 Kings 11:9).  In any case, it is difficult to imagine Solomon’s love being so singularly devoted to one woman that he would compose this premier of all love songs for her.  For that reason (and others), some doubt Solomonic authorship of the book.  At the same time, Solomon was a prolific writer of songs, having written over 1000 (1 Kings 4:32), though most are lost to history.  For the finest of all songs to have been written by Solomon isn’t too big of a stretch of what’s plausible.

Tradition holds that Solomon is indeed the author, and it seems likely that he is.  Not only is he claimed as the author in 1:1, but the whole context of Solomon changes if we concede the possibility that he wrote the book early in his life.  Just as Ecclesiastes was plainly written towards the end of Solomon’s life (after he had attempted all kinds of pursuits & found them fleeting & as vanity), the Song of Songs was probably written early, before his heart became consumed with other women and lusts of the flesh.

The book itself is one of the most wildly interpreted books of the entire Bible, second only to Revelation.  Although somewhat neglected today, it was THE most studied book of the Middle Ages, the reason being the interpretation of the day focused on allegory, rather than the plain meaning of the text.  Both the Jews and Christians to that point used an allegorical interpretation of the Song of Songs, seeing the Shulamite woman as Israel/the Church, and the Beloved as God/Christ.  At first glance, this sort of interpretation makes sense.  After all, the Church is indeed the Bride of Christ, and the relationship between Jesus and the Church is the very model of the institution of marriage itself.  Husbands are supposed to love our wives as Jesus loves the Church (Eph 5:25), and we can see many parallels between the love of the beloved Solomon for his Shulamite bride. 

That said, much caution needs to be taken with allegorical interpretation as a whole (not only with the Song of Solomon).  Allegories have direct parallels to their intended meanings, as seen in Pilgrim’s Progress or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  In other words, allegories are plainly allegories.  The hidden meaning is intended to be plainly seen, in order for the reader to come to the correct interpretation.  Yet none of that is seen within the Song of Solomon.  The Song itself presents no indication that it is an allegory.  And if an allegory is meant to be seen, there are some aspects of it that are impossible to allegorize.  For instance, if the Beloved is Jesus & the Shulamite is the Church – then who are the Daughters of Jerusalem supposed to be?  What about the brothers of the Shulamite?  There are no allegorical parallels, so this interpretation falls flat.

In addition, the much more fundamental problem with allegorical interpretation is that the interpretation is often left in the eyes of the beholder.  Each interpreter sees something different, because there is no objective standard by which to judge it.  This is how in the Song of Solomon, the two breasts of the bride have been interpreted as anything ranging from (among Jews) as Moses & Aaron, to Joshua & Eleazar, and (among Christians) as the Old & New Testaments, and Blood & Water, and more.  If nothing is as it appears, then everything can mean anything.

So if an allegorical interpretation is incorrect, does that mean there’s nothing symbolic about Song of Solomon?  Of course not.  There are many parallels between the love of Jesus for His Church, and the love that is portrayed between Solomon and the Shulamite.  But proper interpretation begins first with the text itself, and its plain meaning.  Within its proper context, what the text says is what the text means.  This is beautiful poetry, so there is much that is symbolic – but the plain meaning is between a woman and her husband.  Any application we see about the Church and Jesus Christ has to first begin from that starting point.

BTW – there IS application regarding Jesus and the Church!  One of the reasons this book was so valued in the Middle Ages was because of the obvious parallels it has in our relationship with Christ.  Like the Shulamite bride, we were the undesirable ones made to be desirable by our Beloved Jesus.  Like Solomon coming for his bride in grandeur, so will our Jesus come to us in glory.  And the comparisons don’t stop there: the Shulamite refuses her husband & later regrets it (just as we so often treat Jesus), and the beloved husband still loves her no matter what she has done in the past (again, just like with Jesus).  The parallels might not be allegorical, but they are indeed numerous!  We have a holy loving relationship with our Lord Jesus, just as the bride had with her beloved.

