Song of Solomon 1-8 - The Bible from 30,000 Feet - Skip Heitzig - Flight SON01
The Bible from 30,000 Feet-- Soaring Through the Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
Well, let's turn in our Bibles to the Song of Songs, or the Song of Solomon. And would you join me, as we pray? Father, we feel it necessary to pause before we begin, even though our worship songs have been, in effect, prayers to You before You. But Father, we seek not just to understand a book of the Bible, even though that's what we're doing, examining this book in a single setting.
But we want far more than that. We certainly want more than just understanding the human author Solomon, but we want to know Your mind, the mind of Christ, the reason that You, put this book in the Bible, what it has for us today. And because of its theme, Father, we just want to begin by praying for the marriages that are in our fellowship.
We know that these relationships have been, and are, and will be under attack by the enemy, and even by the world and its system around us. We know that norms, and standards, and values will change like the wind, but we also know Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
So Lord as we are committed to the unswerving principles that are found in scripture, we just pray that we might gain more insight into scripture, and especially, who You are, in relationship to who we are. We ask it in Jesus's name, amen. Well, welcome to what Dr. J. Vernon McGee called the most neglected book in scripture.
It is a mysterious book for some. It is an enigma. And I say that because all you have to do is look at the interpretive history of this book-- that is, the years and years that commentators and interpreters, Jewish and Christian, have looked at this book and tried to ascertain why it was written, what is its meaning. And you will find all sorts of disagreement.
I hope, in part to overturn some of the mystery-- and hopefully, you will understand it. I had one of the guys in the worship team just saying, I can't wait to get into the Song of Solomon. I've read parts of it-- don't quite get it or understand it. So I'm hoping that this will change for some. There are people who view this book as simply an allegory-- that is, it's words that don't mean what they say.
They mean they mean something far different. So it's an allegory. And the ancient Jewish rabbis even believed that this is simply an allegory of God's love for his nation, the nation of Israel. Others view the book as an extended type. Now, you know what a type is in the Bible. You have one thing or one person as a type of another thing or another person. We can safely say that Joseph is a type of Christ, that the lamb is a type of Jesus Christ-- the Old Testament sacrificial lamb.
There are many types. And some in the Christian church have seen this as an extended typology of Christ's love for His church-- the bridegroom, Jesus-- the bride, the church. I think it's OK to acknowledge that Jesus Christ, as our bridegroom, loves the bride, but I don't think you can derive that principally from what this book was written for in its original intent.
Of course, Solomon would not even know what a church was or who the Messiah would be. But it has been seen as sort of an extended type. Others see the book of the Song of Solomon as a drama, a poetic drama between two printable characters, Solomon and his bride. I fall into that category, and I think you'll see why.
The plain rendering of the text, I think, leads you to see this poetic expression written by Solomon for his bride, and writing back her response in a poetic fashion. So it is a poetic drama. Then there are others who just see this as a collection of Syrian wedding poems all put together-- just kind of a mishmash of poetry from different times, and from that general area, all stuck together.
So this is why McGee called it the most neglected book of the Bible. Now, that was when he was alive and when he was writing books. Since McGee went to Heaven-- I don't know if you even know who J Vernon McGee is. Some of us do because we were sort of spiritually raised by him, with him on the radio. And he spoke here many, many years ago.
But since McGee has gone to Heaven, I would say song of Solomon has become a very popular book. There are churches who decided to use that as sort of their flagship study on marital intimacy, prolonged study on sexuality, and they use the Song of Solomon as their template. So saying it's the most neglected book, I'm not so sure about anymore. One of the most misunderstood books, yes, I would agree with that.
You will notice how the book begins in verse 1. It says, "The song of the songs, which is Solomon's." Because of chapter 1 verse 1, there are two titles. Either one is appropriate-- either the Song of Songs-- that's its ancient title-- or the Song of Solomon, its more modern title. Doesn't matter because both are appropriate, because of verse 1.
Solomon wrote it, so it is the song of Solomon, but it is also called the Song of Songs. Now, what does that mean? Well, whenever you find a word repeated with a preposition "of" in the middle of those repeated words, you are dealing with a superlative in the language. It's the song of all songs, the most important song.
Just like you would have the King of Kings, or the Lord of Lords, or the Holy of Holies, you have the word repeated twice with the preposition of in the middle of it. That indicates a superlative nature. So this is, of all the songs that Solomon wrote, this is his song of songs. You should know by now that Solomon was very prolific as an author.
And he wrote lots of proverbs, and he wrote songs. The Bible says he wrote 1,005 songs. Only one of them has survived, and this is it. And it's good that it has, because it's his best song. All you need is one good song to launch your career. So he is a one-hit wonder, man. And this song survived. This is his superlative work. This is his Song of Songs.
This poetic drama, this song-- also set in the cadence of Hebrew parallelism, if you remember back in our previous studies-- this one is mainly between two people, although there are other parties involved-- at least through three altogether. I would even concede more. But it's principally between two people-- Solomon and a girl-- a girl from the town of Shunem, called here the Shulamite bride.
