Song of Solomon 8:1-7: Unquenchable Love
October 24, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Remember that the approach we are taking is that this Song is to be interpreted both as a description of idyllic, wedded love, and as a description of God’s love for his people. (For an explanation of that approach, see the introduction to this book on October 16.)
In this section there is more imagery of romantic, wedded, idyllic love—a love that can be interpreted in terms of the idea of a married life, and also in terms of the covenant love of God for his people.
One phrase stands out:
“Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away” (8:7).
Is this really true? Certainly, at a human level there are people who “fall in love” but then later find that they have lost those loving feelings. But we need to redefine and recalibrate our understanding of and commitment to love. The kind of love—real unquenchable love—upon which marriage is intended to be based is the love of a covenant commitment. Certainly, there are times (and sometimes seasons) when people who are married do not “feel” love for each other in the way that they used to. But while the initial blaze of the kindling of young love has died down, in its place should be the heat of the full warmth of a fireplace now fully lit with love. There is a stability to this kind of love. You are not now discovering new things about each other. You know each other well. But that does not mean that your love is any the less. No, it is more. It is greater. It is more committed, more secure, more real. In a certain sense, you only begin to love each other this kind of way when you do fall out of love. That feeling of falling in love can blind you to the mistakes and errors and failings of the person you are loving. You see them through a rose-tinted set of spectacles. You love them as you wish that they were. In a certain sense, in that first flush of young love, you are really loving a projection of your dream, what you want; it is in a certain sense still quite a selfish love. But as you grow to know that person and some of your illusions are broken, there comes the opportunity for real, deep, committed, covenant love. That is why Christian couples who have been married for a long time do not love each other less; they love each other more. This is the ideal, at least, and one to which those who are married can grow towards attaining as they keep this other aspect of this love in the center of their love.
What is this other aspect of love? It is the covenant love of God for his people. Truly his love for his people can never fail, can never be quenched, can never be swept away. With that love in the center of a married couple’s love, their love is far more secure and complete. With that love of God, the single person is experiencing the real love of which the other human romantic love is is an expression.
The apostle Paul puts it like this in Romans 8:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
That love of God for you, Christian, is a love from which you can never be separated!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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