Text: Song of Songs 7:10-8:4, Genesis 3:14-19, Psalm 85:10
When asked how he and my grandmother met, my grandfather would tell us, “I came to town and asked where the prettiest girl lived.” The rest, as they say, was history.
Although I never learned the actual details of their first date, I can imagine Papa was far more nervous than he’d let on, and that Grandmother had spent the afternoon prior positioning the rollers in her hair just so. I don’t know what they ate for dinner or what jokes made them laugh, but I do know it led to a second date, and that Papa became a regular visitor and eventual husband to the prettiest girl in town. What began as an invitation to dinner became a call and a promise to choose their relationship again and again.
Invitations are exciting, but second invitations are better. In Song of Songs, we see Solomon and Shulamith enjoy a spring day together twice, but much has happened between these two significant days. This is where, if we were to fold Song of Songs in half, the two spring days would serve almost as a call and response.
The first spring day, in chapter 2, is during courtship—Solomon invites Shulamith to leave her house and enjoy a spring day with him, and concludes with a request to hear her voice (2:14). The second, in chapters 7-8, is during marriage, and this time it’s Shulamith extending the invitation to enjoy a new spring day, concluding with a request for intimacy (8:14).
Aren’t you glad Solomon didn’t stop with their “happily ever after” wedding? The second half of this book is filled with the good stuff, the kind of stories their grandchildren got to witness. Shulamith’s invitation is also extended to us, an opportunity to see a past the lavish celebration to what’s next. There, we find that though the lovers find themselves in a “new” spring season, the covenant has come with them, just as they promised. They kept choosing each other. Self-sacrificing love has built the trustworthy covenant borders in which intimate love can reside.
We’re not told precisely what kept their love alive day to day. Maybe one offered to do dishes and the other loved to put away laundry. The Song gives us tiny glimpses into their trials, but a little research behind their names may give us a clue as to how their partnership worked. “Solomon” means “peace-giver,” and “Shulamith” means “peace-receiver,” illustrating the active ebb and flow of an intimate relationship.
Active, too, is the relationship between Christ and the Church. He gives peace; we receive it. As Solomon and Shulamith remain belonging to one another in their faithfulness, so we remain Christ’s in His faithfulness to us.
“Faithful love and truth will join together; righteousness and peace will embrace.”
God is actively keeping His promises to us. He continues to invite us into His covenant, reminding us of His faithful love again and again. We’re invited to enjoy fresh mercies and kept promises with Him today, tomorrow, and forever. Thanks be to God.