Song Of Solomon 1-8, Poetic Lessons For Your Garden Of Love

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Well, the book song of Solomon kind of a crazy book, one that is hotly debated by many and it is sometimes a very controversial book and in fact John Courson describes it as the most beautiful but the most controversial book.

In the entire Bible, and that's because of its content.

It is a group of poems that are really centered around the subject of love, romance.

A man and a woman, and so lots of interesting things for us to work our way through.

Here in the book song of Solomon.

And so I've titled the message tonight as we do that poetic lessons for your garden of love.

Poetic lessons for your garden of love.

Now there's some.

A little bit of preparation that we need to do before we get into really the book of Song of Solomon because there is a lot to understand as you dive into it in order to be able to understand the different pieces that are going on.

And the first thing to consider is how are we supposed to interpret.

Or understand this.

And there's a thousand different views of how to approach this book.

How to interpret this book?

I'll boil it down to kind of the mean two, and that is there's the allegory perspective or the love story perspective throughout history that Jewish people traditionally viewed the the book song of Solomon as an allegory.

Which just basically means a metaphor, a picture of God's love for Israel, and then also Israel's love for God, and so they would throughout history look at this book and.

Not try to figure out literal things or practical things necessarily, but they would just use it as inspiration to contemplate, to think about, to talk about God's love for Israel and Israel's love for God in the New Testament era. That kind of transitioned to pictures of Christ love.

For the church and then also the churches love for Christ.

And so again, not looking at it so much for practical insights or things like that.

But just looking at it as interesting.

Sing poetry to stir up thoughts about God's love and cause us to consider our love for the Lord.

Pastor Charles Spurgeon really adopted this view and taught something like 59. I think messages from the book song of Solomon in regards to the the Love that Christ has for the church and the church.

For Christ we're not going to do that.

We're just going to spend this evening here and work our way through the the chapters, but that is something that has been done throughout the years, and there's perhaps great value in that.

But the other perspective on how to interpret and our approach to this book is to look at it as primarily.

A love story.

That the content here is the record of a man and a woman and their love for one another, and they're joining together in marriage and.

And so it's a poetic description of that journey and the things that they went through, and so personally.

That's the the way that I lean in.

Looking at and interpreting this book I I look at this as a love story and and the poetry aspect of it really provides great.

Color and depth.

And insights into what that story is about and we can learn some lessons from that as well.

And so this is what we'll be talking about.

I I like the love story approach, I think that makes a lot of sense.

As you look at it trying to piece apart that allegory can be quite a challenge and.

There is lots of opportunity to dig into that if you would like to explore that perspective, you know nobody can really be dogmatic about the one right approach to the book.

Every view has its strengths and weaknesses, and so it's one of those things as believers that we can.

Evaluate and consider and come to our own conclusions about, but as the one that the lid has up here to share it, I'll be sharing from that love story perspective.

The allegory side of it, the pictures that are painted there in marriage between the the man and the wife, and how that represents God and his people.

There's definitely a lot of value to that, and there are other passages that refer to that and allude to that picture.

But the way that I see it is that you know pictures breakdown, metaphors breakdown, and they're not meant to be exhausted to every detail, and I think that's one of the challenges when looking at Song of Solomon as an allegory is there's a lot of details in here that you really have to jump through some hoops and work pretty hard.

To relate all of those things to our spiritual relation.

Ship with the Lord, but there's a lot of controversy about it.

A lot of discussion, a lot of debate about it, and many people like the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Even wonder why is this book in the Bible?

Why is this included at all?

Whether it's a love story or an allegory, it's so poetic, and so, you know.

Perhaps diluted, you might think that that why is it even in?

The Bible and Sunday as we went through Ecclesiastes, I described it as the jaded cynical ramblings of a depressed old man and Solomon writing.

Ecclesiastes was jaded.

He was cynical.

He was depressed and that just is visible all throughout the book of Ecclesiastes.

And yet we find it valuable because if that is what you're experiencing.

God wants to hear about that and and he wants you to bring those things to him and and and he's able to handle and to help you with.

All of those things.

Well, if Ecclesiastes is the jaded cynical ramblings of a depressed old man, song of Solomon is the romantic, poetic writings of a passionate young man.

Ecclesiastes at the end of Solomon's life. Song of Solomon is early in his life and he is filled with passion.

For this woman, and he is expressing great romantic thoughts and behavior through these poetic writings.

You know we in our society are bombarded by the world perspective of love, of sexual relationships, and of all things morality really.

