Category Archives: Marriage

Long For Your Spouse and Your Lord

I find Song of Solomon 8 a bit hard to fully digest and understand at first. I believe it is at once showing us a passionate and virtuous love between bride and groom and also an allegory for our love for Christ as the true body of Christ.

It begins with an innocence that seems to wish that her love had not the trappings of being king, so that she could love him more privately and without anyone despising her.

It includes some additional allegories, one in verse 8 about the younger daughter who may soon be of courting age.  The story highlights that should the girl be virtuous and avoid men’s advances, she will be honored. Should she be weak and susceptible to temptation, then they will try to protect her. This can also apply to us in a spiritual sense in our relationship with Yeshua. Let us not commit spiritual sin by participating with other false beliefs or false gods. Let us be pure and set aside for our Lord.

Another allegory begins later in verse 11 concerning vineyards. It would appear a reference perhaps to our being good stewards to all our Lord provides to us to manage in this life. All that we have belongs to Him. Let us use it well and consistently with His desires and instructions. Let us not be greedy and driven only by our own desires.

At the close, we see again how she can hardly wait for her love to come. Oh that we should be so anxious for our Lord to come and be with us… that we should put that focus in our prayer, Bible study, and worship time as priority above other daily activities.

Song of Solomon 8

The Lovers Speak

    1“Oh that you were like a brother to me
Who nursed at my mother’s breasts.
If I found you outdoors, I would kiss you;
No one would despise me, either.

      2“I would lead you and bring you
Into the house of my mother, who used to instruct me;
I would give you spiced wine to drink from the juice of my pomegranates.

      3“Let his left hand be under my head
And his right hand embrace me.”

      4“I want you to swear, O daughters of Jerusalem,
Do not arouse or awaken my love
Until she pleases.”

      5“Who is this coming up from the wilderness
Leaning on her beloved?”

“Beneath the apple tree I awakened you;
There your mother was in labor with you,
There she was in labor and gave you birth.

      6“Put me like a seal over your heart,
Like a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy is as severe as Sheol;
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
The very flame of the LORD.

      7“Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor will rivers overflow it;
If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love,
It would be utterly despised.”

      8“We have a little sister,
And she has no breasts;
What shall we do for our sister
On the day when she is spoken for?

      9“If she is a wall,
We will build on her a battlement of silver;
But if she is a door,
We will barricade her with planks of cedar.”

      10“I was a wall, and my breasts were like towers;
Then I became in his eyes as one who finds peace.

      11“Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon;
He entrusted the vineyard to caretakers.
Each one was to bring a thousand shekels of silver for its fruit.

      12“My very own vineyard is at my disposal;
The thousand shekels are for you, Solomon,
And two hundred are for those who take care of its fruit.”

      13“O you who sit in the gardens,
My companions are listening for your voice—
Let me hear it!”

      14“Hurry, my beloved,
And be like a gazelle or a young stag
On the mountains of spices.”

Ask the Lord to help you want more of Him… more worship, more prayer time, more Bible study. Ask Him to make it a desire of your heart and not just another task to be done each day. Let it be exciting to us as if waiting on the one we love to come to see us.

At the same time, for those of us who are married, let us also ask Him to help us continue to long for our spouse in this way that we should cherish our time together and not take it for granted.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

A Husband And Wife Should Embrace Being Passionate About One Another

Song of Solomon demonstrates a very clear passionate form of love to be shared between a husband and wife. They appreciate physical beauty and this is good. Many today try to downplay the value of physical beauty, but we should take care neither to overplay or ignore its importance. Try to see past the specific metaphors. They may not make sense to us in our culture and time today, but you can clearly tell that the couple is passionate about one another.  If there is one lesson to take in this regard, perhaps it is a powerful reminder that the Bible was written for us, but not to us. It was written to a Jewish culture of several thousand years ago. To fully understand is as YHWH intended, we must seek to understand not just the translated words, but also the cultural significance to the audience at the time it was written.

Song of Solomon 7

Admiration by the Bridegroom

     1“How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
O prince’s daughter!
The curves of your hips are like jewels,
The work of the hands of an artist.

