God's Love Song
January 31, 2024
-Dr. J. Vernon McGee, from the Song of Solomon Bible Companion
There are some who feel Song of Solomon should not be in the Bible. If you’re going through the Word of God for the first time, you may be puzzled when you come to this little book that’s so different from the others. Abused by those who don’t understand it, even misunderstood and misinterpreted by some Christians, few know what to do with it. Most everyone will just ignore it.
At first, you might think this book is a story. But it’s not—it’s a song. This author, Solomon, was quite a songwriter. First Kings 4:32 tells us he “spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five.” If you add up all the proverbs and songs in this book, as well as in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, you come up with a lot less—which implies we only have a sampling of all his work. But since we have the content the Spirit of God wanted us to have, we for sure have the best.
No other book is going to draw you closer to Jesus Christ than this one—or be more personal. Solomon’s vivid, striking, and bold language paints us a glorious picture of our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Really? This is a picture of our relationship with Christ? Yes. Early church fathers, Origen and Jerome, called Solomon’s Song an allegory—let’s call it an allegory of the church. Its romantic language imagines God speaking to His people in poetic songs. This is holy ground we’re standing on. Solomon’s Song gives us insight into four realms of love.
First, it teaches the glory of wedded love—of marital bliss. Marriage is established by God; it is sacred. Only with Him can it work out with joy. We see the heart of a satisfied husband and a devoted wife. While common today is talk of sex, this book speaks of love.
Next, Solomon’s Song shows us Jehovah’s love for Israel. That’s not new of course; the prophets mention God’s “husband-like” love for His people all the time. But this song gives us a picture of a beautiful, happy marriage.
Third, Solomon reveals a beautiful look at Christ’s love for the church. God uses human affection to convey His soul’s great love to our dull minds and our dead hearts. Our distorted affections and diseased spirits are quickened by the wonderful love Jesus has for us today.
Lastly, this little book invites you into a marvelous relationship with Jesus as you’ve likely never known before. But it’s here waiting for us. We love Him because He first loved us. Solomon’s Song will break the alabaster box of ointment, and its fragrance will fill our lives and spread to others.
Too many today think the Christian life is a mixture of a little psychology … a little common sense … a little salesmanship—with some Bible verses as spiritual icing. But that won’t help us or save us or comfort us. That lukewarm condition that exists in the church today only leads to arrogance and a cool affinity for each other. Only a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will stir a holy passion in us—for Him and for His people. We all need a burning hot, living, loving passion for Jesus Christ Himself.
What follows is a song about the day when a sun-kissed girl tends her sheep and a handsome shepherd appears and falls in love with her. He calls her a “lily among thorns.” He only has eyes for her. There’s nothing quite like young love that blossoms into marital bliss. Their exclusive, personal relationship deepens and grows over time. She says to her man, “My beloved is mine, and I am his” (2:16). The structure of the rest of the song is like a conversation. First, the Shulamite bride and the daughters of Jerusalem speak. Then later, the bridegroom and the bride talk and even the bride’s family has a word.
One of these days Jesus Himself, the lover of our souls, will call us out of this world. He will be like Solomon here calling, O my dove, come out from your protected clefts of the rock, from the crannies of the cliff, and let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.
The Lord has kept us safe in the cleft of the rock until the storm passes over, but now He wants to be the Lover of our souls.
Salvation is a love affair. We love Him because He first loved us. This overview just hints at this beautiful story that will now enfold.
- Why do you think God included a book like Song of Solomon in the Bible if He knew so many people would struggle to understand it?
- How could reading a book about a married couple draw everyone, married or single, closer to Jesus?
- Very few places recognize God is the author and designer of marriage. How should knowing this change the way we think and feel about marriage, whether we are married or not?
- Does the picture of God as a faithful husband to Old Testament Israel make you think more or less fondly of God? Why or why not?
- Do you struggle to love God’s people? Could the Holy Spirit be showing you a better way to do that in this book?
- What do you think was God’s purpose behind revealing so much of Himself to us in the way of stories?
- Many of us find that following Jesus means waiting. We wait for Him in our lives today, and we wait for His return. How can the example of the bride waiting for her husband to return in Song of Solomon encourage us?