Christ in Song of Songs – Have a Passion for Your King!

One of my deepest convictions about the Bible is that, from Genesis to Revelation, it is a testimony to Christ. This does not mean every verse contains some predictive prophecy about the coming Messiah. Rather, it means that every text is only properly interpreted in light of the coming of the second person of the Trinity, and taken as a whole the Bible points to the redeeming work of the Triune God in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

This conviction raises questions about how to properly interpret certain Old Testament texts, and rightly so. We must be careful to responsibly but boldly preach Jesus from all the Bible, even those texts that do not, on the face of them, appear to be “about” Jesus. In a very real sense, they are.

What I’d like to do is a series of posts showing how we can preach Jesus from the Old Testament book of Song of Songs. Below is an opening reflection on how to see Jesus in this most beautiful of songs.

Have a Passion for Your King!

The “Song of Songs” is literally “Solomon’s Finest Song.” It is a superlative like “holy of holies,” “vanity of vanities,” “King of Kings” or “Lord of Lords.” And yet in the best song ever there is no mention, at least directly, of God. Is there any way to make sense of this? I believe David Hubbard provides a helping hand when he writes,

God’s name is absent from the entire setting. But who would deny that his presence is strongly felt? From whom come such purity and passion? Whose creative touch can ignite hearts and bodies with such a capacity to bring unsullied delight to another? Who kindled the senses that savor every sight, touch, scent, taste, and sound of a loved one? Whose very character is comprised of the love that is the central subject of the Song? None of this is to allegorize either the minute details or the main sense of the book. It is about human love at its best. But behind it, above it, and through it, the Song, as part of the divinely ordered repertoire of Scripture, is a paean of praise to the Lord of creation who makes possible such exquisite love and to the Lord of redemption who demonstrated love’s fullness on a cross.[1]

The word “king” appears throughout the Song of Songs. He is the one the bride wants to be alone with while the crowds praise him (1:4). He is the one she wishes to please (1:12) and also be on public display with as she celebrates her marriage to him (3:9, 11; 8:5). He is her king, the one she longs to captivate with her attractiveness and beauty (7:5). This king is like no other. He restores what was lost in the garden (Gen 3) and He points to a wedding day and a marriage that only eternity will realize (Rev 19:7–10; 21:1–2). No wonder the bride loves Him so.

Just as we rightly long for and have passions for our spouse, we should desire with even greater fervency this Bridegroom-King whose attractiveness is indescribable, whose Name is above every name (Phil 2:9–11), and who is truly the desire of all nations (Hag 2:7). Marriage was always intended to point to Christ and His Church. The Song of Songs places this truth front and center for our gaze and meditation. And what will we see? I think it will be this:

The Song’s words resonate within the verbal manifold of scripture’s corpus, and when you pay attention to those resonances you see, beyond reasonable dispute, that the depiction of human memory, desire, and sexual love in the Song figures both the Lord’s love for you and yours for him, and does so in a way that helps us to see that our human loves for one another are what they are because of their participation in his for us and ours, reciprocally, for him.[2]

For more examples of how to preach Christ from every book in the Bible, check out the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary Series.

[1] David A. Hubbard, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Communicator’s Commentary 15b (Dallas: Word Books, 1991), 273-74.

[2] Paul J. Griffiths, Song of Songs (Brazo’s Theological Commentary on the Bible) (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2011), 11.