Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"On Fire": "Love Is as Strong as Death." (SOS 8:6-7)

"I woke you under the apple tree where you were born; there your mother gave birth to you. Put me like a seal on your heart, like a seal on your arm. Love is as strong as death; jealousy is as strong as the grave. Love bursts into flames and burns like a hot fire. Even much water cannot put out the flame of love; floods cannot drown love. If a man offered everything in his house for love, people would totally reject it."---Song of Solomon 8:6-7(NCV)


"Love is as strong as death." And perhaps, that is a big part of the reason why brides and grooms stand at the altar, say their vows (Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, Matthew 19:6) and then end them by saying "Til death do us part." 

It makes me think of something that Paul was divinely inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to write in Romans 8:38-39(NKJV): "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Since *NOTHING* separates us from the love of God then *NOTHING* should separate us from godly love either. In other words, if the love is real, it is meant and built to last. This is a part of the reason why Ecclesiastes 4:11-12(NKJV) tells us "Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him and a threefold cord is not quickly broken."

Many of you know that I pen weekly devotionals (more than once a week-LOL) and they tend to run in themes. I knew that when the Spirit (John 4:24) inspired me to change the layout and that it needed to have the statement "Love Changes Everything" on it, that there was going to be a big and significant shift in how I saw love to be. Of all of the lies that Satan, *the Liar* (John 8:44) has told me, I believe that the greatest one has been that love is not about making *extreme sacrifices* for the sake of this life and the afterlife. You simply cannot read verses like "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16-NKJV) and then turn around and allow the media, the world, the place that is full of lust and pride (I John 2:16) to *lie to you* about how love is supposed to be, how love is supposed to act and that there is a "time limit" on it. Love is forever.

Shoot, I was just watching a commercial for The Client List a few days ago and it said something to the effect of "Love is back". Um, in the trailer, it showed that the main character is a prostitute and not only that but married while sleeping with her husband's brother. Love is back...*where*? Not on that show (LOL). It's sad (and a bit "scary") that we simply use "love" way too loosely without really "counting the cost" (Luke 14:25-33) of what it means to *really and truly* love someone; especially if you are going to *vow before God* that you will do it.

The Shulamite woman's beloved may have been impassioned in his declaration, but that makes it no less true or relevant. Love indeed is as strong as death and actually, since "God is love" (I John 4:8&16), it is *that much stronger*. God is everlasting. This means that love is too (Revelation 21:6).

And so, being that this is the next to the last "Song of Solomon installment", I LOVE that it is winding up in the way that it is. This man said that he loved the Shulamite woman so much that she could put him like a seal on her heart and on her arm. A seal is "an embossed emblem, figure, symbol, word, letter, etc., used as attestation or evidence of authenticity". And, how *awesome is that?* This man said that his patience, his kindness, his endurance (I Corinthians 13:4-8) came with evidence of authenticity. When something is authentic, it is not only "genuine" but "supported by unquestionable evidence".


Love, real love---godly love, God-ordained love (which means the acceptance of being brought to the man he has for you rather than the one that you want for yourself-Genesis 2:23) is rooted in something that is supported by *unquestionable evidence*. Just like you don't have to "question" God's love for you, the man that he has in store to be your "Ish" (Hebrew for "man" and "husband" simultaneously), you will not have to wonder if he loves you either. There will be *unquestionable evidence*. Yes, there will be proof. There will be things that will establish it to be true. There will be real and significant *facts*.

This is pivotal because it prevents us from making things up in our minds that simply aren't rooted and grounded in reality (Ecclesiastes 7:18-Message). Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that the heart is deceitful, wickedly so, and so these verses in Song of Solomon beckon us to not look for what "we want to see" but what the *facts* are. First, what the facts are about godly love (as the Love Chapter clearly outlines for us), then what the facts are about God's expectations of marriage (Genesis 2:24-25, Malachi 2:15, Matthew 19:1-12-Message, I Corinthians 7:1-16, Ephesians 5:21-33, I Peter 3:1-7) *and then* what the facts are about how ready we are to take on such a powerful relationship and if the "object of our affection" feels the same way. If a man loves you, if he is God's best for you, there will be *unquestionable evidence* sent by God and then the man to support that. There will be not just "feelings" but *actually facts*.

And when that happens, love will be like a fire. Passion? Sure. But I discern (Proverbs 2) that it's also a love that is a lot like a refiner's fire (Malachi 3:2). When something seeks to refine, it *purifies*. If you are in a relationship where you are not be purified, you are not in a relationship that is God's best for your life. It is good and perfect gifts that come from the Most High (Genesis 14:19, James 1:17) and marital covenant is indeed...*a gift*.

When we love God enough to be patient enough to allow him to make us whole and complete (James 1:4), when we love God enough to be patient enough to allow him to do the same for our beloveds, then we are able to encounter the human form of God's love. A love that's flame cannot be put out because as Jeremiah 31:3 tells us "LOVE IS EVERLASTING". God doesn't fall "in and out" of love with us and when love is rooted in truth, biblical truth, we do not "fall out of love" with who God has brought us to love either. It's impossible for love to be seasonal. Again, *love is forever*.

You see how "he" said that floods could not even drown out his love? No matter what trial came their way, their love could withstand it. I LOVE that too.

A lot of us have settled. Most of us have, actually and honestly, we can't read things like this and not THANK GOD that we didn't end up with some of the people who *we thought* would be God's best for us.

You deserve to have a love that is strong as death.

Until death parts you from that person.

*Wait for it*: "We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy." (Romans 8:25--Message)



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