I am not great with poems. I am a more literal person. It was news to me the foxes in the vineyard had a poetic meaning. I was thinking, she works in a vineyard, he’s a shepherd, maybe this is how they flirtatiously meet?: “Yoo-hoo! Handsome man! Can you help me with my fox problem?”
I also have some intimacy issues so it’s sufficient to say, I haven’t studied this book a ton (except maybe for cheap thrills when I was in jr high or high school), but I’m very glad to be reading it now. I liked what the Bible Project guys pointed out: Love is a great gift from God. It made me think.
Even amid all the brokenness and danger in this world, people are still falling in love. The garden imagery harkens back to before the fall, when mankind had the ability to love perfectly. Sometimes, love can still feel perfect; when it’s selfless, when it’s complete, when it’s unconditional. Jesus told his disciples people would recognize them by the way they love.
Most songs, movies, books, television shows, etc. follow a storyline of love. We are all, on some level, obsessed with it. Why? Because it does have a tie to the divine. To a God who IS LOVE. I think that’s why there’s suddenly a collection of love poems in the middle of the Bible. It is the basic fabric of our humanity. The fact that we can’t decide if this is an allegory for love between God and man or man and woman, says something in itself.
So what about theses chapters? The beginning of 3 makes me chuckle, because love makes you bonkers, right? I once ran through the forest at night, and twisted my ankle falling in a hole, for love.
“When I found him whom my soul loves; I held onto him and would not let him go.” (3:4)
“You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride; you have made my heart beat faster with a single glance from your eyes.” (4:9)
That’s good stuff right there. It’s poetry! It’s a celebration of God’s greatest gift! Enjoy it! Get swept away by it! Don’t over think it! And don’t get discouraged if you’re single or haven’t experienced romantic love this way. Love is still beautiful when it’s in your family or among friends.
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Don’t you dare downplay friendship. I’m convinced King David’s best relationship was with Jonathan. Friendship is beautiful.
Love is a gift. It’s powerful. And because of those two attributes, it cannot be forced. In fact, it’s really destructive when it’s forced. Which is maybe why she says this three times:
“Do not stir or awaken love until it pleases.” (2:7; 3:5; 8:4)
Thank God for the loves in your life. Even for the loves you’ve lost. And of course, for His Perfect Love.