Song of Solomon 1:2-4
[2] 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.
[4] Draw me after you; let us run.
The king has brought me into his chambers.
We will exult and rejoice in you;
we will extol your love more than wine;
rightly do they love you. (ESV)

Song of Solomon wastes no time. There is a very very quick introduction, but no preamble and no explanation of what the book is about. The woman speaking is “intoxicated” by her husband’s presence saying his love is “better than wine”. She loves his character and reputation as his “name” is poured out. This guy is well known, well thought of and honorable and that is attractive to her. This all culminates in a desire for her to run quickly with him to his chambers.

Wow. Let’s slow down a bit, right? This is getting a little uncomfortable. We’re reading the Bible after all… Yet, a book like Song of Solomon shows us that the wisdom of God impacts all areas of our life including romantic relationships, physical intimacy and marriage.

But, that is not how the book has always been looked at…

If we got into a time machine and went back in time 1,000 years we’d likely hear a different message about Song of Solomon. There was a period of time where the church primarily interpreted the book as an allegory filled with images of God’s love for the church. It was a favorite book for commentary writers and preachers early on in the church’s history. Often they’d debate what verses like Song of Solomon 1:13 (yes, Im going to make you look it up on your own) and interpret it as Jesus between the Old and New Testament. Bernard of Clairvaux, a 12th century monk, preached 86 sermons on the first 3 chapters of Song of Solomon from this interpretation that it is an allegory of God’s love for the church. There are many factors for how this became a popular way to look at Song of Solomon from unbiblical ideas about physical intimacy to popular church father’s setting the standard of looking at it as allegory. The church has struggled throughout the centuries with walking the line of seeing sexual intimacy in marriage as a good gift from God, yet knowing temptation, the tendency to make sex an idol in life and living in a world filled with sexual brokenness and therefore making it something to avoid discussing. This goes back even to the birth of the early church in the New Testament; Paul has to address these kinds of thoughts in 1 Corinthians 7:1, apparently some group in the Corinthian church thought it was extra holy to abstain from physical intimacy with your spouse. Paul lovingly corrected them.

How should we read Song of Solomon?

As you read the book you should walk away with a deeper appreciation for God and the redemption offered in Christ because every part of scripture points to the good news of Jesus. We will discuss on Sunday that a natural response to the book should be longing for deeper intimacy with God and for a “true and better husband” since we are the bride of Christ. However, the book is not filled with hidden symbols of God’s love for the church. It is filled with practical wisdom for romantic love in marriage and overall it is a celebration of God’s gift of physical intimacy in the loving covenant of marriage.

As a whole, Song of Solomon shows us the cultivation of emotional security and the treasuring of one’s spouse and the dangerous effects of neglecting those areas. It warns us of being casual and flippant with crossing boundaries too soon and allowing secrecy into your relationship. And ultimately it gives hope to those of us who have experienced sexual brokenness, or who have longed for this kind of intimacy and have yet to find it.

Join us on September 3 as we explore the themes of redeemed romantic love, treasuring and guarding love and finding a deeper longing for Jesus in the Song of Solomon.

*parents if you’re concerned or wondering if this sermon will be appropriate for your kids, please know that we will not be overly graphic or reference specific passages in Song of Solomon that are too descriptive. We will primarily refer to the love described in Song of Solomon as “physical intimacy”, which is appropriate since the book emphasizes that what is taking place is more than just an act of physical pleasure. With that said, we do encourage you to be continually talking with your children about the content at an appropriate age and time.

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