My beloved is mine and I am his

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Song of Songs 1-3

The bible begins and ends with a wedding (Genesis 2; Revelation 19).  In the middle Christ comes as Bridegroom to win His bride.  Throughout, the LORD is described as “jealous” and his people as either “faithful” or “adulterous.”

It’s no surprise then, that when Solomon turns from his exercise in spiritual doubt (Ecclesiastes) to pen the “Song of Songs”, it is a love song that he writes.

“The song of songs, which is Solomon’s.  Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. (Song 1:1-2)

Here is the wonder of Lover and Beloved calling to each other in tender intimacy:

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.  (Song 2:4)

“My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.  (Song 2:10)

“Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair.  (Song 4:1)

“Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.  How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!  Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.  A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.  (Song 4:10-12)

It is an unabashed celebration of love.  Yet it is also far more.  Given the meaning of marriage in the Bible it’s vital we see the significance of what we read.

The beloved is likened to a vineyard – indeed she seems to be one (1:6; 8:12).

The lover is a shepherd (1:7) and a king (1:4,12).  He smells like a priest (perfumed with myrrh and frankincense).  And he looks like the LORD – coming up from the wilderness in a pillar of smoke (3:6).

So here is a relationship between the Shepherd-King-Priest-LORD and His vine (His people –Isaiah 5:1-7).  This is the greatest love story ever told. This truly is the Song of Songs.  Here is Christ and His bride, the church.  And the burning love they share is ‘the very flame of the LORD’!

Let me quote to you one of the concluding verses in a more modern translation:

love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave.  Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD.  (Song of Songs 8:6)

The LORD Himself is a blazing fire of love (1 John 4:8).  Love is the divine nature and it is this love that is shared between Christ and the church.  This is wonderful news: the eternal love of God can be ours.  How?  In marriage union with Christ.

In marriage, all that is ours is shared with our spouse. And all that is theirs becomes ours.  This is a common theme in Song of Songs:

My beloved is mine, and I am his (2:16)

I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine: (6:3)

I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me.  (7:1)

This is why Martin Luther sought to explain the gospel as the marriage of a King to a prostitute. We are the prostitute.  We are the beloved, full of sins and shame and spiritual debts.  Yet when the prostitute marries the King, what happens?  All our debts go to him, and all his riches come to us.  Better yet – we belong to him and he to us.

So it is with our union to Christ.  Our sins and shame are taken by our Heavenly Bridegroom. He pays off all our debts on the cross – then He turns to us and gives us all that is His: His royal name, wealth, power and Family connections.  It is all ours.  Better yet – so is He.  And we are His.

“Who can even begin to appreciate what this royal marriage means? Who can comprehend the riches of this glorious grace? Christ, the rich and divine bridegroom, marries this poor, wicked whore, redeems her from all of her evil, and adorns her with all of his goodness. It now is impossible for her sins to destroy her, for they are laid on Christ and swallowed up by him. She has her righteousness in Christ, her husband, which she now can boast is her very own. She can set this righteousness over against all of her sins and, in the face of death and hell, say with confidence: “If I have sinned, nevertheless, the one in whom I trust, my Christ, has not sinned. Through our marriage, all that is his is mine and all that is mine is his.”  (Martin Luther, “The Freedom of the Christian”)

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