Skip to Content

What is Love?



As we finish up our time in Song of Solomon, Ben Stuart addresses one of the major questions that has undergirded the entire series: what is love? Examining the relationship of the couple in Song of Solomon, Ben explores seven different ways that our relationships should mirror God’s design for intimacy.

Key Takeaway

Marriage is meant to be a picture of God's love for us. He remains, He never leaves, He chooses to continue to love us every single day. Through marriage, we can show the world a reflection of God's lasting love for them.

So far, we've seen intimate and up-close images of this couple. Now, we are going to see the camera pull back a bit and show us the nature of love.

Song of Solomon 8:5

  • Remember when the woman saw her beloved arriving like a column of smoke on her wedding day, hearkening back to God bringing His people to freedom out of Egypt? There was an ornate and ceremonial sense to it. Restraint was in place. Then, after the wedding, we see them dance through life. Now, we see them married and emerging together out of the wilderness where they had taken some time away together. But it's not ornate like before. It's a tender picture of intimacy and affection.
  • She recognized that she awakened him to love. She's tying together love and life.

Real love is life-giving.

  • You literally exist because love made you. It's beautiful. It's meant to be enjoyed and then give birth to new life. Love and life are all bound up together.

Song of Solomon 8:6

  • A seal represents you. It assigns possession and identifies you with whatever it's placed upon. She is set as a seal on him so that everyone knows they belong together. There's a radical self-donation to each other.

Real love is a covenant and desires to be bonded together.

  • Romantically speaking, love demands fidelity. A covenant says I am bound to you for better, for worse, in sickness, and in health until death do us part. Contracts say I am here to the degree that you provide a service in a way that I find acceptable. Cohabitation says, "I might want you," but it leaves the backdoor open. Surveys say that people feel the anxiety of impermanence of that situation.
  • Love is as strong as death. There's no escaping. Love will stand up to death. It takes a bullet. It dives to protect. It's what Jesus did in the garden.

Real love is permanent. It stays and is unstoppable.

  • Jealousy, a single-minded devotion, is as fierce as the grave. The grave doesn't give back. Love doesn't share itself.

Real love is exclusive.

  • Exclusivity is not a corrupt or oppressive thing. It's wrong for a lover to be indifferent to the presence of rivals. According to the Bible, jealousy is only permitted in 2 relationships: the Divine-human relationship (See Exodus 20) and a marriage relationship. It's not healthy to have jealousy in friendship. Friendship love is a different type of love. It's love expanding with the addition of others.
  • She's using imagery of the angel who held the sword to bar the garden in Genesis.

There's a holiness to love.

  • There's a danger to its strength. If you lose a friend, it's a bummer. If you divorce a spouse, you lose half of everything. The bar is high for a reason. You're not meant to rush into it. When you enter marriage, you are communicating to the world that you love that person, you'll give all for them, and you'll never let them go...just like God did for us. 1 Corinthians 13:8 says Love never fails. When you marry, you are invoking the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in your promise to love that person. If you are bringing in the Trinity, it's holy. It's serious. Do not rush it.
  • David messed up royally multiple times in his life, but every time his mourning was turned to worship because of "Hesed", God's covenant love with His people. Nothing can separate you from the love of God. See Romans 8:38-39.

Song of Solomon 8:7

  • The great fear in the ancient world was water. Water was terrifying and uncertain. But even water can't put out love.

Real Love endures.

  • It crushes death. It's more intense than fire and cannot be overcome by the forces of the deep.
  • Real love is strong and so pure that it's insulted by money. It cannot be purchased. It always hopes, always perseveres, love never fails. See 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8.

Song of Solomon 8:8

  • The brothers speak up now. This is probably a flashback. They are aware that their sister is young, but her sexuality is blooming. They are guys, so they know guys. They know that a man can put on an act of chivalry in the public square and be a completely different person in private. So, they are asking how to honor and protect her as she buds and grows but make sure her affections land on the right type of person. How do we support her in her future marriage?

Song of Solomon 8:9

  • The answer is it depends.
  • Walls are enclosures. You don't enter through a wall. So, if she's chaste and virtuous, they will take up a ceremonial position of protection because they know she's safe. She's making good decisions, so they're going to honor her life choices.
  • Doors are open and provide access. So, if she's permissive and promiscuous, not guarding her body and heart, they are going to board up the door to protect her. They want to keep her from experiencing damaging experiences.

Song of Solomon 8:10

  • She discloses she was a wall. At the right time and in the right way, they found each other.

Song of Solomon 8:11-12

  • Remember how earlier she said she was in a vineyard working? Well, she was working in the vineyard of Solomon! She waited, she worked, she was faithful, she did what was right, and in the midst of that, she was in the eyes of one who found peace. Solomon's name is a derivative of the word peace. She ran after God, she walked in the ways of righteousness, and then, at the right time, God got Solomon to her.

Song of Solomon 8:13

  • He to her as she is telling her friends her story.

Song of Solomon 8:14

  • He invites her to fun and intimacy again.

Human love is meant to be a picture of Godly love.

Where human love may have failed, His love does not. The people of Jesus get to model the love of Jesus to a world that desperately wants a love that lasts.


"Are we willing to get on a stage and declare the name of the Trinity that 'I promise to love you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.'"

Ben Stuart

Discussion Questions

Share message

Message Topics

Scripture References

  • Song of Solomon 8:5-14
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.