      2“Your navel is like a round goblet
Which never lacks mixed wine;
Your belly is like a heap of wheat
Fenced about with lilies.

      3“Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle.

      4“Your neck is like a tower of ivory,
Your eyes like the pools in Heshbon
By the gate of Bath-rabbim;
Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon,
Which faces toward Damascus.

      5“Your head crowns you like Carmel,
And the flowing locks of your head are like purple threads;
The king is captivated by your tresses.

      6“How beautiful and how delightful you are,
My love, with all your charms!

      7“Your stature is like a palm tree,
And your breasts are like its clusters.

      8“I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree,
I will take hold of its fruit stalks.’
Oh, may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,
And the fragrance of your breath like apples,

      9And your mouth like the best wine!”

“It goes down smoothly for my beloved,
Flowing gently through the lips of those who fall asleep.

The Union of Love

     10“I am my beloved’s,
And his desire is for me.

      11“Come, my beloved, let us go out into the country,
Let us spend the night in the villages.

      12“Let us rise early and go to the vineyards;
Let us see whether the vine has budded
And its blossoms have opened,
And whether the pomegranates have bloomed.
There I will give you my love.

      13“The mandrakes have given forth fragrance;
And over our doors are all choice fruits,
Both new and old,
Which I have saved up for you, my beloved.

A husband and wife should embrace being passionate about one another. Strive not to drift to being just friendly roommates. Continue to seek to know, love, and serve one another with passion.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Mutual Delight In Each Other

Sometimes our culture chooses to portray sex and sexual attraction outside of marriage as “exciting” and sex inside marriage as non existent or boring. Some in the church even get misled to thinking somehow they are not supposed to be excited about it. God created sex as a gift in our relationship between husband and wife. We are to enjoy it and through it we are to strengthen our bond of intimacy. We are supposed to find delight in each other in this way.

Song of Solomon 6

Mutual Delight in Each Other

1“Where has your beloved gone,
O most beautiful among women?
Where has your beloved turned,
That we may seek him with you?”

      2“My beloved has gone down to his garden,
To the beds of balsam,
To pasture his flock in the gardens
And gather lilies.

      3“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,
He who pastures his flock among the lilies.”

      4“You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling,
As lovely as Jerusalem,
As awesome as an army with banners.

      5“Turn your eyes away from me,
For they have confused me;
Your hair is like a flock of goats
That have descended from Gilead.

      6“Your teeth are like a flock of ewes
Which have come up from their washing,
All of which bear twins,
And not one among them has lost her young.

      7“Your temples are like a slice of a pomegranate
Behind your veil.

      8“There are sixty queens and eighty concubines,
And maidens without number;

      9But my dove, my perfect one, is unique:
She is her mother’s only daughter;
She is the pure child of the one who bore her.
The maidens saw her and called her blessed,
The queens and the concubines also, and they praised her, saying,

      10‘Who is this that grows like the dawn,
As beautiful as the full moon,
As pure as the sun,
As awesome as an army with banners?’

      11“I went down to the orchard of nut trees
To see the blossoms of the valley,
To see whether the vine had budded
Or the pomegranates had bloomed.

      12“Before I was aware, my soul set me
Over the chariots of my noble people.”

      13“Come back, come back, O Shulammite;
Come back, come back, that we may gaze at you!”

“Why should you gaze at the Shulammite,
As at the dance of the two companies?

In fact, sex in marriage is so important that we are told not to withhold it from one another. It is to be given and enjoyed freely, not withheld for power or to force someone to agree to something else. The Biblical view is really anchored in the concept that the two have become one. They are no longer separate individuals.

1 Corinthians 7:3-5

3The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 4The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Do not deprive one another such that Satan can utilize that opportunity to tempt you into sin. Do not use sex or withholding of sex as a negotiating tactic. Enjoy sex together as husband and wife and let it strengthen your intimacy.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Pursue Both Spouse and Savior With Passion And Admiration

If you browse or study Song of Solomon you will likely come across the thought that it not only represents the love and passion of a husband and wife for one another, but also picks up on the metaphor raised elsewhere in scripture of the body of Christ as the bride and Christ as the husband.

