Day 166 – Thru the Bible
Today we start Song of Songs. Here is the overview video.
Video – Read Scripture: Song of Songs
How does this video help you understand Song of Songs and relationships better?
Song of Songs 1 – Although we are fallen, and thus our sexual desires can easily be distorted and debased, there is still something “very good” (Genesis 1:31) about the desire for physical intimacy.
Within the marriage “chambers”, such passion is to be expressed, and such love exalted and rejoiced in. Within the canon of Scripture, one should not think of marriage without thinking of Jesus, and this is because marriage was always intended to point to Him (Ephesians 5:32). Even our sexual desires are a reflection of what should be our ultimate “desire,” that is to be made complete in devotion to another—the reality we taste now by the Holy Spirit but will ultimately experience when we depart to be with Jesus (Philippians 1:23).
These responsive words of kind affection exchanged between bride and groom reflect not only the regard each has for the other but also the importance of communicating that regard. Here we simply learn that the God who inspired these words approves the approval that we express in order to bless each one that we love. The power of words is the prevalent theme in Song of Solomon 1:5–2:7. This poem paints a picture of the transformative power of affirming words. Husbands and wives are to complement each other by complimenting each other.
In doing so, we reflect the character of our Savior, who commends His love to us in kind and affectionate words (John 15:15; Hebrews 2:11). We speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). We speak what is helpful for building each other up (Ephesians 4:29). We get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, and slander (Ephesians 4:31). We are to be kind and tenderhearted to one another, forgiving one another, just as God in Jesus forgave us (Ephesians 4:32).
How do remember to speak word of affirmation and encouragement to those around you?
Song of Songs 2 & 3 – The Song’s refrain (see also 3:5; 5:8; 8:4) in the midst of allusions to the couple’s emotional and sexual joy teaches that pure passion is good and is approved by God, but also that it waits for the proper time (marriage) and the proper person (one’s spouse). In His grace, God provides marriage for deep emotional and physical fulfillment. Indeed, God identifies each as good. And yet our sinfulness and selfishness easily prompt us to pursue others outside of marriage.
What if you haven’t waited for marriage? Know that God offers full forgiveness for sins, and cleansing through Jesus. What if your marriage has been damaged by sins and selfishness? Do not think that help and healing are impossible. Jesus did not come “to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:13). Consider the salvation story in Luke 7:36–50. If you want to hear the voice of the bridegroom (John 3:29) say, “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48) and “Go in peace” (Luke 7:50), then come to Him in repentance and faith. He who shows love for one who thinks of herself as unlovely in these verses will also love you despite your sin and failure.
How does knowing that Jesus has overcome all our failures allow you to enjoy relationships the way God has designed them to be enjoyed?
Song of Songs 4 – For the husband, his wife is “altogether beautiful.” As much as his eyes are open to her, we might rightly label his love “blind love.” She is not actually flawlessly beautiful; indeed, she sometimes speaks disparagingly of herself (see 1:6). Similarly, God’s love for us in Jesus can be categorized as “blind love.” We know ourselves to be blemished by sin and undeserving of His affection. Yet Believers are made beautiful, ironically, through Jesus’ bloody atoning death. This truth is illustrated in Ephesians 5:25–30, which speaks of the mystery of marriage between Jesus and the church and how through Jesus’ sacrificial love He will present the church to Himself “holy and without blemish.”
Sexual intimacy is for unity, comfort, offspring, help against sexual temptation, and pleasure. It is also designed to point us to the Lord of love in whom all longings are ultimately satisfied.
This is taught in the Song through all the garden imagery. To the groom, his bride is like the garden of Eden and the temple, which was decorated like Eden. To them, lovemaking is the closest thing to the Promised Land. Their love is like being in the presence of God. That is what Eden, the Promised Land, and the temple all have in common. These metaphors are mixed to say that sex is a signpost that points to God’s intimate presence with His people. In this way, the intimate is the path to the transcendent: through the intimacy of marriage, we learn what it means to be exposed and yet loved; to be separate but one; to be different without distance; to be made most fulfilled by giving ourselves to another; to be made most whole by completely sharing ourselves with another; and, to be made most at peace by the caring presence of another who knows we can express none of these things perfectly.
Throughout the Old Testament there is an ongoing theme of Eden restored and transcended, as God comes ever closer to us. The prophets speak of this coming salvation in garden/temple terminology (Isaiah 58:11; Jeremiah 31:12). In the person of Jesus the very presence of God comes to us in bodily form, and by His Spirit He indwells us. Those who come into His presence now by faith are promised final salvation that is portrayed as a wedding feast (Revelation 19:7, 9; 21:6) in the city of God (which is like a garden, with its river, trees, and fruits). In that place at that time those in Jesus “will see His face” (Revelation 22:4a). This will be the ultimate ecstatic encounter with God!
Just as God gives us intimacy within marriage to be enjoyed, He gives us a closeness to Him that is for all who believe.
How are you enjoying your relationship with God?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
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