A Lesson from Song of Songs

Thanks to Jason Salyers for sharing these thoughts from Solomon’s Song of Songs.


Consider the Bride and Groom’s interaction (pulled out of poetic form for space, from the ESV).

She: Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine; 3 your anointing oils are fragrant; your name is oil poured out; therefore virgins love you. Draw me after you; let us run. The king has brought me into his chambers.

Others: We will exult and rejoice in you; we will extol your love more than wine; rightly do they love you.

She: I am very dark, but lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon. Do not gaze at me because I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept! Tell me, you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon; for why should I be like one who veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?

He: If you do not know, O most beautiful among women, follow in the tracks of the flock, and pasture your young goats beside the shepherds’ tents. I compare you, my love, to a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots. 10 Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with strings of jewels.

Others: 11 We will make for you ornaments of gold, studded with silver.

She: 12 While the king was on his couch, my nard gave forth its fragrance. 13 My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh that lies between my breasts. 14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyards of Engedi.

He: 15 Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves.

She: 16 Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly delightful. Our couch is green; 17 the beams of our house are cedar; our rafters are pine. 2 1 I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17). When we consider this first chapter of the Song of Songs, how do we teach or train ourselves and others with these verses? Unfortunately, for many, there is an “un-comfortability” factor with these verses because our own claims to propriety. “Men and women should not speak to each other in this way!” Out of context, that may be true, but in the context God has given us (Husband and Wife, Bride and Groom) we should reevaluate our own preferences versus God’s.

Consider how the woman refers to herself – she recognizes and accepts her appearance “I am very dark, but lovely.” This is not lascivious, prideful, or a striving for an adornment beyond the meek and quiet spirit. This is an interaction of a woman who knows herself and the place she has with husband.

Next Consider the words they are willing to say to one another, thoughts that reflect desire for one another, love of form and appearance, and a recognition and confidence in the place or position they have with their spouse. In Christianity today, this form of speech many would consider inappropriate, or even sinful. Yet, that takes the Word of God and uses it against itself. Christians must be careful not to pervert the Word of God for a desire to bind something God has not bound.

Finally, recognize they do have the desire to share their feelings with one another. You or I, we may not be capable of expressing these words in this form (the influence of our society removing our ability to speak as the Word of God speaks). However, the thoughts, intentions behind the words must still be brought forth, “Behold you are beautiful.”

 

The Silent Treatment

Do you know about “the silent treatment”? I’m sure you do. We have either been on the giving or receiving end of this one, or both. There are a lot of ways we can give the silent treatment in our relationships. One is simply turning a cold shoulder and refusing to talk to the other person until they “learn” the lesson we want them to learn. How well does that work?

Other ways we can show the silent treatment is by avoiding direct confrontation, but instead we use sarcastic jabs or disgusted looks to make our point. Or we can talk in broad generalities of how “everybody” does something or “we” need to change this, when it really isn’t everybody. You are just hoping that your broad sweeping statement will hit the person you think needs to hear it.

Regardless, the silent treatment just isn’t going to lead to effective communication and restored relationships, is it?

Let’s take a lesson today from the life of David, specifically in regards to his relationship with his sons, Amnon and Absalom (2 Samuel 13-14).

Absalom had his brother, Amnon, murdered, because Amnon raped their sister Tamar. Absalom had every right to be angry, but went about it the wrong way. David was angry, too, but did not address Amnon’s sin head on; instead David went silent (2 Samuel 13:21).

Absalom also went “silent” for two years before he had Amnon murdered, for the Bible says here that:

And Absalom spoke to his brother Amnon neither good nor bad. For Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar. And it came to pass, after two full years… (2 Samuel 13:22-23).

Two years passed. Nothing. No words, either good nor bad. Did that silent treatment help this relationship? Was Amnon’s sin/crime dealt with properly? Did it heal and restore the hurt? No, all it did was fuel Absalom’s hatred and his scheming commenced as to how he would payback Amnon for raping Tamar.

After Amnon was murdered, Absalom fled. David was angry and sad, but again, David went silent. He did nothing. Notice the Scripture. 5 years passed before a word ever was spoken between David and Absalom.

But Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son every day. So Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there three years. And King David longed to go to Absalom. For he had been comforted concerning Amnon, because he was dead (2 Samuel 13:37-39). 

So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. And the king said, “Let him return to his own house, but do not let him see my face.” So Absalom returned to his own house, but did not see the king’s face (2 Samuel 14:23-24).

And Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, but did not see the king’s face (2 Samuel 14:28).

This may be an extreme example, but I believe the Holy Spirit gives us a great illustration of how the “silent treatment” can completely blow up a family and destroy relationships.

Let’s take some time today to reflect upon this in our relationships. Are we the type to give the silent treatment? Do we understand how hurtful this is to those we love when we behave this way? If so, how will we begin to change this, and directly deal with relationship problems head on with love and tenderness? Avoiding confrontation and running away from problems will never bring healthy and restored relationships.