And everywhere we go everywhere we look every channel we turn on the TV and every radio station.

We listen to our podcasts that we listen to.

There is this onslaught of.

Information and pressure to adopt the world perspective on these things.

And so I find it valuable to have the book song of Solomon in the Scriptures to give us some reminders.

Some anchors to be able to hold fast too.

Some of the things that God has said and has demonstrated and so included in here, is a good example of love and of sexual relationship and courtship between a man and a woman, and and how that unfolds and how that takes place.

God is not opposed at all to romantic relationships.

He's not opposed at all to sexual relationships.

He he is the the founder, the creator of these things.

He's the one who gave us this capacity and even calls us to engage in these things.

And so this book provides some great reminders of those truths and can help us really reset the boundaries in our minds and in our hearts and reset the standards that are really tremendously perverted and ignored by the world around.

Yes, now as you work your way through this book, there can be a lot of details that we're not going to get into today.

You know, I'm not going to get into the graphic detail and try to work in through.

You know, every illustration, every metaphor, every poetic picture that he is painting.

There is some really kind of spicy content you might say in this book, one of the early church fathers.

Back in the just in the New Testament era, soon after, he tells us that the the Jewish people were not allowed to study the book of Song of Solomon until they.

Were 30 years.

Old that they were forbidden.

That Nope, you're not old enough.

You can't handle this.

It's too mature for you, and so even if you're married.

No, no, not a good idea.

Wait till you're 30 years old and then you can start to handle the book song of Solomon and so that gives you an idea.

Here there's there's some really interesting content in here.

It's shielded and kind of rated G.

By the metaphors that are used.

But if you begin to peel back on the imagery in the pictures, you begin to understand a little bit more clearly about this love relationship, and even the physical relationship between this man and this woman in this love story.

Listen if you believe and follow the world version of love, it will hurt you.

It will destroy you and it will bring great pain.

To your life.

But if you will believe and follow God's design, it will bless you and you will benefit greatly because of it.

Now as we went through Ecclesiastes last week, I reminded you of the speed limits as an illustration of understanding the context and being able to kind of pick up on the cues as you are in different streets or in different passages in the scripture, and you can kind of change your speed well when it comes to the book of Song of Solomon.

The speed limit that I would suggest is not 45 miles an hour, not even 25 miles an hour, as in a residential area, but the speed limit I would suggest is 7 1/2 miles an hour. This used to always crack me up.

Remember, a long time ago, when Larry and Diane Hume were here and I would help and I kind of learned how to lead worship at their Bible study that they held in their home and as you entered into there.

Complex area there was a posted sign the speed limit of seven and a half miles an hour and I never.

Could quite get.

That right on my speedometer but it always stood out in my mind and I remembered it even as I was preparing this today and I was thinking that's perfect as it comes to the Song of Solomon.

We really have to slow down.

You can't just.

Consume these things. I mean, if you want to go 45 miles an hour.

And just zoom, right?

Through it, you're welcome to do that.

But but some of.

These things you really have to work on to digest and and a lot of that is because of the nature of the text.

First of all, we need to understand that the culture that this is written in is entirely and completely different radically different than the culture that we are at.

7/2 and so there's a lot of things, probably in many cases like more than any other book in the Bible where there's a lot of like OK to understand this, like, think about the culture and how they live, life and their relationships and what they did there.

There's a lot of.

That that you have to kind of bring in.

As you work your.

Way through it also you need to consider.

The the language this was written in Hebrew and then of course translated to English.

But translations of course are always really tricky and difficult, and so the translation from Hebrew to English really challenges us as well.

If you think about it this way, right?

Shakespeare is written in English, but I would challenge anyone you know.

There's there's only a few.

Who would be able to just sit down and read through Shakespeare's writings and understand them in the original English that he wrote them?

I mean, they're written in English, but there's a lot of times where we read the English, and we say I speak English and I'm reading English, but I have no idea what he's saying.

Or what he's talking about?

In a similar way, we're looking at a book that was written in Hebrew, translated to English, and that translation works well for most of the rest of the scriptures, but, but there's some things that we miss.

In that translation, some things that we lose, and so we're talking about these things that we can't just walk through or run through.

We have to really work hard to not jump to conclusion.

Ones that are based on the 1st idea that we have as we read through a verse or passage, and so that's what I want to encourage you to do to slow down as you work your way through Song of Solomon as we finish it up over the next couple days to allow yourself some time to process and to think about to understand what is going on.

In the passages.

Now I like to think of the Book of Song of Solomon as a play.

