I recently tried to watch a movie about the ministry, death, and resurrection of Christ. Something just felt out of place as the movie progressed, and when I saw Mary Magdalene, the lone female in the boat alongside the disciples when Jesus walked on the water, it hit me. The movie was propagating, what I believe to be, the heretical notion that Jesus Christ was either married to Mary Magdalene or that she always accompanied Him. Likewise, something feels out of place when I read Song of Solomon and focus on the literal, and therefore, obvious interpretation about love between a man and a woman. This is not to say that God does not speak to us about human love. Quite the contrary as is evident in the many kinds of love illustrated in Scripture. C.S. Lewis expounds on these in his treatise on The Four Loves about affection, friendship, eros, and charity. As for me, the intimacy and longing in the Songs speaks of God’s jealous love for His people and our deepest desire for Him.
A beautiful allegory, Song of Solomon 8, is considered the “holiest of holies” love song in Jewish thought (The Chamush p1263). Israel’s passionate cry to be protected by God and instructed though His word (Song 1, 2); to be comforted by God’s tender hands (Song 3, 4); to be sealed and corrected by the fire of His love (Song 6, 7); and to be forgiven by the Beloved who shows mercy for the spiritual immaturity of His people (Song 5, 8-9). And, though tribulations, enticements, and iniquities seek to divert our intention to trust in God (Song 11, 12), He listens to our prayers and devotion (Song 10, 13). Song 8 (The Chamush, p1268) ends with this lovely, Messianic prophecy: “Flee, my Beloved, from our common Exile and be like a gazelle or a young hart in Your swiftness to redeem and rest your Presence among us on the fragrant Mount Moriah, site of Your Temple.”
Fast forward to Christ’s redemptive work on the Cross. Hebrews 8 satisfies completely: God’s law is written on the minds and hearts of believers, not just on etched stone tablets. Believers commune directly with Christ, no earthly mediator needed. God’s Holy Spirit dwells within each believer, so knowing God is no longer dependent on the instruction of man. And most importantly, God forgives and forgets the sins of believers, not because of continual sacrifices and gifts of attrition, but by the blood of the Lamb.
Even the tumult of today is stilled by the Bridegroom who says, “Be still and know that I am God,” (Psalm 46:10). Our Lord is poised to return, and every knee will bow before Him. Love from my Beloved will absolutely overwhelm my senses when I hear those heavenly trumpets sound, calling me, His bride, to Him eternally. Love without end!
All Scripture and commentary quotes from:
The Chamush. The ArtScroll Series/Stone Edition. 2000.
The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.