Monday, April 30, 2012

Song of Solomon

The Life Project: The Song of Solomon
Paul Pope

Have you ever wondered what God thinks of love, romance, and sex? Does it seem like God is opposed to these things? The Song of Solomon communicates the importance of romantic love and sex in the context of marriage. God designed these things for us to enjoy, to satisfy deep desires of our hearts, and to meet our needs. When we follow His plan for fulfilling our desires for romantic love and sex it is absolutely beautiful. The problem, as with everything, is that that when we decide to make our own rules, there is pain and sorrow waiting for us. Unfortunately, some of our deepest hurt and pain comes as a result of disobedience in this area.

The Song of Solomon is a love story between Solomon and his wife. It follows their courtship (1:1-3:5), their wedding (3:6-5:1), and the marriage (5:2-8:14). We find a clear example of what Christian romance should look like.
Marriage is often lifted up as the preeminent goal in life. Even believers can be guilty of seeing marital intimacy — emotional, physical, and spiritual — as the source of life’s meaning. Such pressure can cause many problems. Dating couples may grow close too quickly and become physically intimate or have a break-up that is harder than it would have been had things not proceeded so rapidly. Singles may despair of their self-worth or rush into unwise relationships. Married people might commit adultery or get a “no-fault” divorce when they learn, much to their chagrin, that their spouse is imperfect and cannot possibly meet all of their needs.

One of the clear themes of this book is sex in the context marriage. (Song of Solomon 4:10–16; 5:2–5, 10–16; 7:1–10). Unfortunately, many Christians treat sex as if it is a taboo topic. When we are unwilling to let God’s Word define something for us, the world will be quick to do so for us. Sex is a great example of this as we have allowed the world to warp and pervert what it means to have sex rather than allow God to define it for us. He does so in the Song of Solomon. This book talks about the profound opportunity we have for intimacy through sex when practiced between a man and wife who are connected through the covenant of marriage.

Another clear theme of this Book of the Bible is to wait for God’s timing rather than rushing into or forcing things to happen in our timing. “Do not awaken love until it pleases” appears several times (2:7; 3:5; 8:4). In other words, both men and women must let love arise on its own and not rush into it or force it to happen. When it is time, self-sacrificial love will arise naturally. Pornography is an example of not waiting for God’s timing and instead choosing a cheap substitute that meets none of the needs it promises to. Sex outside of marriage between a husband and a wife is another example and there is great pain when the intense intimacy experienced is combined with a lack of commitment.

In all things, God wants us to wait on Him and romantic relationships seemingly are the most difficult to give to him. Not awakening love before it pleases does not mean we wait around for it to happen; men and women can pursue each other. It does mean that we dare not rush into love until we are ready to handle it responsibly, under God’s direction.
Great theological minds have spent much of their time debating whether or not this book is literally about a husband and wife, thus providing an example for us, or if it is allegorical with the husband representing Christ and the wife representing us. Rather than disagree with either side, it is entirely possible that this book is to be translated both literally and allegorically.

Ephesians 5, while defining the marriage relationship between man and woman, also declares that the marriage covenant is a proper way to understand the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church. In 1859 the great
Presbyterian preacher James Henley Thornwell had the opportunity to announce the wedding of his daughter, Nancy.
In the weeks leading up to this event, the hundreds traveling would end up at a funeral, not a wedding as she took ill
from cholera typhoid and began a rapid demise. Thornwell, overcome, came to his daughter’s bedside in her waning
moments and said, “Oh my dear daughter, such tragedy!” She replied, “Father, do not weep. I know my Savior.” He
said, “But this was to be your wedding, your whole life now before you.” She, the youth, yet with greater maturity
said, “Father, but I now go to a greater Groom that I am prepared to meet.” Nancy Witherspoon Thornwell was laid
to rest in a wedding gown, and the tombstone reads: “As a bride prepared for her Groom.”

Life Group Questions
1. Do you believe that God created romantic thoughts and feelings in us? For what purpose?
Before marriage to draw us to our spouse and after marriage to create excitement , fun, and intimacy
2. How does God’s design for sex and marriage compare that of our culture’s view?
Open ended
3. Sex has become a taboo topic amongst Christians. How has this worked against God’s plan?
Open ended
4. Often times it seems as though the purpose of our existence is to get married. What does God say our purpose
is? Glorify Him.
5. What are the implications of misunderstanding or confusing our purpose in life?
As with anything, when we become unclear on the goal, we become unable to achieve the true goal.
If God’s plan for us is to bring glory to Him and we do not to so, we end up bringing glory to something else

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