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Love is as Strong as Death

These verses are the climax of the Song of Songs. They express, in the most eloquent language, the primacy of love in all of God's dealings with us.
By GEORGE BOOKER
Read Time: 3 minutes

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned. (Song 8:6-7)1

These verses are the climax of the Song of Songs. They express, in the most eloquent language, the primacy of love in all of God’s dealings with us. Love is the motivating force in His actions toward us. Love is the motivating force in all of Christ’s life. And love is the tenderest quality aroused in the heart of every believer, and directed toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16).
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8).
Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Eph 2:4, 5).

Love is the motivating force in God’s actions toward us.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him… We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:11-19).
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm.” (Song 8:6).

In the Song of Songs, the young woman, Christ’s bride, asks to be sealed figuratively. As a seal was rolled on wet clay in order to leave its impression, so she wanted to be impressed on Christ’s heart. Second, just as a seal might be worn around one’s neck or tied to one’s arm to keep it safe, she was asking the Good Shepherd to keep her close to himself, so that she would never be lost.

In the New Testament, the tomb that was “sealed” shut by Pilate’s men (Matt 27:66) was “sealed” open by the angel when he rolled the great stone away from the entrance and sat upon it (Matt 28:2).

The open tomb is the seal of our salvation, and the seal of our Savior’s love for us! The wounds which our Savior received, in hands and feet and side, may serve him also—even now in heaven—as the seals by which he remembers us, whom he has loved even unto death. In the words of Isaiah the prophet, Jerusalem said about her God: “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” (Isa 49:14). But the LORD responded,

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” (Isa 49:15, 16).

In such prophecies as this, the glorified Son of God speaks to us, for we constitute the “New Jerusalem”, in words we can imagine quite well: Never think that I have forgotten you. I have indelible seals—the wounds upon my hands and in my side. Though healed now, they are ever with me— and it is as though your names, each and every one of you, are engraved upon my very person. My love for you is stronger than death, my passion more unyielding than the grave. Never fear: you are mine. I will remember you! For love is as strong as death.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. (Psa 44:22).
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life… neither the present nor the future, nor any powers… will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:35- 39).

Love cannot be extinguished, neither can it be bought.

Not even death can separate us from the love of God in Christ. Love, divine love, stands as the only creative and constructive force which takes up Death’s challenge and defies all destructive and degenerative forces.

“If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned”

As such love cannot be extinguished, neither can it be bought. No price tag can be put on love! It is not for sale, at any price (cp. Psa 49:7, 8; Isa 55:1, 2; 1 Pet 1:18, 19). Not even a blank check from a Bill Gates or a Warren Buffett can buy love. Such absolute and priceless love is likewise the spiritual ideal which God shares with His people. We are urged not to serve two masters (Matt 6:24) but to love the Lord our God “with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.” (Mark 12:30).

The surpassing greatness of knowing Christ is worth so much more than all of this world’s prosperity and power and prestige and pomp, which Paul the apostle considered nothing but “rubbish” (Phil 3:8).

George Booker,
Austin Leander, TX

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