“Put me like a seal over your heart, Like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; Its flashes are flashes of fire, The very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, Nor will rivers overflow it; If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, It would be utterly despised” (Song 8:6-7 NAST).
I have to admit that this is one of my favorite Biblical passages. The image of a seal over the heart is one of tenderness and complete adoration. The writer, which is described in my translation as the “Wife to her Husband,” captures the desire that there is a commitment to pure and holy love that is binding and is desired. The idea that it is the woman who is the example of what humanity desires in a relationship with God empowers more voices than the traditional masculine description of a relationship with God.
This image of the bride longing for the devotion of her husband is a wonderful depiction of our longing for God. The way that God compels us to commit our lives to the care of the Divine moves us to complete oneness with our creator. We long to be set on the breast of God. We hope to be protected.
We are further given the example of the vastness of love. In reading this text with modern day eyes, I cannot help but notice the description of love as being parallel to Paul’s writing in 1st Corinthians. “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant” (1 Cor 13:4 NAST). Perhaps Paul’s description of the nature of love is an exegetical study of Song 8:6-7. (That may be a good research project for future endeavors.)
Well, all of this is wonderful, but what does this text have to do with me in the current day? It is simple. Through the noise of what voices all around us say is the right thing to be or do; there is something within us that desires to be shielded by our Creator. I need that protection from a world that constantly tries to define me in ways that are insulting or belittling.
God is my protector. I crave a relationship with God as much as I desire water. May we all yearn for a relationship with the one who radically seeks us out to be in full relationship. Let us drink from the fountain of living water and be sheltered and renewed. Let us all be changed.