With both in mind not the passion in Song of Solomon 5. Note the anxiety and torment of separation. Note how we are to view our spouse and also our savior… with admiration. With Christ there are no flaws and some would think that is then easy to admire. Take care, however, because the world is constantly trying redefine what is right and good and then make it appear that Christ and those who follow Him are bad. Also, we are vulnerable to acknowledging His good and admirable traits, but sometimes without true passion to pursue Him. We may not give Him our full attention and focus.

With our spouses, of course we all have flaws. While flaws need to be acknowledged, prayed for, and dealt with, let us focus on those things that are admirable about our spouse and do so passionately.

Song of Solomon 5

The Torment of Separation

     1“I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh along with my balsam.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk.
Eat, friends;
Drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers.”

      2“I was asleep but my heart was awake.
A voice! My beloved was knocking:
‘Open to me, my sister, my darling,
My dove, my perfect one!
For my head is drenched with dew,
My locks with the damp of the night.’

      3“I have taken off my dress,
How can I put it on again?
I have washed my feet,
How can I dirty them again?

      4“My beloved extended his hand through the opening,
And my feelings were aroused for him.

      5“I arose to open to my beloved;
And my hands dripped with myrrh,
And my fingers with liquid myrrh,
On the handles of the bolt.

      6“I opened to my beloved,
But my beloved had turned away and had gone!
My heart went out to him as he spoke.
I searched for him but I did not find him;
I called him but he did not answer me.

      7“The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me,
They struck me and wounded me;
The guardsmen of the walls took away my shawl from me.

      8“I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
If you find my beloved,
As to what you will tell him:
For I am lovesick.”

      9“What kind of beloved is your beloved,
O most beautiful among women?
What kind of beloved is your beloved,
That thus you adjure us?”

Admiration by the Bride

     10“My beloved is dazzling and ruddy,
Outstanding among ten thousand.

      11“His head is like gold, pure gold;
His locks are like clusters of dates
And black as a raven.

      12“His eyes are like doves
Beside streams of water,
Bathed in milk,
And reposed in their setting.

      13“His cheeks are like a bed of balsam,
Banks of sweet-scented herbs;
His lips are lilies
Dripping with liquid myrrh.

      14“His hands are rods of gold
Set with beryl;
His abdomen is carved ivory
Inlaid with sapphires.

      15“His legs are pillars of alabaster
Set on pedestals of pure gold;
His appearance is like Lebanon
Choice as the cedars.

      16“His mouth is full of sweetness.
And he is wholly desirable.
This is my beloved and this is my friend,
O daughters of Jerusalem.”

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

How Beautiful You Are!

Some of the specific poetic language may not resonate in our time and culture (e.g. your hair is like a flock of goats), but don’t miss the sentiment of the passage. Solomon is truly excited about his bride, and yes it is ok to appreciate physical beauty in addition to beauty within the person, especially when directed at your spouse.

Song Of Solomon 4

Solomon’s Love Expressed 

     1“How beautiful you are, my darling,
How beautiful you are!
Your eyes are like doves behind your veil;
Your hair is like a flock of goats
That have descended from Mount Gilead.

      2“Your teeth are like a flock of newly shorn ewes
Which have come up from their washing,
All of which bear twins,
And not one among them has lost her young.

      3“Your lips are like a scarlet thread,
And your mouth is lovely.
Your temples are like a slice of a pomegranate
Behind your veil.

      4“Your neck is like the tower of David,
Built with rows of stones
On which are hung a thousand shields,
All the round shields of the mighty men.

      5“Your two breasts are like two fawns,
Twins of a gazelle
Which feed among the lilies.

      6“Until the cool of the day
When the shadows flee away,
I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh
And to the hill of frankincense.

      7“You are altogether beautiful, my darling,
And there is no blemish in you.

      8Come with me from Lebanon, my bride,
May you come with me from Lebanon.
Journey down from the summit of Amana,
From the summit of Senir and Hermon,
From the dens of lions,
From the mountains of leopards.

