Song of Solomon 1-4
Friday, February 3
I hadn’t gotten around to registering for the “mom’s” conference, Hearts at Home, until a few days before and couldn’t find the class descriptions so I had to sign up for classes just based on the names. I saw one called, “Passion Pursuit,” taught by Dr. Juli Slattery and Linda Dillow. I’ve heard Dr. Slattery on Focus on the Family and at previous Hearts at Home conferences and really enjoyed learning from her. I also figured I’d like to figure out what I have a passion for, so I signed up for this class.
Pursuing one’s occupational or spiritual passion was NOT what this class was about! It was about that one book your pastor rarely, if ever, speaks on, the book I personally have never done a jr. church series of lessons on, and as of yet, the one book we’ve never had the kids memorize verses from. That’s right! I’m talking about The Song of Solomon (SOS)! (Signal collective blush from everyone’s cheeks.)
Over the years, there has been debate about what this book is about and why it is in the Bible. I did a little bit of research and almost everyone agrees that this book is about God’s great love for His people and the intimacy He wants to have with both the Israelites and those of us who have chosen to become adopted seeds of Abraham. Where debate and controversy lies is that other meaning. As Bob Jones stated in his book, “ The 5W’s and 1H of Genesis Through Malachi,” Song of Songs is to be seen as, “literally describing the sanctity and beauty of human physical love…Maybe God wants us to read this book so that we return marriage and sexuality to the holy place He has always intended them to occupy.” p. 70 The ladies teaching “Passion Pursuit” agree with Bob. SOS is a book celebrating God’s love for us but it is also celebrating the gift God gives a couple upon their marriage. Those of us who have taken those vows are to embrace this gift to the fullest.( Dr. Slattery and Mrs. Dillow created an online ministry to help people do this called “Authentic Intimacy.” I highly recommend checking this out. They have scriptural advice and instruction for anyone looking to have greater, true intimacy with God and their spouse or in preparation for marriage.)
Yes, there are a few problems with the actual book. If Solomon was the author, which most consider as fact, he wasn’t exactly a one woman man. My study Bible states he probably had 140 wives and concubines at the time and more throughout his life. Not exactly a fact that would make a woman feel special!
This is also a very hard book to follow. They’re in a garden, she’s having a dream, they’re married….What is going on???? They are also talking in metaphors and similes…they’re in an actual garden, He’s in her “garden.” And if it weren’t for the headings in my Bible, I would have no idea who is talking. The Shulammite woman is talking, a whole bunch of women are talking (where did they come from?!) And even God speaks once. This is a book you’ll benefit from reading along with a commentary.
So how do you use SOS to make a difference in your life? How do you make this a part of your devotion? A friend of mine told me that her pastor recently preached a sermon on it and encouraged husbands to tell their wives they are beautiful. So there you go husbands! God wants you to complement your wives! Use lots of flowery words! (Check out youtube for examples on how to use King Solomon’s words to make your woman swoon!) Ok, that was a little facetious. Seriously, most woman do want to know her man desires her (but maybe not in the words of chapter 4) and God has provided an example of this along with His blessings.
My friend thought of another take on SOS. She thought that since her husband was being encouraged to tell her she’s beautiful, she should make more of an effort to be beautiful. She looked at verse 1:6 when the Shulammite woman tries to hide from Solomon. So my friend decided that in addition to not wearing sweats all day, she would close the door while using the powder room and not burp or otherwise display gross behaviors in front of her husband. We all laughed when she told us that he didn’t notice but her point was that we shouldn’t take our husbands for granted and we should make an effort to be beautiful for our husbands. We also need to keep in mind verse 2:15, “ Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom. The chorus talking here, saying not to allow anything to spoil the man and woman’s relationship. Good advice for all of us in any relationship.
The world may have cheapened the physical relationship between a man and a woman, likening it to something as casual as a game of ping pong. SOS reminds us that it is truly a wedding gift from God that is to be treasured, embraced, and protected.
So if you are married, read today’s reading with your spouse and have a great night! ; )
– Maria Knowlton
(photo credit: cartoon by Andrew Fraser – found at http://www.cartoonsidrew.com/2014_10_01_archive.html)