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God’s Word for You

Song of Solomon 1:2 Kisses and kisses

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Sunday, August 27, 2023

The Wife

2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
  for your love is better than wine.

In the Song, kissing is only mentioned here and in the last chapter (8:1). Kissing in public was commonly done between family members (Genesis 33:4, 45:15, 50:1). It was almost always done on the lips (Proverbs 24:26) but there are kisses on the feet (Luke 7:38,45) and unbelievers kiss calf-idols (Hosea 13:2). In Ezekiel 3:13, each wingtip of the cherubim “kisses her sister” (touches the other wingtip). A man kissing a woman in public was rare; Jacob’s first kiss for Rachel seems to have pushed the convention a little since “he was a relative of her father” (Genesis 29:11). These are the physical kisses of the Bible.

There is a poetic reason for calling these kisses more than kisses. They are “the kisses of his mouth.” This calls to mind all of the things that lips might do besides kissing. In general, this becomes a reference to speaking. There is no question that the Bible often describes speaking as the work of God’s lips. “Oh, how I wish that God would speak, that he would open his lips” (Job 11:5). “By the word of your lips I have kept myself from the ways of the violent” (Psalm 17:4). There are many other examples: Job 23:12; Psalm 89:34; Isaiah 30:27; Luke 22:71. Jesus is especially praised for “all the gracious words that came from his lips” (Luke 4:22).

The promises of God are not the imaginings of mortal men, but the true promises that have come from God’s own lips. His lips reveal his grace to us and uncover his mysteries for us. “He taught them many things in parables” (Mark 4:2). He spoke about the kingdom of God and he revealed the will of God more clearly than Moses or any of the prophets.

Is it right that we should dare to connect the speech of God with kisses? How does a wife want her husband to show his love for her? Because she is human and not a machine or a mere character in a book, her desires sometimes veer one way and other times they veer off another way. She wants to be told, “I love you,” and she wants to be shown that he loves her. She wants both his words and his actions; his statements and also his kisses.

So a human wife is an excellent illustration for the Church. We want and we desire God’s words to say that he loves us, but we also want more proof than the words even though there is no proof more concrete than the very words of God. But the Church is made up of people, flawed human beings, and we want actions as well as words from God. Both God’s words and his actions can rightly be described as his kisses for us.

Therefore, in the understanding of the church, the act of creation is itself a kiss of God’s lips. He designed and carried out the creation for man’s sake, after all, to give the crown of his creation a place to live, increase, be born, thrive, and come to faith. And his promise of the Savior is a kiss from God’s lips. But then his personal rescues of many members of the church over the long centuries are other kisses of both kinds. Some are words, and some are actions.

There was the calling of Adam and Eve to repentance. The rescue of Noah and his family. Then, just 67 years after the Ark came to rest on dry land, Shem’s grandson became the father of Eber, from whom all the Hebrews came and were named (Genesis 11:12-13), and who was the very last of the long-lived Patriarchs, living so long that the family was never called “Abrahamites” or “Isaacites,” but only Israelites after they were known as Hebrews, because old Eber lived so long and was their ancient grandfather even after Abraham died, a mere child of 175 years (Genesis 25:7). God kissed Jacob by blessing him with a large family of sons and daughters, and by promising that the line of the Savior would come through this family and no other. God kissed the family again by working his grace despite the rotten sin of Israel’s sons when they sold their brother into slavery. But Joseph was a blessing to Israel, to Egypt, and to everyone in the land by his wisdom and energetic work. And these many kisses are not the whole story of God’s love; nor everything in Moses, but only a handful of things from Genesis only. And “Jesus utterly surpasses these in his majesty and splendor,” for his kisses are better than wine. The finest things man might say or do fall far short of the glory of God. They are all nothing but pig’s mud compared to the flowering glory of God, and all the more so when we remember that the things God does he does for our benefit, thinking of us each individually as his precious child, steering all of history for each of us to come to faith in him, and finally paying the penalty for our sins so that each of us knows that each of our sins is accounted for, atoned for, and forgiven by our gracious God. There on the cross his words and actions both speak at once, as he kisses us with the kisses of his mouth. He tells us and he shows us that his love for us, for you, is eternal.

One last detail here: The wife speaks in two ways in one verse. She speaks about him in the third person (“Let him kiss me”) but also in the second person (“your kisses”). This might be a poetic switch between the formal and the informal, the public way of speaking and the private, or it might simply be a way of flirting. Our God does not demand a certain way of speaking from us, but we recognize that he wants us to come to him “in the second person” when we pray, saying “you” and “your” because we know we are speaking directly to him, to God, and that he hears us. This is another kiss from him, showing his love for us.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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