A woman spoke to her lover with these words, “Let him kiss me with kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine, better than the fragrance of your perfumes.” These words appear to come from the pages of a steamy romance novel. Does it surprise you to know these words are from the Bible? Would it surprise you even more to discover that these words describe the relationship God desires to have with us? Please read more.
The passage above from Song of Songs 1:1-4 continues with, “Your name is a flowing perfume, therefore young women love you. Draw me after you! Let us run! The king has brought me to his bed chambers. Let us exult and rejoice in you; let us celebrate your love: it is beyond wine!”
Christian author, Brant Pitre, states the following in his book, Jesus the Bridegroom: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told “In ancient Jewish tradition, as far back as we can tell, the Song of Songs was not interpreted as a love poem or as an allegory of the individual soul; it was interpreted as an allegory of God’s spousal love for the people of Israel.” He goes on to say, “From a biblical perspective, salvation is ultimately about union with God. The God of Israel is not a distant deity or an impersonal power, but the Bridegroom who wants his bride to “know” (Hebrew yada’) him intimately, in a spiritual marriage that is not only faithful and fruitful, but “ever-lasting” (Hebrew ‘olam).”
Here is another interesting fact to consider. The Bible uses the Hebrew word “yada” to describe the sexual relations between a man and wife. As an example, we read this in Genesis 4:1, “The man had intercourse with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain.” Yada is the word used to describe their sexual relations. Yada means “to know someone.” In other words, to know someone intimately. Yada is used over 1000 times in the old testament.
The same word “yada” is used in Psalm 46:11, “Be still and know (yada) that I am God!” Yes, God wants a deep, intimate, personal relationship with each one of us.
Scripture often uses bold erotic imagery to describe God’s passion for His people. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said this, “God loves us as a Bridegroom, as “a lover with all the passion of a true love.”
Now, to be clear beyond any doubt, the Bible is using allegorical language, to describe the deep nature of the love God has for us and the love God wants us to have for Him. Is the Bible implying God desires sexual love with us? No, of course not! However, the Bible drips with this allegorical language of Eros love to make a very strong point.
Allegory is the expression of truths or generalizations about human existence by means of symbolism. As you know, marriage is a covenantal relationship between a man and a woman. God has also entered into a covenantal relationship with us. He is always faithful to us, even when we fail to be faithful to Him.
This relationship is depicted in Hosea chapters 1-3. After Hosea marries Gomer, she commits adultery. Despite her unfaithfulness, God tells Hosea to bring her home and commit himself to her once again. This is a prophetic symbol of God’s relationship with us. Even after our unfaithfulness He is always saying, “Come back to me with all your heart.”
As we ponder the Bible’s use of eros love to emphasize the depth of God’s love for His people, let’s turn our attention to one more word. We all know we are called to adore God. Do you know where the word adore comes from? Adoration comes from the Latin “ado ratio.” To adore, therefore, means to be mouth to mouth with God. Allegorically speaking, God wants a mouth-to-mouth kissing relationship with each one of us.
In Luke 15:20, when the prodigal son returned home, the father ran out to embrace and kiss his son. Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:26 all speak of greeting one another with a holy kiss. Perhaps this is exactly what is meant when God calls us to love others as He loves us.
We must also never forget that our God is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14 tells us, “You shall not bow down to any other god, for the LORD—“Jealous” his name—is a jealous God.” We must never allow our love for worldly desires come before God.
Each morning after completing my prayers in my chapel, before leaving the room, I bow in “adoration” before three different images of Christ. The first one depicts Jesus hanging on the cross with His arms outstretched like a lover waiting to embrace his bride. The second one depicts Jesus with piercing eyes that seem to look deep into my soul, like the gaze of a lover who sees into the heart of his beloved. And the third one depicts the mercy of Jesus. Like a lover, He is always prepared to run out to us, forgive us, kiss us, and welcome us home.
Heavenly Father, I long to have a close intimate relationship with you. I know I have transgressed that relationship with my sins. Please forgive me and welcome me home with your kiss. Amen!
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