Of all the books of the Bible, Song of Songs often springs in as a blush-worthy mystery.
Its flowery poetry is tucked away in Solomon’s otherwise serious set of wisdom literature, and we usually only glance at its verses during weddings.
Yet between its symbolic lines are the very flames of love—the divine love God designed when He created Adam and Eve.
It speaks to the holy wonder of marriage, and the stunning persistence that marks monogamous romance.
While empty of black and white theology, Song of Songs nevertheless conveys the transcendent nature of love God intended.
In Jewish tradition Song of Solomon illustrates the steadfast relationship between the Lord and His people Israel, and for Christians the dynamic devotion of Christ to the church.
While those pictures bring a higher meaning to the book, much can be gained by simply looking at the Hebrew romance at face value. In seeing the delight, despair, and natural ebbs and flows of this couple’s courtship, we learn much about how to pursue love in our own marriages.
Below are 5 aspects of marital love to observe in the pages of Song of Songs.
Love is Pure
“I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases…My beloved is mine, and I am his; he grazes among the lilies.” Song of Solomon 2:7, 2:16
The bride in Song of Solomon urgently refrains throughout the book to “not stir up love until it pleases”—teaching that true love is not rushed or fabricated, but is a result of patience.
Saying this as a plea to other young ladies, the woman explains that her rich relationship came about and is preserved through patient purity. Romance should not be sought loosely, but rather waited for and arranged carefully, otherwise it will fall short of its real beauty and blessing.
From its beginning onward, romantic love is best experienced through a commitment to one and one alone. The security and sacredness that can be fostered within marriage cannot be found elsewhere.
Singles should take her wise words to heart, knowing that godly love is worth the wait.
Marrieds should treasure the exclusivity of their bond, knowing that this precious “belonging” to one another is the best soil to reap meaningful romance.
Love is a Pursuit
A common theme within Song of Songs is seeking. The husband and wife each have the drive to discover and enjoy the other. From this we see love is active; an attitude to serve rather than be served.
In one poignant piece of the book we see a realistic rift happen, in which the woman brushes away her husband’s advances with some excuses:
“I slept, but my heart was awake.
A sound! My beloved is knocking.
Open to me, my sister, my love,
my dove, my perfect one,
for my head is wet with dew,
my locks with the drops of the night.”
3 I had put off my garment;
how could I put it on?
I had bathed my feet;
how could I soil them?”
Song of Solomon 5:2-3
By the time she overcomes her hesitation, she realizes she is too late—he has left the door.
Rather than become resentful or just regretful, she instead pursues reconciliation, going to search for him.
“I opened to my beloved,
but my beloved had turned and gone.
My soul failed me when he spoke.
I sought him, but found him not;
I called him, but he gave no answer…
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
if you find my beloved,
that you tell him
I am sick with love.” (v. 6, 8)
Although much of Song of Songs seems rainbows and butterflies, in this heart-wrenching moment we see that love takes work—a seeking to be “one” even when there are hiccups.
Love is Protected
“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.” Song of Solomon 2:15
In a similar vein, love not only involves pursuing the other, but a faithful pruning of sin and temptation.
With the vineyard being a symbol of their relationship, the “foxes” are anything that could hinder the growth and vibrancy of their love.
Whether it’s lies, neglect, miscommunication, or eyes on others outside the marriage, the foxes Satan uses to weaken marriages are many! This woman determines to spot and remove them before any serious damage is done.
So love takes a vigilance of heart. It is about guarding one’s thoughts and actions in order to build up our husband, and remember that love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things…”
Love is Passionate
“My beloved is radiant and ruddy, distinguished among ten thousand.” Song of Songs 5:10
Song of Solomon paints with lovely imagery the blessing of physical intimacy—for both the wife and husband. One characteristic of this passion and pleasure is praise. Repeatedly the couple shares compliments with one another, fueling their mutual desire and affirming their commitment.
How often do we go through a day without saying a word of kindness or attraction to our spouse?
While our skin may wrinkle over time, our delight does not have to. In opposition to our world’s obsession with youth, with each day and each year we can attest that beauty goes deeper than the eye.
We can always pause to admire and express thanksgiving for the sweet features—both exterior and interior—we see in our loved one.
Love is Persevering
“Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the Lord.”
Song of Solomon 8:6
This seal shouts of permanence! God-ordained love never dies but instead equals death in its power.
Faithful marital love reflects the very glory of the Lord, who fights for His people with an unfailing intensity.
Even when our marriages appear mundane or monotonous, we must remember that they are a testimony of the greatest nature, holding the potential to be a vivid, tangible picture of Christ’s sacrifice.
Our love shines brightest—as bright as flashes of lightening—when we hold fast to it no matter the storms that come.
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