At the same time, we don’t lose sight of the true holy love that can exist between husband and wife.  From a practical standpoint, this is an extremely valuable book to Christians!  Why relegate ourselves to learning how physical desire manifests itself in the world?  Why take in what we know is going to be perverted?  The Bible itself shows us how husbands and wives can desire and love one another.  If there was no other application from the Song of Solomon, that itself would be valuable enough to justify its inclusion in the Scripture!

GENERAL OUTLINE
As with the rest of the wisdom books, the Song of Solomon is rather difficult to outline.  It’s rare to find two outlines from commentaries that agree with one another on more than a couple of points.  One of the reasons for that is that it isn’t always clear who is speaking when.  Although our Bibles typically have some headings identifying the speaker or the audience, those headings are not originally in the text.  Scholars have to determine that based on the gender and number of the language that is used.  Although it’s somewhat debated, there seem to be four main characters throughout the song: the Shulamite, her Beloved (who seems to be Solomon), the Daughters of Jerusalem (a chorus), and the Shulamite’s brothers.  For the most part, the interaction is between the Shulamite & the Beloved, and even then it is mostly from her perspective.

  • Love is born (1:1-2:7)
  • Love invited (2:8-17)
  • Love in waiting (3:1-5)
  • Love consummated (3:6-5:1)
  • Love denied (5:2-16)
  • Love renewed (6:1-8:4)
  • Love matured (8:5-14)

 

Love is Born
Title & Author/Dedication (1:1)
The book names itself “The Song of Songs.”  It’s the supreme song, the greatest of all that could be written.  If the greatest of all virtues is love, then the greatest of all love songs is this one.  As to the author, the book seems to claim to have been written by Solomon, though scholars note that this could just as easily be translated as “which is to Solomon,” as a dedication.  It’s because of this that some debate Solomon’s authorship, though the later description of the beloved makes it highly unlikely that it could be anyone else.

Joy in infatuation (1:2-4).
The song truly begins here, and jumps straight to the infatuation the Shulamite has for her beloved.  The Shulamite isn’t actually named until 6:13, but the text makes it obvious that this is the woman longing for the one she loves.  We’re not told when exactly their love began, but it was in full bloom at this point.  She couldn’t get enough of him, and wanted nothing but him.  Remember what it was like to have butterflies in your stomach in regards to your beloved?  That’s where the Shulamite was regarding Solomon.  She was completely infatuated with him, and it was evident to all, with the Daughters of Jerusalem rejoicing along with her.

This stage doesn’t always last in marriages, but that doesn’t mean it has to completely go away.  We may not always get those butterflies when our lover walks into the room, but there’s something beautiful about wanting to spend our waking moments with one another.  When husbands and wives say they love each other, but don’t seem to “like” each other very much, something’s wrong!

Her view of herself (1:5-6). 
The Shulamite seems to apologize for herself – particularly in vs. 6 when she requests that her lover not look upon her.  Unlike Solomon, she had experienced a difficult life, having labored in the fields.  She didn’t think she had anything to offer Solomon, although she definitely wanted to be with him.

In regards to our relationship with Christ, we certainly don’t have much to offer Him – in fact, we don’t have anything at all!  All we had was our sinful selves…but Jesus still wants us!  He still wants to save us, to love us, to shower us with His grace.  We may be dirty and defiled, but He is the One who cleanses us!

  • People often get this wrong.  They believe they need to clean up their own lives before placing their faith in Christ… That’s completely backwards.  We can’t clean up our lives; we’re the ones who got us into our troubles to begin with.  It’s once we place our faith in Jesus & entrust ourselves to Him – that’s when He changes us.  It’s all by His grace & His power.

His view of her (1:7-11).
She may not have thought much of herself, but he obviously thought the world of her.  No matter how dark she was from the sun beating down upon her, he believed she was the “fairest among women.” (1:8)  She was the prize, the “filly among Pharaoh’s chariots.” (1:9)  That doesn’t exactly sound as the best compliment in the world to 21st century Western Christians – but for Solomon & his Shulamite, these were sweet words!  The idea may be that she stood apart from the rest.  Perhaps the modern equivalent would be “You’re my Mazerati in the midst of a bunch of Mack trucks.”  She was special in his eyes, and he made sure to let her know.

