For Love Is as Strong as Death

The views expressed below are those of the writer and may not reflect the views of Rejoice Marriage Ministries or the Steinkamps.

Men, has the Lord placed a devotional on your heart that you would like to share with other standers?

The Song of Solomon, also called Solomon’s Song of Songs, is one of the most beautiful expressions of love between a man and woman written in the Bible. Yet it is also the most erotic book found in the Bible. It is book containing the poetry of love, a celebration of love: erotic, sensuous, passionate. Solomon (the assumed author) tells of the relationship of a Shulamite woman and her love for her shepherd lover who has captured her heart and of Solomon’s own pursuit of the maiden for his harem. Take time to read this short book of the Bible. It is spoken in a woman’s voice, speaking profoundly about love.

If you have never read Song of Songs before, read it slowly and embrace the intense emotions, moments of separation, intimacy, anguish, ecstasy, and contentment expressed here in this ancient middle-eastern love poem (song). Older analysis of the Song suggested it is an allegory of the relationship of the love relationship of God and Israel or perhaps the relationship between Christ and His church. Whatever the author’s point of reference, it is a love poem from our past, intense, sharing feelings about love expressed by many cultures down through the ages. Listen to the Shulamite woman as she speaks of her love…

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 Songs 8:6-7 [emphasis added]

Love has many languages. I think that this book of the Bible can best be expressed as dealing with those feelings each of us had when we got married. It is full of passion, pure and simple. The Greek word for this type of love is eros, the root word for erotic. Yet in the passage above there are other aspects of love not found in the word eros that we all seek and want in our relationship with our spouse. This passage speaks to the permanence in our love relationships, a love that is as unyielding as death. This book is part of the Biblical wisdom literature as it describes these relationships between a man and woman. It speaks of both wisdom and love as gifts from God, thus the reason for man to celebrate love.

Years ago, early in my deceased wife’s illness, she saw in her own life a need to express her love for me. She gave me a ‘dog tag’ with the inscribed passage on it…for love is as strong as death. She wished to express to me the depth and permanence of her love for me. A love that came from her heart and soul, a love that could not be quenched by death. 

Each of us when we got married made promises to our spouse. Love, honor, cherish, etc. You know the phrases. Let us look at the most quoted passage on love in the Holy Bible as written by the Apostle Paul…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails….And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, 13 

Yet with all its poetry and honesty about love, of God’s love, as well as human love, Paul’s description of love’s permanence does not match in my own mind this passage from the Song of Songs. Yes, Solomon’s book is full of the passion of smitten lovers; but still, there is a statement of a never ending love. Read the passage again and sense the strength of commitment. Oh, that our own marriages were that committed! But our marriages can have that commitment if we will just look to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. When our marriages falter, He is there if we seek Him, and He will redirect our paths to the road that leads to healing and permanence in your marriage and in mine.

Remember once again your marriage vows, those covenant marriage vows, and that they only end when you or your spouse dies.

…For Love Is As Strong As Death… 

Standing firm on my covenant marriage vows, spoken before God and my wife, until we are parted by death.

P.S.: In writing this devotional, I used additional information contained in the study footnotes and the introduction of the Song of Songs, NIV translation of the Holy Bible. 

Ben in Texas

 

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