Now, Shunem is a little town in the northern part of Israel, what we would call today Lower Galilee. And when you come with us to Israel next time-- we're going to be in there February and March next year-- remind me, when we're on the mount overlooking Nazareth and the Armageddon Valley-- remind me to point out Shunem to you.
I can see it in my mind's eye, but when you stand there, I'll point it out to you. It's on a little hill, and you can see the little modern village today. She was from that region up north in what will be called the Valley of Armageddon-- in ancient times, the Valley of Jezreel. Solomon, of course, is from Jerusalem. And this is his relationship with this Shunemite girl.
Now, there's only one problem with this book, this girl in this book. You read about it, and you go, man, this guy loves this chick to the max. Wow, what a lucky girl. Well, maybe, at first. Because this is the Song of Songs, because it is scripture, we can't be sure, but many scholars believe this is Solomon's first wife. Let's clear that up.
It's before he married 699 other gals, and made a mess of his life. So it would make sense, and yet it makes this story a little more heartbreaking, doesn't it? Because here's this girl saying, you're the only one, and Solomon's saying, you're the only one, and yet, she wasn't the only one. He will have 1,000 women altogether, with wives and concubines.
But it could be this is his first wife. And if that is the case-- and I tend to lean in that direction-- we have before us God's original intention in marriage. This is what he intended it to be. Before you add the 699 others, this is just that one that God called. "A man shall leave his father and mother, cleave unto his wife. The two shall become one flesh."
We can't be certain-- again, we're dealing with ancient poetry-- but it would seem as if the book covers about a year's time to two year's time. It covers an engagement or a courtship, a wedding ceremony, the honeymoon, and into the marriage a little bit, even the resolution of a conflict that they have, and then their commitment toward a lifelong relationship.
It takes place in two places-- as I mentioned, up north in Shunem, the Jezreel Valley, and down south in Jerushalem-- Jerusalem, the City of Peace, where Solomon's palace was. I think the best way to look at this book, without seeing it as an allegory, or an extended type, or a collection of Syrian wedding songs-- just a straight forward interpretation of this is a man's love for his wife, and his commitment, and God's intention for romantic love.
As we get into this book, I want to confess that I envy Adam somewhat. He had it easy. He didn't have to search or wonder, who's the right girl for me? There was just him. And it says the Lord created a woman, and brought the woman to the man. So it's like there weren't any chicks. God made one, and then put her right in front of his nose.
So if he was the most idiotic person on Earth, he could go, I think that's God's will for my life. He could figure that out pretty easily. We don't have that luxury, do we? It'd be nice, wouldn't it, if you got a knock on the door-- angel of God, special delivery-- Why for so-and-so. Awesome.
But we have a process we go through, and in our culture, it's what we do, but it's not the best process. It's called dating, which usually involves hiding who you really are, putting on your best look, putting your best foot forward, and conning the other person into liking you, and then really finding out who you are after you say I do.
Things were far different in the ancient Near East, when marriages were planned by people who had experience, and it was done in a very public setting and in a very accountable setting. And that is the setting we are dealing with. Now, I mentioned there's three parts of this song. There's the engagement, the wedding, and the marriage. Let me give it to you in chapters-- chapter 1 verse 1 to chapter 3 verse 5 is that engagement, that courtship.
They're getting to know each other. It gets serious. Then in chapter 3 verse 6 down to chapter 5 verse 1, we have the wedding, including the wedding procession, the bed chamber-- the wedding night, the honeymoon night-- and let me just warn you in advance, if you've not read the Song of Solomon, this book, in some parts, is rated R for realistic. And then there is number three, the marriage. That's chapter 5 verse 2 all the way to the end of chapter 8.
We have seen before us what God put in nutshell form in Genesis, leaving, cleaving, and weaving-- leaving, cleaving, and weaving. Leave father and mother. Leave one relationship, join to another, and weave threads of intimacy throughout a lifetime. That's God's intention. So verse 1 chapter 1, the Song of Songs, which is Solomon's.
Immediately now, in verse 2, the girl-- that girl from Shunem, this country bumpkin, the Shulamite soon-to-be bride speaks, and she speaks to herself. She says, "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine. Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, your name is ointment poured forth. Therefore, the virgins love you."
Now, the shoe the mite girl is attracted to Solomon, but she wants Solomon to initiate. She's talking to herself. She's going, oh man, I'd like to get into a close relationship with this guy, but I don't want to chase her. I want him to initiate. So look at verse 4, "Draw me away"-- that's the play-- "draw me away, we will run after you.
The king has brought me into his chambers. We will be glad and rejoice in you. We will remember your love more than wine. Rightly do they love you." Who are they? They are all of the other women who want to marry Solomon. They are the daughters of Jerusalem. They will be mentioned. Now, daughters of Jerusalem in this text will be used frequently.
And when it is used, it is either women in the court of Solomon, who are servant girls, or simply just all the girls-- the single girls in Jerusalem. They're the daughters of Zion, the daughters of Jerusalem, the female population of the city. You'll notice in verse 3, "your name is ointment poured forth." In the Old Testament especially, when you see the word name, it stands for not just what a person is called-- Solomon, in this case-- but what is behind the name, the character of the person.