If you’re married, does your husband or wife know how special they are to you?  Have you told them what you think of them?  Have you showed it to them beyond words?  As for us and Christ, there can be no doubt of how much our Savior values us.  We’re so special to Him that He died for us.  The demonstration of His love for us is that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners (Rom 5:8).

Their love for each other (1:12-2:2)
The two begin trading compliments with one another.  She speaks of her desire for him rising as a fragrance (1:12).  He speaks of her fair beauty & eyes like a dove (1:15).  She declares his handsomeness & her adoration of him (1:16-17). 

Her reflections of him (2:3-7)
She made herself available to him (2:3), and he responded to her love in tenderness (2:6).  He honored her and simply loved her (2:4).

Of note is her charge to the Daughters of Jerusalem: Song of Solomon 2:7, "I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the does of the field, Do not stir up nor awaken love Until it pleases."  This thought is twice repeated in the Song (3:5, 8:4) – the idea being not to mess up something that was so good.  (“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!)  Too many times, we try to rush things and manipulate situations – but don’t rush love!  Don’t rush through the various stages that God gives us in our relationships.  Enjoy the moment.  Let God develop our relationships as He sees fit, rather than us trying to push our own way through.  People often rush courtship in order to get to the marriage bed, without considering whether or not they ought to be married at all.  Or they rush children, or they place all kinds of expectations upon their relationship that doesn’t need to be there in the first place.  Don’t do it.  If God can be trusted to let the flowers blossom on their own into full beauty, surely He can do the same thing with our love and relationships.  Give Him time to let it blossom in His way, to His glory.

Love Invited
She tells of a day with him (2:8-14)
The Shulamite uses the present tense, but it’s obvious she’s speaking of a day not long past when they went courting together.  The ancient Hebrews didn’t necessarily have the same concept of dating that we do (“dating” is a relatively recent invention), but that’s the basic idea.  She had heard and seen Solomon approach, and he invited her off to an outing to some nearby cliffs (2:14).  There’s no mention of a meal or activity; he just desired to spend time with her.

In regards to our relationship with Christ, He desires to do likewise.  Jesus wants to spend time with you.  Not only is that a glorious privilege (GOD wants time with US!), but it’s also a part of the intimate relationship that we have with Him.  Everything about our relationship with God is put in intimate terms in the New Testament.  We’ve been made the “children of God” (Jn 1:12) – we’ve been given the “spirit of adoption” & cry out “Abba, Father” (Rom 8:15).  And of course, we are the bride of Christ (Rev 21:9).  That level of relationship requires time.  It’s impossible to have intimacy with our spouse if we never take the time to know them – God desires the same from us.  He already knows us better than we know ourselves; we’re the ones that need to spend time getting to know the God who saved us.

  • Be careful of taking prayer time and Bible time with the Lord for granted!  Beware of just passing it off as just “one more thing” to do.  It is glorious time spent with our Savior!  It’s the time that we can know Him more and more.

Her dedication to him (2:15-17)
There were some potential problems that cropped up (“foxes”) that might “spoil” their relationship (2:15), but the Shulamite was on guard.  She was assured in his love for her, saying: Song of Solomon 2:16, "My beloved is mine, and I am his. He feeds his flock among the lilies."  Whatever may come, she knew she belonged to Solomon, and that was enough.  She could trust him until the day broke.

  • Are we confident in the love that Jesus has for us?  Do we find our assurance in Him?  Everything we have is by His grace, and His grace is sufficient!

Love in Waiting
Looking for her lover (3:1-3)
This is the first of two nights that she is going to be separated from Solomon, but this is by far the better of the two.  She isn’t yet married to him, so there does not seem to be an expectation that he would be with her, but her desire is most definitely for him.  Some scholars suggest that perhaps she dreamt of him & tossed and turned on her bed all night.  At some point (perhaps still dreaming), she finally goes to look for him.

