“Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.”
~Song of Solomon 8:6-7
Love. We, as people, “love” many things. Often, we emphasize the beauty of God’s love for us and therefore, our love for Him.
Our ministry is also prone to emphasize love for our neighbors and love for “good” things. Nonetheless, something not often addressed in many Christian arenas is romantic love.
I say this to the detriment of the Church, our nation, and countries abroad. The Bible talks about it, but the Church does not go beyond the cultural battleground of same-sex marriage, and discuss what true, Biblical romance is characterized by.
Some might call this an incongruence.
I learn more and more everyday that as a man, engaged to my beautiful soon-to-be bride, Hallie, that I need to learn to “love better” everyday.
We live in a delightful tapestry of give and take, but when reflecting upon myself, I know that unidentified self-interests are often a harmful trip-wire that has me falling, mangled time and time again, landing with my foot in mouth. Oh, the joys of love. I’d have it no other way!
But I often ask myself, what are the guardrails in Biblically maintaining my God-ordained love with Hallie?
King Solomon understood a thing or two about the dying art of romance. As Biblical narratives suggest, sometimes he got too enamored in the artistry (1 Kings 11:1-4). He pursued what the Bible terms, “strange women,” and he had a lot of them.
It is interesting to note that Solomon knew the warnings from God to the Israelites to not marry these women, for they will “turn your heart after their gods.” Despite this warning, Solomon “clave unto these in love,” and as a result, the Bible says that “his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God.”
We often hear of people giving their heart away to those they love. Interestingly enough, the Hebrew word in 1 Kings 11 for “heart” is lēḇāḇ. This word can be defined as “the inner man” or “will” along with other similar synonyms.
You see, God expected even Solomon’s romance to be postured to Him. As Americans, one’s love life is the precarious portion of their heart that we expect no one, not even God, to have access to. But we’d be foolish to assume that God does not already know (Proverbs 21:2).
The place where we invest romantically within ourselves, is the same place that Christ came to save.
Yet, so often we displace the two into two different parts of our life. True, Biblical romance begins with a true, Biblical posture towards God.
Luckily, Solomon’s shortcomings are not the only example of his life that we are offered. In his Biblical work, Song of Solomon, we are offered an example of a developing (Courtship, marriage, and growing relationship) love between the king and his bride.
One large thing that a reader will note, whether reading deeply or not, is that language is careful, intentful, and spoken only to build each other up. They valued each other as prized treasures, one to another. The bride spoke these words in Song of Solomon 2:16,
“My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.”
Where has culture gone so wrong? Although people pay lip service to “giving their heart away,” dating relationships and marriages end so often because both are not “feeling it anymore.”
You do not just stop feeling like you have a treasure. You have it or you don’t. What really happens is that people may stop recognizing the treasure they possess (Proverbs 31:10). Unless God wills it otherwise, this is where romance dies.
Truly, when posture is turned from God, one could not possibly esteem a God-given treasure. This does not require a PhD in Theology. This is logic.
When the king’s bride is ultimately moved to exclaim the famous words, “Many waters cannot quench love,” this was in contrast to her depiction of love as “coals of fire.” Biblical romance and marriage are designed to be unquenchable, indistinguishable, and maintained by the flood wall of God’s Spirit (Mark 10:8-9; Ephesians 5:25).
As you live and love, do not compartmentalize your life and love. It all simmers down to the abundance or lack of abundance of Godly love in your inner most places. Growing in godliness, is to grow in love for all humanity, in this case, especially your romantic interest.
Edify them. Build them. Treasure them. Rest assured that…
Many waters cannot quench love.