Over the past few months, I have been gradually studying the Song of Solomon. This book is often overlooked and (maybe even more often) misunderstood. In the last 100 years or so, it has become popular to read this book as merely a story of marital love and intimacy. That is certainly one aspect of what the book teaches, but that is not the central theme of the book. For thousands of years the Church (and the people of Israel before then) have rightly understood that this was a song about God’s love for his people, more specifically Christ’s love for his church (Eph. 5:32).
And that’s why the Bible itself tells us that it is the very best song there is (Song. 1:1). Not just better than other songs outside the Bible, but even better than all the other Biblical songs! Just as Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, just as the most holy place in the temple is the Holy of holies, this is the Song of songs. The very best song that you and I will ever sing. That’s because it tells us of the greatest love story of all time: the love of Christ for his Bride.
Often my faith can be more “head” than “heart” – I can be passionate about doctrine and theology, but find myself feeling all too cold toward Christ and distant from him. Perhaps you, too, find yourself feeling the same way from time to time? If so, let me commend to you this beautiful song. Consider these verses from Song. 3:1-4:
On my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not. I will rise now and go about the city, in the streets and in the squares; I will seek him whom my soul loves. I sought him, but found him not. The watchmen found me as they went about in the city. “Have you seen him whom my soul loves?” Scarcely had I passed them when I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her who conceived me.
This passage contains rich promises for us. As Christians, Jesus is the one whom our souls love; and yet, so often we don’t love him as we ought to or as we wish we did. We find ourselves in the place of this Bride: alone and feeling distant from the Lord. Maybe you seek closeness with him – you read your Bible, you pray, you go to church – and yet none of it seems to work. You say with the Bride, “I sought him, but found him not.”
If that is where you are feeling right now, then let me encourage you to keep seeking for him, just as the Bride does. Because this passage is not just a story, it is a promise. Friends, we are the bride in this song, and these verses are a poetic expression of the promise given elsewhere in Scripture, that when you seek the Lord, you will find him. Consider Jeremiah 29:13 – “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Or, look to Luke 11:9 – “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
If you seek him, you will find him. Come to Christ and he will give you rest. If you come to him, he will never cast you out. You are united to him by his Holy Spirit; that is a union that can never be torn asunder. And your sense of communion and closeness with him can ebb and flow, but he promises in his word that if you draw near to him, he will draw near to you (Jas. 4:8). So, seek him by faith, trusting in his promise to be found by you.
And when you find him, be like the Bride – cling to him, hold him tight, and never let him go. Delight in the intimacy of your relationship with him. Until then, as you seek him, consider reading this wonderful Song of Songs and allowing the Lord to tune your heart to sing his praises.