Devotions in Song of Solomon
Song of Solomon 2:4 - His Banner Over me was Love (Holy Day Lesson - Feast of Tabernacles)
Song of Solomon 2:11 - Spring! (Holy Day Lesson - Passover)
Song of Solomon 8:7 - Love (Holy Day Lesson - Passover)
His Banner Over Me Was Love
“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.” Song of Solomon 2:4
When you love someone, what do you do to show that love? Make a special meal? Send them a greeting card? Clean the house before the visit? Give them gifts? Spend time with them? What do you do?
The book of the Song of Solomon is a love story. Some think it’s just about Solomon and one of his wives. Others think it is an analogy between Christ and the Church. Regardless of whether God intended it as a love story between Christ and His Bride or not, there are some interesting similarities. Remember that list we made?
A special meal: How about the wedding supper of the Lamb? (Revelation 19:9) We celebrate this special event (which is yet to come) each fall at the Feast of Tabernacles. When we sing “All things are ready, come to the feast. Come, for the table now is spread,” we can’t help but see the parallel between the Feast of Tabernacles and the Marriage Supper when Jesus returns!
A Greeting Card: Jesus is showing His love without the aid of Hallmark. We live our lives under the banner of his love. Just as an army goes out to battle following the flag or the banner, we follow that banner. Similarly, a knight would ride with a banner billowing, showing for which cause he was striving. In Biblical stories, remember the battle during which Moses held the banner for the Lord? When Moses’ arms grew tired and his arms sank, the battle went against the Israelites. But when he held the banner high, the Israelites were victorious. So Aaron and Hur held up his arms! (Exodus 17:8-15)
Clean house: God is not just cleaning house, He’s preparing a place for his people to dwell with Him forever (John 14).
Give Gifts: What greater gift does God give us than that of His own Son (John 3:16) that we can live with Him forever! And then God gives us so many gifts just because He loves us!
Spend Time: There is coming a day when we will dwell forever with God, forever in His presence. (1 Thes 4:17, Rev. 21:3).
I don’t know whether the Song of Solomon is simply a reminder that God designed marriage between one man and one woman for life - or whether it points to the great love that Jesus has for His Bride. I just know that when I sing “He brought me to the banqueting table; His banner over me is love,” I can’t help but think of the incredible love that God has shown me. What about you? Do you see evidence of God’s love in your life?
for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. Song of Solomon 2:11
Sometimes the most simple pleasures give the greatest joys.
I remember as a kid walking out the front door of our home in Casper, WY. Mom said, “It smells like spring!” After a long, cold, snowy, windy winter, the smell of spring is indeed delightful - so delightful, in fact, that I have a mental video taped memory of not only walking out the door, but I can almost even smell the smell.
My children like to tease [read: hassle] me about Wyoming, but living in Wyoming gave me a deep appreciation for the turning of the season, the coming of spring, and a deep appreciation for rain. I can remember Mom quipping that we’d gotten a six-inch rain, the rain drops were six inches apart. It doesn’t rain much in Casper - snow, yes; rain, not so much. I think that’s why this verse in Song of Solomon impacted me as a child - that, and the way the King James Version continues: for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone; the voice of the turtle is heard in the land. To a six or seven year-old, the idea of a turtle’s voice is a curiosity to say the least. More modern translations say, “the voice of the turtledove is heard in the land,” and that makes more sense. In the winter, many of the birds leave (especially in Wyoming). This spring, in our family, we’re eagerly anticipating being able to hear the voice of some birds again soon - like hummingbirds. The winter is past; spring is here.
Other than the warmer temperatures and the return of the birds, what delights you about spring? I love seeing the new growth. The trees are budding, the crocuses are popping their heads up, and we’ve seen some daffodils already. I noticed the Forsythia is almost out. I love the spring flowers. Think of the mantle of white on the Bradford pear trees. I love the pink of the crabapple and the redbuds, the perfume of the honeysuckles, and the smell of the earth as it warms up. It’s a return to visible life by these trees and flowers who have been dormant all winter.
Driving down the road, you see other evidence that spring is here. New little lambs and calves dot the pastures. Foals and crias (baby alpacas) frisk by their mothers. Puppies, ducklings, baby birds, and kittens. It’s a time of new life - all over the place. What a delight to see the baby animals! Such a simple pleasure that gives such joy!
