CSBC Sunday School: Proverbs Series/Song of Solomon
Lesson #12: Song of Solomon 2:15 – 3:5
August 23, 2020
Resources: Phillips; Braddy; MacArthur; McCrary, B. Jennings, Explore the Bible
HOOK: (Why should we listen to this lesson?)
Central Theme: GODLY RELATIONSHIPS!
Objective Statement: EVERY CHRISTIAN CAN EMBRACE GODLY RELATIONSHIPS BY TAKING THESE THREE STEPS TO STRENGTHEN OUR MARRIAGES!
Points: STEP #1 – PREVENTATIVE CARE! STEP #2 – BUILD TRUST! STEP #3 – RESTRAINT REQUIRED!
- FOCUS ATTENTION: WHAT’S THE BEST MARRIAGE ADVICE YOU HAVE HEARD? Allow for some discussion about this and see if anyone can share some good council. If we are married, we must take our marriages seriously. God created humans to be relational, with the greatest relationship being between Him and His people.
- CONTEXT: For the next two Sundays we are going to examine some thoughts from the Song of Solomon (also known as the Song of Songs). An overview of this Bible book serves as a poetic chronicle of Solomon’s romantic relationship with the Shulammite woman (Song of Sol. 6:13). Solomon himself speaks as the man. The poem includes four other voices: the woman, the young women, the narrator, and the brother. The voices blend together to produce rich insights into God’s wisdom regarding relationships, love, romance, and marriage. In the first verse of the poem, Solomon comes into view. He’s about to deliver his finest poem (1:1). Then the woman speaks. She introduces herself by way of her longing to be with the man. She is from Kedar, and her skin shows the effects of working long hours under the sun. She had to work outside because her brothers forced her to take care of the vineyard (1:5-6). But the man sees her as perfectly beautiful (1:8). Their conversations swirl around their obvious attraction to each other and their growing love for one another (1:9 – 2:6). Following their conversation, the woman cautions the women of Jerusalem about waiting until the right time to awaken love (2:7). What happens next in the poem can be understood best as an invitation. The man invites the woman to join him for a stroll through a vineyard on a spring day. They talk about the threats to their relationship. She encourages him to guard the love that they share together and affirms their devotion to each other and her desire from him (2:10-14). She describes what appears to be a dream or a nightmare. She’s awakened in the night and realizes that she’s alone. Her longing for the man makes her leave her bedroom and search for him in the city. The guards find her, and she asks for help so she can find him. She’s reunited with him, and they go to her mother’s house (3:1-5). The day of their wedding arrives, and the event bears the marks of a royal celebration. After they’re married, they spend their first night together as husband and wife. The portrayal of their wedding night includes his affirmations of her beauty and his love for her. In turn, she shares her joy over the intimacy they share (3:6 – 5:1). (Explore the Bible Guide).
- Let’s Explore the Bible in Song of Solomon 2:15 – 3:5.
BOOK: (What does the Bible say?)
STEP #1 – PREVENTATIVE CARE! (Song of Solomon 2:15)
- Solomon’s poem here is like other love poems, it’s written with a rich blend of literal and figurative language. So there have been many interesting interpretations about this verse over the centuries. Probably the wisest approach to understanding this verse starts with the truth that God’s people who live according to His wisdom protect their relationships with each other. Guarding relationships becomes necessary when we realize that predators abound. Those predators can destroy relationships (analogy of 1). The relationship between a husband and wife is susceptible to predators that gnaw at a couple’s devotion to each other. For that reason, a wise Christian couple makes guarding their marriage a high priority.
- Verse 15 takes us to a vineyard. WHY WOULD WE CONCLUDE IT’S SPRINGTIME? Well, from the reference to “tender grapes” we would recognize the time of formation of the grapes while they were still developing. That would take place in the spring of the year. Verses 10-13, tell us the man invites his love to go on a romantic walk among the springtime blossoms and scents since the cold of winter has passed. As they walk along, the subject of the “foxes” that could invade their “vines” comes up. In other words, they began to talk about their marriage and the need to protect their relationship from destructive influences. Once the little foxes started infiltrating the vineyard undetected, they would chew up the vines as well as the roots. The evidence of their destruction might have gone undetected for a while. By the time it became obvious, nothing could have been done to salvage the vineyard. So the farmer needed to be vigilant to catch the foxes before they had a chance to “spoil” the vineyard. Likewise, a marriage can be damaged by tiny distractions that can injure a relationship between a husband and wife. The distractions may appear harmless at first. The lesson here is that every marriage must be on guard to make sure little things don’t erode the union of two Christian mates. So invest in your marriage and spend time together to cultivate a blossoming and growing “vineyard.” Don’t allow little, destructive, influences to creep into the relationship, and allow those issues to let the bonds of marriage drift apart.
