Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Song of Solomon, Day 3

Episode Resources

Get more from this study. Meditate through the "Making It Personal" questions located at the bottom of the transcript.

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth asks, “Is your heart full of love for Christ?”

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: So many of us have a theological love for God that has never reached the depths of our hearts. And I confess, all too often it’s true of me. I love what I know about Him. I love Him with an intellectual love. But I want to love Him with a passionate, fragrant love that engages my whole being and all my senses.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Wednesday, February 24, 2016.

Nancy’s continuing a series called “How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus.”

Nancy: Over these next weeks we’re taking an in depth look at the Song of Solomon, the Song of Songs. It’s a love song. As we get into the first part of this story today, there are two main characters. Now, some commentators think there are three, and I’m not going to be dogmatic about these different points. They may be right, but it seems to me, as I’ve studied this passage, that the two main characters are a bridegroom and a bride. This is a love relationship between a marriage, a husband and wife. The bridegroom is identified as King Solomon, the author of the book.

We looked in the last session that the first verse which says, “The song of songs, which is Solomon’s,” and later in the book we see him addressed as King Solomon. The bride is a simple, peasant girl who’s referred to in chapter 6 as “the Shulamite.” That’s the only place that word is used in the Scripture. We’re not sure exactly what it means. It may be a variant spelling of “Shunammite,” which would suggest that she was from Shunem, in Galilee. Her family may have been employed by Solomon. They may have farmed some of his land. We don’t know those things, but the bride is the second main character.

It’s not always clear throughout this book which one is speaking, whether it’s the bride or the bridegroom, or one of their friends who takes secondary roles in this story. The original language does give us some help because there are feminine and masculine pronouns that you can’t tell in the English. But you’ll notice, if you use different translations, or you look at different translations, that some say the bride is speaking here, some say the bridegroom is speaking there. It’s not always easy to tell.

So I’m just going to I’ll tell you what I think when we get to those passages, and if I am not sure or think there’s room for lot of disagreement there, I’ll share that with you, too. But as you go through story, you’ll see that she refers to her bridegroom as “my beloved.” When you see that, that’s the bride talking about her groom. He refers to her as “my love.” So that’ll help you keep straight who’s talking.

I’m teaching, by the way, from the New King James version, and if you’ll print that out from your computer, BibleGateway.com or something like that, it’ll help you know. It gives headings. Now, in a few cases, I take a different position than that translation does, but you’ll see that as we go through.

Many think that this is an account of an actual romance, a relationship, a marriage between two historical characters—Solomon and this unknown Shulamite maiden—and I think that’s likely the case. It may not be. I’m not so sure that it matters because the central theme of the book is to point to Christ, the Bridegroom, and to reveal His love for His Bride, the Church, and for us as individual believers.

Verse 1, “The song of songs, which is Solomon’s,” we’ve talked about that, and then as we come to verse 2, and continuing through chapter 2, verse 7, we have what I see as the first section of five in this book. That’s this section of “Initial Love.” It opens with the bride speaking about and to her beloved. So she says in verse 2,

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is better than wine. Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, your name is ointment poured forth; therefore the virgins love you. Draw me away! We will run after you. The king has brought me into his chambers. We will be glad and rejoice in you. We will remember your love more than wine. Rightly do they love you (vv. 2–4).

Now, let’s stop there at verse 4, and we’re actually going to take a couple of sessions on that paragraph. Beginning in verse 2, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine.”

There are a lot of different kinds of kisses seen in the Scripture. You have the kiss of greeting, which is kind of a formality, like our handshake. “How are you doing?” A kiss on the cheek.

You have a kiss of forgiveness. Remember where that took place in Luke 15? The prodigal son came home and his father kissed him. If you belong to Christ, you’ve experienced that kiss from Christ.

There’s a kiss of deception. Where did that come in the Scripture? Judas. He didn’t mean the kiss at all. It was a deceptive kiss.

Then there’s what we have here. There’s a kiss that’s an expression of deep, pure love—not just peck on the cheek. This is a kiss that speaks of intimacy, intensity, passion, fervent love. It brings to mind the phrase, “You may kiss your bride.” It’s a pledge, a token of love. It seals the marriage vow, and at that point in the wedding ceremony, that’s when the veil is lifted, and this couple is now free to give themselves wholly and unreservedly to each other as husband and wife. And they seal that pledge, and they enter that marriage with the kiss.