I think the return to visible life impacts us on a spiritual level too. After all, it is in the spring that Jesus Christ was crucified and died, and then was resurrected to life. We memorialize that event every year at Passover. We, as 1 Corinthians 11 says, proclaim His death until He comes. And yet, it’s not just Jesus’ death that we proclaim, because if the Father had not raised Jesus from the dead, there would be no resurrection for any of us. There’d be no hope of eternal life. None of us would be new creatures in Christ. We would all be dead in our sins.
Praise God! Jesus Christ did rise from the dead! Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are bought by His blood from slavery to sin and given new life as new creatures in Christ, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
So we eagerly look forward to spring. All through the winter, we mentally mark off the time - waiting for spring. Spring came yesterday, astronomically. Tomorrow is the New Year. Passover is two weeks away. God’s spring holy days, the Days of Unleavened Bread, are finally almost here. We’ve had a long, hard, cold winter since the last holy days (the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day); we can hardly wait for the celebration and worship of God with our whole church family during these days!
For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone.
You know, perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps simple pleasures don’t give the greatest joy. Perhaps these are really, truly, the most profound and wonderful pleasures - and most of the world just doesn’t recognize them for the blessing, for the gift, they truly are! They just don’t know what they are missing. But these profound and wonderful pleasures give us the most profound and wonderful joy - joy unspeakable!
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised. Song of Solomon 8:7
How much water do you need to drink to quench your thirst? How many buckets of water do you need to put out a blazing fire? I’m always amazed at how much water is required to put out a fire. Every time we have a bonfire, we have the hose nearby - just in case. But even after the fire has died down, after the main bulk of the fuel has been consumed, it takes a lot of water to put out the remaining embers. And, even when you think it’s out, many times there’s still enough heat left to smolder and perhaps begin burning again later. I remember that happening a couple of different times over the years - burning a pile of leaves, weeds, branches, thinking it had been quenched, and then smelling smoke and, perhaps, even seeing some flame spring back up again hours later. It’s what makes a forest fire so difficult to extinguish.
This is the analogy, the image, that Solomon uses for love. There is a love that is so strong that lots of water, even a flood of water, cannot put it out.
That’s an amazing thing! That’s the kind of love that we all want. We want to have the kind of relationship with another person that the love we share is not easily extinguished. It’s the kind of love that endures through hard times and trials of live, through our mistakes and failings, through time and distance. 1 Corinthians 13 describes the kind of love we want!
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
It is the kind of love which would be willing to die for the other person.
Where do you get this kind of love? Solomon says, “If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.” You can’t buy it. It’s not Love Potion Number 9. You can’t trade anything you have for it. As the song says, “I don’t care too much for money. Money can’t buy me love.” This kind of love grows and blossoms over time as it is tended and nourished. But truly, if you have this kind of love towards another person, it really is a gift from God.
God, who is Love, is really the source of the kind of love which cannot be extinguished, the most desirable kind of love for which we’d be willing to give almost anything - even all the wealth of our house. Why? Because we’ve seen God’s love, we’ve experienced God’s love in our lives. His love, the love described in 1 Corinthians 13, is so great that He, Jesus Christ, was willing to give His life that we would be reconciled to the Father and that we would have eternal life. And the Father’s love for us is so great that He was willing to give His Son, His only begotten Son whom He loves, as a sacrifice for us while we were still sinners. And as Jesus was making that ultimate sacrifice for us, dying on the cross even though He was innocent of any sin, He was utterly despised by the religious establishment, the government, the carnal human beings gathered around to watch.
Solomon’s description of the kind of love that is possible between a man and a woman, in marriage, deeply foreshadows the kind of love that Jesus had, and has, for His Bride, the Church. Despite the reviling and persecution and scorn He suffered, Jesus’ love for each of us was strong and deep enough to endure torture and death. And that’s what we memorialize during the Passover service, the Days of Unleavened Bread, and the Wave Sheaf offering. We celebrate a love so strong that it could not be quenched nor drowned. It could not be bought with all the money in the known universe. But it was freely given to you and to me.