Set Me As A Seal Upon Your Heart

Text: Song of Solomon 8:6-7

In the name of Jesus: Amen.

Collin and Betsy, back in Old Testament times, people would use things called cylindrical seals or signet rings to press into wax and clay.  In other words, people would have round cylinders and rings often made of hard stone.  These cylinders and rings had a person’s name or marking etched into it.  Once they owned something or made a contractual agreement, the round cylinder or ring would be pressed into wax or clay to leave an impression – to leave their marking.  It functioned much like our modern day signature. 

Now, with that said, it was not uncommon for a man to have the name of his beloved wife pressed firmly upon a breast plate seal or upon a precious stone seal that was strapped to his arm.  It also was not uncommon for a woman to have a charm or a seal around her neck and upon her heart, with the impression of her husband’s name. 

This is exactly what we were reading about earlier in the scripture lesson from Song of Solomon, the eighth chapter.    

These verses, from the biblical book of Song of Solomon, were written about a man and women after their wedding.  The husband and wife are out in the country.  The wife, while holding her husband’s arm, places her head against her husband’s chest and says,

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.

In other words, she was saying to her husband to inscribe her name forever upon a jewel or seal and wear it upon himself, for the entire world to see that she belonged to him.  She was saying to her husband to wear a jewel or seal on his arm or around his neck to remember that she belonged to him and that she was pressed closely to his heart.  He was to wear a seal to remember and know that they were both bound together by wedlock. 

It is a rather romantic gesture to think about – to have one’s name set upon another is it not? 

Today, Collin and Betsy you are both here before your friends and before the Lord to be married.  Today as you stand together and make your vows you are essentially saying to each other, “Set me as a seal upon your heart.”  In other words, Betsy, you are saying that you want your name and your whole being fixed to Collin’s heart.  Collin, you are confessing today that you want to always be remembered by Betsy.  Together you are testifying that you want to always be on the mind of each other.  You are proclaiming today that you want to be underneath each other’s protection and care.  You are sharing today that you need and want the full assurance of love from each other. 

Collin and Betsy, I commend you in your desire to be married today.  I commend you for wanting to have your names inscribed upon each other’s hearts through the exchanging of rings.  Indeed, in our day and age when traditional marriage is often neither sought out nor respected by our culture, you are making a bold confession of a life together, until death do you part. 

While I rejoice with you today, we would be na├»ve though to simply stop right here.  The reason why?  The verses that we read from Song of Solomon are also verses about Christ’s love for his bride – the church.  You see, the strength of a Christian marriage is not upon your names that are inscribed upon your hearts, but rather, the strength of the Christian marriage – your marriage –is that your names are inscribed upon the heart of Christ. 

Yes indeed, we must acknowledge today that you both will fail each other in thought, word, and deed as husband and wife.   The seals with your names will get scuffed.  The seals with your names may be ripped at.  Life happens.  Pain, suffering, conflict, good times, and bad all accompany marriage.  Marriages are not immune to this.  You will tested by life.  Your sinful natures will wreak havoc at time, the ideologies of the world will lie to you, and the devil will try to undo your marriage. 

You though, Collin and Betsy, in the midst of all of the challenges and struggles brought upon the holy estate of marriage, you are not alone.  Yes, just as you are asking each other to set your names upon each other’s hearts, the Lord has already fixed you upon His heart. 

I am not talking about some religious sentiment.  This is not some religious soppiness that is intended to wiggle its way into this wedding service.  No, it is none of this.  It is a true reality for the both of you that I speak of.  Indeed, two-thousand years ago Christ saw both of you, claimed you both, made you His own, and then died on a blood stained cross – for you and for your marriage. 

Not only are your names engraved upon the heart and the nailed scarred hands of Christ – who forgives you of all your sins, but the name of the Lord God almighty is engraved upon your hearts and your heads.  You Betsy are baptized; the name of the Lord is upon you.  You Collin are baptized; the name of the Lord is upon you as well.  The Lord’s love for you cannot be quenched by life’s onslaught of raging floods and neither can it be drowned out. 

In the days to come you may fear that your love may wear thin, but take comfort that Christ’s love does not fail or wear thin, for it is stronger than death and fiercer than the grave.

At the end of each day being enveloped in the gift of marriage and the forgiveness of sins, you will lay it all out before the Lord, nothing kept back, nothing held outside His forgiveness and His love.  Yes, you will lay it all out before the Lord together as one flesh – as husband and wife – knowing that the Lord holds all of you, the good, the bad, the ups and the downs. 

You see, your marriage today is upon the heart of Christ, as you make your vows in this holy sanctuary.  What this means is that within this marriage you are held, held within the Lord’s love and care, so that you cannot fall apart. 

Confident of Christ’s love and forgiveness, today you are bold to make the staggering full-size promises of marriage. 

Collin, your `name is upon the heart of the Lord.

Betsy, your name is upon the heart of the Lord. 

As husband and wife, it is the same.  As the Greenley’s your marriage is upon the heart of the Lord. 

You a have been set as a seal upon the Lord’s heart.  His love is stronger than death and fiercer than the grave. 

In the name of Jesus: Amen.

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