Sermon #27 Series: Song Of Solomon
Title: A Choice Prayer
For Saints And Sinners
Text: Song of Solomon 8:6-7
Readings: Merle Hart - James Jordan
Subject: The Love Of Christ Inspiring Prayer And Hope
Date: Sunday Evening - December 27, 1998
Tape # V-2b
My subject tonight is - A Choice Prayer For Saints And Sinners - “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.”
This is not the prayer of a soul that is longing for fellowship. That prayer is - “Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest.” This is not even the prayer of the soul that has some fellowship, but longs for more. Then the prayer would be - “O that thou wert as my brother!” And this is not the prayer of one that once enjoyed the fellowship of Christ, but has now lost it - That cry would be, “Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?” She would go about the streets of the city, saying, “I will seek him, for I am sick of love.”
This is the prayer of one who has the present enjoyment of Christ’s fellowship, but is fearful that her sweet communion might be interrupted. Therefore, she pleads for something which would be to her a token of the covenant between her and her Beloved, when his manifest presence might be withdrawn. This is the prayer of the spouse when she has been coming up out of the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved. The thought seems to strike her that he who has sustained her is about to be taken from her for a season, because it is expedient and more useful for her. Therefore, she prays that, before he leaves the earth and enters again into his heavenly kingdom, he might be pleased to enter into a covenant with her, never to forget her, and that he might give her some sign and pledge of his love to her. She wanted to know that she would always be near to his heart, while she waited for his return.
I take this to be the prayer of the church in this present gospel age. Today Christ is before his Father’s throne. The Bridegroom is not with us. His bodily presence has been taken from us. He has, in that sense, left us. He has gone to heaven to prepare a place for us.
1. He told us that he must go away, and that his going away was expedient for us (John 16:7).
2. But he promised us that he would come again, and that when he returns we will be together with him forever (John 14:1-3).
3. Today, we long for his coming.
In the language of the last verse of this Holy Song of Love, we say, “Make haste, my Beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.” Or, in the language of the Revelation, we hear him say, “Surely I come quickly.” And our hearts respond, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
Yet, before he went, as you read the gospel narratives, it seemed as though his church was saying, “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm.” This is the prayer of God’s church tonight. This is the prayer of my own heart, and I trust that it is your prayer, too.
Proposition: Though our Lord’s bodily presence is absent from us, we want to be near him, near his heart, and we want to have the blessed consciousness of the fact that we are upon his heart.
I ask my dying Savior dear
To set me on His heart;
And if my Jesus fix me there,
Nor life, nor death shall part.
As Aaron bore upon his breast
The names of Jacob’s sons,
So bear my name among the rest
Of Thy dear chosen ones.
But seal me also with Thine arm,
Or yet I am not right.
I need Thy love to ward off harm,
And need Thy shoulder’s might.
This double seal makes all things sure,
And keeps me safe and well;
Thy heart and shoulder will secure
From all the host of hell.
1. The Prayer
2. The Pleas
I. First, I want us to briefly notice THE PRAYER which is here uttered by the people of God.
In our text, this is clearly a prayer which arises from the earnest hearts of God’s believing children; but it is certainly a prayer which any sinner desiring mercy, grace, and salvation might make at the throne of grace - “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm.”
The allusion here is, as I have shown you, to the high priest in Israel. The prayer is really twofold. She longs to know that she has an interest in the love of Christ’s heart, and she longs to experience the power of his arm (Ex. 28:29-30, 36-38; 12).
All of you who are God’s children know, by your own experience, the meaning of this prayer. I hope that some of you who have never yet experienced the love of Christ’s heart and the power of his gracious arm have come here tonight with this very prayer upon your hearts. Let me paraphrase the prayer.
A. O Lord, let me know that my name is engraved upon your heart.
In the language of the psalmist, we say to the Lord Jesus, “Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.” I desire an interest in your love; but I want more. I want to know that I have an interest in your love. Write my name in your heart, and engrave it as a signet upon your heart, so that I may see it and know it.
Without question, there are many whose names are written on our Lord’s heart who do not yet know it. Christ has loved them from all eternity. His heart has been set upon them from everlasting. But they have not yet seen the signet with their names written upon it.
In all of his work, our Great High Priest, bears the names that are upon his heart.
1. For them he makes intercession (John 17:9, 20).
2. For them he bears the judgment.
3. For them he makes the sacrifice.
4. Upon them he pronounces the blessing (Num. 6:24-27).
B. Blessed Lord, let me experience the power of your arm.
“Their prayer is that they may see Christ’s love visibly, that they may discover it in their experience, that it may be beyond a question, and no more a matter of doubt, that his hand and his heart may be eternally engaged for their eternal salvation” (Spurgeon).
It is enough for me, if I can know and be assured that the Lord Jesus Christ is my High Priest, my Advocate, my sin-atoning Mediator before God. If I can know that I have a place in his heart of love and that his arm is set to do me good, I want no more. All is well with my soul.
1. His arm preserves me.
2. His arm protects me.
3. His arm provides for me.
This is the prayer which we make. Is there anything you more greatly desire than this? “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm.”
II. But now, notice THE PLEAS, or arguments, by which this prayer is urged.
Anytime you go to God in prayer, it is wise to not only make your request, but also to offer arguments and reasons by which you may prevail upon him to grant the thing desired. And be sure that you understand this - The only grounds upon which we can appeal to God for mercy are to be found in God himself (See Psa. 51:1-5).
Listen to how the spouse here urges her request. She says, Make me to know your love for me, because I know this concerning your love - It is as strong as death - It is as firm as the grave - It is as intense as fire - And it is a unquenchable as eternity. With these four pleas, she backs up and presses her suit for mercy.
A. Show me thy love, for thy love is strong as death - “Love is strong as death.”
1. The love of Christ is as irresistible as death.
2. The love of Christ triumphed over death for us.
3. As death refuses to give up its victims, so the love of Christ refuses to give up its captives.
Nothing shall ever cause the Son of God to cease loving his people and let them go.
B. Show me your love, for your love is as firm as the grave.
Luther translates this - “Jealousy is as hard as hell.” Our Lord is jealous over his people. He will not allow those whom he loves to be taken from him. You will more likely see the gates of hell opened, the fires of hell quenched, and the spirits of the damned set free, than see the Son of God lose one of those who are engraved upon his heart (Rom. 8:28-39).
1. Those whom God has chosen, he will never refuse.
2. Those whom Christ has redeemed, he will never sell.
3. Those whom he has justified, he will never condemn.
4. Those whom he has found, he will never lose.
5. Those whom he has loved, he will never hate.
C. Show me your love, for your love is as intense as fire - “The coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.” Literally - “The coals thereof are the coals of God.”
The allusion is to that fire which always burned at the altar and never went out. You remember that there were coals of fire which were always kept burning in the typical Levitical dispensation. The flame was originally kindled by God. It was the work of the priests to perpetually feed it with the sacred fuel. The love of Christ is like the coals of that altar which never went out, and more. The love of Christ for his own elect is vehement, blazing, intense love that never diminishes.
· The only cause of his love for us is in himself.
· There is nothing, no form of love to compare with his love.
The love of Christ for us is…-
D. Show me your love, for your love is as unquenchable as eternity - “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it” (Rom. 8:37-39).
1. The waters of God’s wrath could not quench the love of Christ for his people - “Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them to the end” (Psa. 69:1-7).
2. The floods of our sins could not quench the love of Christ for us.
· Before conversion
· After conversion
Application: This is a prayer suitable for us all.
1. Saints - “Show me your love. Let me know your power.”
2. Sinners - “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm.”