Strong Love 

Song of Songs 8:7
“Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised.”

There are a host of strong motivators that drive a person to action. Fear of what may come will often lead a person to behave in an unhealthy manner; lying, hate, and worry are often a byproduct of fear. Money can be a strong motivator. People will work themselves to the bone, and even sacrifice their families, to get a little more, because of the false security a savings account brings. Of all the motivating factors in life, none can compare to what will be done for love.

It was love that motivated God to send  His son into the world. It was love that drove Jesus to the cross, knowing the suffering He would endure. It was love that compelled Paul to endure whatever it took, to take the Gospel to the farthest parts of the planet. It is love that causes a young man to risk it all, propose to a young lady, and begin a life together.

Clearly, love is the greatest driving force in the universe. If we want to keep our relationships healthy and strong, we must be careful to feed that love. Jude wrote of our need to, “keep ourselves in the love of God.” This is done by, daily, investing time in the Word, prayer and obedience. Song of Solomon spends eight chapters illustrating the need to invest in our marriage relationship, to keep love strong. The love we invest now will be the driving force that keeps our marriage healthy, in the days and years to come.

Pastor Jim

 

Favorite One 

Song of Songs 6:9
My dove, my perfect one, Is the only one, the only one of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. The daughters saw her and called her blessed, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.

This young Shulamite woman has become the envy of everyone in the nation. She is looked upon as the favorite of her mother and receives praises from queens and concubines alike. Her beauty seems to have no rival within Israel, and she is put upon display for all the world to see. This had not always been the case. Earlier we read of how this young woman was viewed by those who knew her.

Song of Songs 1:6 “Do not look upon me, because I am dark, because the sun has tanned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept.

Her mother and her brothers saw no beauty in her, and sent her to work the fields. She soon saw herself in the light of the rejection she had always received, and describes herself as being unkept. It was not until Solomon saw her, and poured his love upon her, that her real beauty began to appear. As others saw the love, attention, praise and affection given to her by the king, they began to reevaluate her. Soon, she was no longer the forgotten child in the fields, but became the princess admired by all. How she saw herself, and how others saw her, was now determined by the love given to her by the king.

There is a valuable illustration here, for those who have received Christ. We often see ourselves in light of the way we are treated by others. If we grew up being neglected, not having many friends, rarely picked for sporting events, or invited to the parties, we probably have developed a very low view of ourselves. We might not think  of ourselves as pretty, valuable, or worth very much. The problem here is, we are looking at ourselves through the eyes of others, instead of through the eyes of Christ. If we want to uncover our true value, we must begin to evaluate ourselves in light of how He sees us.

Jesus laid aside the glories of heaven, wrapped himself in human skin, and laid His life down, in order to purchase us as His beloved. While we were living our own life with little thought of Him, He has been thinking of us more than there are grains of sand on the sea shores. He is watching over us as a father does his children, and has been praying for us daily. He orchestrated events in our lives to get our attention, and sent forth His Spirit to draw us unto Himself. When we finally received Him, He turned heaven into a celebration in anticipation of our arrival. When we stumble back into the things from which He delivered us, He provides forgiveness through the cross, cleansing through His word, and strength by His Spirit. All this, so we might overcome these failures and grow ever more like Him. When we talk about Him, He writes it in His journal, and even spends time singing about us.

Beyond question we are His beloved.

Pastor Jim

 

Roses Are Red 

Song of Songs 7:1
“How beautiful are your feet in sandals, O prince’s daughter!”

Song of Solomon is like a series of love letters between Solomon and his bride, designed to express the great love they have for one another. Writing love letters is not unique to their relationship. Thousands of years later, it is still common for two people who are in love to write to one another. I recall a time when my wife and I were dating, she drove to the grocery store where I was working, just to put a note on my car,  so when my shift ended I would know she was thinking of me. Sadly, in many cases, as the years pass, love notes are replaced with “honey-do-lists”, and our relationship becomes more like partners working together for a common goal. In a time where communication is at high speed and easy access, many are failing to take the time to properly nurture their marriage relationship. Taking the time to write a love note to your spouse is a great way to make a positive investment in your marriage. I understand this is a difficult task for those who feel they are not particularly poetic. Perhaps a glance into some of Solomon’s notes will encourage you. In an attempt to express his love Solomon states,

Your waist is a heap of wheat”

“Your neck is like an ivory tower”

“Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon”

No doubt, these things read differently in his culture, than they do in ours, but I still have to wonder if any woman really wants to be compared to wheat or an old building. I suggest, the real power behind his poetry was that he wrote it especially for her. Take a few moments to think about the things you appreciate most about your spouse and write a little note telling her (him) how much you love her (him) . Your marriage is worth the investment.

Pastor Jim

 

My Love 

Song of Songs 4:7
“You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you.”

In addition to being a love story, Song of Solomon also illustrates the love God has for us. Perhaps, nowhere is that more evident than in this verse. It has been stated, love is blind; because when two people are truly in love they do not focus on what is wrong with one another. It is not that God’s love is blind and He does not notice sin in His children, but through the cross, He has washed our sins away. When God looks upon those who have been born again, He sees us as holy and blameless. Two different applications cry out to us from this one verse.

First, since we are holy, we should seek to live holy. It is important that our lifestyle lines up with the fact that we have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. Too often, Christians develop the attitude that since we are forgiven we can compromise and commit sin. While I am not suggesting Christians are perfect, I am saying we should seek to live in a way which reflects the fact we have been born again.