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.” I think that phrase in the context of this book . . . I hope you’re reading during these days, following along, reading the whole book so you get the whole flow of it. This verse 2 expresses ardent, fervent desire and longing. The bride says, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.”

She has come to realize how wonderful he is, and she longs to experience his love in the fullest possible way. She doesn’t want to just know about him casually. She doesn’t want to just know about him. She wants a close, intimate, personal relationship with him. There was a time when she was contented with his absence, but not so any longer.

Now, we know that he is a king, we just read that in this passage. You can remember eras when loyal subjects would kiss the hand of their king, but she wants the far more than that. She wants the intimate kiss of his mouth.

I think this is a picture here of a believer in Christ who has an intense desire for a more personal, intimate love relationship with Him. “Let Him kiss me.” This is somebody who’s come to be dissatisfied with the ordinary. They long to go further than average believers. There are other believers around you in your home perhaps or your church who are content with the status quo, just to go on professing Christ. It's just a so-so, ho-hum relationship with Him. But you have been awakened to the loveliness of Christ. There’s something in your heart that can no longer be satisfied with a common, casual, distant relationship with Him.

That’s why some of you are here today; that’s why some of you are listening to this program, because you long to have Him kiss you with the kisses of His mouth. You long for that intimate love relationship with Christ.

Some of you are familiar with the name Richard Wurmbrand, who is now with the Lord. He was Romanian, and he wrote the famous book, Tortured for Christ. He was imprisoned in Romanian Communist prisons for fourteen years for his faith in Christ. He actually wrote a small book on the Song of Solomon. He illustrates it out of the lives of prisoners, those who were martyred and imprisoned for their faith. And he says in his book,

Let us compare these words [“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth”] with the boring, prosaic, annoying prayers which we usually say and we will realize the distance between us and the soul enamoured with God—a soul which has a burning love like that of the ideal bride.

She says, “Let him kiss me.” There’s passion. There’s longing. There’s desire, but there’s something else I see there. “Let him kiss me,” I think she’s expressing availability, willingness to be loved by him, to receive his love.

I find that so many women today, and perhaps men as well, but so many women in particular who are afraid to let God love them. They’re afraid to receive the love of Christ, and in many cases this is because of the history of hurt and rejection perhaps from parents, perhaps from a husband or a former husband. There are deep wounds, and these women have put up walls, and they’re not going to let anyone, including God, love them intimately.

Now, I had the blessing of coming from a godly family, and I had a dad who loved our mom and us well. So it’s been perhaps a little easier for me over the years to receive God’s love. I’m so thankful for that background. I know so few have it. But I want to tell you, regardless of which background you come from, the love of God far surpasses, infinitely surpasses the greatest possible human love on this earth.

The bride says, “I’m going to let him kiss me. I’m going to open up my life to receive his love.” And my prayer is that through this study, many, many, many women will find walls coming down in their relationship with Christ.

Now, at times that love may be painful. We’re going to see in the last chapter of this book that God’s love is a jealous love. It’s purifying and purging. Sometimes it touches our lives and our idols, the competitors for Him in our lives, our other loves, it touches them with consuming fire.

But God’s love is also a transforming love. And so the question is,

  • Will you let Him touch you? 
  • Will you let Him kiss you? 
  • Will you let Him touch your life with His love? 
  • Will you receive His love? 
  • Will you put away your misconceptions about love based on the human love that you may have experienced, or lack of it? 
  • Will you let God’s Word tell you how He loves you? 
  • Will you receive that love?

As you do, you’re going to have greater capacity to love your mate, to love your children, to love others that God puts in your life.

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.” And then she says, “Your love is better than wine.” Now, the literal translation there would be, “Your loves [plural] are better than wine.” Your loves are better than wine. The New International says there, “more delightful than wine.”

“Your loves”—the love of Christ manifests itself in countless ways:

  • It’s infinite. 
  • It’s measureless. 
  • It’s bottomless. 
  • It’s limitless. 
  • It’s more immense than you could possibly imagine. You can never plumb the depths, or scale the heights, or reach the outer limits of the love of Christ.

And in His amazing love: 

  • He woos us. 
  • He wins our hearts. 
  • He makes Himself known to us. 
  • He gave His life for us. 
  • He lives for us. 
  • He intercedes for us. 
  • He defends us against our accuser. 
  • He guides us. 
  • He protects us. 
  • He nourishes us. 
  • He chastens us. 
  • He comforts us. 
  • He strengthens us. 
  • He sustains us. 
  • He sanctifies us. 
  • And a whole lot more, because of His love. 

