Mo 4/22Tu 4/23We 4/24Th 4/25Fr 4/26Sa 4/27Su 4/28
Eccles. 9
Titus 1
Eccles. 10
Titus 2
Eccles. 11
Titus 3
Eccles. 12
Philem. 1
Song of Sol. 1
Heb. 1
Song of Sol. 2
Heb. 2
Song of Sol. 3
Heb. 3

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

This week we start four new books. I’m going to focus on the often uncomfortably ignored Song of Solomon. Many have debated how to interpret the book. We are uncomfortable with our sexuality, so those embarrassed by what they read have often understood the book as a metaphor for the relationship between Christ and the Church.

We know from Ephesians 5 that a proper relationship between a man and his wife is ultimately a picture of our Lord and His bride. But that means, if you want to find things about Christ and the church in Song of Solomon, you’ll first need to find out what it says about a man and a woman.

In point of fact, there is quite a bit of metaphor in the book. However, most of the metaphors in the book point toward sexual things, rather than away from sexual things. For example, in chapter 4, the man describes the woman as a “garden.” She invites him to come into the garden and eat its fruits. He then describes the fruits and his partaking of them. They are both then urged to “Eat, friends; Drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers” (5:1). This is certainly a metaphor for the physical relationship between the man and woman.

One thing that is inescapable is the delight that the man and woman take in one another physically. You might remember the visual descriptions that each gives of the other, with some similes that sound odd to our modern ear, like, “Your two breasts are like two fawns” (4:5). But sight is not the only sense that is mentioned. The whole poem is sensuous. Sound is found together with sight in 2:14. Elsewhere we find tastes, smells, and the sense of touch. Emotional senses are appealed to as well, with descriptions of love, jealousy, desire, and lovesickness.

If the Apostle Paul reminds us of our duty in the marriage bed, the author of Song of Solomon reminds us of the delight to be found in it. There are many metaphors and euphemisms in the book, but the delight in physical love is quite literal and inescapable.

Today we have inherited a Victorian sensibility that blushes to speak of the fact that a man wants to see the “form” of his lover—even outside! (2:14)—or that a woman wants to be kissed (1:2). And we live in a day where sex has been so perverted that we are inclined to view it as a necessary evil, like many at the time of Augustine did.

Sex is not dirty or impure in its nature. God made it holy and good. Song of Solomon is a sweet, innocent picture of what sexual desire and delight are like if they have not been perverted by impurity through pornography and lust. Unfortunately, both men and women are often affected by these sins in such a way that our love is hampered by the guilt, shame, or disgust we feel the moment we sense a hint of sexual desire in ourselves or our spouse.

So read the Song of Solomon paying attention to the way it shamelessly returns over and over to the physical union between the lovers, and the clear desire they express for each other.

VERSE TO MEDITATE ON

My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. 

Behold, he is standing behind our wall, 

He is looking through the windows, 

He is peering through the lattice. 

—Song of Solomon 2:9

HOW TO PRAY

  • Adoration – Praise God for making us both body and soul capable of feeling such deep desire, pleasure, and love.
  • Confession – We have often worshiped and idolized these bodies and sex.
  • Thanksgiving – Thank God for healing even sexual wounds that feel deep and hopeless.
  • Supplication – Please, God, give us faith that sex is good and that you made us male and female for a good reason.

Click HERE to ask the pastors a question about anything in your Bible reading.

This post by Joseph Bayly

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.

Recent Ask the Pastors answers . . .

Old Testament Prosperity vs. New Testament Suffering

QUESTION In the Old Testament, obeying God seems so clearly tied to physical prosperity. God even promises no miscarriages and long life in Exodus 23:26. But in the New Testament, we are actually promised suffering if we follow Christ. Why the switch in expectations...

What’s up with Ecclesiastes?

QUESTION There seem to be some pretty troubling statements in Ecclesiastes about how we are supposed to think and live. For example, Ecclesiastes 8:15, which was read in church this past Sunday, says, "There is nothing good for a man under the sun except to eat and to...

What does it mean that love “believes all things”?

QUESTION In 1 Corinthians 13:7, what does it mean that love "believes all things, hopes all things"? It kinda sounds like that means we're supposed to just believe everything, but that doesn't seem right… ANSWER Whenever we interpret Scripture, we must use Scripture...