“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… Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away” (Song of Solomon 8:6-7, NIV).
If you know anything about me, you know I am a hopeful romantic… because I have hope in Jesus (get it?!) *cue awkward pity chuckle*
Anywhoo… February is the month of love! I celebrate love every February by doing something I don’t normally do. This year, I anchored myself in reading Song of Solomon, a book about love, body image, romance, sex, sensuality… yes, it’s in the Bible. And you say the Bible is boring! I chose this because it celebrates all the types of love (phileo, storge, eros, and agape) in the context of courtship and marriage.
I want to share how reading this book this month has affected me. As a single woman, Song of Solomon ignited in me a strong desire to experience love the way the lovers did– three times it is said “Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (2:7, 3:5, 8:4), so I guess now I’m chilling until I can handle love haha! The book is set up, in my mind, like a play following the different stages between the lovers, from meeting, to courtship, to wedding, to first sexual encounter, and the mature married life. And each stage just left me amazed! The attention that each was giving the other, the appreciation, the sacrifice, and the love really got me.
Two parts really stood out to me, chapters 4 and 5. In the beginning of chapter 4, we meet the lovers on their wedding night! What is so beautiful is that the man, presumably Solomon, went after his wife’s heart first, not her body. In so many words, he let her know that he appreciated her, was willing to provide for her, and he professed the effects she had on him! His words drew her in. And they weren’t shallow words just to get it in. Her response? She surrendered willingly to him– so, guys, take note. And we can imagine their first night together as husband and wife was awesome. There’s this awesome part between chapters 4 &5 where the woman started off saying her sexuality is hers and in the end he says that it’s his, showing belonging! Later on in chapter 5, after the couple had their first fight, the woman was thinking about her him, and something lit up in her to recognize her wrong, but to also appreciate her man! She sought reconciliation and it was given, and not begrudgingly.
All this is great and all, but beyond this desire to experience life, love, and everything in between with my own husband, I have a desire to know Jesus more! I want to pour my affections on Him! Throughout the course of the book, the woman expressed her longing just to be in her lover’s presence. She wanted to be near him because she was secure in his love for her! And I’m like, Jesus, please help me to desire YOU more than I desire a husband! In chapter 3 she repeated “the one my heart loves” three times! I want to love Jesus. I want to love His presence! I want to love His character! I want to love who He is! That won’t happen if I don’t know Him! After spending so much time in this book, I am realizing that, more and more, I can’t love Him if I don’t know Him. I can’t search for Him if I don’t know Him! I cannot live for His love and presence if I don’t know Him! So, Father, help me to know you more! I want to live my life, single or married, knowing the one that my heart loves! I think this is the greater point of Song of Solomon.
Don’t get me wrong. I’d love to have that kind of love, one where I am secure in my husband’s love for me, one where I can experience sexual love with God’s approval, one where I can fight with my husband and be quick to forgive… but none of that will matter if I am not first and foremost secure in His love for me– He loved from the beginning, and eternity is a long time to continue to bask in THAT LOVE!
I have loved spending time reading Song of Solomon. I feel more free to surrender my singleness to Jesus, knowing that I am secure in His hands. While I am waiting for my earthly husband, I will continue to get to know my heavenly One!