Cruising Route 66
“Love In Action”
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.
Song of Solomon 8:6-7
The books of Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes form a trilogy that sets forth the voice of the soul, which is made up of three parts: mind, emotion and will.
Psalms is the book of the heart. In it you will find every emotion known to man. It is the voice of feeling. The book of Ecclesiastes is the voice of the mind. It speaks of man’s search for answers, only to find futility without God. The book of Proverbs is the expression of mans will. We must choose to trust in the Lord and not rely on what we think.
Song of Solomon is the cry of the body in its essential yearning, and what is that? The search for love? It is an eastern love song, an oriental love poem. This book is a love song describing with frankness, yet with purity the delight of a man and his wife with one another.
There is nothing pornographic or obscene about it, nothing licentious. As you read through it, you can see how beautifully it approaches the subject of love. This book is a musical play. The characters are Solomon, the young king of Israel, written in the beginning of his reign. The heroine is a Shulammite. She is a simple girl of unusual loveliness who fell in love with a young shepherd working in a vineyard in the north of Israel.
Each promised themselves to one other, then he had to go away for a long time, causing her to cry in her loneliness. In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon tells us that he undertook expeditions to discover what life was like on various levels. Once he disguised himself as a simple country shepherd lad. It was then that he met this young lady.
Then comes the announcement that the king in all his glory is coming to visit the valley. The girl is not really concerned because her heart longs for her lover, a shepherd. She’s told that the king wants to see her. She doesn’t know why until she goes to see him. He is her shepherd. He takes her away to the palace and marries her. It is a true Cinderella story that even Disney can’t compete with.
The play is set in Jerusalem, with a chorus of singers referred to as the daughters of Jerusalem, who ask certain leading questions from time to time. The word “Shulammite” is the feminine form of Solomon. This lady is Mrs. Solomon. She is the bride.
The language of the book is figurative and there can be some difficulty determining who is speaking at any given time. Here is a simple way to distinguish the different speakers: the bridegroom always refers to the bride as “my love,” and the bride always calls the bridegroom “my beloved.” As each one describes the other you will see the passion and the joy of love as God intended it to be. Here is the language of love as she describes him, note the distinctive feminine terminology:
My lover is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand. His head is purest gold; his hair is wavy and black as a raven. His eyes are like doves by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels. His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume. His lips are like lilies dripping with myrrh. His arms are rods of gold set with chrysolite. His body is like polished ivory decorated with sapphires. His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars. His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my lover, this my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem. Song of Solomon. 5:10-16
Hear how he describes her in a language that is distinctive masculine:
You are beautiful, my darling, as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, majestic as troops with banners. Turn your eyes from me; they overwhelm me. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of sheep coming up from the washing. Each has its twin, not one of them is alone. Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate. Sixty queens there may be, and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number; but my dove, my perfect one, is unique, the only daughter of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. The maidens saw her and called her blessed; the queens and concubines praised her. Song of Solomon. 6:4-9
This is the language of love. It is important to see that this book describes married love as God intended it to be. Full surrender to one another, as described in this book, is only possible when it is experienced within the oneness of marriage as the scripture describes. This is emphasized throughout this book by a three-fold warning which the bride addresses to the unmarried, the chorus referred to as the daughters of Jerusalem.
Three different times the bride gives these girls the secret of a healthy and happy marriage relationship:
Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires. Song of Solomon 2:7; 3:5; 8:4
What does she mean? Do not prematurely stimulate love. Wait until it develops on its own. Do not arouse it by artificial means before it is ready. Let it begin of itself in its own good time. Let God instigate and implement. Its tragic to watch children imitate the actions of adults in their relationships, rather than learn to first become friends.
All our media, entertainment, and a lack of social concern does is stir children into adult activities before their time. It’s like bringing a chick out of its shell too early. Life is not ready, and all it can be is jeopardized.
He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love. Solomon 2:4
This book is a powerful plea for chastity and purity in marital life. However, this isn’t the deepest message of this song. We must move past human love, beautiful as it can be, and see this divinely inspired and chosen book, as an expression of communion between man and God, between Christ and His church.
Solomon wasn’t singing just a human love song. He was singing a song about his own relationship to his God. Someone well said, “If you love Jesus Christ, you will love the Song of Songs, because they are words that fully express the delight of the heart that has fallen in love with Christ. ”
When you read the book of Ecclesiastes, you read of man’s search throughout the world for something to satisfy his heart, and the message of that book is simply that if a man gains the world, it isn’t enough. The message of the Song of Solomon is that Christ is so tremendous, so mighty, so magnificent, that the heart that falls in love with Him will never reach the end of the depths of His love.
Read these beautiful words of the bridegroom to the bride:
“For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Solomon 2:13
Keep in mind that there is a springtime of life. It doesn’t lie in the past, but rather it lies in the future. Fall in love with Jesus Christ and enter into springtime. The cold winter of loneliness, misery, and selfishness is passed, and the time of singing has come.
Until next time,