LOVE AS STRONG AS DEATH
Following the Lord’s answer, the seeking one prays a prayer. I do believe that none of us has ever heard such a prayer. “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as Sheol” (8:6). We know that the heart signifies love, and the arm signifies power and strength. Therefore this prayer indicates that she does not have any confidence in herself. She trusts in the Lord’s loving heart and the Lord’s mighty arm. She is praying in this way, “O Lord, keep me in Your loving heart and preserve me by Your mighty arm. I have no trust in myself. Even though I am so matured, yet I am still in this flesh while I am going out of this world. Without Your keeping power and Your preserving love, I still may fall. So, Lord, keep me as a seal on Your heart and on Your arm.”
This prayer indicates that she still realizes she is not trustworthy. She has no trust in herself. What a prayer this is! She is such a mature one, and yet she does not have any self-confidence. Her trust is fully in the Lord’s love and might.
In her prayer, the seeking one says that the love of the Lord is as strong as death. Most Christians do not like to use a negative term to illustrate something of the Lord, as the Bible does here. If we had written the Bible, we would never have used the term “thief” to describe the Lord when He comes back. Not only good things, but also some negative things illustrate the Lord Jesus. How negative death is! Yet there is nothing that describes the strength of the Lord’s love as death does. Death is the strongest power in the universe, outside of God. When death visits a person, nothing can reject it. We cannot tell death that we are too busy and to wait for another three years. Praise the Lord, His love is as strong as death! When the love of the Lord touches us, we cannot say that we are too busy. His love will simply capture us! All the seekers of the Lord Jesus have been captured by His love. It is as strong as death.
JEALOUSY AS CRUEL AS SHEOL
Then she says that the Lord’s jealousy is as cruel as Sheol. Sheol is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek word Hades, where the dead are kept. Sheol is not the consummation of hell. The consummation of hell will be the lake of fire. But before that consummation, there is a place in this universe called Sheol that holds the dead. Nothing is as cruel as Sheol; it receives the dead without mercy. Though you love your dear wife, if Sheol comes to take her away from you, it has no mercy; it is so cruel. This describes the jealousy of our God. He is not only a loving God, but also a jealous God. Deuteronomy 4:24 says, “For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.”
This means that we have no trust in ourselves or in what we can be. Therefore, we ask the Lord to put us as a seal on His heart and on His arm. We put our trust in His love and strength, for His love is as strong as death and very jealous. He would not allow our loved ones or anything else to keep us from Him. His jealousy is as Sheol. We should never trust in our love; our love is not trustworthy, and our love is not strong. Our love is always merciful and not so jealous. If we depend upon our love, two tears from our wife will turn us aside. But the love of Jesus has a terrible jealousy. He does not care, it seems, for the wife’s tears or the husband’s sympathy. The more the tears, the more He will take away her husband for Himself. He is jealous for Himself. He is a jealous God.
Then the prayer of the seeking one continues in this way: “Jealousy is cruel as Sheol: the flashes thereof are flashes of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.” (8:6). With this love and with this jealousy is a flashing fire. We have already seen that God is not only a jealous God, but also a consuming God. “The Lord thy God is a consuming fire.” These two go together the consuming God and the jealous God, the consuming fire and the jealousy.
Chapter eight of the Song of Songs reminds us that even when we become so matured, we are only sinners saved by grace. We should never trust in ourselves, but put our trust in the jealous love of the Lord. Then we will be fully kept and preserved. We will never be carried away from the Lord. Otherwise, no matter how strong we are, we could be stolen away from the Lord by other things.
(Life and Building as Portrayed in the Song of Songs, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)