Second, if you are married, your spouse should be lavished in the kind of love that says, “There is no spot in you.” You should have eyes for your spouse alone, and she should know it. Marriage is a lifelong commitment, requiring a love that looks beyond faults, as we seek to grow old together. Take some time this week to think about a way to lavish your spouse with love.

Pastor Jim

 

The Honeymoon Experience 

Song of Songs 3:11
“Go forth, O daughters of Zion,
And see King Solomon with the crown
With which his mother crowned him
On the day of his wedding,
The day of the gladness of his heart.”

Most of us have heard the phrase, “Honeymoon experience.” It carries the idea that the bliss we experience at the moment will soon pass and the reality of life will begin to set in. This phrase is applied to an array of new experiences, including getting a new job, car, house or beginning a new relationship. The sentiment is derived from people’s view of marriage. It will begin with bliss, but will soon settle into monotony or something worse. This view of marriage is both common and tragic. Common, because we see it happening all around us. Tragic, because this was never God’s intent for marriage.

In many cases, the model of marriage we see today looks something like this. A man and woman fall deeply in love with one another. They are willing to do anything for each other, and look for ways to express that love. As time goes on kids, work, trouble and familiarity slowly create distance between the two, and soon they are less of a married couple and more like business partners, raising their children together. Once the children are grown, their relationship becomes like roommates who are sharing the same domicile. Is this pattern avoidable? Is this what God intended when He created marriage?

One of the reasons relationships digress like this is, we fail to make the investments we made in the early years. We read of Solomon surrounded by princes, dressed to he hilt, and seeking to win the heart of the Shulamite woman. We read of her lying on her bed thinking of ways to express love to her beloved. That probably describes the early years of most relationships. Husbands and wives taking the time to express love to one another. The problem is we stop making those investment. Life becomes so busy we forget flowers, date nights, and getaways. Car payments, new appliances, and emergency funds steal away what used to be spent on investing in one another. I am not suggesting we are careless, but that we take proper care to make investments in the most important earthly relationship we have.

Look for a way to show your spouse the love you had in the early years. An investment like that will pay off for years to come.

Pastor Jim

 

Don’t Wake That Up

Song of Songs 2:7
“I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the does of the field, do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.”

Song of Solomon is a poetic love story between Solomon and a young Shulamite woman. Throughout the story, we read of their passionate expressions of love for one another. There is much for every married couple to learn, but there is another message tucked away within the story. It is a warning repeated three times throughout the book. The warning is simple, yet profound, “Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.” All those who hear the words of this poem, are to also hear the exhortation; the expressions of love declared in these pages have an appropriate place. That place is within the covenant of marriage.

It seems the lessons of Song of Solomon are ignored in two predominate ways. First, those who are not married, seek to express their love for each other in a way restricted to the marriage covenant. It has become all too common, even in Christian circles, for unwed couples to become sexually active. Instead of looking to the Scriptures as our model, we allow the morals of the world around us to determine what is acceptable or forbidden. If you are not married and involved in a relationship, keep in mind, sexual activity has been reserved by God as part of the marriage covenant. Once you become intimate with your boyfriend, girlfriend or fiancé, you become attached emotionally. Your emotional bond no longer allows you to properly evaluate the relationship, to see if you are in fact, good for one another. The unmarried MUST heed the warning and not awaken love until it pleases.

The second way Solomon’s message is ignored, is by those who are married. God’s Word illustrates and preserves, for our edification, an expression of what married love should look like. We find within it, the man doing all he can to ensure his bride knows the depth of his love for her. His love is seen as a banner covering her and providing comfort, security and encouragement. Through his love, she begins to heal from past hurts she experienced by her family’s mistreatment. Her love for him is expressed in giving herself to him in a way that demonstrates he means everything to her. Too often, we allow love to grow cold by not taking the time to invest love in one another. If you are married, take time this week to make investments of love into your spouse.

Pastor Jim

 

You Are Beautiful 

Song of Songs 1:6
“Do not look upon me, because I am dark, Because the sun has tanned me. My mother’s sons were angry with me; They made me the keeper of the vineyards, But my own vineyard I have not kept.”

Song of Songs 1:15
“Behold, you are fair, my love. Behold, you are fair! You have dove’s eyes.”

The Song of Solomon is a poetic drama. It tells the story of a love relationship between Solomon and a young woman. Within its pages we will find many lessons to apply to our marriage relationship. The first of these is the value of building up one another.

This young woman did not consider herself to be beautiful. Like many women, when she looked in the mirror, she only saw her faults. She saw, because of long days working in the hot sun, she would never fit the mold of what society, at the time, defined as beautiful. Solomon, on the other hand, saw her in an entirely different light. When he looked at her, he only noticed her beauty, and he was careful to let her know it.

There are at least two applications we should draw from this. First, it is important that we do not define beauty by the standards of the culture in which we live. A woman who spends too much time looking at fashion magazines, will no doubt begin to find fault with how she looks. She will be too fat, too skinny, too tall, or too short; all in the same moment. At the same time, it is critical that a man not let his eyes wander to other women. Second, there is great value in speaking encouraging words to one another. Husbands need to build their wives up with kind and loving words, that assure them of their beauty.

Pastor Jim