There is something so basic and right about one man and one woman enjoying love together. This Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s, is about that love. It does not explore the many problems that we experience in relationships under the sun. Though there are occasional notes of danger and trouble, this is a love poem that seems to come to us from another world, where a perfectly admirable husband seeks the pleasure of his gloriously beautiful bride.
She begins her part of the song with a bold statement of her willingness to give her love to this great man: “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!” No polite little customary cheek on cheek accompanied by a kissing sound… She wants to put her lips on his. Wine is a great gift of God, but his love is better than wine. His body sends out oil that is delightfully fragrant, yes, his very name is oil poured out, like the Holy Spirit coming forth from heaven. She knows that the young maidens love him, but she need not share him with anyone. She wants him to call her to himself alone, so that they could run off together to his wonderful chambers. He is her king, but he is also her lover.
This love between them is publicly known and celebrated. Others are able to see the greatness of the man that she loves and to agree with her that his love is to be highly valued. Everyone is very right to love him as she does. Who can deny what is so obvious? Her boldness in singing about her love for him is very appropriate in this perfect setting. Everyone agrees with this love.
The lovely woman of this poem is dark from the sun. She has been caring for others and has had little opportunity to concern herself with her own beauty. In her labors she has found a way to keep her eye on the one man that is far above his companions. She does not want to be the woman of any other shepherd. She insists that he is her only desire.
Now he speaks, this glorious shepherd-king, calling her the most beautiful among women, inviting her to follow in the tracks of the flock that follows him. He does not reject her. With him she will find a place to live, a place for her and for her young goats. This shepherdess is valued by him and by all the others in his world of love. In an earlier time and place she may have been mistreated and unloved, but now she will wear ornaments of beauty and honor. Everyone around her will rejoice in her love, and will have their part to play in making this once humble servant to be the most beautiful bride.
Even now, she knows that her lover, her king, is a sensuous and delightful man. He should be as close to her as possible. Everything about him captivates her. He speaks to her with words that would heal old wounds. “You are beautiful, my love.” She responds in kind. Everything is boldness and truth. His love for her is not only beautiful. It is young and strong, an eternal love that will never fade.
The green meadow is their couch. The cedars above are their vaulted ceiling. They are forever vibrant, and the world they inhabit is alive with beauty, goodness, and delight.
This is a poem that we enter into. We find a place in this new world. The shepherd-king calls to us, admiring our beauty. We must not try to see this world of love as if we were outside analysts. We need to enter through the gates of this good place. We need to feel the joy of this lovely woman as she speaks about her amazing man. We want to sing with those who agree with her and who would be happy just to be able to make the jewelry that she will wear for him on their special day.
Cast your worries far behind you. You may have placed your head upon your pillow last night with the tears of a different world. But now your chamber is suddenly filled with light. A door to another world has opened. This world is not imaginary. It is more real than the tears that are quickly being dried from your eyes.
Here is joy and life in the beloved King, the Husband, the Lover and Friend of the church. The cross is over, for Him and for you. If wounds remain, they are not for sorrow. They are only badges of glory. The battle is won. You are safe in Jesus. If you are ever able, even for a brief moment, to live out the truth of that more solid world in the midst of this vanishing veil of tears, seize the opportunity and enjoy it fully. Do not let it pass you by. Love your wife. Give yourself to your husband. Walk in the beauty of heaven. Rejoice in the Lord!
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Glorious Lord, You love us. Grant to us a glimpse of the passion of Your love day by day. Our souls love You as well. Show us how to follow You as those who know that there is One worth staying very close to. Come near to us even now, O God. Are we beautiful to You? Surely Your Son is beautiful to us.