      9“You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride;
You have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes,
With a single strand of your necklace.

      10“How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much better is your love than wine,
And the fragrance of your oils
Than all kinds of spices!

      11“Your lips, my bride, drip honey;
Honey and milk are under your tongue,
And the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.

      12“A garden locked is my sister, my bride,
A rock garden locked, a spring sealed up.

      13“Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates
With choice fruits, henna with nard plants,

      14Nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon,
With all the trees of frankincense,
Myrrh and aloes, along with all the finest spices.

      15You are a garden spring,
A well of fresh water,
And streams flowing from Lebanon.”

      16“Awake, O north wind,
And come, wind of the south;
Make my garden breathe out fragrance,
Let its spices be wafted abroad.
May my beloved come into his garden
And eat its choice fruits!”

Let us all seek to care for both our internal and external beauty. Let us be good stewards of our bodies and our spirits. Let us seek to love our spouses and be excited about them and by them.  Continue to invest in the relationship over time.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

What God Has Joined, Let No Man Separate

YHWH does not want divorce. Further, when divorce happens, He does not want divorce to be frivolous. He put forth laws to protect people for when the sinful practice of divorce takes place because of the hardness of the people’s hearts. But he also sets up guidance to protect people and to help marriage be successful.

Matthew 19:3-9

  3Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” 4And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE5and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFEAND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? 6“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” 7They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY?” 8He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. 9“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

It is interesting that Yeshua calls out “except for immorality”. That should tell us something about how He feels about immorality, which is referring to sexual relations with other than spouse in this case.

YHWH set forth laws to help guide people to right behavior. Marriage should only be entered into with great seriousness and prayer. The law at first is often misunderstood as a means for a man to divorce his wife. This is not the case. Rather the opposite, this is to protect the women. The law requires that there is cause, not just “I don’t like her”. It calls for identifying “indecency” in her. It requires a formal process with witnesses and documentation through a certificate of divorce so it can not be done verbally in haste or anger. There are permanent consequences. You can not remarry once you cast her off once.  Overall, by allowing divorce, it also allows a way out for the woman who may otherwise be trapped under the potential oppression of a man who may be hard on her because he does not love her.

Deuteronomy 24:1-5

Law of Divorce

    1“When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house, 2and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, 4then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance.

      5“When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home one year and shall give happiness to his wife whom he has taken.

I really appreciate verse 5, which we should be careful not to overlook. It really is simple and wise guidance. Often today, many put themselves in a position to disregard this by their own choosing. YHWH knows that newlyweds need time to bond and grow together in their relationship. They should take care not to put themselves in positions where they are separated for long periods of time early in their marriage in particular.  Some do this for military, some for other jobs, some for schooling… but it is not a good idea. Others may not separate by distance, but they separate by busyness. They each get so busy in their own lives, each working different jobs perhaps, that they don’ t invest time together to build their relationship. It is very important to establish a good foundation in marriage and then continue investing in it over time.

Let us enter into marriage with great thought and prayer. For those of us who follow Yeshua, let us remember His instruction… divorce was never intended in God’s plan, but rather was allowed due to the hardness of our own hearts. It is better to not divorce in almost all circumstances.

Matthew 19:4-6

4And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE5and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFEAND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? 6“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

For more perspective on marriage and some resources to help you invest in your marriage, even if it is going well right now, check out our page on Building Your Marriage.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Yeshua Is The Bridegroom for the Church

There are some parallels we can draw from Song of Solomon about our relationship with Christ as our redeemer. Yeshua is the bridegroom and the church is His bride. One thing in particular that stands out for me when I think about my relationship to Yeshua in this way is that I should be passionate rather than stoic in pursuing relationship with Him. He comes as my savior! The church should be passionate about Him rather than indifferent. He should be a top priority, not one of many… just as we would expect a husband and wife to pursue one another. Yeshua has already done much in showing His love for us in that He came to dwell amongst us and died on the cross for our sins. He has made a way for us to reconcile to YHWH at great personal cost. We should each ask ourselves if we are doing the same for Him in how we live our lives.

