The book of Song of Songs, or Song of Solomon isn’t the most regularly read or studied book for most Christians and this is probably because it’s almost universally seen as a book about human, romantic love, not necessarily a book out God. This is not how the Jewish people read or view Song of Solomon, although they do acknowledge this book as being a book about righteous, romantic love, they primarily see this book as being analogous of God’s love for His people and their love for Him.
There are a couple of verses that are incredibly well-known among Jewish people and they are:
Song of Solomon 6:3, ‘I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.’
Song of Solomon 7:11, ‘Come, my beloved.’
In fact, the word beloved is used constantly throughout the Song of Solomon and in many other places in the Bible too, in the Old Covenant it’s nearly always used by God in reference to His people and in the New Covenant, it’s often, though not always, used to describe how Christ loves His church. Often Paul used the word beloved to talk about individuals he was close to or when he was personally writing to church congregations. But in the Old Covenant, God used the word beloved to talk about His people. (Deut 33:12; Ps 60:5, 108:6, 127:2; Sng 2:8, 2:16; Jer 12:7)
We know that the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation is the story of God’s plan of Redemption for humanity, but the most curious thing about this plan of Redemption is the relational and personal interaction between God the Creator of the universe and His fallen human creations. It’s remarkable and unprecedented and incomparable with any and all other religions and so-called gods of human invention. Those religious deities are far off and untouchable for those who worship them, but our God is not only reachable and touchable, He describes His relationship with His people as that of marriage.
When you first begin to read the Bible at the very start, you read about a married couple. Then you read about their children and their marriage relationships and that from all these marriages, will come a promised Messiah.
Throughout the prophetic books you discover God calling His people Israel, His wife, and Himself their husband. (Eze 16:32; Jer 3:8, 14, 31:31-33; Hosea) Throughout the New Covenant you read about Christ the Messiah being the Bridegroom of the Church. (John 3:29; 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:25-27; Rev 22:17, 19:7)
Keep all of this in mind while we remember Shema. The Shema prayer is probably the most well known prayer amongst all Jewish people, they hear it daily from the time they’re born and for many, it’s the final prayer before they die.
“Shema Israel, Adonai elohenu, Adonai echad. Barukh shem kevod malkhuto le’olam va’ed” (Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.)
We learned that the word ‘echad’, which means ‘one’, also means a unity. In other words, you can have one nation which is made up of millions of people, but it’s still one nation. So echad is not just the word used to describe a single item or entity, but a unity as well.
We’re going to learn about God’s desired relationship with His people Israel, and Christ’s relationship with His church in upcoming programs, but before we head into those programs, we’re going to focus some more on the incredible meaning and implications of echad.
God created Adam and Eve, they became the first married couple, the first two people created by God, the first two human beings to breath God joined together and said they were one flesh, and the word ‘one’ is echad. That’s two individual’s which are now considered ‘echad’ – one.
Genesis 2:24, ‘For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one (echad) flesh.’
When Jesus had His last evening with His disciples before His arrest and execution, He prayed for them. This is what He said.
John 17:20-23, “I don’t ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which you’ve given Me, I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them even as You’ve loved Me.”
Jesus is talking there about God the Father, Himself, His disciples, and other believers that are yet future, talking about them all being ‘one’, ‘echad’, in ‘unity.’
Then there’s the passage in Ephesians 2 where Paul talks about Jesus breaking down the dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles so that they become ‘one new man’ in Christ.
Ephesians 2:14-16, ‘For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in the flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God, through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.’
We’ve already learned that the enmity of the Law was the Mosaic Law, the conditional Law that the people always broke; the Gentile world was already far from God and guilty of breaking His commands even though they may not have known them; the Jewish people were in the same boat until the Law was given and continued to break it time and again. But the Law was the difference between the Jewish and the Gentile worlds keeping them separate. Now we see Gentiles learning the Law, are confronted with their sinful condition and distance from God, just the way the Jews were, and they realise that they too are in need of a Saviour who can bridge the gap between themselves and God.
Jesus sacrifice not only paid for the sins of the world, but His sacrifice broke down that dividing wall of separation bringing together Jew and Gentile in Christ creating one new man.
Marriage is the picture that God gave us, lived out in human beings, a relationship that we could experience and understand as being personal, intimate, unique, exclusive and unbelievable powerful and fruitful; the picture of what God wants with all of us. We’re going to explore over coming programs this unique relationship that brings unity and oneness….’echad’ (one) between God and His human creations.