Song of Songs is a very important book to the Jewish people. Some Christians avoid it as a steamy, sensual book of romantic love that says little about God, but the Jewish people hold it dear as a story of God’s impassioned love for his people, and theirs for him. Others in the Christian church appreciate it as an example of righteous romance, but find it hard to believe that the love story is an allegory of Yeshua and his bride that includes men and women alike. But there are two key phrases from the book which are very popular in Israel: אני לדודי ודודי לי – “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine” (Song of Solomon 6:3), and secondly, לכה דודי – “Come, my beloved!” (Song of Solomon 7:11)
The Bible begins with a union of man and wife in the Garden of Eden, and ends with the wedding of the Lamb in Revelation. Genesis teaches that man and wife are designed to became “one flesh” and at the end of time we will join to become united at last with the God who has been invisibly present with us all of our lives. While meditating on God’s design that man and woman should become one – that the goal was unity – I realised that this too was a picture of our relationship to God as his people. He desires to become one with us. It reminded me of Yeshua’s prayer before he died;
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” (John 17:20-23)
Then my mind went to Ephesians, and God’s desire that Jewish and Gentile believers would become one as well;
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God inone body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” (Ephesians 2:14-16)
And while we’re dealing with perfect “oneness”, we must turn to the Shema statement that is so important in Judaism from Deuteronomy 6:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
When we consider how marriage makes man and wife become one flesh, how the new covenant in Yeshua makes Jew and Gentile become one new man in our Messiah, it makes sense that God’s oneness is a unity. He is one because true unity is a result of self-sacrificial love. And that is God’s very nature. Father, Son and Holy Spirit each are the very essence of self-sacrificial love, so are totally united in love and are fully one. This is why Yeshua says, “that they may be one just as We are one”. The triune God really is one. The Shema is a very central declaration of that important fact.
Marriage is designed by God to reflect that self-sacrificial, uniting love as a signpost to God’s very nature and his desire to be one with us too in self-sacrificial love. He has already loved us and sacrificed deeply for us, and we are to respond with our love and willingness to lay down our lives for him too.
Yeshua said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
So when in Song of Songs, the man calls to his beloved to come away with him, and they declare that they fully belong to each other, it is a perfect picture of God’s desire that we would leave all other loves and distractions to be united with him – to be fully his, that he is fully ours, and that we would be and fully in him as he dwells in us by his Spirit. This book is not only for the Jewish people, but for all those who love God and recognise his sacrifice for them, and want to lay down their lives in return.
But it doesn’t stop there – as Yeshua said, he wants us to be one with each other too – our brothers and sisters in faith. This is another signpost of his glory, his nature and his wonderous love. When we self-sacrificially lay down our lives for the sake of loving unity with each other, God is glorified and Yeshua is seen for who he really is. This is what Israel needs so badly.
This is, in essence, the meaning of life itself – to enjoy God fully with every barrier removed, and to be united with him and each other in love. So perhaps the meaning of life is not 42, but 1.
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