Song of Solomon 3

The Bride’s Troubled Dream

     1“On my bed night after night I sought him
Whom my soul loves;
I sought him but did not find him.

      2‘I must arise now and go about the city;
In the streets and in the squares
I must seek him whom my soul loves.’
I sought him but did not find him.

      3“The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me,
And I said, ‘Have you seen him whom my soul loves?’

      4“Scarcely had I left them
When I found him whom my soul loves;
I held on to him and would not let him go
Until I had brought him to my mother’s house,
And into the room of her who conceived me.”

      5“I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the hinds of the field,
That you will not arouse or awaken my love
Until she pleases.”

Solomon’s Wedding Day

     6“What is this coming up from the wilderness
Like columns of smoke,
Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense,
With all scented powders of the merchant?

      7“Behold, it is the traveling couch of Solomon;
Sixty mighty men around it,
Of the mighty men of Israel.

      8“All of them are wielders of the sword,
Expert in war;
Each man has his sword at his side,
Guarding against the terrors of the night.

      9“King Solomon has made for himself a sedan chair
From the timber of Lebanon.

      10“He made its posts of silver,
Its back of gold
And its seat of purple fabric,
With its interior lovingly fitted out
By the daughters of Jerusalem.

      11“Go forth, O daughters of Zion,
And gaze on King Solomon with the crown
With which his mother has crowned him
On the day of his wedding,
And on the day of his gladness of heart.”

Though I do not hold that any particular commentary can replace our seeking to understand the Bible directly, with God’s help, I do believe that we can leverage the thoughts of others who went before us and then test that against scripture to see if it helps us gain potential insight into the word. I have selected one for more comment on today’s scripture.

Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

3:1-5 It was hard to the Old Testament church to find Christ in the ceremonial law; the watchmen of that church gave little assistance to those who sought after him. The night is a time of coldness, darkness, and drowsiness, and of dim apprehensions concerning spiritual things. At first, when uneasy, some feeble efforts are made to obtain the comfort of communion with Christ. This proves in vain; the believer is then roused to increased diligence. The streets and broad-ways seem to imply the means of grace in which the Lord is to be sought. Application is made to those who watch for men’s souls. Immediate satisfaction is not found. We must not rest in any means, but by faith apply directly to Christ. The holding of Christ, and not letting him go, denotes earnest cleaving to him. What prevails is a humble, ardent suing by prayer, with a lively exercise of faith on his promises. So long as the faith of believers keeps hold of Christ, he will not be offended at their earnest asking, yea, he is well pleased with it. The believer desires to make others acquainted with his Saviour. Wherever we find Christ, we must take him home with us to our houses, especially to our hearts; and we should call upon ourselves and each other, to beware of grieving our holy Comforter, and provoking the departure of the Beloved.

3:6-11 A wilderness is an emblem of the world; the believer comes out of it when he is delivered from the love of its sinful pleasures and pursuits, and refuses to comply with its customs and fashions, to seek happiness in communion with the Saviour. A poor soul shall come up, at last, under the conduct of the Comforter; like a cloud of incense ascending from the altar, or the smoke of the burnt-offerings. This signifies pious and devout affections, and the mounting of the soul heaven-ward. The believer is filled with the graces of God’s Spirit; his devotions now are very lively. These graces and comforts are from the heavenly Canaan. He, who is the Peace of his people, the King of the heavenly Zion, has provided for the safe conveyance of his redeemed through the wilderness of this world. The bed, or palanquin, was contrived for rest and easy conveyance, but its beauty and magnificence showed the quality of its owner. The church is well guarded; more are with her than are against her: believers, when they repose in Christ, and with him, though they have their fears in the night, are yet safe. The chariot here denotes the covenant of redemption, the way of our salvation. This is that work of Christ, which makes him loved and admired in the eyes of believers. It is framed and contrived, both for the glory of Christ, and for the comfort of believers; it is well ordered in all things and sure. The blood of the covenant, that rich purple, is the cover of this chariot, by which believers are sheltered from the wind and storms of Divine wrath, and the troubles of this world; but the midst of it is that love of Christ which passes knowledge, this is for believers to repose upon. Christ, in his gospel, manifests himself. Take special notice of his crown. Applying this to Christ, it speaks the honour put upon him, and his power and dominion.