That embodies the name. What attracts this girl to this man at first is his character. Looks are temporary. A character last forever. You look at somebody and, go, wow, she's a knockout-- OK, now get to know her. She may be a knockout in her character, or she might want to knock you out.
And you could marry her, and you're going to want somebody to knock you out. So the way a person looks is the initial attraction. It's the hook. It's the bait. And that's good. God intended that. He created that, by the way. But a personality you have to live with for a long time. She notices his character-- your name is ointment poured forth.
Some of the best wedding advice I ever heard put in quip form goes like this, "keep your eyes wide open before marriage, and half shut afterwards." It's good advice. Learn as much as you can beforehand, then afterwards, you just sort of have to close him a little bit and ignore some of the idiosyncrasies. Let it pass. Let it go. Let go of it. Don't hold onto the grudge, and move on.
She continues talking to herself and about herself. "I am dark, but lovely, o daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar." Kedar is Saudi Arabia, that area, the Arabian Peninsula. The tents of Kedar were made by nomads-- nomadic groups who lived in the area-- and wove their tents with black hair, the black wool of the black goats of the area.
So the tents of Kedar were black nomadic tents. If you go to Israel-- when you go to Israel-- we can show you some of these tents still in use by the Bedouins-- the tents of Kedar, the black tents. So she says, "I'm dark, but lovely, o daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, like the curtains of Solomon." What she means is I've gotten a tan from working out in the sun.
Now, she says this almost apologetically because, did you know, in ancient times, it wasn't cool to have a tan? It's now cool. It's like, oh, you're all suntanned. You look relaxed and good with that tan. Back then, it was sort of a shame, because it meant you weren't-- you had to work menial job, because you had to work outside.
And so she's sort of apologizing for the fact that she's been in the sun working. If you read on-- and we will-- it seems like her brothers, her step brothers, made her work outside. Verse 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."
So she's sort of giving us insight into her home life. She's had to tend the vineyard in her family up north in that area of Shunem, the hill country of Shunem. But she's self-conscious about her appearance. She has worked hard outside tending the vineyard of her family, but she hasn't tended her own vineyard, meaning her own personal appearance. She's been unable to attend to herself.
It's funny-- not funny-- it's human nature that we are self-conscious about how we look. We are. That's why we have mirrors. In every bathroom I've ever seen in this country, we have mirrors. And in many cases, we have them scattered throughout the house, just in case between the bathroom, the bedroom, and the living room, we didn't check ourselves out enough. We make sure they're everywhere. And then we get in the car, it;s like--
So we are a self-conscious species. One of our problems is we compare ourselves to others. And we have it bad in our modern day and age with our modern ability to watch so many movies and soap operas and see stuff on social media. They've done study after study. Researchers have determined that the more one watches TV movies, soap operas, et cetera, music videos, the more self-conscious and dissatisfied. They become with their own looks.
It's because they're seeing a standard, a model of what is considered beautiful or handsome, and because it is played so often and we see it so often, because we are not that, we've become very self-conscious about our bodies. She says, verse 7, "Tell me, oh you whom I love, where you feed your flock." It could be-- can't prove it-- but it could be that Solomon is interested in this girl, but went incognito, disguising himself into this vineyard attracted to this girl.
Maybe it was his property that he leased to her family. Thought she's a good looking gal, so he disguised himself. So she wouldn't know it's the king. And she doesn't know it's the king at first. So she says, Tell me, you whom I love, where do you feed your flock? You seem to look like a shepherd-- disguised as a shepherd. "Where do you make it rest at noon? For why should I be as one who veils herself"-- meaning a prostitute.
Prostitutes will cover themselves and then pursue a man. "Why should I be as one who veils herself by the flocks of your companions"? So here's the deal-- she wants to know this guy, but she doesn't want to chase this guy. That's what prostitutes do. She wants, again, him to initiate, and she is saying that she values her own purity.
One of the common pitfalls, since we're talking about relationships, in people getting married or getting married a second time is moving too quickly, deciding too quickly, feeling convinced that this is the love of my life, I've never met anybody like this. You do it very, very quickly. You don't want to cover the time it takes to have their relationship evaluated by people who are wise, and are your friends, and who will scrutinize, and will ask questions.
And so people rebound very, very quickly after a divorce or after a death of a spouse, or they get married the first time very, very quickly. If a couple says they're ready for marriage after two weeks, I'm leary-- or a month, I'm leary. I'm not saying it hasn't worked out like that. I've seen a few times where it really has worked out, but very rarely. It is the exception, rather than the rule.
It is much easier to get into a relationship than it is to live with a relationship. Easiest thing in the world to get into a relationship. You can do that in a couple hours. But then living with a relationship is another issue. There was a study done at Kansas State University about couples, and they noted a correlation between the length of time a couple spends in dating and marital satisfaction afterward.