His love is the theme, I believe, of this song. We’re going to see that the love of God, the love of Christ calls for us to respond by loving Him back.

“His love is better than wine.” Now, for the Hebrews, wine was the chief luxury. It was associated with joy and gladness and pleasure. It was that which satisfied, excited. It was wine that would cause ecstasy. It’s intoxicating. It’s exhilarating.

And so this bride is saying, “When I think of the most exciting and ecstatic joys that this world has to offer, your love surpasses them all. I’m not satisfied with anything on this earth because there is nothing on this earth that can fill the empty places of my heart. My heart was made for you, my beloved, and your love is better to me than any human substance, any human experience, any human relationship.” That’s what she’s saying here. “Your love is better than wine.” The love of God love is deeply satisfying, if you ever come to know it. It’s more satisfying than life’s greatest pleasures.

I think of Psalm 63:3 that says, “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you." If His love is better than life, and it is, then it’s better than anything and everything in life.

Think of the pleasures and joys that mean the most to you, the things that are the most delightful to you. Somebody said to me this morning, “Did you see that magnificent sunset last night?” I had to confess I missed it. I probably had my nose deep in these notes. But a magnificent sunset, maybe an ocean view, or a gorgeous spring day, or a romantic dinner with your husband where you just sit and talk for hours. Rare? His love is better than all of that.

The greatest pleasures and delights you can think of, His love is better. Think of the things you most desire, the things you most long for—good health, money in the bank, a raise at work, being able to fit into a size 6, having a husband, having children, having your family together. His love is better than all of that combined.

The Valley of Vision says it this way:

All the good things of life are less than nothing
     when compared with his love . . .

All the treasures of a million worlds could not
     make me richer, happier, more contented,
     for his unsearchable riches are mine.

This bride feels that her groom’s love is incomparable, and she’s eager to accept his expressions of intimacy and love.

My prayer for you is that you will come to know and experience that love, if you never have before, for the first time. Perhaps you’ve known Christ, you’ve known His love in some measure, maybe for many years. For half a century I’ve been learning about the love of God, being drawn by Him into His love. But as I’ve been doing this study over recent months, God is taking me to greater depths of the amazing love of Christ . . . and that’s what I long for you to know as well.

Well, she says in verse 3, “Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, your name is ointment poured forth.” That word fragrance proves to be a key word, a theme in the Song of Solomon. It appears eight times, and it’s one of the goals—that our lives will be fragrant as a result of our relationship with Christ; that there will be a fragrance that is exuded. We see that the fragrance starts with Him. He’s the fragrant one. “Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, your name is ointment poured forth.”

Now, you’re going to see throughout this book a lot of sensory expressions and descriptions. This is not just a technical book about marriage. This is not just a treatise on marriage. This kind of love that’s being talked about here isn’t just a cerebral or an intellectual love.

I remember a friend of mine telling me recently . . . She’s very smart, and she’s a real thinker. When she was dating her husband, she was making a list of all the pros and all the cons and all the things she appreciated. She was keeping this list and trying to decide, “Is he the one I’m supposed to marry?” She said, “Finally the time came when I had to put my list aside and just say, ‘I love this man, and I’m going to give myself to him.’” And she said, “At that point it went from her head to her heart.”

You know the difference in human love, but there’s also so many of us who have a theological love for God that has never reached the depths of our hearts. And I confess all too often it’s true of me. I love what I know about Him. I love Him with an intellectual love. But I want to love Him with a passionate, fragrant love that engages my whole being and all my senses.

I got a letter from Joni Tada. She’s a woman who just gets it when it comes to the love of Christ and the beauty of Christ. She’s a poet, and she often uses beautiful, descriptive language to talk about the realities of God’s love.

She said in this letter (it struck me because I was working on this series), “Everywhere I look—my garden, the flower rack at the market, budding cherry trees and lilac bushes—everything has such a sweet scent. And with every fragrance I inhale, I am always reminded of the sweetness of our Savior.”

His fragrance, His sweetness—“because of the fragrance of your good ointment,”that word ointment in the English Standard Version is anointing oils. These were oils that were prepared. It was either oil alone or with the addition of flowers and fragrant herbs and spices. There are a lot of uses for these perfumed oils that you’ll find in the Scripture.

