“He has brought me to his banquet hall, And his banner over me is love.” – Song of Solomon 2:4 (NASB)
Not the easiest book for us to understand or even agree on but one that shows God’s intention for a holy marriage of one man and one woman. It has been recognized by the Jews as a part of their sacred writings. With Ruth, Esther, Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations, it is included among the Old Testament books of the Megilloth or “five scrolls.” It is often read at Passover. No formal theological themes emerge. In contrast to the two distorted extremes of ascetic abstinence and lustful perversion outside of marriage, Solomon’s ancient love song exalts the purity of marital affection and romance. A satisfying way to approach Solomon’s Song is to take it at face value and interpret it in the normal historical sense, understanding the frequent use of poetic imagery to depict reality. To do so understands that Solomon recounts 1) his own days of courtship, 2) the early days of his first marriage, followed by 3) the maturing of this royal couple through the good and bad days of life. It is given to us by God to demonstrate His intention for the romance and loveliness of marriage, the most precious of human relations and “the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7).
Surprisingly, God is not mentioned explicitly except possibly in 8:6. No formal theological themes emerge. The New Testament never quotes Solomon’s Song directly (nor Esther, Obadiah, and Nahum).
John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible., (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), Ec 12:13.
“I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me”
“ “For he who finds me finds life And obtains favor from the Lord. But he who sins against me injures himself; All those who hate me love death.”– Proverbs 8:17; 35-36 (NASB)
This is the voice of Wisdom speaking. The first line of Proverbs 8 says “Does not wisdom call, and understanding lift up her voice?” The writer of these proverbs knew the value of wisdom and so in this and other chapters, Wisdom is given the voice. But it is truly the voice of our Lord God. We can know this from Proverbs 2:6 “For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” All that God says is wise and worthy to be accepted as a way to live our lives. In today’s promise we find that Wisdom loves those who love her and it is to them that she guides in the way of the Lord. The contrary promise is that those who hate Wisdom, and many do so, we find that what they love is death. Perhaps they do not think so or know so but anyone hating wisdom, so as to spurn it, is acting as if he loves death. Life comes to those who seek and find Wisdom and take it in. Praise be to God who gives us the path to wisdom and Wisdom itself becomes our gift from God.
“but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” – John 2:5-6 (NASB)
This season can be distracting, stressful, confusing, and difficult. The message from the world out there does not always deliver what is true. God has revealed Himself in His Word which we call the Bible. In it He has revealed how we should live. ‘First John presents two external tests that demonstrate salvation: doctrinal and moral. The doctrinal test consists of confessing a proper view of Christ and of sin (1:1–4; 1:5–2:2), while the moral test consists of obedience and love (1: 7–11).’1 All this comes from the Lord because He loves us. We are reminded in today’s verse that when we follow the standards God has shown us in His Word His love for us is made complete. If we are willing to let God’s love work in our hearts it will make obedience a part of our lives. So when we learn of something in the Bible that God wants us to do or a principle He wants us to follow, let’s remember that He wants it because He loves us, not because He is a dictator. His promise to us is to make us complete through our faith in Him.
1John F. MacArthur Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible., (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006), 1 Jn 2:3–6.
“We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16 (NASB)
‘Abide’ is an interesting word in our verse today. It can be translated as ‘remain, wait, or continue.’ One of the many great truths revealed to us in the Bible is God’s love for us who abide. These words in our verse today are John the Apostle’s. John knew God’s love and he had experienced it intimately as he walked and talked with Jesus. He had seen Jesus heal sick, raise the dead and he had seen Jesus weep. He also watched Jesus die as he was nailed to the executioners cross. He saw the resurrected Jesus and he saw Jesus rise up into heaven. John knew God’s love and he relied on it. We today also know God’s love because we have believed that Jesus died for us, rose again to new life and accepted him as our Savior and Lord. We experience His love in our lives and we depend on Him each day because we know how He loves us with a perfect love. We live in the love of God and God lives in us. A wonderful and encouraging promise we can depend upon to be true. As we ABIDE let’s be thankful and rejoice!
The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness.” Psalm 147:11 (NASB)
Can you believe that you are one of God’s favorites? It’s true if you by faith have believed in Jesus and received His gift of salvation. For all who have, it is our purpose to please God and to praise him. We can do this by how we live. Our God has done so much for us that our supreme desire should be to please Him. We find in our verse today a wonderful promise from God and a means to please Him. We’ve mentioned that when the Bible speaks of fearing God it means showing Him the awe and respect which He deserves. This is what God expects of us and when we do show Him respect and reverence He is pleased with us. He wants us to know and expect Him to act in love toward us. Even when things do not seem to be going our way, He loves us and we have reason to anticipate Him to demonstrate His love. If we do that, He will be pleased and delighted as our verse says. This is one way we can know to please our promise giving God today.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39 (NASB)
An in-depth study shows us that this subdivision of Romans, chapters 5-8, ends just as it began. The same reference is made to “God through our Lord Jesus Christ” and “the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 5:1, 8:39). Paul references four pairs of things plus two more powers which are individually mentioned.