They said, and I'm quoting, "Couples who had dated for more than two years scored consistently high on marital satisfaction, while couples who had dated for shorter periods scored in a wide range from very high to very low." This is the initial part of their relationship. Now, it gets more serious. Now, the dating, courtship, relationship begins. We would say they're going steady.
Solomon speaks in verse 9, "I have compared you, my love, to my Philly among Pharaoh's chariots." You are like a horse. We do laugh at that, because this guy needs some help in dating. He needs some communication 101 classes. You don't start by saying, honey, you remind me of Mr. Ed. You're like a horse.
But you got to remember something. One of Solomon's great loves as king was horses. He collected them. He had stables all over the country. And for a guy like Solomon, who was a purveyor of fine horses. He's saying, you stand alone among all of the women of the world. You are the cream of the crop.
So I'll compare you to a Philly among Pharaoh's chariots. Verse 10-- "Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with chains of gold." Now, the Shulamite bride speaks, or the girl he's dating, who will be his bride. Verse 12-- "While the king is at his table, my spikenard sends forth its fragrance. A bundle of myrrh is my beloved to me that lives all night between my breasts. My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blooms in the vineyards of Engedi."
Back in the day, in the Old Testament day, before there was perfumes and colognes, to smell good and to cover up the vineyards smell-- you've been working in the vineyard all day and you've got the smell of earth mixed with dung for fertilizer-- so you're going out on a date, you've got to do something. So they would wear a little sachet of blossoms, flowers, or in this case, myrrh.
Myrrh's a gum that comes out of a plant in the Arabian Peninsula, and it does smell-- it's beautiful, and it covers up. So she's basically saying, I smell good and I love your cologne, would be more of a modern translation. "My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blooms"-- white flowers-- "in the vineyards of Engedi." Now, Engedi is in the desert, and when you go to Israel with us, we'll go to Engedi.
And it's barren desert, but flowers can grow in the area. So what she's saying to him is, all other guys that I've seen are like the desert. You are like that beautiful garden of flowers in the midst of the desert. You are singular. That also was a compliment. Now, Solomon speaks, and they're speaking to each other in more intimate terms in the next little bit of a discourse.
Verse 15-- "Behold, you are fair, my love. Behold, you are fair, you have doves eyes." So again, we read that, and we go, huh? You remind me of a horse, and you look like a bird. You got bird eyes. It doesn't sound romantic to us, but I did a little reading on doves. And one of the interesting characteristics of a dove, though they do have a sort of peaceful looking eyes, in antiquity, a dove was a complimentary bird to be called that.
But doves, the way they move and the way they focus their eyes, they can only focus on one thing at a time. So it's like saying, I know that you have eyes only for me. When you say, you have dove's eyes, you're saying, I know that you have a singular look. You don't notice everybody else. You're noticing just me. It's a beautiful, beautiful description. You have eyes for me only.
Now, the girl speaks. The Shulamite speaks. Verse 16-- "Behold, you are handsome, my beloved-- yes, pleasant. Also, our bed is green. The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir." They are now outside. They're out in the countryside. Their bed is green. They're probably having a picnic out on a green grassy field. And above them are fir trees, so it's like a cathedral with beams of cedar, the trees all around them.
It feels like a castle. Chapter 2 verse 4, "He brought me to the banqueting house"-- the banqueting house is up in Jerusalem-- "and his banner over me was love." So they were in the country at a picnic, but now he brings her out in public. And as he brings her out in public, he is willing to be identified with her in public. So the commitment is deepening, when it says he brought me to the banqueting house.
Now, Solomon is speaking to these girls, either servant girls in his palace or just the female population of Jerusalem, called daughters of Jerusalem. Verse 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." You know what that phrase means?
It means love has its place and love has its time, but don't stimulate love prematurely. And it's good wisdom let love have its growth, have its blossom, but produce roots so the relationship will last. Now, as they are getting to know each other, and they're longing for each other, and they're longing to be kissed, and longing to get intimate, they're also realizing that love to be right has to blossom in the right place and at the right time.
So here's the principle. God gave you your hormones and God gave you your pheromones. and. I love that he did I love the fact that there is, within the construct of the nerve ending, the ability to inhale, and chemicals are released, and you're breathing in pheromone chemicals that make you more attracted to one person over another because of the way they smell-- either their perfume, or cologne, or just body odor, or whatever it is.
And so I love the fact that God put hormones and pheromones within us as part of the process. It's quite pleasant. The sexual impulse is God-given, but because it is God-given, it must be God-guided. If the sexual impulse, which is God-given, is not God-guided, you will find yourself in a heap of trouble, because again, beauty is fading. Personality lasts a lifetime.
I've often likened the sexual impulse to fire-- fire in a fireplace. You put wood in a fire. Last couple days have been cold. It's kind of nice. We have an outdoor fireplace. I threw some wood in there. It's kind of nice to be warm. But if I decide to take the burning wood out of the fireplace and put it on my schedule in the living room, now that which was beautiful in its context is now out of its context and quite ugly and quite destructive.
