“Place me like a seal over your heart”

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Our engagement with Scripture includes both taking in and understanding significant sections of Scripture and focusing on the small details.  It’s about studying God’s Word and thinking it through but it is also about applying it practically. A crucial part of this is meditation.  Christian meditation is not about emptying your mind or even focusing on an object like a candle.  It’s about taking time to focus on the words of Scripture and taking them in emotionally as well as intellectually.  Indeed, if the difference between milk and meat is that milk is in effect meat that has pre-chewed for you, then meditation might be described as “learning to chew over the meat of God’s Word for yourself.”

We’re going to learn a bit more about meditating through a practical case study.  We’re going to use Song of Songs 8:6b as an example.

“Place me like a seal over your heart”


A seal was often used for binding up documents.  It would have the owner’s mark/emblem on it, so that you could be certain of who had sent it.  Just as with food or medication today, if the document arrived with the seal opened then you would know that it would be tampered with on route.  If the seal was unbroken, then you could be confident in the source, authenticity, purity and completeness of the message coming to you. 

Here in Song of Songs, we’ve heard a love song about this couple courting one another.  It is probably the woman speaking at this stage and so the imagery is of her laying in his arms, resting her head on his chest.  The idea is that there is such close intimacy that her head, her image, leaves an imprint like a seal on his arm (see 8:6b) and on his chest, so deep, that it leaves a mark on his heart.  Of course, the heart is both a physical organ and represents a person’s inner life.  Note, that for ancient Israelites like Solomon, the heart was not so much the seat of emotions as the seat of the settled will.  She is not just asking him to fall for her with her emotions.  She wants to make a lasting impression on him, that stays and shapes his priorities and agenda. 

If we were doing a Bible study, we might then summarise 8:6 as “she wants to make a lasting impression on him.  She wants to be his priority.”  We would then move swiftly to application.  However, the poetic nature of Song of Songs invites meditation. It asks us to pause a bit longer and to dwell on the words and phrases. 

So, we might want to pause at this stage and ask two questions.  We know that the Song is applied to Christ and his Church.  So,

  •  What does it mean for Christ to place me as a seal on his heart?

This suggests that I make an impression on him  I’m asking him to love me whole heartedly, for me to be his priority.  These are bold words aren’t they? So for Scripture to encourage us to ask this of the living God is incredible.  Remember, though, that the image of the bride is applied corporately to the whole church, not just to us as individuals.  So, the imager of Revelation and of Ephesians 5 is of Christ’s whole hearted commitment to the church. However, we are still as individuals part of that body, the bride of Christ and is it is good to think about what it means for us personally.

  • What does it mean for me to place Christ as  seal on my heart?

Whilst the common assumption is that the bride speaks here, the section headings identifying speakers were added later.  It is possible then, that the groom is speaking here.  There is any case, no reason why we should not consider the implications the other way. 

So, what does it mean for Christ to be a seal over my heart?  Well, it means that he’s captivated me, made an impression. It calls me to complete devotion to him.   It means, if I’m sealed, that I am kept safe by him through all the storms and trials of life, through to the other side.  It means that Christ is present with me, indwelling me through the Holy Spirit, that Christ is being formed in me.  Indeed, Ephesians 2:13-14 says:

13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.


We don’t want to rush away just yet. The aim of meditation is to slow us down so we really drink in the words of Scripture, or back to the eating metaphor, we are chewing in order to savour the flavour.

I find a couple of things helpful here.  First, reading the verse in other Bible versions helps me to hear it afresh, each time. We started with the NIV, here are a few more:

Set me as a seal upon your heart.  (ESV)

Keep me near you like a seal you wear over your heart (Easy-to-read Version)

Close your heart to every love but mine; (Good News)

 Set me as a seal upon thine heart,  (King James)

Always keep me in your heart (Contemporary English Version)

If you are able to read and understand other languages, why not read in one of those. 


Finally, you might want to read through the phrase a few times placing the emphasis on a different word and pausing to consider that:

PLACE ME as a seal over your heart

Place ME as a seal over your heart

Place me as a SEAL over your heart

Place me as a seal over YOUR heart

Place me as a seal over your HEART


Whenever we come to God’s word, we want to hear him speak to us. There should be application from meditation, just as there should from Bible study and sermons.

Here are a few things that stood out from our meditation.

  1. It is easier to consider the second question. We can talk about placing Christ as a seal over our hearts but the first is harder. The idea that he would love us like that seems presumptuous but he does.
  2. There are the literal marks that we made on him at Calvary. It was my sin that held him there.
  3. This gives meaning for me to the words of the Psalm about the death of a believer being precious to God.
  4. If his seal is to make an impression on me, then I need him to soften my heart.


Finally, take time to pray the verse both for you and for others.  You may find it helpful to listen o a song as you pray.

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