STEP #2 – BUILD TRUST! (2:16-17)
- Notice how dedicated the soon-to-be-husband and wife are to each other ( 16). They belong to each other, is a fitting picture of their undying devotion. By declaring their mutual allegiance, she affirms the depth of love that God intends for couples to enjoy in marriage. There is an aspect of mutual submission that occurs in a love like this. But this verse doesn’t provide any helpful instructions about how to achieve such submission within a marriage. Paul’s writings in the New Testament add valuable lessons about nurturing a healthy marriage relationship that is centered on Christ. A Christ-centered family grows stronger through mutual submission (Col. 3:18-19). Paul provides even more detail in his letter to the Ephesians (Eph. 5:21-33). The chief instruction in Ephesians (vs. 21) is that a wife submits herself to her husband by affirming his role in the marriage as the leader. Also, it teaches that a husband devotes himself to his wife by his willingness to give up his personal preferences in favor of what is best for her. By putting this kind of mutual submission to work in the marriage, the couple builds trust. TRUST develops an increasing depth of devotion that strengthens the marriage and fills it with delight. The woman’s declaration in vs. 16b expresses the anticipation of intimacy after their wedding when she says, “he feedeth among the lilies” as an analogy of them giving themselves to each other. Verse 17 has imagery that suggests the sexual intimacy he and she could look forward to when they become husband and wife. As evening falls, and “the shadows flee” at night, there will be time for closeness when they are united. Sexual intimacy will come later after they’re married. For now, their desire for intimacy finds a resting place in their hearts. The imagery of vs. 17b speaks of the “roe” or stag gazelle, which is a small male, antelope creature. The “young hart” would be a male deer (Ch. 2:9; vs. 17). So the man in the poem anticipates the fulfillment of their marriage in the future and the joy they will share together in their union. Relational intimacy occurs when there is mutual TRUST – trust to speak and share openly, to protect each other’s hearts, and feelings.
STEP #3 – RESTRAINT REQUIRED! (Song of Solomon 3:1-5)
- These verses teach an important lesson about practicing restraint in romance. Verses 1-4 are often interpreted as the woman dreaming on her “bed.” She becomes restless because she can’t find the man whom she refers to as “him whom my soul loveth” ( 1, 2, 3, 4). Panicking, she goes into the city and seeks diligently for “him whom my soul loveth” (vs. 2), but to no avail. When the “watchmen” or guards find her wandering around they are concerned but she immediately asks them for help. When they declared they had not seen him, she continues to search. Shortly after that encounter, she finds the man she loves so much. She says, “I held him, and would not let him go” (vs. 4). Following this long embrace, they go together back to her home. Remember this principle of the Scriptures. Nowhere in the Bible is pre-marital sex ever condoned. Some have concluded this couple return to her bedroom where certainly they would give in to temptation because of their passion for one another. Quite the opposite, she brings him to the room in her “mother’s house” and “into the chamber of her that conceived me” (vs. 4). By bringing him there instead of her bedroom, she registers her determination to practice physical restraint. She’s not going to give in to her eagerness to be intimate with him because that kind of relationship is reserved for their imminent marriage. “Restraint must be practiced until the time is right. The only right time is after the wedding.”
- In 5, she turned her attention to the “daughters of Jerusalem.” They would understand her dilemma regarding the man of her dreams and her eagerness to give herself to him completely. She commands them to be wise and commit themselves to practice godly restraint, (“I charge you”). The reference to “roes” and “hinds” brings to mind the innate mating desire that exists in all male and female creatures. Animals do not practice restraint, but God’s people have been challenged to live according to His wisdom. That’s why she presents a serious warning about stirring or awakening “love” before it’s appropriate and in God’s divine time. Again, the only right time is after the wedding.
LOOK: (Why is what it says important?)
Objective Statement (Repeated): EVERY CHRISTIAN CAN EMBRACE GODLY RELATIONSHIPS BY TAKING THE THREE STEPS TO STRENGTHEN OUR MARRIAGES WE CONSIDERED TODAY!
- God created the marriage bond as an illustration of one of the most intimate relationships in life. The only relationship that is to be deeper or more committed is the connection between God and His children! How is your relationship with God today?
- Perhaps you will find yourself counseling a young couple about the power of abstinence. What advice would you teach them about sexual restraint and the blessings of waiting until the time is right; after marriage? Romantic love is a good gift from God. But it is only to be fulfilled within marriage. To fall to temptation and get God’s pattern out of order, will lead to guilt and a breach of trust. Always remember, we can trust that God has a good plan for us. Walking in the fear of the Lord, we follow His path, including His design for sex being enjoyed exclusively within marriage ( 13:4). Also remember, God is willing to forgive anyone who has sinned in this area of sexual temptation outside of marriage. Forgiveness comes through Jesus Christ’s willing sacrifice on the cross. Here are some verses that emphasize forgiveness and grace: Rom. 3:22-24; Col. 1:22; Eph. 4:32; 1 John 1:8-9.
TOOK: (Why is it important to me? What should I do with it?)
Evaluation: This week, look for an opportunity to support and encourage the marriage of someone else in your life. It will bless them and you!
In preparation for our next Bible Study please read Song of Solomon (Songs) 5.