The Sanctity of Marriage: The "Jealousy" of Love
Read Song of Solomon 8:1-7
"For love is as strong as death."
Verses 4-7 of Chapter 8 serve as the center for the Song being sung throughout the book. Here the opus reaches its musical and verbal crescendo as the Song now celebrates the bond between the husband and the wife. Throughout this musical display, we have been confronted with questions: "Who are these lovers, and what is it about their love that makes them the object of everyone's attention? Why is their love extraordinary?" Now the writer provides the answer. Genuine love is not merely driven by passion or emotional giddiness; it is driven by a deep, life-long commitment to one another, a promise that passes not only the test of time but also the test of adversity.
It is in verses 6-7 that we discover the true nature of love and marriage. Genuine love involves four essential elements expressed in these verses. First love requires surrender. The seal was either a stamp or cylinder pressed into clay or wax to leave an impression to mark ownership or personal identification. The request to "put me like a seal over your heart" is to mark ownership and devotion. Biblical love involves mutual submission and surrender. The "I" is now replaced with "we" and "You." Love is surrendering yourself for the good of your spouse. It is no longer to be concerned about your desires, wants, and wellbeing, but to be concerned about others' wellbeing and needs.
Second, love is as strong as death and jealous as the grave. In a graphic portrayal, love is compared to the irresistible and irreversible state of death. Once death lays hold of someone, it does not let go. Such is the picture of genuine love. It is tenacious, and no matter what comes against it, it maintains its firm grip upon the heart. It is jealous. We usually think of jealousy negatively, of selfish possession. But here, the picture is the deep commitment one has to protect the relationship so that there are no rivals or threats to it. One vigilantly guards against any intrusion that might weaken the marriage vow.
Third, love is unquenchable. The imagery of a fire that cannot be quenched even by a flood speaks of the permanence and commitment in the marriage. Genuine love is not quickly extinguished; it is a fire that is waterproof. Even amid the most difficult circumstances, it still burns bright.
Fourth, love is invaluable. The value of love is compared to the riches of the world. To place a value on life, is to devalue love. Tragically many today place a price on love, and there is a limit to what they are willing to pay. When love costs too much (whether that be the cost of our desires, our independence, etc.) They demand a refund. But genuine love has no limit, no price tag.
This kind of love is hard work, but in the end, it proves worth the price. It is a love that goes deeper than our emotions and is grounded in our will and branded to our soul. Are you counting the cost of your marriage, then pay the price and give even more. The dividends are worth it. It is a love that jealously protects the marriage against any threat, or intrusion. It is exclusive. Spend time cultivating your marriage and guard against anything that might weasel its way in and bring a fracture to the relationship.