Finding and valuing her lover (3:4-5)
She found her betrothed, but she still did not rush anything.  She again charges the Daughters of Jerusalem to “not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.” (3:5)  She truly understands the need to be patient, but her whole desire is for him.  She understood that she belonged to him; she was just waiting for the time to be right.  (And in vs. 6, it was!)

Love Consummated
The king’s arrival (3:6-11)
She looks ahead and sees the glory of the king coming in all his grandeur.  Smoke surrounded Solomon, as did his mighty warriors.  He came on a glorious throne, and the whole city turned out to see the king arrayed for his wedding day.

If there is any parallel between Solomon and Jesus, it is most certainly here!  Jesus used this same sort of imagery when He spoke of the moment that He will come and rapture His Church, taking us home to be with Him.  John 14:1–3, "(1) “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. (2) In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (3) And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."  This is the language of a Jewish wedding!  Culturally, when the groom and bride were betrothed, they were already considered married & completely dedicated to one another.  The one difference between them & the rest of married couples was their lack of co-habitation and consummation.  The groom would go prepare a home for his new bride, while the bride would remain with her family in a time and demonstration of her purity.  When the groom finally finished building, he would return with pomp & circumstance, and take his bride to himself while the town rejoiced at the wedding feast. 

That’s what Solomon is pictured doing for the Shulamite, and that is what Jesus will do with us! Right now, Jesus is preparing a home for us.  He’s been preparing it for 2000 years, while the Church is also being prepared for Him.  When those preparations are complete, He will return & in a glorious moment (the twinkling of an eye), we will be with our Lord Jesus for eternity!  Glorious!

  • Are you ready?  Are you even assured of going?

His wedding-day compliments to her (4:1-11)
Properly married to his bride, Solomon showers compliments upon her.  He takes the time to drink in her physical beauty & he praises her from head-to-toe.  Some of this is rather steamy to read & some of it seems rather bizarre.  If an American husband complimented his wife by telling her she reminded him of a flock of goats or sheep (4:1-2), he might get slapped!  But we need to remember the cultural differences.  Solomon was praising his new bride; not insulting her.  She was everything to him, and he was completely enraptured by her beauty.

It is a good thing for us to be enthralled with the physical beauty of our spouse!  Our problem as a culture is that we’ve been so inundated with messages of what physical beauty ought/ought not to be, that it’s sometimes difficult for people to appreciate what they have.  We think that if we (or our spouse) doesn’t look like that made-up, photoshopped image on the page or on TV, that we’re somehow falling short.  Not so!  The “beauty” we see in our culture is an illusion, specifically designed to deceive.  The true beauty is found in the one that God united you with for life.  Look upon him/her and adore the spouse given you by God!

Their physical intimacy (4:12-5:1)
Solomon and his bride soon move from wedding compliments to the wedding bed, and their love is consummated.  Yet the language here is nothing “dirty” or “defiled” – it’s holy desire between a husband and wife.  The writer of Hebrews affirms that the marriage bed is undefiled (Heb 13:4).  This kind of physical intimacy is nothing of which to be ashamed, but something that the Lord has ordained. 

BTW – don’t let the terminology of “my sister, my spouse” throw you (4:9, 4:12, 5:1).  This isn’t speaking of an incestuous relationship, but an intimate one.  Later, the Shulamite will say something similar about Solomon, wishing that he was her brother (8:1).  The idea is that the two desire no boundaries between them.  Siblings could embrace in public in ways that was even impossible for husband & wife.  They want the freedom to hug & cling to each other in the closest possible relationships.

Love Denied
Her hesitation at his approach (5:2-5)
The Shulamite speaks of another night alone, but this time she denies her lover.  Prior to their marriage, she couldn’t stand the thought of being separated from him.  Now, she seems to take him for granted, denying his knock and her door under the guise that she already went to bed & didn’t want to get up again.  Eventually she arose, and it was too late – he was already gone.

