|Posted by Lorraine Serra on September 24, 2015 at 2:15 PM|
This poem just drips with sweetness, pleasing aromas and beauty! From beginning to end, it depicts such a special and rich, unbreakable bond of love.
Throughout the Song there are references to fragrances, ointments, gardens and fruit. One commentator stated that “the Song is like Israel's favorite fruit, pomegranates, alive with color and full of seeds.” What a picture! There must be many “seeds of wisdom” in this poem.
It would seem that the Jewish nation understood the symbolism at a much deeper level than we do today, because in the second century, one of the greatest Jewish rabbis, Akiba ben Joseph, said “In the entire world there is nothing to equal the day on which the Song of Songs was given to Israel.”
To me, that is a call to investigate, appreciate and apply such beauty and wisdom to my life. I hope you will discover the value of this study as well.
The scene begins abruptly. The Shulamite woman who is betrothed to her Beloved, enters the banquet hall just simply raving about him! She is accompanied by the ladies who celebrate with her the wedding which is to come.
How beautifully she describes her passion for him, his excellence above all others, and the admiration all the women have for him. And to think, He chose her as his bride! You can sense the excitement building right from the first verse.
Notice the phrase in verse 2, “For your love is better than wine”. Hmmm. Did you wonder why this comparison? In Chapter 4:10, the Beloved king responds to her with the same phrase, but, he addresses her as “my sister, my spouse”. What a deep and sweet connection!
It reminds me of Adam exclaiming to God upon meeting Eve, “At last, this is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh!” The Song establishes a relationship so close, so intimate, it is as though they are related by blood, just as siblings. Intertwined forever. Nothing can sever this relationship.
Why is love better than wine, more delightful than wine? Hmmmm. Wine is a fragrant drink. It takes a long time to make. Fine wine is lovely in colors, smooth, intoxicating, valuable. It is poured out to “make merry the heart” in celebrations. Well, think about this:
According to Romans 5:5 “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit”. Because of Christ, we have a bond with God through the Holy Spirit. That love is poured out continually to us and never runs out or wears off!
The Spirit IS the bonding power of love which connects us deeply to both God and to one another. What else could do more to “make merry the heart”?
I think the analogy makes sense and is as timeless as Jesus who “is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 The Song is a picture of the love relationship God has with His people and the longing of His heart to keep us close, connected, intimate. And despite mankind's rebellion, God remains faithful, drawing us even as a young man woos a young woman. His love is intense, relentless and unending.
Jesus said, "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 We know that vineyards have been producing wine as an important commodity for Israel's economy for centuries, just as in many parts of the ancient and modern world.
It seems this is a brilliant teaching tool for Solomon's audience and for us today as a portrait of love both spiritually and practically. Israel was well aware of it's unique relationship with God, their provider, protector, lover. The healthy vine produces great wine. The healthy marriage depends on Jesus the Vine.
Keeping this in focus, we can join the Daughters of Jerusalem who accompany the bride. With them we can bow before the Lord, Our King, rejoicing and celebrating the beauty and intensity of this sacred love as they sing out in verse 4, “We will remember your love more than wine.”
And we do remember that love, in the cup of wine that Jesus offered to His disciples at the Last Supper. “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” So, what do you think? Is wine significant in the scriptures? Does this symbol of covenant mean anything to you? Do we think of married love as sacred? As covenant?
Suddenly, the Shulamite woman cries out, “Draw me away!” It seems so intensely desperate! It is the cry of heightened anticipation. Such love, joy, desire overwhelms her. She just can't wait to be his and his alone, precious, treasured, deeply loved. Oh, that this would be the cry of our hearts! Oh, that we would be immersed in this sacred covenant of love!
Well, what can we take away from just these first 4 verses?
What rich pomegranate seeds of wisdom are here for our understanding? While the imagery is a marriage, the lessons here are also important to individual relationships.
First, I believe we should speak words of admiration, appreciation and blessing to our spouse or loved one. We should never assume that once said is enough. The human heart yearns for love to be expressed...in words as well as actions. Never underestimate the power of simple, heartfelt words! Just think about how often you may have silently grumbled, “It would be nice to hear a 'thank you' once in a while.”
Be generous with your words, and authentic, to be sure. If you can't get in touch with that tenderheartedness, spend some quiet time praying for your spouse or loved one, and asking the Lord to revive the JOY of your love, counting the blessings, seeing past the shortcomings to celebrate the most wonderful qualities.
It is remarkable how this can change the atmosphere in a relationship. We all need praise and appreciation every once in a while. It may take some time, but God is in it! As the daughters cried out, "We will run after you!" Press on, stand strong in trusting that Jesus wants to draw you both to Himself!
Second, remember to draw near to God by the Holy Spirit continually. We know that in ourselves we can become distracted, disgruntled, weak and ornery. Seeking the Lord softens our hearts and relieves our burdens. That constant pouring out of His love towards us revives our souls and makes merry our hearts. From this place of contentment in Christ, we can offer sincere words of praise and thanksgiving to God first, who is worthy of our praise! Then, we can offer those expressions of gratitude and appreciation to our spouse honestly, tenderly.
In my own marriage of 37 years, and in my relationships with others, I know without a doubt that the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead is alive in me and empowers me to move past myself, and reach beyond my needs with a love and concern that goes deeper than what I possess....it is the gift of God. It has been a deliberate choice for me and my husband to be passionate for Jesus, to be drawn away by Him!
Have you discovered it, too? God bless each of us in the journey!
Categories: Song of Solomon