…for love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame. (Song of Solomon 8:6)
While doing our Worship with the Word set tonight, I was struck with this verse. We are far too quick to assume God has given up on us. If we blow it enough times in the wrong areas, we fear that this may have been the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back,” where God will officially wash His hands of us, despairing of ever actually making us holy. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.
God’s love is as strong as death and as unyielding as the grave. It doesn’t give up easily. It will take a lot more than a weak, mistake-prone heart to put Him off. When He sets His affection on a person, He will do everything in His power to win them. Have we mentioned yet He’s omnipotent? Short of violating someone’s free will, the unlimited strength of God almighty is invested in loving His own.
I think of the verse, “I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another…” (Isa 42:8). In context, this is speaking of God’s beloved Israel, and the Lord’s refusal to allow them to pursue idolatry. His heart of jealous love burned too fiercely for Him to passively allow them to give themselves to blind, deaf, powerless, senseless idols.
God hasn’t changed in the centuries between then and now. He is not going to abandon us to our own tendencies to darkness. He will not shrug His shoulders blandly and watch us drive ourselves to our own destruction. So long as there is something in our heart that despises sin and longs for righteousness, He will lead us into greater love and holiness before Him. He will not give His glory to another. His love is as unyielding as the grave. He is absolutely committed to bringing forth our righteousness inasmuch as we agree to cooperate with His leadership upon our lives.
This kind of love is both glorious and terrifying to consider. The good news is that God wants us to become mature in holiness even more than we do, and He will not hold anything back in order to make us so. The good, although scary, news is that He is also that completely committed in declaring war on anything in our lives which would lead us away from Him. Yet this is also encouraging, because as we take a stand against sin in our lives, we can know that God is on our side, fighting for us (Ps 118:6). With that kind of fierce, fiery dedication, we can have hope that we will make it. His love will never give us up.