Practically speaking between husband and wife, this is something the New Testament actually warns us against.  The physical bond between husband and wife is strong, and meant by God to be that way.  It’s not something to play around with, or use as a threat or weapon against one another.  1 Corinthians 7:3–5, "(3) Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. (4) The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. (5) Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."  Let’s face facts: even the strongest believers in Christ get tempted.  Why give any ammunition to the enemy?  If we deny our spouse, the physical desire doesn’t go away – it just burns.  That’s trouble just waiting to happen.

  • There is a physical and spiritual bond between husband and wife that God implanted upon their marriage.  God took two people & made them spiritually one.  That spiritual union is demonstrated in their physical union.  What God has joined together, let no man separate.

On a spiritual level, we sometimes do something similar in our relationship as the Church with Christ Jesus.  He desires to spend time with us, but do we desire to spend time with Him?  Or do we take Him for granted?  We can’t be bothered to spend time in prayer – we can’t be bothered to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit – it’s so inconvenient.  Do we miss out?  Yes.  Thankfully, our salvation is not lost, but we miss opportunities we might otherwise have.  We miss out on being used by the Lord in that specific instance, or miss out on knowing Him in a better way.  Don’t miss your opportunity!

Her humiliation and reproach (5:6-8)
The Shulamite quickly realized what opportunity she missed, and she went out into the dangerous streets to search for her husband.  She was found by the watchmen of the city who were policing the streets at night & beaten & humiliated.  Instead of being treated like Solomon’s queen, she was treated as a common criminal.  She was disgraced, and she was left pining for her husband.

This is one of the areas where a pure allegorical interpretation of the Song breaks down.  Does Jesus abandon His bride?  God forbid!  We may be faithless, but He is faithful. (2 Tim 2:13)  Who beats us when Jesus cannot be found?  We might beat ourselves, or we might be tormented by the temptations of our own devices, but Jesus has promised to be with us always, even to the end of the age (Mt 28:20).  God does not leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5).  His assurances are not to be taken for granted, but we can take comfort in the grand promises of His presence!

Her repentant description of him (5:9-16)
The Daughters of Jerusalem challenged her to find a reason that her husband should be located, and the Shulamite pours out her heart as she describes Solomon in the most glorious of terms.  No longer did she take him for granted – he was her everything.  Just as Solomon had drunk in her beauty, so did she rejoice in his. 

The Shulamite knew what Solomon looked like.  Do we know the appearance of our Jesus?  Yes – and He is far more glorious!  Revelation 1:14–16, "(14) His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; (15) His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; (16) He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength."  THIS is our Jesus!  This is Who we look forward to seeing at the sound of His trumpet.  One day we will look into those flaming eyes & be amazed!

Love Renewed
Her assurance of his love (6:1-3)
She had missed her earlier opportunity to enjoy her husband, and she wasn’t going to let another pass her by.  Once she learned his location, she wanted to be where he was.  Even in her earlier denial of him, she understood that his love for her was unchanging: Song of Solomon 6:3, "(3) I am my beloved’s, And my beloved is mine. He feeds his flock among the lilies."

His compliments to her (6:4-10)
Solomon reiterates his love for his bride, using many of the same expressions from their wedding night.  No matter what had happened in the past, his love for her was unchanging.  She was still his greatest desire, even beyond all the other women he had seen.  Whether or not Solomon is referring to his own harem in 6:8 is unsaid.  He obviously had been raised by a father who had a large harem of his own, and perhaps Solomon is simply comparing the Shulamite with all the other queens and concubines remaining in the royal family.  In any case, his own bride was unique – she was the “perfect one.” (6:9)

When it comes to your own spouse, do you only have eyes for him/her?  Your spouse ought to be totally unique in your estimation.  Job had made a covenant with his eyes never to look upon another woman (Job 31:1) – we would do well to follow his example!

Her brief time away (6:11-13)
It seems that the Shulamite may have gone to find Solomon in his garden, although Solomon had just showered her with compliments.  In any case, she went away for a brief time, and Solomon (or perhaps the townspeople) appealed to her to return.

