Monday, October 17, 2011

A Kiss Is Still A Kiss

This lesson focuses on Wisdom Literature from the book of Song of Solomon. We shall review the wedding song honoring marriage, not casual sex with strangers, fornicators, adulterers, or between gay and lesbian couples. The most explicit statements on sex in the Bible can be found in this book. However, the purity and sacredness of love is best displayed in the Bible because the world has distorted sex as a flourishing industry for sale. God created sex and intimacy, and they are holy and good when enjoyed within the bounds of a faithful marriage. This is likened to God's longing for intimacy with humanity. God, as our lover, is calling for the church, the beloved, to be in a faithful and intimate relationship with Him...not a strange god because He is a jealous God. (Exodus 20:5) We shall focus on the Song of Solomon 4:8-5:1a, the wedding night.

'Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards.' Song 4:8 It appears the bridegroom was calling the bride to leave her previous abode to accompany him. It is important to know the bride resided in delightful places (ex. Deut 3:25, Isaiah 35:2, Ps 133:3, and Ps 89:12). It is more important to know she is abandoning home to be of one flesh with her bridegroom wherever they go. Jesus issued a similar challenge to Peter and others with a simple "Follow Me". (Matt 4:18-20) Christ would have us leave the delightful mountains of the world which have lions' dens and leopards to be with Him in His holy mountain. 'I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.' Ps 121:1 Remember your help comes from the Lord and not the delightful mountains where there are lions' dens and leopards.

'Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.' Song 4:9 The bridegroom loves his bride as deep as a sister. That is a compliment! The word "ravished" would indicate the bridegroom was very passionate to the very core of his heart regarding his bride. The eyes are a testimony to the very soul. The bridegroom was deeply enchanted with his bride by simply looking through one of her eyes. Her beauty and charm arrested him. He loved everything about her. It does not matter whether she would be as beautiful to us, but we are sure that she was beautiful to him. Everything takes a back seat to her assets. So too, Christ is very passionate about His bride. He emptied Himself of His glory, became a man to suffer and die, to give His bride the opportunity of eternal life. Christ looks with great pleasure at the bride/church that looks to Him by faith. The eyes of the bride of Christ are ever on the prize. (Philip 3:14) We are sure that she is beautiful to Him.

'How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices! Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.' Song 4:10-11 This is the second time the bridegroom has lovingly called his bride his sister, and the third time he has called her his spouse. Keeping in mind that in that day, wine was the epitome of beverages, the bride's love was declared much better than any wine. He has praised his bride's love, lips, and the fragrance of her garments with the smells of herbs you can expect to find in a garden. He used wine, honeycomb, milk and honey to assist in praising his bride.

At verse 12 he further describes his bride as an enclosed garden with '...a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Fountains of running water are soothing to the mind and will quiet the spirit. 'Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices: A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.' Song 4:13-15 The bridegroom wanted to be more specific in describing his bride's garden. The images expressed in his description of her garden are the same kind of images found in God's description of the Promised Land. (Ex 3:8) That the fragrances are pleasing to God is evidenced by the gifts of frankincense and myrrh brought to the infant Jesus (Matt 2:10-12); by the ointment of pure (spike)nard poured on Jesus by a woman (Mark 14:2-4); and by the ointment of pure (spike)nard poured on Jesus' feet by Mary, the sister of Lazarus (John 12:3). The garden is well watered. Those that are gardens to Christ must acknowledge Him as a fountain to them. 'Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.' Jer 31:12

'Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.' Song 4:16 The bride responds, in poetic language, to come into the garden and claim it as his own. She calls it his garden in order that he might enjoy the fruits and spices that have been hidden within. The bride of Christ knows the garden belongs to Him and desires it to be used for Him.

'I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.' Song 5:1 The bridegroom responds to the bride and they consummate their marriage, making the other whole. Such will be the case when, as described in the book of Revelation, the union is consummated between Christ and the church. (Rev 21 and 22)

Anybody can kiss, but is there any intimacy of the soul behind the kiss? The lover's love points to God's love for all humanity. The greatest commandment is to ' the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself'. Matt 22:37-39. This love must be modeled in intimacy with and faithfulness to your mate. Romance is important, but it is not enough. We must love!

Written by Deborah C. Davis

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