“He has brought me to his banquet hall, And his banner over me is love.” Song of Solomon 2:4
When I married my husband twenty-four years ago I had no idea what a covenant was nor did I understand love as defined by God. My motive for marriage was completely selfish. I wanted someone to love me and take care of me. I wanted to have children. I desired a “savior” who would love me unconditionally and fill the void in my life. The sad truth is that I never considered my husband, nor did it cross my mind that he would have insecurities and needs. The reality was that he was coming into the marriage just as empty as me. We had nothing to offer one another. It wasn’t too many years before we felt completely discouraged and even betrayed by one another. Fortunately, God used this very desperate circumstance to introduce me to Himself. Jesus found me wallowing in the shame puddle of loneliness and imminent divorce and said,
“I will betroth you to Me forever;
Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice,
In lovingkindness and in compassion,
And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness.
Then you will know the Lord.”
Yes, He has brought me to His banquet hall, And His banner over me is love. In the Song of Solomon the “banner of love” can refer to a man’s limited, romantic love for a woman, but the deeper meaning points to God’s intimate, extreme love for Jesus’ bride, the Church. To understand where I got this idea let’s break down Song of Solomon 2:4 using the Hebrew definitions:
“He has brought” = bow’: to enter, come in
- “me to His banquet” = yayin: wine (A symbol of the Holy Spirit)
- “hall” = bayith’: house; temple; home (We are the Temple of God)
- “and His banner” = degel: banner; standard (Covering)
- “over” = al: over (in excess)
- “me is love” = ‘ahabah: God’s love to His people
Do you see it? A personal application would be that God has made me a new creation by entering my spirit with His life giving Holy Spirit just like sperm enters an egg, creating new life. I am the temple of the living God (1 Corinthians 3:16). He dwells in me and I in Him (John 6:56), and He covers me with His excessive love (Psalm 36:7). We are one.
There is now a shadow of this tender affection in my own marriage; it is something holy and set apart. God not only forgave me but taught me to forgive. He also restored our marriage and eventually brought my husband into the banquet hall as well. He is so gracious! So, after meditating on Song of Solomon 2:4, it is easy to understand why God takes marriage and sexual intimacy so seriously. It is meant to be a picture of His glorious, single-minded love for His church. Mark 10:7-9 gives us an understanding of the forever-covenant God intended for marriage, serving as a reflection of His forever-love for you and me, “‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” It’s God’s love that enables Marty and me to remain in love, unseparated.
As we reflect on our position of security based on God’s faithfulness, remember that Jesus is our rock. He is the faithful husband that gave Himself up for us. We are covered by His blood and have entered into a forever-covenant with Him. God loves us with a lavish love demonstrated by the death and resurrection of His Son. We are adopted into His family and, as Jesus’ forever Bride, can boldly enter the banquet hall wrapped in Heaven’s wedding gown. Amen and Amen!
“I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10