One book you could read, along with the Bible (Proverbs, Sermon on the Mount, James, etc.) is the book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High. We are reading this right now at home, and it is proving very helpful to us.

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.
(Matthew 18:15)

Plumbing the Depths of God’s Love – A Blessed Man

1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,

Whose sin is covered.  2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. (Psalm 32:1-2 NKJV)

The psalm of David begins with the word “blessed” and that is the focus of our thoughts for the day.

First, this word should always awaken our attention because something important about our lives is being communicated to us.  That is certainly the case here!

What does the word “blessed” mean?  Some would translate and use the word “happy” but the word blessed has a richer meaning and has greater depth to it than simply happiness.  Being blessed is not about feeling happy. To be blessed speaks to having a fullness and completeness in this life.  Being blessed means by doing the prescribed actions, one will have an inner joy, peace, and happiness that goes beyond mere feelings and is greater than our physical circumstances.  Simply stated, “Blessed is a state of being”.

Living blessed is to live free in this life and the next. God is not a God of limits.  He is a God of freedom.  Sin is limiting but through our faith in his mercy in Christ Jesus we trust Him to free us from sin.

This idea was evident in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:1-11) when Jesus preached that we are blessed when others insult us and persecute us.  Obviously, insults and persecution do not bring immediate happiness.  Happy would not be the right word here.  Blessed, however, refers to the inner knowledge and joy of knowing we are suffering for the sake of the Lord (1 Pet 4:12-19), though we may not be happy while we endure the pain.  This is a position of strength not a position of weakness or living as a victim to other’s wrong toward us and/or chained to consequences of bad decisions we or others make.  It is a more than conqueror attitude…at it is powerful.

So the question for the day is do you want to be a “better” man or a “blessed” man.  This might seem like a crazy question.  It might seem that they are the same thing or somehow closely related.  Well, being a better man is certainly a good thing and can be tied to being a blessed man.  But the two words are different in this point…if I say I want to be a better man I imply somehow I can make that happen on my own…at least that is how I see it.  If I say I want to be a blessed man, however, I recognized and proclaim the only way I can be anything is with my Heavenly Father and through my Savior Jesus Christ.  That is the only way I can truly be the man those most important to me need to be.

David and Paul (Romans 4) both present the argument that being “blessed” is through our faith in God to forgive us and free us from the power of sin.  We are then free to love others the way God loves them and in the way they need the most.  Blessed is a state of being and position of strength built upon our Rock…Jesus Christ.

Even the world recognizes the importance of a “blessed man” even they don’t know that is what they are describing or looking for.  When asked what a “good man” is…a woman responded:  A good man is not a nice man – he does not do things to be nice, he does things because he has a moral code, a set of values he prioritizes and will always do his best to make sure that his actions are in line with his own personal standards. A good man will not do the easy thing or the convenient thing, or even the thing that he wants to do; he will do what he knows to be the good thing.”

I believe the women in our lives are desperately looking for a “blessed” man…even when they don’t say that to us or make us feel that way.  They are looking for a blessed man.  They need a blessed man.  Be a blessed man.  Recognize the sin in your life…that against God and God alone you have sinned…and go to Him and make that right.  Be a blessed man and people will see it.  Be a blessed man and others will be blessed.

God is a marvelous knitter.

God is a marvelous knitter. A friend recently pointed out to Anna and I a connection between two “knittings” in the Bible. One is how God knit the human body together including the joints and ligaments in the mother’s womb (Job 10:11; Psalm 139:13). The other “knitting” this friend pointed out is how God knits together His church with its joints and ligaments (Colossians 2:19).

“…and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God (Colossians 2:19).

In both instances, God gets the glory. The growth is from God, Paul said. That precious baby and the church both serve as a testimony to the marvelous power of God.

God is a marvelous knitter.

Considering that today is Tuesday, and our theme on Tuesdays is a focus on marriage and honoring the women in our lives, I want to take this concept and apply it to marriage.

Is not God also “knitting” two people together to become “one” in every sense of the word? Think of the marvelous handiwork of God in our marriages. When we embrace the working of God in our marriages, God will knit us together in body, mind, soul and spirit.

He made them one (Malachi 2:14-15). “So then they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Matthew 19:6).

That happens through being one with the word of God and prayer. We are knit together by our common experiences. This also happens through facing the trials and pain of life together. God’s knitting is not always the most pleasant of experiences for us. Growth and the creation of true spiritual union in marriage will sometimes take pain. There will also be great times of joy. But what is the end product in God’s eyes? A glorious marriage that resembles the beautiful relationship Christ has with the church (Ephesians 5:22-33).

So, embrace God’s knitting. He is a beautiful artist and His handiwork is second to none, especially when you see what He can do with a marriage.

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).