So fire in the fireplace is good. Fire outside the fireplace can destroy. Sexual impulse is beautiful in its context. Out of its context, it can and it will destroy. Proverbs 5, I'll throw back to that, which we already covered-- Proverbs 5 verse 15 through 18, Solomon said, "Drink water from your own cistern and running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets, let them be only your own.
And not for strangers with you, let your fountain be blessed and rejoice with the wife of your youth." Good counsel, godly counsel. I only wish Solomon would himself have followed that his whole life. The point is this-- sex in a marriage-- did that just cut out? OK, sex in a marriage is like drinking pure water from a well.
Sexual sin is like drinking polluted water from a sewer. That's the analogy of that proper proverb, Proverbs chapter 5. One will delight you, one will destroy you. One is a river, one is a swamp. Verse 14-- I like this-- "Oh, my dove"-- he called her dove eyes, already but-- "Oh my dove, in the clefts of the rock and the secret places of the cliff, let me see your face. Let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely."
Doves that are in the cliffs of the rocks, they're hiding. If you want them to come out, you need to coax them out. And I think the idea is here is Solomon trying to get her to come out of the cleft of the rock. Here is a man really wanting to know who this woman is, so the relationship can be tethered and can be deepened. He's trying to draw her out and know everything about her.
Peter said, husbands, dwell with your wives with understanding, meaning, men, if you're married to a wife, you need to become an expert in her. You need to study that woman. I should become a Lenya-ologist. I should have studied her so well that I know what makes her tick, I know what she likes, I shouldn't be surprised, at this time, by a reaction.
Because you do well with that woman with understanding. Learn as much as you can. And in the dating relationship, learn as much as you can. Don't let it be a con job. Don't let it be put your my best foot forward. Put your worst foot forward so they can see the worst part of you, so they can work it out. Because it's better to find out now and work through it, if you can and are willing to, rather than find out later. Oh, that's who you really are.
Verse 15-- "Catch the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes." In other words, I don't want anything to ruin this relationship. Foxes can come into a vineyard, into any crop that has grown, and can be very destructive, if let loose. So chase the foxes away in your relationship with your spouse-- foxes of impurity, foxes of mistrust, of unresolved conflict.
I've discovered, in looking at a lot of marriages, that a divorce or a separation is a slow leak-- seldom a blow out, almost always a slow leak. And you just let it go and go and go and go, and pretty soon, it's gone. So catch the foxes while you can. Identify this problem. Work through a deal with it. Don't let it slide. Resolve the issue.
They're going to have a conflict in a little bit, and that's the idea. Catch the foxes before they cause the conflict and the destruction. Like Martin Luther used to say, you can't stop birds from flying around your head, but you can stop them from building a nest in your hair. Same principle. So that's the engagement, or the courtship. Now comes the wedding, chapter 3 verse 6, chapter 5 verse 1.
This is the wedding procession. This gal is picked up at her home and she is taken now to Jerusalem in Solomon's entourage. Chapter 3 verse 6, she says, "Who is this coming out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke"-- What does that mean, though? She's looking in the horizon and she's seeing either incense coming out of the entourage of chariots or it's simply just the dust that is kicked up by the wheels of the chariot as you look at it on the horizon.
"--Perfumed with myrrh, and frankincense, with all the merchant's fragrant powders. Behold"-- or check it out-- that's how I like to translate it-- check it out-- "it's Solomon's couch." The portable covered throne of Solomon is coming to pick her up. Solomon isn't in there. He's down in Jerusalem, but he's sending the limo to pick her up.
"So behold, it's Solomon's couch, with 60 valiant men around it." That's quite a bodyguard. But they have to make quite a journey from up north to down south, so you have an army to protect that would-be bride of Solomon. Verse 8-- "They all hold swords, being expert in war. Every man has a sword on his thigh, because of fear in the night."
So these valiant men, we would call them, in the New Testament, friends of the bride and groom. But because they're the king's friends, they are valiant fighting men. They are soldiers. They are well-equipped they are well-armed. They are the bodyguards Solomon has sent to protect that bride going all the way down through the Jordan Valley to Jerusalem.
And it can get tricky. It was even in the New Testament times. When you go from Jericho to Jerusalem, you go through some of those narrow passes, and that's where robbers come and get you. That's why Jesus gave the parable. A madman from Jericho to Jerusalem or Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves-- the parable of the Good Samaritan. So some of those passageways is the very way this girl is going to travel, and Solomon wants to make sure she is protected.
It's a beautiful snapshot of a marriage relationship, and the role of the husband as the protector. It was Matthew Henry, an old Bible commentator, who used to say woman was not taken from man's head to be above him, nor was she taken from man's foot to be beneath him-- walked on by him-- but she was taken from his side to be protected by him-- from under his arm, near to his heart, to be loved by him.
Verse 9-- "Of the wood of Lebanon, Solomon the King made himself a palanquin." A palanquin is a covered chair or a chariot. "He made its pillars of silver, its support of gold." She's checking out the limo, basically, going nice wheels. Inside and outside, she's checking out the exterior, the interior, support of gold, seat of purple, this interior paved with love.