His additional compliments to her (7:1-9a)
As she comes back, her beloved pours more compliments upon her.  She seemed to still wonder whether or not she was worthy to be with one such as Solomon, but in Solomon’s viewpoint she was a “prince’s daughter” (7:1) – she was already royalty!  (How was she made royalty?  Through her relationship to the king.  Just like our status in Christ!)  Again, Solomon describes her physical beauty from head-to-toe.  He is completely taken by her, seeing her in the best of all lights.  (How does Jesus see us?  Spotless! Eph 5:27)

Her receptiveness to him (7:9b-13)
Solomon seems to have approached her physically again, and this time she receives him eagerly.  Their infatuation with each other did not die away upon marriage; it only grew into something better.  The same thing can happen in our own marriages.  There are certain physical changes that take place with the years, but our intimacy with one another can still continue to grow & blossom into something beautiful.

Her desire for him (8:1-4)
She has already given herself physically to her husband, and her desire for emotional intimacy is seen here as well.  She desires a closeness to her spouse that is truly intimate.  This is not something she’s rushing (8:5), but it is something she desires.

Every year that passes is another year we can grow closer to our spouse.  Every year that passes is another year we can grow closer to our Lord Jesus!  May we continue to desire more and more in our relationship with the Lord!

Love Matured
Others take note of her (8:5)
The NKJV editors label this as spoken by a relative – other translations don’t specify.  Contextually, it would seem to be some unidentified person speaking of the change they’ve seen in the Shulamite.  This person had known the bride when she was younger, but they didn’t recognize the woman who was before them now.

This is the case with us in regards to some of our “BC” friends!  They might remember who we were, but not recognize who we currently are in Jesus.  If so, when they ask “What happened to you?” that’s our open door to share the gospel with them!

Her commitment to him (8:6-7)
Whatever others thought of her, she wanted to be sealed forever to him.  Her words say it best: Song of Solomon 8:6, "(6) Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame."  That’s a strong bond!  She wanted nothing in the way between her and her husband – to be bonded together forever with him.  (We can say something similar in our relationship with Christ.  We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit!  We have been so bonded with Him, that nothing can ever separate us from the love of Christ!)

Her break from her family (8:8-12)
The Shulamite’s brothers speak up again at this point, seemingly out of a desire to protect her.  However, this was no longer their place.  Once she was given in marriage to Solomon, Solomon was her protector.  She understood this, and reaffirmed her break from her family.  All the way back to Adam & Eve, the Bible gives the picture of “leaving & cleaving,” in regards to marriage.  We leave our birth family & cleave to our spouse, forming a new family unit.  That break is important!  When that leaving & cleaving is denied, then priorities are distorted & there is always competition among spouses.  That’s not God’s desire.

BTW – that’s also what God examples in our relationship with Christ.  When we come to faith in Christ, we’re supposed to leave the things of the world and cleave to Jesus.  When we maintain those ties, we have competing loyalties and distorted priorities.  Leave those things behind!  Cling to Jesus!

Their final call to each other (8:13-14)
As the song ends, we find the two lovers still unable to get enough of each other.  He desires to continually hear her voice, and she desires that he hasten to her.  They simply want to be with one another in their beautifully holy love.
(Make haste = come quickly!)

Conclusion:
Solomon and the Shulamite had a pure love – an intimate love – a love full of passion & desire.  And in all of it, it was holy & ordained by God.  God’s name may not be mentioned in the book, but it’s evident that the love the husband and wife had for one another originated from Him & was expressed in beautiful ways.

Marital love is supposed to be beautiful.  Physical love doesn’t have to be worldly or otherwise perverted; it can be holy & wonderful.

If you’re married, rejoice in your spouse!  If you’re not, be reminded of the purity of what love CAN be.  And whatever your marital status in the flesh, think of your betrothal to Christ Jesus.  There is no relationship more beautiful & holy than what awaits us in eternity!  It’s so good that the only thing on earth that comes close is holy matrimony.  THAT ought to be amazing!

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