The Love is All-Embracing

mjyhnbfgvd“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. 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 Songs 8:6-7

“…the love in our Song is all-embracing. It embraces pleasure, it embraces pain. It is passionate, yet fearful. It possesses, yet lets go. It liberates, yet binds. It empowers, it weakens. It brings turmoil, it brings peace. It is solemn, yet playful. It is lofty in conception, yet earthy in expression. It is self-centered, it is totally other-centered. It gives, it receives. It longs to give pleasure, it hopes to receive pleasure. It is cautious and timorous, yet extravagant and brave. Such a union of opposites, such a conflicting array of incompatibles, alone can do justice to the immensely complex phenomenon of the love between a man and a woman. It transcends logic, rationality, definition and even sense. Yet this whole thing called love is there to be experienced in all its agony and ecstasy. This is the love which our Song sings.”

dcgbfg“For though water can quench any flame, there are no hostile forces which can quench the flame of love. It is inevitable that love will always be tested and tried, will always encounter forces that threaten to undermine and destroy it. These may be the outward circumstances that may erode love’s power: the pain of separation, the uncertainty of the present or future, the loss of health or means of livelihood. But the love which is fuelled by the energy of God will triumph and overcome all these adversities and will emerge purer and stronger and more precious through the testing… In Isaiah 43:1-2, the words that our Lord speaks to His people remarkably parallel these words in our Song. It again reminds us that the love we’ve seen on display between this man and woman mirrors and points to a greater love, the love our redeemer God has for a people He has chosen for Himself. What did our Lord say through His prophet, “Now this is what the Lord says— the One who created you, Jacob, and the One who formed you, Israel — “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.” Tom Gledhill in “The Message of Song of Songs” 230, 234-235

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