Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised. -Song of Solomon 8.6-7
Many believe that the LORD is not mentioned by name in the Song of Solomon. But if you read the verses above in a NKJV, you will find a marginal notation. Mine explains that the phrase, “A most vehement flame” in v. 6 is literally A flame of Yah, or a poetic form of YHWH, the LORD.
The primary application of the Song of Solomon is physical intimacy in marriage. However, many of the older commentators applied the book to the church’s relationship with Christ. Charles Spurgeon’s commentary on the Song of Solomon is replete with these parallels.
It is true that we are reading the church back into the Song of Solomon because it was written some 900 years before the church was established. But I believe there is warrant for us to do so when we consider Ephesians 5.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
So I am applying these verses in a secondary way as we consider the new year. Not as a wife to a husband but as a church to Christ. I would ask that you look to your Savior at the beginning of 2013 and make one resolution and one affirmation.
Resolve to be the object of Christ’s affections and continual care (8.6). Affirm that you cannot bear the thought of having less than a supreme unalterable love for Christ (8.6-7).
Our New Year’s Resolution
“Set me as a seal upon Your heart, as a seal upon Your arm.” This is a two-fold seal. A medallion over the heart is akin to a locket with the picture of someone you love. It is worn on a necklace close to your heart. The seal on the arm is visible. It is something that tells the world that I belong to Him. The wedding band is useful for this purpose in our culture.
We cry out to our Lord that we are resolved to be close to His heart and we desire that He keep us visibly before Him and the Heavenly Host. What better way than to make manifest the scars from His death on the cross. They will be visible for all to see when He returns in the revelation of His glory. All the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him (Rev 1.7).
Is Christ close to your heart? Is He the object of your adoration? His love is as strong as death for you. Seems odd to say this, but when we pause to think about how death is irreversible, it makes sense. We can do nothing to call a love one back from the grave. And the pain and sorrow that causes is terrible. But the love Christ has for His bride, the Church, is irreversible as well. Nothing can take us from Him.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.
Our prayer should include adoration such as calling to God to set us as a seal upon heart and arm. We should express our delight in His unchanging and unwavering love for us. While a wife yearns for the love and devotion of her husband, it is infinitely more important that we yearn for the love and devotion of our Savior – even though we have it.
“See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands…” (Isaiah 49:16) Open your mouth wide this year, and God will fill it. Ask what you will, and it shall be done for you. Resolve to be the object of Christ’s affections and continual care!
Our New Year’s Affirmation
The text goes on to tell us that jealousy is as cruel as the grave for us as the bride of Christ. There is no escape. It is like a devouring fire. Our God is a consuming fire! We remain unsatisfied with where we are and who we are. We yearn for the day when we are with Him. It is a flame which cannot be quenched or satisfied until we see Him!
Many waters cannot quench our love for Him. The floods cannot put out the flame He has ignited in our hearts. If an exchange were made for wealth, such love would be despised. But our God’s love is unchanging!
Let me challenge you to set your hearts and your adoration upon Christ this year. Count all things loss for the knowledge of Him. Don’t allow the floods of persecution, trial, sickness, or sorrow drown it. Love the LORD Jesus Christ!
All your security and happiness depend upon the unchanging love that God has for you. God is love!