"By the daughters of Jerusalem, go forth, o daughters of Zion, and see King Solomon with the crown, with which his mother crowned him on the day of this wedding, the day at the gladness of his heart." You see, she recognizes who he is. She has an understanding. I'm just not marrying a dude, a shepherd. I've discovered the shepherd who came into my vineyard is actually the king of the nation, of the 12 tribes.
And as the king, he has a certain status, and therefore, a certain responsibility. And I understand that I'm married to him, and I understand that he has responsibilities that'll take him away from home, responsibilities as presiding over the court, et cetera. I know what I'm getting into, and I know it's not going to be easy kind of sharing him with the nation, but she is recognizing that she is marrying somebody of great importance.
I always love what Ruth Graham, the wife of Billy Graham-- both now and Heaven-- but Ruth did remark, when she was interviewed a couple of times that Billy Graham, her husband, the famous evangelist, was sometimes, in the olden days, before airplane travel, when they traveled by ship, often gone seven months out of a year-- hard on any marriage. I wouldn't even advise that in any marriage.
But they did it. They had an understanding of God's call on both their lives. And she said, I admit-- in an interview-- I admit that I'm often lonely, apart from my husband. And so what I do is I go into his closet and I take some of his clothes, like a sports coat or a suit, and I'll often sleep with it, just so I have his scent there, those pheromones.
I smell his cologne and I smell his scent. As the press was prodding and probing, that's hard, and have you ever wanted to divorce him? She said, listen, I would rather have Billy Graham 50% of the time than any other man in the world 100% of the time. I thought that was a good answer. I know what I'm getting into. I know the calling of God in his life.
I know it's not easy for him or for me, but that's the calling of God, and I'm willing to share him with the world. I'd rather have him half time than anybody else full time. So I think that's sort of in the language here, as she recognizes what this marriage is going to be. Now we come, in the wedding, to the wedding night. This is where some guys go, I love this part.
It's the consummation of the marriage. It's a very plain description of the marriage bed. And you know what, I'm glad it's in the Bible. It might make some of you blush. So be it. Maybe you need to blush. Maybe you need to get over the fact that God invented sex, and He has it for our pleasure, within the right context.
Well, chapter 4 verse 1-- "Behold you are fair, my love. Behold, you are fair. You have dove's eyes"-- there he goes again-- "Behind your veil, your hair is like a flock of goats." Now, goats, what color are they?
No, not sheep, goats-- OK, the goats that make the tents of Kedar, what color are they?
So what color was her hair?
Very good. So your hair is like a flock of goats "going down from Mount Gilead," the flowing network of landscape that comes down from that northern mountain peak. "Your teeth are like a flock of shorn sheep." He doesn't mean you have hairy teeth. I just wanted to say that, hairy teeth, because that's just sounds so gross. So sheep are pretty gross, especially before they're shorn.
And they're pretty like discolored, and kind of grayish, brownish. But once you cut all that back, brilliant white underneath. So you have beautiful white teeth, "which have come from washing"-- so you brush your teeth-- "each one of them bears twins"-- so you've got symmetry to your smile-- "none of them is barren among them. So they're clean, white, straight, and none of them are missing.
No partials, no dentures-- you're good to go. "Your lips are like a strand of scarlet"-- beautifully-shaped red lips-- "Your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind her veil are like a piece of pomegranate." You have high cheekbones and ruby colored. You're stoked on that. Somebody was stoked on that, OK. "Your neck is like the"-- just wait-- "Your neck is like the Tower of David, built for an armory on which have hung 1,000, all the shields of mighty men."
So he lifts up her veil, caresses her hair, and you'll see in the next couple of verses, he, the husband, undresses his bride. "Your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle, which feet among the lilies. Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense. You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you."
This is their wedding night. This is their lovemaking. Please notice how gently he speaks to her. He's not rough. He's sweet. He's tender. He caresses her. He praises her. He is very gentle with her. When it comes to sexual attraction and lovemaking-- this might help-- men are microwaves, women are crock pots.
For a gal, it takes a while to build up that intimate desire. For a guy, ready to go right now. They're like, the microwave just went on and off. For a woman-- and I think Solomon understands this in the poetry of this book-- romance begins early in the day. Now, once again, if you think that God is some stuffy prude, just read through this a couple times on your own.
You will see that, wow, this is God's invention. CS Lewis made that point, that God invented pleasure. He said it's the invention of God, not the devil. In Genesis, it says God made the male and female, and they were both naked and what? Not ashamed. Adam and Eve were not ashamed. Neither should you be, husbands and wives, in the presence of your spouse.
However, I've told you the story of my honeymoon, and my wife's grandfather giving us the honeymoon suite in Ventura, California, and we opened the door to see gold cherubs, and pink, and red, and gold wallpaper that was this weird texture, and a mirror over the bed. And it was like, [RETCHING]. It was so hard to just not do that.
So a little bit embarrassing. Verse 12-- "A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a spring"-- shut up-- "a fountain sealed." You know what this means? It means this woman saved herself for marriage. She put up a wall. Nothing could penetrate that wall. She was in accessible to other men. In other words, I married a virgin.
