We’ve come to the close of this love story,
of this Song of all Songs.
Important things are said when time is running out.
She has come “up from the wilderness”
leaning on her Beloved.
She is experiencing the whole point of life:
intimacy with her Beloved.
But He must leave her for a time.
And so he tells her:
“Set me as a seal upon your heart.”
Listen to this carefully– and may it prepare your heart for this Sabbath day, and review for you where we have been.
There are three love stages in the Song:
First Love, Wilderness Love, and Invincible Love.
We were dead in our sins. But He awakened us and told us to taste and see that He was good. He loved us, not because of our character, but because of His. He wooed us and won us, and dressed us in a robe of righteousness, making us as fair as a lily. He gave us new life and we were enthralled. With great delight we sat under His shadow for we knew “His banner over me is love.”
Yet our “curvature of the heart,” as Martin Luther described it, led to taking our Beloved for granted. We lost our first love passion, and left Him standing at the door and knocking.
We then could not find Him,
though we sought Him in the night.
But even His leading us into the wilderness is a gift,
for so often, it is in the wilderness that we grow,
that we discover what is transitory and what is eternal.
And if we press in, we come up from the wilderness leaning on our Beloved.
Yet the close of The Song does not have them walking off into the happily ever after. Charles Spurgeon writes:
“The thought strikes her, that he that has sustained her is about to go from her, to depart and leave her for a season, because it is expedient and more useful for her, and she prays that since he is no more in the earth, but has entered into the ivory palaces where her God dwelleth, that he would be pleased to make a covenant with her never to forget her, and that he would give her some sign and mark by which she might be well assured that she is very near to his heart, and still written upon his arm.”
1.What stands out to you from the above and why?
Take some time with this next question — you may want to do it tomorrow. But I’d love your answers to be thoughtful.
2. Reflecting on The Song:
A. How has the study of the Song impacted your heart and life? Can you give a specific illustration
of how it has impacted either your relationship with Jesus or your earthly marriage?
B. If you were to try to explain the Song to someone who hasn’t studied it, what might you say in a
Monday-Friday Bible Study
We are beautiful to the Lord because we are covered in the righteousness of Christ. It is nothing of ourselves, but the beauty of Christ. Jesus said, amazingly, the the Father loves us as He loves Jesus. (See John 17:24) And it is also true that as we fall more deeply in love with Jesus, as we abide in Him, that His Spirit (His seal upon us!) produces fruit. Again, it is not of us, but it is what happens when His Spirit flourishes in us. I will often quote Jonathan Edwards this week. He was attracted to his future wife Elizabeth because of this beauty he observed in her: He wrote:
They say there is a young lady from New Haven who is beloved of that almighty Being, who made and rules the world, and that there are certain seasons in which this great Being, in some way or other invisible, comes to her and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight, and that she hardly cares for anything, except to meditate on him.
3. Read Song of Songs 8:1-4.
Some have interpreted verses 1-2 to mean that she wishes she could show affection in public, like was possible then between a brother and a sister. In the Song they relate to each other both as brother and sister and husband and wife. (He calls her “My sister, my bride.”) Michael Reeves says that if this was just earthly love, it would be incestuous. But these relationships, instead, are meant to shine a light on the whole point of the Song: Jesus wants an intimate daily relationship with us. He uses many metaphors, including the marriage bed, to open our eyes.
In this passage, what do you see?
4. In Song of Songs 8:5a, observe using the who, what, why, where questions to see what you can discover.
Jonathan Edwards was convinced the Song was no common love song. Famously he said,
5. Read Song of Songs 8:5b, comparing it to Song of Songs 2:5.
A. By meditating on 2:5, how did he awaken her to His goodness?
B. Can you remember the moment you were awakened and moved from head knowledge to heart
C. How have you recently tasted the goodness of the Lord?
6. Read Song of Songs 8:6.
A. What does he tell her to ask for before he leaves?
B. What is our seal according to 2 Corinthians 1:21-22?
C. There are so many ways to become more conscious of the Spirit in our lives — but this article is
valuable. It is brief, but should be read thoughtfully: Practicing the Presence of the Holy Spirit
The phrase “love is as strong as death” means many things to me — it makes me think of how Christ’s love overcomes death. It also makes me think of what Jonathan Edwards said when he was dying and realized Elizabeth might not make it to him before he died. He wrote to his daughter Lucy:
“Dear Lucy, it seems to me to be the will of God that I must shortly leave you; therefore give my kindest love to my dear wife, and tell her, that the uncommon union, which has so long subsisted between us, has been of such a nature as I trust is spiritual and therefore will continue forever…” I have that hope too with Steve, that our love was such that it will continue forever, a love as strong as death.
D. What thoughts do you have on a “love as strong as death?”
E. Jealousy is allowed only to God, or perhaps to a spouse. What does it communicate to you that
God is jealous for you?
7. Song of Songs 8:8-10 has both an earthly and a spiritual application. What do you think each is?
8. Compare the close of the Song to the close of Revelation (Revelation 22:20) What do you learn?
9. What is your take-a-way this week and why?