For the past couple of weeks the strains of the song, “You Won’t Relent” by Hillsong, have been on a loop in my mind. Even to the point of inspiring a concept of a tattoo I may seek to have done. And when my devotional today spoke of “many waters” I knew this was my topic for today. The song is based on the words in this scripture:
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.Song of Solomon 8:6-7 (ESV)
I wanted to explore what it meant to set a seal specifically on the heart and the arm. I figured if I was going to get the tattoo I should know where to place it and what I would say should someone ask me the meaning behind it.
My first stop was checking scripture. I knew that we were sealed by the Holy Spirit so after finding the Song of Solomon reference I looked for that.
He has marked us with His seal and placed His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee, a down payment of the things to come.2 Corinthians 1:22 (VOICE)
Here I understand God’s seal is the Holy Spirit in our hearts, evidence of his presence and his guarantee to continue with us.
The Passion Translation says it this way:
He knows we are his since he has also stamped his seal of love over our hearts and has given us the Holy Spirit like an engagement ring is given to a bride—a down payment of the blessings to come!2 Corinthians 1:22 (TPT)
I love the symbolism of the engagement ring. It is a visible token of the promise of committed love.
When searching on the internet I found this commentary:
The Holy Spirit seals those who trust in Christ. The Spirit’s presence is God’s guarantee that believers are owned by him and secure in him. Since the Holy Spirit’s task is to apply Christ’s work to God’s people, he anoints believers “in Christ” the moment they believe.https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/bed/s/seal.html
I like the description, “the Holy Spirit’s task is to apply Christ’s work to God’s people.” God’s seal is not some signet ring pressed into some wax to prove authority. His seal is alive and active in our hearts, working for our future benefit.
Now that I had my scriptures and a general concept of what a seal meant, I searched further to understand the meaning of placing a seal on our hearts and our arms. Here is what I found:
The specific references to the beloved’s heart (the seat of his will and intelligence) and his arm (representing strength) imply that the narrator hopes to achieve a binding impact upon her lover’s thoughts and decisions, as well as upon his actions.https://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/passages/related-articles/stamp-seals-and-the-song-of-songs#contrib_uehlinger-christoph
The use of the word, binding, looks back to the concept of a guarantee or a legal agreement. The word adoption comes to mind. You weren’t mine but I adopted you and legally made you mine. To me that sits better than owning someone (slavery). Or going back to the engagement ring, another legally binding term — marriage. In God’s economy the two shall become one. In society, the two are legally joined.
In the Song of Solomon reference, it is the woman (symbolically the church) asking the man (Jesus) to set her as a seal on his heart and on his arm. Yet in the New Testament reference it is God setting his seal on the disciples, and by extension, to us as well. Just as we want God securely in our thoughts and actions, we want to be in his thoughts and actions, too.
In a sense he is asking, “Will you marry me?” and I am saying “Yes!” I am accepting his engagement ring. So when I sing “my heart is yours,” I am accepting and acknowledging the seal of God. I am saying, “Let your thoughts be my thoughts, and your ways be my ways.” My thoughts, my decisions, my actions, I want all of me to belong to him and to be bound to him.
I promise if I get that tattoo, I will share it here on my blog.
I hope you will find your heart sealed in his love. ❤️
Grace & Peace,