I have read the Song of Songs many times in the past but recently it has been of particular interest to me. Its story of love between Solomon and the Shulamite has jumped off the pages and into my heart as a reminder of the love Christ has for us and we have for Christ. It has also been a personal prayer of mine that God would increase my love for Him.
In these poems, we will look at the literal interpretation, but our main focus will not be on the love Solomon had for his beloved or the love that the Shulamite had for Solomon, but our focus will be on the love that Christ had for The Church and the love that we, as the Church, should have for our Lord, Jesus. It goes without saying, but Christ is here represented by King Solomon; The Church is represented by the Shulamite women. I encourage you to read this book several times over, it is a short book and can be completed quickly. As you read this Song of Songs it will become obvious that these two are madly in love with one another. This isn't a cold arranged marriage, built on political relationships, but it is a love that is passionate. This love is compared to wine at its heights and compared to sickness when things aren't going so well. This love motivates to action, even midnight searches for the one whom they love. So should be our love for Christ, because His love for us was of this sort. It wasn't cold and mechanical but it is the love story of the ages. The love of God motivated Christ to action, His love for us has been like wine at its heights when we are overwhelmed by his presence, and I have felt the sickness of the departure of His felt presence, and have searched for him diligently and found him and vowed never to let him go, as did the Shulamite. So, this love illustrated in this book of The Bible is a lesson in loving our Lord.
Love is eternal, death will pass away, hell will pass, even faith will end but love will be enjoyed for all eternity. Love is a force stronger than death, when a loved one passes on we never lose the love for that person but it seems that it even grows stronger. Love has motivated men and women to risk life and limb. Even secular, God-denying philosophers and critics of the gospel admit that love is a powerful force and they encourage us to love one another. They say things like "All we need is Love." The Love that they focus on is horizontal, or love for our fellow men. While this is partly true it is partly wrong, in that they forsake loving God. Love should be vertical and horizontal. This is illustrated in the cross, by a vertical beam and a horizontal beam, and by the greatest illustration of Love for God and man there has ever been, Jesus. He shows us what perfect love looks like. He loved his fellow man and He loved His Father which was in heaven and it was the love for his brothers that lead him to pay the ultimate price on the Cross and it was his love for his father that caused Him in the Garden of Gethsemane to say "Never the less, not my will but thine." The cross is the ultimate illustration of perfect love for God and man and the fulfillment of the law; Remember what Jesus told the Pharisees in Matthew 22:36-40?
"Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Perfect love for God and man is what Jesus demonstrated in his life, death, and resurrection. This should be our goal, to love God and our neighbor. The goal of this study of The Song of Songs will be focused on our love for God and His love for us. Loving him first will lead us to love our neighbors secondly.
One last word about love, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 of the useless life of a Christian who doesn't have love.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."
It does not matter what graces we have if we don't have love. If you can speak 10 languages but you don't love God or the people you are speaking to then it has profited nothing, if you are the greatest of all preachers, if you are the most learned in the Scriptures, if you give all you have to the poor and don't have love then it was all useless. Notice Paul did not say it profited little, but that it would profit nothing. This is one thing that should motivate us to make sure our love life with the Lord is in the right standing, so that we don't waste our lives on this earth as unprofitable servants. I know we have veered far away from the book we are studying but as an introduction, I wanted to stress the importance of love. Our prayer for this study is that it would motivate us to be more passionately in love with our Beloved Saviour.
Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.