And he's praising her for that. Her body was sealed. Now, we're starting to get a little bit of frame of God's will in a relationship. Simply put, it's abstinence until marriage, fidelity within marriage, and then the enjoyment of marriage. Have at it. The marriage bed is undefiled, the writer of Hebrews said. Have a great time.
Chapter 5 verse 1, the second part of it-- I just want to show this to you because it's an enigmatic phrase, and many commentators skip over it. I don't want to do that. "Eat, oh friends, drink; yes, drink deeply, oh beloved ones." Who's talking, and to whom? We don't know. Some believe it's Solomon speaking to his friends, like hey, I'm going to go enjoy my wife.
You go enjoy the meal, the wedding feast. Drink deeply. Have all the chicken and steak you want. It's on me. Or something-- it's his friends saying this to Solomon and his bride, like go in and enjoy the marriage bed. Here's another thought.
Some believe this is the one place where God is speaking to the couple, saying I've created this, I've ordained this, now go enjoy this. "Eat, oh friends, drink; yes, drink deeply, oh beloved ones." Did you know that there is plenty of research that says the more spiritually committed a couple is, the more sexual enjoyment they have in a marriage?
According to Redbook Magazine-- this is just one survey. I have Family Life seminars and others. Don't have the time to share them with you-- here's just one-- Redbook Magazine, borrowing the research-- a sexual pleasure survey was showing the preferences of 100,000 different women noted, and I quote, "sexual satisfaction is related significantly to religious belief, with notable consistency, the greater the intensity of a woman's religious convictions, the likelier she is to be highly satisfied with the sexual pleasures of marriages," end quote.
Solomon recognizes this, and perhaps, God is affirming this in this statement. Can't be sure it's the Lord speaking, but it is in the Bible, so as you read it and apply it, you could take this as the Lord's words to you-- you with your wife, you with your husband. "Eat, oh friends, drink; yes, drink deeply, oh beloved ones." Now, we get the final swath of this-- and I'm going to move quickly here. This is the marriage.
Chapter 5 verse 1 is still the honeymoon. In verse 2 of chapter 5, the honeymoon is over. She says, "I sleep, but my heart is awake. It is the voice of my beloved. He knocks saying, open for me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one, for my head is covered with due, my locks with the drops of night."
This gal obviously is having a rough night. She's not sleeping. She tossing and turning. Something is bothering her, some unresolved conflict, it would seem. Because Solomon comes, he comes home maybe earlier than expected. He's in a romantic mood. Open the door, baby.
She's not feeling it. Verse 3, listen to her excuse. This is her husband. She says, "I've taken off my robe, how can I put it on again"? Really? You couldn't stumble in the dark to find your bathrobe? How hard is that? That's a big impediment. OK. "I've taken my robe off, how can I put it on again? I've washed my feet, how can I defile them"?
You would agree this is less than an enthusiastic response toward her husband. Now, let me use this as a jumping off point. Men, when there is unresolved conflict in a relationship, your wife will not be in a romantic mood. That's not the time for love to blossom. So in that instance, when there's unresolved conflict, a sexual advance will not be well received by her.
She wants to resolve the conflict first. She will not see you as a hunk a hunk of burning love. She wants you to sit down, give her eye contact, and deal with the problem. Obviously, that has not happened. Verse 4-- "My beloved put his hand on the latch of the door, and my heart yearned for him. I arose to open for my beloved. My hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh on the handles of the lock.
I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and was gone." So she unlocked the door and he bolted. Sorry, pun intended. "My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I couldn't find him. I called him, but he gave me no answer." So by the time she gets around to opening the door and looks around in the hallway, he's gone.
Verse 8-- "I charge you, oh daughters of Jerusalem, if you find my beloved, she says, that you tell him I am lovesick." Now, I want you to understand something. Conflict is so normal in a relationship that two chapters of this book are devoted to conflict and the resolution of the conflict. Chapter 5 and 6 is about a conflict and the resolution set out in poetic stance.
So 25% of the book is devoted to conflict resolution. That should tell you that conflict is pretty normal in a relationship, and resolution takes up a whole lot of real estate and time to get it right. So I'm just looking at, if you just look at the map of this book and determine 25% is conflict and conflict resolution, you go, wow, that could be an indication of how much there will be in my marriage.
Now, you have conflict in your marriage for two reasons-- actually, for several. Can I just give you two to start, then we'll stop and move on. Number one, because you're human. So you're fallen. A marriage is two sinners that are committed for life. How easy is that? So you're human.
And number two, you're different. Opposites attract. You are different. It's what brought you together. But because you're a human and because you are different, you will have conflict. You cannot have two strong-willed independent people who merge their streams together without volatility and currents. You're going to have some upset.
Chapter 6 is the resolution. Just look down to chapter 6 verse 3. She's now saying, "I am my beloved, and my beloved is mine." Chapter 6 verse 4 is the return of Solomon. From verse 4 onward, they start not speaking about each other or to the daughters of Jerusalem. They're now speaking to each other. And as they're speaking to each other and the conflict gets resolved, they end up using the same mushy language that they used back in chapter 4.
