Rise Up, My Love (114): Better than Wine?!

Carribean Sunset copySong of Solomon 4:10 “How much better is thy love than wine!” Again our Lord exclaims—“How much!” It is so much better that it cannot be completely expressed in words. Shall I even try? Well, it’s like trying to paint a sunset. There is no palette on earth that can capture what God has painted on the canvas of the sky, but we try, because we are human.

Before trying to understand how our love is better than wine, we must remember again the nature of wine and its effect on someone. In Judges 9:13 it says that wine cheers God and man, and Ecclesiastes 10:19 notes that “wine maketh merry.” Wine was always served at celebration feasts, and at the dining table of the rich. It was given commonly as a gift ( I Samuel 25:18) and was symbolic of joy and blessing (Genesis 27:8).

But, wine is a two-edged sword. The Bible is full of admonitions about wine…and illustrations of great tragedies following immoderate use. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1). “He that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich” (Proverbs 21:17). “It is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink” (Proverbs 31:4). As early as Genesis nine, sin followed Noah’s drunkenness. In Genesis 19 we read of Lot’s immorality following drunkenness. Wine was used by Jacob as part of his plan to deceive his father (Genesis 27) and by Absalom as part of his plot to murder of Amnon (2 Samuel 13:28).

Although wine was used as part of the drink offering (Exodus 28:40), the priests, serving in the tabernacle, were not allowed to drink it (Leviticus 10:9). From Melchizedek to our Lord Jesus Christ, bread and wine were used to restore and refresh the soul and had covenantal value, but they were always used with care, and in Ephesians 5:18 we are sternly warned: “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”

So, wine was a luxurious and powerful drink used to refresh and exhilarate those who drank it, but it was a substance that had to be used with great care, on particular occasions, by particular people. How was her love better than wine?

First, the sacred exhilaration of physical love exceeds all pleasures of earth. It is better than the greatest joy that wine can afford. Wine tends to make one forget his cares…it helps “hide the negatives” troubling someone, so to speak. Love does a great deal more than mask the negatives, it produces a great positive charge to defuse pain. It doesn’t just dull pain for a moment; it strongly neutralizes the pain, like a base neutralizing an acid.

Second, love can be enjoyed (within the bonds of marriage) almost without limit or restriction. Kings can indulge! Priests are welcome! (Lucky for us…a spiritual nation of “kings and priests” [Revelation 1:6]!) There is no danger of sin resulting from excess, because love in marriage never produces a vicious drunkenness. Intoxication? Yes, in a sense, but always a blessed filling similar to the filling of the Holy Spirit, which leaves one blissfully satisfied and peaceful.

True love is so much better than wine! It refreshes more than the best wine. It can be enjoyed without question and without fear of overfilling. It produces only good fruit. It is available to all. It never sours or loses its power. Oh, how very much better is love than wine!

And at this, the half has not been told, because spiritual love is exponentially better than the best physical love. Even as the woman at the well was so refreshed by the living water of Christ that she left her water pot and went into the city proclaiming the good news, so Christ was so refreshed by the energy of spiritual joy that he told His disciples, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of” (John 4:32). It was for this wine of joy that that he chose the cross, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2).

Think of it! Christ, who from eternity past and throughout eternity future has hosts of angels to attend him at the glorious banqueting table in heaven…He who is king over all creation…left the wine of heaven’s joys to seek a sweeter wine on earth: the love of his bride. This is our Lord and our God—our heavenly husband—who says to us so tenderly, “How much better is thy love than wine!”

 

 

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