And so it's a plea with three acts.

Act one gives us the courtship of this man and woman that's found in chapter one, all the way through chapter 3, verse five, and then we have act two, which starts in 3/6 all the way through five one, and that describes for us the wedding day of this bride and groom.

And then act.

Three goes beyond the wedding date.

To a scene in their married life and that's Chapter 5, verse two through the end of the book in Chapter 8, and so that kind of helps you break apart these things and so we'll walk through these three acts together and understand a little bit more.

The book song of Solomon and this play that is going on, but of course in a play there is a cast.

And so let me introduce you to the casts.

First, the really lead character of this play is the shulamite and she is the bride. We don't know really anything about her historically and trying to connect this to the exact person in Solomon's life. You know, corresponding with first and Second kings.

Or the other historical books of the Bible we we can't really do that.

We don't know exactly who she is.

But here she is the shulamite.

She's the main character, the majority of the speaking throughout this book is her speaking it.

She has the most lines in the book.

But then you also have the beloved and this is King Solomon, and he is king at this time, so it's at that point in his life, but seems to be early in his reign.

And so King Solomon and the Shulamite are the main characters.

They're getting together and getting married throughout the course of this book.

Then you have a couple choruses.

You have the daughters of Jerusalem, which is the female chorus, and they just kind of pipe up here there to kind of move along the the the story as it goes and then the Shulamite brothers serve as the male chorus.

And so again, they just kind of speak up here and there to move along the story as it goes and.

That's the cast we're looking at three acts and learning some poetic lessons for your garden of love.

Here in the book song of Solomon.

And so let's start with.

Act one.

Act one, keep your garden closed before marriage.

Here's the lesson that we.

Learn from act when the moral of the story keep your garden closed before marriage.

And so I'm just kind of picking up the poetry that Solomon is using and incorporating that as we work our way through here in this portion we see love.

We see romance, we see a longing for.

Each other, but the couple is not yet involved physically, sexually with each other in this courtship period.

And so the garden is closed as they are not yet married.

And so let's dive into this song of Solomon chapter one.

If you can kind of set the stage in your mind, the theater lights grow dim, the curtain opens.

The spotlight finds a young woman.

Dreamily looking off.

Into the distance.

And she says.

But didn't kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.

OK, I'm not going to do that the.

Whole time but.

Picture the player right.

It's a a scene that's being acted out in here in verse.

2 the shulamite.

Says let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for your love is better than wine.

Immediately as we walk into the book, we see this is a love story.

It is talking about romance and there is this desire from the shulamite.

For some kisses with the man of her dreams with King Solomon, and she is desiring.

Intimacy with.

The king and so this introduces really the story for us.

It begins with her she's longing for Solomon.

She's thinking about him.

She's daydreaming about him and yet she's a little bit conflicted in verse five, as you jump down, it says I am dark but lovely.

Oh, daughters of Jerusalem like the tents.

Keedar like the curtains of Solomon, do not look upon me because I am dark because the sun has tanned me.

My mother sons were angry with me.

They made me the keeper of the vineyard.

But my own vineyards I have not kept.

And so here what we get is this woman desiring to be with Solomon, desiring to kiss Solomon, to to be married to Solomon.

But at the same time.

She finds herself not really up to the standards that she would like.

She describes herself as being dark.

Now this is one of those cultural differences that we can factor in and consider we.

Have a preference many times in our Society of the darker and so we go get tins and we go to tanning salons.

And you know there's an effort to accomplish that darkness.

But in their society, in their culture the the darkness was an indicator that you were not very well off and that you had to work out.

In the fields.

Uh, work outdoors and so there would be that tanning of the sun that would happen and it would be kind of looked upon not.

With great despising, but it would be looked on like that's not the the example of beauty, that's not the the example.

Remember Queen Esther right when she was going to be in preparation for her turn to be meeting up with Kings exes?

And there was the months and months and months of beauty.

Treatments right and all?

Of that there was, there was.

All of that work and preparation that went and what she is expressing here, the shulamite.

Like I, I don't get to do that my vineyard.

I haven't kept.

I haven't done those six months of beauty treatments I've I've been busy out in the field.

I've had to work outside and the sun is tan me, and so I'm dark and she was not.

Excited as much at what she saw in the mirror, but at the same time she was longing for and desiring for.

Solomon, verse seven, she says to her beloved, tell me, oh you, whom I love.

Where do you feed your flock where you make it rest at noon for?

Why should I?

