Summary: This message, preached at a wedding, highlights five characteristics of true love.
Let’s read Song of Solomon 8:6-7:
6 Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the LORD.
7 Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If a man offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
he would be utterly despised.
The day has finally arrived!
I am sure that there were times when you thought that this day would never arrive. But here it is!
Everything is great! The setting is great! The occasion is great! The guests are great! The bridesmaids are great! The groomsmen are great! The bride is great! The groom is great!
You have spent many hours in preparation for this great event, and here it is!
At another wedding, not unlike this beautiful wedding, a young granddaughter leaned over to her grandmother and asked, “Why is a bride always dressed in white?”
Her grandmother replied, “Because white represents happiness and today is the happiest day of her life.”
The little girl thought for a moment. And then she asked another question, “Then why is the groom always dressed in black?”
We smile at the little girl’s question. But we know that weddings are happy occasions. In fact, Jesus’ first miracle—changing water into wine—took place at a wedding. And his presence made that wedding even more special because of his presence.
God is here today as you exchange your vows and get married.
Some may wonder if God is present in this beautiful setting rather than in a church building. I read a story about a young couple who went to discuss the details of their wedding with their pastor. The couple wanted an outdoor wedding, but they were a bit hesitant to mention it because a wedding in a church sanctuary somehow seemed more “official.”
However, the pastor set them at ease when he said, “Oh, you’ll still be getting married in a sanctuary. The ceiling is just a little higher.”
Yes, God is here as we celebrate happiness and love.
The text that you have selected for your wedding, Song of Solomon 8:6-7, is perhaps the greatest hymn to love ever expressed. And interestingly, it was spoken by a woman.
I would like to take just a few moments today and highlight several characteristics of true love from the Song of Solomon 8:6-7.
I. True Love Is Possessive (8:6a)
First, true love is possessive.
The woman said, “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm” (8:6a)
In biblical times a seal was often a ring worn on the finger. Hot wax was placed on a document and then the seal on the ring was stamped on the wax. It showed everyone who was the owner of the document.
Interestingly, the woman did not ask for a ring to be put on her husband’s arm or finger. Instead, she asked him to take her herself into his very heart, and to make her the seal of his love.
In other words, she said, “I am giving myself to you as a sign of my love for you. I will be your possession.”
And isn’t that what happens in true love. True love always gives oneself away so as to be possessed by the other person.
Marriage never works when there is a 50-50 contract. But it always works when there is a 100-100 giving of oneself to the other.
Of course, in our modern day we symbolize the giving of oneself to the other person by the giving of a ring. So, whenever you look at your wedding ring, you are saying in effect, “This ring is a symbol of me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm.”
So, true love is possessive.
II. True Love Is Permanent (8:6b)
Second, true love is permanent.
She continued, “. . . for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave” (8:6b).
The word jealousy can also mean “passion.”
And what is being said is that true love lasts until death. Passion for her lover will last until the grave.
Unfortunately, we live in a time in which marriages break up all the time.
According to the wedding statistics of the National Association of Wedding Ministers, there are approximately 2.4 million weddings each year in the United States. (By the way, January has the fewest weddings; only 4.7% of weddings take place in the month of January!)
In contrast to 2.4 million marriages per year, there are approximately 1.1 million divorces each year. In other words, for every 2 marriages there is 1 divorce.
But true love is permanent. True love is not here today and gone tomorrow. True love is strong as death.