February 9,2015

Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow it; if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, it would be utterly despised. Song of Solomon 8:7

Valentine’s Day is this Saturday—and the National Parks Foundation has some suggestions for romantic adventures and escapes for you and your sweetie in our national parks.

The “I Heart Parks” Guide, a free download (as are five other guides), offers several ideas: a walk down Lovers’ Lane in Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco, a boat ride along the mangrove coast in the Everglades, sunrise and/or sunset in Haleakala in Hawaii.

One recommendation I don’t get is going to the Statue of Liberty. I mean, everyone should visit this iconic American symbol, but the crowds and security hassles do not make it romantic at all!

And while I recommend any park visitation (especially this Presidents Day Weekend, when entrance fees are waived), I’d like to suggest that this February 14 you read The Song of Solomon (also called the Song of Songs), the short Biblical book about the romance of King Solomon and a Shulammite woman (a “young innocent from the country,” as one commentary describes her). This lyrical poem celebrates the joys of love, courtship and marriage, clearly extolling the rightful place of physical love within marriage.

Of course, Solomon isn’t the best role model of marital devotion, since when he wrote Songs, he had “sixty queens and eighty concubines, and maidens without number” (Song of Solomon 6:8), and even more later (“seven hundred wives and princesses, and three hundred concubines,” many of them non-Israelites, who “turned his heart away after other gods, and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord his God” (1 Kings 11:1-8). But the experiences written in this book may reflect one of the only pure romances he had.

More importantly though, Song of Solomon illustrates the love of God (and Christ) for His people. Jesus is often described as a groom coming for his bride, the church, or all believers (Matthew 25:1-13; Revelation 19:6-9, 21:1, 2). The tenderness of Solomon toward his new wife reflects God’s lavish care of His beloved, those who follow Him (Ephesians 1:3-14).

So certainly, revel in and express the love you share with spouse, friends and family this Saturday. But recognize that no one can ever match the love of God, who never leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5), and to whom every day is Valentine’s Day.


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