If you finger through your Bible, you will find a little oft-neglected book. Better said, a poem—a song pledged to paper whose tune we don’t know. It’s a poem about love. Not the ordinary kind like kindness and general affection—no, this song is about being in love.
This song snuck into the middle of your Bible is, you could say, a lover’s journal opened to you by the Holy Spirit. It’s the Song of Songs—meaning the greatest one, and it’s one about being in love. It is also referred to as the Song of Solomon.
But this song isn’t merely a love song—it’s also Scripture and belongs in the collection of books called wisdom literature. Biblical wisdom literature teaches us what it means to live well in God’s world as his creatures. Song of Songs helps us do just that by giving us a healthy and robust picture of romantic love that leads to marriage. This song teaches us that the pursuit of marital love is not only enjoyable and good, but it is also a wise way to live. Romance and love and sex and marriage are all God’s idea and he has given us these good things to enjoy in a wise and healthy way that honors him.
Talking about love never compares to experiencing it, and so God gave us this precious song to help us know love at its finest. The Song of Songs serenades us, hoping to win our hearts to God’s vision of the beauty of love according to his design.
The song opens with a hardworking country girl’s confession of her passion for the king. Verse after verse we experience her longing for, searching for, and dreaming about her lover. She isn’t a forward girl, though. In fact, she’s dignity itself, described as a locked garden (Song of Songs 4:12), having saved her whole self for just one—the one she will have for life.
Her time for love has come. And it’s so beautiful, delightful, shameless, and pure in its unfolding that we might be tempted to blush and put down Solomon’s journal.
There’s a refrain given all throughout this song, like a gentle somber chorus: “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you… Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires” (Song of Songs 2:7; 3:5; 8:4). It’s as though the author expected an audience as he sings about these delightful and blush-worthy things. Careful, he says, love is the best and sweetest of joys, but only at the right time.
The song fades as we catch a final vision of the beloved leaning tenderly on her lover, content in the blessedness of utter belonging (Song of Songs 8:5, 10)
The Song of Songs reveals to us the nature of true love by showing, not telling. It shows us how love captivates us with such passion that sometimes words fail to help us express it. Love isn’t calculating or deciding. Love is delighting—a gift of the heart. Love gives freely, generously, and sacrificially. Love makes us willing to be vulnerable and inviting, yet also impassions us to pursue. Love includes the joys of romantic desire and intimacy but guards this treasure under the lock and key of lifelong commitment.
We must remember that God’s story takes place on the stage of reality. His plans are woven with the threads of ordinary life. Being spiritual doesn’t mean rejecting the enjoyable things of this life—like falling in love. God himself crowns romance as something holy, by including it in his Word.
Romance serves as a blessed window into a magnificent truth: “Love comes from God” (1 John 4:7).
Romance serves as a blessed window into a magnificent truth: “Love comes from God” (1 John 4:7). Being truly spiritual is seeing through good things to the God who authored them all, while enjoying them within the proper boundaries he set (Ecclesiastes 11:9; Ecclesiastes 3:12-13).
Through this song, God wants us to hear the theme of his love. The Song of Songs helps us hear the Bible’s thematic melody—to hear the Word of God rightly enough to recognize it is all one long love story (Jeremiah 31:1).
The Bible tells us of the God who longs to be with us (John 17:24-26; Song of Songs 3:1-2), who is jealous for our affection (Exodus 34:14; Song of Songs 8:6), who gave of himself so that we can belong to him forever (John 3:16; Galatians 2:20), who delights in his people (Song of Songs 7:10; Isaiah 65:19; Zephaniah 3:17), and passionately pursues us (Isaiah 62:11-12; 1 John 4:9). It tells us that one day there will be a wedding where the Lord and his church will enjoy the beginning of a happily-forever-after life together (Ephesians 5:22-33; Revelation 19:6-8).
God loves love. God gave us human love to help us glimpse the grandeur of his own divine love for those who trust him (Isaiah 54:10). But he does not just love us; he wants us to love him, too—with all our heart (Matthew 22:36-38).
He created us for the sheer joy of dwelling in his presence (Genesis 3:8; Revelation 21:3). He made us to find our haven in him, not in places, things, or experiences (Psalm 73:25-26). God graciously awakens us to his glory and goodness by telling us the good news of how Jesus Christ has pursued us in an awesome act of sacrificial love through his cross and resurrection. As we learn to trust in Jesus, we come to find him the most desirable place to be (John 17:3; Philippians 3:8).
Open The Song of Songs and ask the Holy Spirit to help you hear the echoes of the Lord’s love. Ask him to reshape your vision of earthly love according to his holy and beautiful design.