“Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame”, Song of Songs 8:6
The lover speaks passionately of her desire toward the one whom she is deeply committed to. The lover desires to be set as a seal which would have shown sole possession. An engraved stone or metal seal was a mark of ownership in the ancient world. Possession of another’s seal indicated mutual access and possession. The lover desired to be as a seal on his arm for all to see, and on his heart as the most intimate place in his life. She desired to be distinctly his, for no one else. Exclusivity was her chief desire toward him, as is recited in wedding vows, “forsaking all others, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, in good times and hard times, till death separates”. She yearns for their mutual possession of each other to be as lasting as life itself.
How can love be as strong as death? Love is about living, togetherness, partnership, joy, friendship, while death is about dying, aloneness, loss of friendship, pain, grief, and sadness. There is a strong gut level heart pounding emotion when it comes to both love and death. I can remember crying tears of sadness at the death of loved ones, while tears of joy on the day my wife and I became one flesh in Holy matrimony. Even the physiology of our makeup shows the power of love and death. Tears of sadness have one substance which is present at the loss of love, while tears of joy during the passion of loving and being loved have another substance which is present even though they are both tears and are both wet.
Many have killed for love. I think of the classic play Romeo and Juliet where love was as strong as death. Romeo upon being convinced that his love Juliet was dead, killed himself for he could not bear to live without her. The most glorious display of love being as strong as death is displayed perfectly at the crucifixion, where God’s love was expressed in death. “But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Ephesian 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. Christ’s love for His bride (the church) caused him to jump in front of a bullet for her. 1 Cor 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
Proverbs 6:34-35 refers to the rage of a man because of jealousy rising up within him upon discovering the man who committed adultery with his wife, “…when he takes revenge. He will not accept any compensation; he will refuse the bribe, however great it is. The revenge he desires will most likely be the other man’s death. The emotion of his love toward his wife after this, though she be alive he feels the deep sting of death struck to his heart.
Even though it was “our decision” in the Garden to “cheat” on God with another, He hates the devil for his deception upon humanity because the devil corrupted our purity and left the stain of sin through “spiritual adultery.” Because God was jealous for our hearts to be pure again with the stain of sin removed He sent the only cleaning agent to do the job, Himself, His Son Jesus. Duet. 6:24 read “For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. “…jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.” It would be better to die than to experience the failure of love that produces jealousy. Love’s demands are all consuming. Songs of songs 8:7 says “many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.” External forces cannot quench or drown it. Its value is greater than all the possessions one might ever possess.
Application: Do you love your wife, your children, your friends, the body of Christ and your God that way? Make sure to keep the most important relationships alive and vibrant. For when death separates you from them only your love for them will remain. Pray for them and spend time with them. If they are unsaved share your heart with them of the truth that you desire to see them with you in glory (heaven). Blessings Pastor Phil