I encourage each of you to study and pray as you seek to understand all that God’s word has for you.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

 

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

My Beloved Is Mine And I am His

Our culture will often downplay the love and attraction of spouses enjoying one another, while playing up the wrongful lusts of those who are not married as if they are somehow more romantic. We are always better off when we embrace YHWH’s ways. For those of us who are married, or engaged and soon to be married, it is good for us to look with admiration and love upon our spouse or future spouse.

Song of Solomon 2

The Bride’s Admiration

            1“I am the rose of Sharon,
The lily of the valleys.”

      2“Like a lily among the thorns,
So is my darling among the maidens.”

      3“Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
So is my beloved among the young men.
In his shade I took great delight and sat down,
And his fruit was sweet to my taste.

      4“He has brought me to his banquet hall,
And his banner over me is love.

      5“Sustain me with raisin cakes,
Refresh me with apples,
Because I am lovesick.

      6“Let his left hand be under my head
And his right hand embrace me.”

      7“I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the hinds of the field,
That you do not arouse or awaken my love
Until she pleases.”

      8“Listen! My beloved!
Behold, he is coming,
Climbing on the mountains,
Leaping on the hills!

      9“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.

      10“My beloved responded and said to me,
‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
And come along.

      11‘For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.

      12‘The flowers have already appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.

      13‘The fig tree has ripened its figs,
And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.
Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
And come along!’”

      14“O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
In the secret place of the steep pathway,
Let me see your form,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your form is lovely.”

      15“Catch the foxes for us,
The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards,
While our vineyards are in blossom.”

      16“My beloved is mine, and I am his;
He pastures his flock among the lilies.

      17“Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away,
Turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle
Or a young stag on the mountains of Bether.”

We should take care to avoid believing the narrative that a bride should make sure she remains independent from her groom. That somehow she must not depend on him for provision, but must work in a job as well. It is perfectly good for a bride to embrace her groom and look for him to provide and look upon him with admiration. Similarly, let not the groom be so hungry for money that he insists the bride also work just so they can have more money and instead sacrifice the intended role of wife and mother in the family unit.

Do not stop looking upon one another in the way demonstrated in Song of Solomon 2 just because you have been married awhile, either. Continue to look upon one another in admiration and love.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

A Young Bride And Her Lover

Why is it that when I go to write, or perhaps you to read, the title “A Young Bride and Her Lover” it brings to my mind that she is cheating on her husband with someone else? Our culture has corrupted the idea of sex and love in and outside of marriage. In fact, the reference is to a young bride and her husband, but our society has so damaged this image and tried to paint sex and love inside marriage as dull and boring and all manner of sinful exercise of sex outside marriage as somehow exciting. This is backwards. YHWH had it right and our culture often has it wrong.

Song of Solomon is an interesting book in the Bible to be sure. It is focused on a passionate relationship between a bride and her groom. So many people mischaracterize YHWH’s position on sexual relations, claiming He just has a long list of “do nots”. Dismissing or getting angry at YHWH for that is like getting mad at someone who makes hair dryers for putting the label on it that says “keep away from water”. The warnings and boundaries are there for your protection. YHWH invented the gift of sexual relationship between a man and a woman. He gave it to us as part of the marriage relationship. He created us to feel passion and excitement, but it is intended only for marriage of one man and one woman. Yes, it is supposed to be enjoyed in marriage!

As you read Song of Solomon, realize that it was first written in a different time, place and culture. Do not get tripped up over some of the references (e.g. “like the tents of Kedar”), but seek to understand the excitement and passion they felt for one another… the love they felt for one another.

Song of Solomon 1

The Young Shulammite Bride and Jerusalem’s Daughters

      1The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s.

      2“May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth!
For your love is better than wine.

      3“Your oils have a pleasing fragrance,
Your name is like purified oil;
Therefore the maidens love you.

