"EXPERT ADVICE ON LOVE, MARRIAGE, AND INTIMACY Song of"
EXPERT ADVICE ON LOVE, MARRIAGE, AND INTIMACY Song of Songs 1:1-8 Love, marriage, and intimacy. King Edward VIII gave up the crown to marry a US “commoner” in 1936. King Solomon, who wrote the Song of Songs, had 700 wives. His marriages weren’t based on love; they were based on politics and national security. Maybe that’s why God spoke to Solomon about love and marriage. Solomon was only 12 years old when he was designated as the king to follow David. God blessed Solomon with wisdom but Solomon lived like a fool. God’s Spirit inspired Solomon to write a book on love, marriage, and intimacy. Solomon’s book was later incorporated into God’s Word, alongside such topics as salvation and the judgment. I have never heard a sermon based on Solomon’s book but the message God gave Solomon is just as inspired and important as anything else in the Bible. We need to hear what God said. Five years ago I began preaching through the Bible, knowing that eventually I would have to preach from the Song of Songs. The early Church refused to acknowledge Solomon’s book for centuries. When they finally did, they watered down the message and presented it as a portrayal of God’s love for His Church. Love is a gift from God and the highest earthly form that love can take is the love between a husband and wife. We can apply this love to the Church but first, we need to apply it to marriage. Our youth and young adults have a distorted image of love and intimacy because the Church has failed to present God’s view. What does God have to say about love, marriage, and intimacy? God’s thoughts were recorded by King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived (1 Kings 3:12). If Solomon didn’t learn his lesson from God, he certainly learned it from having 700 wives (1 Kings 11:3)! LESSON 1: BE ATTRACTIVE. 2-4 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth-- for your love is more delightful than wine. Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes; your name is like perfume poured out. No wonder the maidens love you! Take me away with you-- let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers. We rejoice and delight in you; we will praise your love more than wine. How right they are to adore you! The peahen is attracted to the peacock because of the male bird’s brightly colored, expansive tail. When God created humans, He encoded us with something that attracts us to one another. If you’re married, what first attracted you to your spouse? If you’re single, what attracts you to that special person? Attraction brings us together; what we forget is the role of attraction once we are together. If you use your power of attraction to lure a member of the opposite sex and abandon that attraction once you have succeeded, that’s a sin because you’ve broken your promise. Broken promises lead to broken marriages. Attraction is more than youthfulness and physical beauty. Attraction is intellectual, emotional, and physical. Attraction is listening to the other person. It’s doing things together AND spending time alone. Attraction is giving the best part of yourself to your spouse. In Solomon’s day, men didn’t take regular baths; they might go as long as six months or a year without bathing. They had no deodorant. The natural male stinks! Solomon was different. Solomon was so considerate of his wives’ olfactory senses that he kept his skin soft and fragrant with perfumed oil. He made sure that the time he spent with his beloved would be an enjoyable experience. What does that say to us, men and women alike? Don’t take your spouse for granted; keep yourself attractive. LESSON 2: KNOW WHO YOU ARE. 5-6 In 1994 Nelson Mandela became the first Black president of South Africa after 81 years of that office being held by Whites. In 2009 Barak Obama became the first Black president of the United States after 233 years of that office being held by Whites. Race is often a factor in life. One of Solomon’s wives felt like an outsider because of the color of her skin. V5-6 Dark am I, yet lovely, O daughters of Jerusalem, dark like the tents of Kedar, like the tent curtains of Solomon. Do not stare at me because I am dark, because I am darkened by the sun. My mother's sons were angry with me and made me take care of the vineyards; my own vineyard I have neglected. Solomon’s wife’s skin was dark, not because of race, but because she had worked in the vineyards in the blazing sun. Women of noble birth stayed inside, covered, and protected from the sun. Some of the other 699 wives sneered at this woman because of her humble background, but listen to how she described herself: Dark am I, yet lovely. None of us chose our past; it was given to us just like our genetic DNA. You should not be ashamed of your past or accountable for it. It doesn’t matter if you were poor, grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, were born outside of marriage, were abandoned, or have a physical handicap. All of those factors are just pieces of God’s puzzle. The person God created is the person He wants you to be, using the pieces of your past. Don’t be ashamed of who you are or where you came from. Marriages can be destroyed if a spouse is insecure. Insecurity leads to jealousy and jealousy leads to destruction. On the flip side, don’t treat your spouse as if you are better. Don’t belittle that person who is not only created by God in God’s image but who is also one with you. An attitude of superiority leads to physical, verbal, and emotional abuse. If you’re single, don’t date a person who doesn’t treat you with respect; find someone who will. God wants you to be married to a person who accepts and appreciates you. LESSON 3: HAVE A PLAN. 7-8 Tell me, you whom I love, where you graze your flock and where you rest your sheep at midday. How many of you always know where your spouse is? Being married means being accountable. It’s what people used to call “settling down.” Where I am and what I do is no longer my business; it’s my spouse’s business as well. Why should I be like a veiled woman beside the flocks of your friends? If you do not know, most beautiful of women, follow the tracks of the sheep and graze your young goats by the tents of the shepherds. Solomon made his point by illustrating what has to happen if a husband and wife want to rendezvous in the middle of the day: they have to have a game plan. If you’re going to succeed in marriage, you have to have a plan. When and where will you and your spouse get together just for yourselves? It won’t happen without a plan. If you don’t plan to be together, you will grow apart. If you have a mate, hold that person’s hand and ask God to help the two of you to apply these lessons on love, marriage, and intimacy. If you’re single, will you pray for a couple you know that may be struggling?