Sometimes it’s talked about how they have healing or medicinal powers. Ointment or salve can be used for wounds or for sores. They can also be used to calm, to refresh, to invigorate the body. Think about how, if you’re getting a massage, they’ll use oils that will help to refresh and invigorate your body.

Oils are used, these anointing oils, as an act of hospitality, in Luke chapter 7. They were used at times as preparation for burials or for funerals. The bodies would be wrapped in cloths that had these anointing oils in the layers of the cloths.

They were used for the purifying of the body. You read about this in Esther as she’s getting ready to go before the king. We read in the Old Testament that kings and priests and vessels in the tabernacle were anointed for service

Psalm 23 says, “You anoint my head with oil.” The same word here as the ointments, the anointing oils.

We read in the Scripture about believers being anointed with the oil of the Holy Spirit. And Jesus the Promised Deliverer is, in the Old Testament, twice called the Anointed One, the Messiah. He was anointed with the oil of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is that Anointed One, the Messiah, that we read about in the Old Testament.

And so the bride says, “Your name is ointment poured forth.” Now, you can’t tell it in English, but in the original language, that’s actually a play on words. The word for “name” is shem. In fact, Jews today . . . I heard this just recently . . . call God Hashem—The Name—shem. The word for ointment there is the word shemen. It’s a similar word.

His name, all that He is, is “ointment poured forth,” anointing oils. He gives of Himself to bless His people. He anoints us with His fragrance and His love. And on the cross, He was poured out as ointment for our sakes.

I love that old hymn by John Newton:

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds, and drives away his fear.

Dear Name, the Rock on which I build, my Shield and Hiding Place,
My never failing treasury, filled with boundless stores of grace!

Jesus! my Shepherd, Husband, Friend, O Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring.

Weak is the effort of my heart, and cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art, I’ll praise Thee as I ought.

Till then I would Thy love proclaim with every fleeting breath,
And may the music of Thy Name [we could say “the ointment of Thy name”]
Refresh my soul in death!

How sweet the name of Jesus is. His name is ointment poured forth. And so she says, “Therefore the virgins love you.” I think those virgins represent other believers who are likeminded—like this bride, they, too, admire and love the beloved one.

So it’s the sweetness of His name, all that He is, is what draws her, and others, to Him. As we see the sweetness of His name, and how He is this anointing oil poured forth into our lives to calm and heal and restore and bless and sanctify, we will say, too, “Oh, Lord Jesus, we love You. We love Your name. We love all that You are. We love who You, for You are as ointment to our souls.” Amen? Amen.

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth in a series called, “How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus.” There’s nothing more important than intimacy with Christ. I hope today’s message won’t just rush past you during a busy day. Would you take a few minutes to make this message personal? Nancy’s here to tell you how you can follow up.

Nancy: One of thte things that I've discovered in my own walk with the Lord is that it’s possible to hear the truth with our ears, but never let it get to our hearts. And during this series on the Song of Solomon, I do want this truth to not only get to our ears but also to get into our hearts and our daily actions. To help you think through heart issues and practical next steps, I written a booklet called “How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus.”

We’d like to send you a copy to say "thank you" when you support Revive Our Hearts with your financial gift. We can’t come to you each weekday with practical Bible teaching for women without the support of our listeners. When you make a donation of any size, we’ll send you the booklet. Ask for it when you call us at 1–800–569–5959, or you can donate online at ReviveOurHearts.com. During this series, we’ll send one booklet per household for your gift. Thank you so much for making it possible for this ministry to continue.

Leslie: Thank you, Nancy. Well, do you ever wonder whether God could really love you? Do you feel unworthy to be loved by a perfect God? Find out how God can love you despite your sin when Nancy continues in the series, “How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus.” Join us Monday for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture has been taken from the ESV.  Song of Song references have been taken from the NKJV.

Making It Personal

Day 3 – Initial Love (Let Him Kiss Me—Songs of Songs 1:2–3)

  1. Are you dissatisfied with a common, casual relationship with Christ? How can you develop a greater longing for intimacy with Him?   
  2. Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth (1:2). Is there anything in your life that has made you afraid to let God love you? How can you let go of that and freely receive the love He is offering? 
  3. For your love is better than wine (1:2). Can you honestly say that God’s love is better than anything else your heart desires? Pray that God will take you to greater depths of grasping and embracing His love through this series. 
  4. Your name is ointment poured forth (1:3). How has the Lord Jesus been “ointment” to your soul? Tell Him and thank Him!

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