      4“Draw me after you and let us run together!
The king has brought me into his chambers.”

“We will rejoice in you and be glad;
We will extol your love more than wine.
Rightly do they love you.”

      5“I am black but lovely,
O daughters of Jerusalem,
Like the tents of Kedar,
Like the curtains of Solomon.

      6“Do not stare at me because I am swarthy,
For the sun has burned me.
My mother’s sons were angry with me;
They made me caretaker of the vineyards,
But I have not taken care of my own vineyard.

      7“Tell me, O you whom my soul loves,
Where do you pasture your flock,
Where do you make it lie down at noon?
For why should I be like one who veils herself
Beside the flocks of your companions?”

Solomon, the Lover, Speaks

     8“If you yourself do not know,
Most beautiful among women,
Go forth on the trail of the flock
And pasture your young goats
By the tents of the shepherds.

      9“To me, my darling, you are like
My mare among the chariots of Pharaoh.

      10“Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments,
Your neck with strings of beads.”

      11“We will make for you ornaments of gold
With beads of silver.”

      12“While the king was at his table,
My perfume gave forth its fragrance.

      13“My beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh
Which lies all night between my breasts.

      14“My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
In the vineyards of Engedi.”

      15“How beautiful you are, my darling,
How beautiful you are!
Your eyes are like doves.”

      16“How handsome you are, my beloved,
And so pleasant!
Indeed, our couch is luxuriant!

      17“The beams of our houses are cedars,
Our rafters, cypresses.

I feel it worthwhile to mention, that though Solomon was granted great wisdom by YHWH when He was young, He still made a significant mistake in embracing the concept of more than one wife and of concubines that was more common back then. It was a fail on his part and drew Him apart from YHWH as Solomon got older. We have the opportunity to learn from him what is good and reject the mistakes he made.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.

Characteristics of Worthy Men and Women

Neither a husband nor a wife can truly be evaluated as “great” or “worthy” by simply looking at their “careers” or “accomplishments” without first considering what kind of husband or wife they are and what kind of father or mother they are if they have children. How do they treat the poor and needy?

These are elements that must be valued far more than just another independent person who accomplishes much in the eyes of the world, but in they eyes of YHWH neglects their responsibilities for the family. Men may celebrate worldly accomplishments, but YHWH looks to see if we took care of our primary responsibilities to Him and to our family first.

Proverbs 31 is often quoted for its description of a worthy woman, but there is solid guidance for men as well in the first part which describes the advice of a mother to her son. Don’t dismiss these things as outdated because they are addressed to people thousands of years ago. Neither human nature nor YHWH have changed.   Rather consider how to update and apply the concepts in our lives today.

Proverbs 31

The Words of Lemuel

       1The words of King Lemuel, the oracle which his mother taught him:

      2What, O my son?
And what, O son of my womb?
And what, O son of my vows?

      3Do not give your strength to women,
Or your ways to that which destroys kings.

      4It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Or for rulers to desire strong drink,

      5For they will drink and forget what is decreed,
And pervert the rights of all the afflicted.

      6Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
And wine to him whose life is bitter.

      7Let him drink and forget his poverty
And remember his trouble no more.

      8Open your mouth for the mute,
For the rights of all the unfortunate.

      9Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.

Description of a Worthy Woman

     10An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.

      11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.

      12She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

      13She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.

      14She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.

      15She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.

      16She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.

      17She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.

      18She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.

      19She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.

      20She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.

      21She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.

      22She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

      23Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.

      24She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.

      25Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.

      26She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

      27She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

      28Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:

      29“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”

      30Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

      31Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.

There is one more perspective through which we should consider these verses. For a man, consider if you measure up to the advice given to Lemuel. For a woman, consider how you measure up to the description of a “worthy woman”.  Take this as an opportunity to pray and reflect on whether there are any changes you should make in your life. Discuss it and pray over it with your spouse if you are married.

Do not submit to the world’s definition of greatness, but rather that of YHWH. Consider also how Yeshua described greatness.

Matthew 23:10-11

10“Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11“But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you.