- neither death nor life: we cannot be separated in our life and even death won’t bring about any divorce between God and the believer.
- nor angels nor principalities: all angels, whether good or bad, real or imagined, (principalities are fallen angels or demons) are unable to separate us from the love of God in Christ.
- nor things present nor things to come: present circumstances or a foreboding future—can do nothing to separate us from the deep love which God grants us.
- nor height nor depth: even distance of space fails to separate us from God’s love,
- nor powers: this refers to miracles or to persons in positions of authority.
- nor any other created thing: in case anything or anyone might be left out, nothing created, even oneself can cause separation between God and the believer.
“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” – John 14:13-15 (NASB)
It was a most solemn meal that Jesus had with His disciples on Thursday night before His death the next day. None of the disciples yet understood they were celebrating the last Passover meal Jesus would ever observe under the Law of Moses. In their pending hour of the departure of Jesus, He comforts them and promises the means that would provide them with the necessary resources to accomplish their task. They had come to depend upon Jesus’ immediate presence which would not be there in the same way. To ask in Jesus’ “name” does not mean to tack such an expression on the end of a prayer as a mere formula. It means our prayers as believers should be for His kingdom purposes and not selfish reasons. None of our merit qualifies our prayers in this promise but only the merits of the work of Jesus. In short, our prayers should be in pursuit of His glory alone. Of supreme importance is our obedience to His commandments. Love for Christ is inseparable from obedience. “My commandments” include the entire revelation from the Father. We obey because we love which is enabled by His work of grace in our lives.
“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” – 1 Peter 1:22-23 (NASB)
Of all things we are called to do as believers in Jesus who is God Almighty, obedience is the most difficult. It is also the most important. “The first and the last thing [our] God asks of [us] is simple, universal, and unchanging obedience.i ” After God created the first two people of the human race to live in His world, He immediately began to communicate with them and he continues to do that with us today. We learn about Him through the Holy Spirit inspired writing of His people like Apostle Peter. We learn about his love in giving His Son to die for us and by believing in Jesus we receive eternal life. We are born again through God’s Word. And this is for eternity because God’s Word is His communication to us and it is eternal. The love indicated here by Peter is the love of choice, the kind of love that can respond to a command. “Fervently” means to stretch to the limits. We can trust Him forever and live with Him forever. His Word will never perish or fade away – let’s trust it today and every day.
i Murray, Andrew. The School of Obedience [Annotated, Updated]: If ye love me, keep my commandments – John 14:15 (p. 3). Aneko Press.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” – 1 John 4:7-8 (NASB)
John the Apostle of Jesus Christ is often known as “the apostle of love.” He wrote about love in his letters and it is a point of focus in the Gospel. He identifies himself in the gospel he wrote by the phrase “disciple whom Jesus loved” four times. In the original Greek, there were multiple words which are translated into our English word ‘love’. The marks of Christians are Christ’s love for us and our love to Christ. By faith the seal is set upon the us by enabling ourselves to say with the apostle, “Christ loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) Love gives the countersign and stamps upon our heart gratitude and love to Jesus in return. “We love because he first loved us.”(1 John 4:19) In the heroic period of the church, this double mark was clearly seen in all believers in Jesus; they were men who knew the love of Christ and rested upon it. They were true children of God ruled in their innermost being by love. The love of Christ constrains us; we rejoice in that divine love, and by force of gratitude we love the Savior with a pure and fervent heart.
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? … But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” – Psalm 13:1, 5-6 (ESV)
The trial and testing faith believers in Jesus encounter are brought into our lives in order that we may know with certainty the faithfulness of our God. David had learned that God’s love never failed. He had gone through many different and difficult circumstances and consequently had come to know he could always sense that no matter what happened God always loved him and was always with him. Because of turmoil, many who believe in Jesus are fearful of what’s next. Evildoers seem to be taking over our world. And like David, we can know that God’s love for us is unfailing His promises are true. No matter what happens in our lives, our world, God still loves us. We can depend on it and we can trust in His love as David did. He’ll bring into our lives experiences which will be for our good. Then our hearts will rejoice as David’s heart did and like him we’ll sing to God. We have the same reason; we have the same promise of unfailing love and we can rest in the knowledge that God has promised and has been good to us just as He was to David.