So they get back to a good space in a good place, that they're obviously fixing it. I would sum it up by saying they've walked through their difficulties, they've worked out their differences, and love has won the day. That's the goal in a conflict. There is a goal. When you have a conflict, there's a goal. You know the goal is? And don't say to win.
The goal is not to win the fight. The goal is to win a friend. And one of you wins the fight, you both lost. If you win the friendship, you've won. It's not to win a fight. It's to win a friend. So it is true-- you can walk hand in hand without seeing eye to eye. It happens all the time in good, solid, mature marriages. But you have to resolve conflict.
So the conflict gets resolved. Chapter 7 and 8 is about committed romance. Love matures, it's a romance based on commitment, rather than hormones or a temporary feeling. We don't know, but perhaps this is a year or so after the honeymoon. She, in chapter 8 verse 6-- "I set a seal upon your heart, a seal upon your arm, for love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave. It's flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame."
That could indicate what the problem was of the conflict. Verse 7, "Many waters cannot quench love, nor can floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised." In other words, it's worth whatever you have to pay to engender love, resolve the conflict. And she's, in that poetic way, saying, let me be your most prized possession.
Let our love be your most prized possession, your treasured prize. Verse 10-- "I am a wall, my breasts are like towers, and I become in his eyes as one who found peace." Again, she's kept herself for him through that conflict. "Solomon had a vineyard in Baal-hamon"-- perhaps that's the one that her family rented and leased, and she worked in-- "he leased the vineyard to keepers"-- that could be her family.
"Everyone was to bring for its fruit 1,000 silver coins. My own vineyard"-- that's her own body-- "is before me. You, oh Solomon, may have 1,000, and those who tend its fruit 200." So Solomon, you have great wealth. All I have to give is me, and I give all of me to you. That's your way of saying that. Look at verse 14-- we're ending the book on time-- "Make haste, my beloved. Be like a gazelle, or a young stag on the mountains of spices."
She wants him. She longed for him in their courtship, she longs for him with the same intensity in their marriage relationship. Getting married is easy. Staying married is more difficult. Staying happily married for a lifetime is considered among the fine arts. Easiest thing in the world-- plan a wedding get married.
Hardest thing-- stay married. Harder yet-- stay happily married. Takes work. Takes conflict resolution. Now, there is a corollary. Though it's not about Christ in the church, there is a corollary. And just like she says, oh, I long for my groom, and I long for my groom to return, that's our refrain, is it not? She says, "Make haste, my beloved."
That's what she says in verse 14, last verse of the book. "Make haste, my beloved. Hurry up. Come back." Last book of the Bible, chapter 22 of the Book of Revelation-- "Even so, come, Lord Jesus. We say, oh Lord, come quickly." The bride awaiting the bridegroom. I want to conclude with something that Dr. HA Ironside, Harry Ironside, who many of you do not know or have heard of-- but some of you have-- he was a pastor.
He pastored the Moody Church in Chicago, pastored the Salvation Army churches before that, wrote books, commentaries, et cetera-- said this about the book-- he sums up the whole book, I think, nicely-- "King Solomon had a vineyard in the hill country of Ephraim, 50 miles north of Jerusalem. He lent it out to keepers consisting of a mother, two sons, and a daughter, the Shulamite.
The daughter was a Cinderella of the family, naturally beautiful, but unnoticed. Her brothers were likely half brothers. They made her work very hard tending the vineyards, so that she had little opportunity to care for her personal appearance. She pruned the vines and set traps for the little foxes. She also kept the flocks.
Being out in the open so much, she had a deep tan. One day, a handsome stranger came to the vineyard. It was Solomon disguised. He showed an interest in her, and she became embarrassed concerning her personal appearance. She took him for a shepherd and asked about his flocks. He answered evasively, but also spoke loving words to her and promised rich gifts for the future.
He won her heart, and left with the promise that someday, he would return. She dreamed of him at night, and sometimes thought he was near. Finally, he did return, in all his kingly splendor, to make her his bride." He beautifully summed up the whole book. Then he said this-- "This prefigures Christ, who came first, as shepherd, and won his bride.
And later, He will return as King, and then will be consummated the marriage of the lamb." I love that corollary. Though the book didn't have that in its original intent, I think we can retrospectively look back safely and go, I see the corollary. I see the fit. And all I know is, like the bride, I say, oh, Lord, come quickly, Lord Jesus.
And Father, that's what we end with. We end with our hearts' cry-- come quickly, Lord Jesus. Lord, the longer we live in this world, and we hear the unsympathetic cries of people around us, the world around us, we pray that you would help us keep ourselves for you.
As we opened up praying for marriages, we now pray for a spiritual fidelity among those of us who are believers, that we would be faithful and true to You, our great bridegroom, Jesus Christ. May we be a bride without blemish until the day You return. In Jesus's name we pray, amen.
We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Church. For more resources, visit CalvaryNM.church. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from The Bible from 30,000 Feet.