Today’s Bible Reading: Song of Solomon 1-4:16; 2 Corinthians 8:16-24; Psalm 50:1-23; Proverbs 22:22-23
Today we start the book Song of Solomon (known as Song of Songs in some Bible translations). Some people approach this book as an allegory describing the love between God and His people. think it should be taken as a literal account – a textbook, if you will – of the courtship and marriage between the man and the woman who are the two main characters.
Due the poetic structure as well as its sometimes-explicit subject matter, this book isn’t often taught on Sundays. But there is much to be learned from it. The 1-Year Bible Reading Plan, which I am following for this blog, only allots 2 days which is not a lot of time. If you are interested in a deeper study I highly recommend an 8-week chapter-by-chapter podcast by Jeff Miller. I studied Song of Solomon a few years ago using this podcast and found it to be very helpful.
Song of Solomon debunks the notion that a person cannot be spiritual and sexual at the same time. God invented sex and commands married couple to have sex (Genesis 1:28, 1 Corinthians 7:3-5). The idea that God doesn’t want people to have sex is wrong. He just wants people to enjoy it in the way He designed it – between a married male and female.
One interesting aspect of Song of Solomon is that the woman is the aggressor. She repeatedly states her attraction for the man (Song of Solomon 1:2). She also does most of the talking (she has more than 50% of the lines in this poem). Here we see that God did not intend for women to be sexually passive as many anti-Bible people claim.
The man’s character and reputation are important to the woman (Song of Solomon 1:3). It is certainly possible to be first attracted to someone’s personality which in-turn leads to sexual attractiveness. Perhaps this is how God intended it. But our society has it backwards. We pursue those people who turn us on and often they are not a good fit for us. We marry for looks, not character. This is why our divorce rate is so high and why a large portion of the population is single.
The woman has had a hard life and that causes her to believe she is unattractive (Song of Solomon 1:6-7). This is just another of the many ways in which the Bible represents true human beings with real-life feelings in real-life circumstances.
Both people are attracted to each other and let each other know it. God gave both men and women sexual desires and it is not wrong to act upon them as long as we act upon them in the right way. When single, our desires cause us to look for and find a mate. When we are married we then exercise these desires physically. Notice too the importance of telling someone that they are attractive. We all need compliments in our life and God teaches us here to not hold back on letting our fiancé or spouse know it.
The wedding between these two people begins in Song of Solomon 3:6. Up to this point they have not had sex, although they desired it, demonstrating God’s design for sex – it is to be used only during marriage. Until that time God requires that we remain celibate.
The wedding night begin in Song of Solomon 4. Notice that the husband takes control and lavishes praises on his wife. He was focused on her, not on himself. This is another way in which we can see how our society is broken today. We view sex selfishly – as a way to get our needs met. But God intended it to be for meeting the needs of our partner.
As the husband praises his wife’s beauty he starts at her eyes and works his way down her body (Song of Solomon 4:1-15). Again, a simple plan that could be followed by a groom when he’s alone with his wife for the first time. From his perspective, that night was all about making her feel special.
Paul gives some interesting strategy to avoid false criticism in 2 Corinthians 8:20. By conducting business in the open where other can see it we can prevent anyone from questioning our behavior. Non believers are always looking for reasons to doubt Christians. The best defense against that is a wise offense – living openly so others can see how we honor God. Such living also reduces the temptation for us to sin.
In Psalm 50 God calls out His own people for improper worship. He doesn’t need us to “buy” his love (Psalm 50:8-15). Nor does he want us to pretend, or hang around with non-believers, or to be unaffected by His word (Psalm 50:16-20). God sees all we do, even though He may not act right away. But it would be wrong to believe that He doesn’t care how we live (Psalm 50:21). Someday we will all have to give an account.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post