Biblical Interpretation from Someone with no Training in Biblical Interpretation
I think most believers know the song “Jesus Loves Me” and can sing it from memory (at least those who grew up in the church can). But do you really understand just how much he loves you? While reading through Solomon’s Song of Songs the Holy Spirit used it to show me just how much the Lord sees in each one of us and his love and care thereof.
There are several ways to interpret the Song of Songs. One of them is that the song represents the relationship between Christ and the church (and by extension of that, Christ and individual believers). Although it is a song about lovers, this works because Paul pointed out that the church is the bride of Christ. He wrote, “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior” (Ephesians 5:23). This particular interpretation works well for today’s passage. Song of Songs 4:9-10 reads,
You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride;
You have stolen my heart
With one glance of your eyes,
With one jewel of your necklace.
How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much more pleasing is your love than wine,
And the fragrance of your perfume than any spice!
Now wait, we just talked about the bride thing, but sister? Actually, this works too, because according to Scripture we are siblings to the Son of God; for it is written,
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children (Romans 8:15-16).
As Jesus is the Son of God and we are children of God, we are therefore siblings with Jesus- and also his bride…and if you read the passage from Song of Songs, sisters to Christ. Gender gets a little confusing when comparing God and man. If you want to know more about the way God sees gender, check out “Does God Have Gender?”
So Jesus, our husband, really loves us. What does he have to say about us? Scripture records,
How beautiful you are, my darling!
Oh, how beautiful!
Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
Descending from mount Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn,
Coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin;
Not one of them is alone (Song of Songs 4:1-2).
And a few verses later we read,
Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Like twin fawns of a gazelle
That browse among the lilies (Song of Songs 4:5).
Throughout Song of Songs, the “male” speaker (representing Jesus) uses varied animals in groups to describe his beloved’s body. This is interesting because during the gospel, Jesus also compared us to animals. He taught,
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows (Luke 12:6-7).
God cares more about us than the rest of creation; exponentially more (since even every hair has many animals’ worth of value in the Lord’s eyes). Each tooth in your mouth is like a sheep without blemish- which if you recall was a key ingredient in sin offerings: “If he brings a lamb as his sin offering, he is to bring a female without defect” (Leviticus 4:32). We are each exponentially more important in the eyes of God than anything else on this earth.
So why is this noteworthy? It shows just how much God watches over us. The Lord cares for all of creation, every animal individually. Just listen to the Lord as he reads part of his resume in Job 38:39-41,
Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
And satisfy the hunger of the lions
When they crouch in their dens
Or lie in wait in a thicket?
Who provides food for the raven
When its young cry out to God
And wander about for lack of food?
Everything that happens around us, although often unexplainable, comes through the Lord or at the very least under his watchful gaze. Jesus also noted, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father” (Matthew 10:29). If the Lord micromanages nature in such a way and we are exponentially more important than that, then understand how much God shapes and takes care of your life as well. Jesus said as much when he taught,
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Matthew 6:28-30).
His care for the plants of the world, much like with animals, extends to us as well. The “Lover” (Jesus) in Song of Songs sings,
Your stature is like that of the palm,
And your breasts like clusters of fruit.
I said, “I will climb the palm tree;
I will take hold of its fruit.”
May your breasts be like the clusters of the vine,
The fragrance of your breath like apples,
And your mouth like the best wine.
May the wine go straight to my lover,
Flowing gently over lips and teeth (Song of Songs 7:7-9).
[Note: That last part of the verse belongs to the “Beloved”] God cares for each plant and animal, but sees you as so much more and watches over you with great care.
In fact, God cared about you so much that he sent his son, himself in flesh, to die so that you may gain eternal life and live with him in heaven when your body expires. John writes, “This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10). This wasn’t just the father’s love though; Jesus reflected this love for you. He told his disciples, the first believers, “Greater love has no one that this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Our brother, our friend, our lover, our King loved us so much, individually, that he sacrificed himself on the cross in order that we may have an everlasting fellowship with him. How awesome is that?
Rock on God!