Be as one who veils herself by the flocks of your companions.

Here she's asking for time with Solomon.

She's expressing her desire to be close to him, Solomon.

Where, where do you hang?

Out with your flocks.

Don't don't make me go wander from field to field the field trying to find you like tell me where you are.

I want to come nearer and spend time with you.

And so she's expressing this desire to be close to Solomon, and Solomon reciprocates.

In verse eight, he says, if you do not know, a fairest among women, follow in the footsteps of the flock and feed your little girl.

It's beside the shepherds tents. Now this doesn't sound like directions, right? OK, well go down the I5, make a left. You know that's that's not the intention here.

The idea is she's saying, hey where do you feed your flocks and he says, oh, come on, I will show you the idea here is that he is inviting her.

She's expressing her desire to be close to him and he's.

Inviting her to act on that desire and helping her to meet up with him and spend time with him.

And so we see these two attracted.

To one another.

In verse 15 and 16 they exchange pleasantries in that way in verse 15.

I mean, he says, behold, you are fair my love.

Behold, you are fair.

You have doves eyes.

And so he begins to describe her a little bit and talk about how excellent she is.

The word fair doesn't mean like you're, you know, you're so, so you're kind of OK.

It it means you are incredibly beautiful.

You are excellent.

You're above, you know, and and beyond the norm.

And then in verse 16, she replies, behold, you are handsome, my beloved, yes, pleasant.

Also, our bed is green, and so she responds, you're handsome.

And so he says, you're pretty.

And she says, you're handsome.

And so they are attracted to one another.

Again, there is this desire.

There is this attraction between them, and it's the very beginning stages of their relationship.

Now you can run into trouble at the end of verse 16 when she says also our bed is green and again, this is one of the things where sometimes the the translation from Hebrew to English doesn't always capture the the things that we need to capture, and the culture is a little bit different.

The bed is not the bedroom bed, the bed is actually.

Referring to the dining room.

Because in the dining room they would have a different set up.

They wouldn't have the kind of upright chairs that we have around a table.

They would have a reclining couch around the table and and that's where you would lounge around a banqueting table.

And so there would be, you know, the banquets and there would be the tables and there would be these couches against the.

People in and this is what's the word here that's used?

Translated bed.

There's a different word for bed translated bed later on and we'll see that but but here we're not talking about the bedroom.

We're not talking about sex before marriage.

We're talking about the dining room we're talking about going out to eat, spending some time breaking bread together, getting to know one another.

And the idea of it being green is it's not yet developed, and so there is this new fresh relationship that's developing over meals.

As they join together for banquets.

And for feasts and celebrate.

And they're getting to know one another along the way.

All right, I'm.

Going to speed up the piece a little bit here.

Moving on to chapter two of Song of Solomon verse 4.

The Shulamite says to the daughters of Jerusalem he brought me to the banqueting House and his banner over me was love.

Now she gets to join in one of those banquets.

She's on the couch with him and she says the banner that he had over me was.

This is a common phrase for us in the church.

We have songs about it.

His banner over me is love, right?

Talking about God banner over us.

What she is saying here when she says his banner over me was love is that he was public about his intentions and desires for her a banner.

For the tribes of Israel would be used to display proudly prominently to identify the group.

That you belong.

To and so each tribe of Israel had their banner with their specific emblem on it, and when they would.

March through the building.

Miss they would, you know, have the the person up leading the charge with the banners so that everybody in the tribe could see.

That's that's our tribe.

That's where I belong and I'm in.

The place where I need to be.

It was an announcement to everybody else.

We are this tribe.

Well in a similar way.

His banner over me is love is a poetic way of expressing that he publicly in front of everybody at this whole banquet.

It's like he put up a banner and said I love the shulamite and he let everybody know it was clear and he wasn't hiding the fact that he desired her and that he loved her.

And so perhaps that would be a little bit like changing her relationship status on Facebook today, right?

We had a coworker.

This past weekend who got married and we were all eagerly like waiting like did it actually happen over the weekend?

We're looking at this Facebook page like.

Waiting for it to update.

Oh, there it is.

There's the pictures.

Their relationship status change.

They're married and so now it's public.

You know the banner over me is love in a similar way she's like.

Yeah, it was clear he he was declaring his love for me and not keeping it a secret.

Verse 5 sustain me with peaks of reasons.

Refresh me with apples for I am lovesick and so here as we move along in the story.

This is later on after the banquet.

Now they're separated because they're not married yet, so they get together for feasts and banquets and celebrate.

And that kind of thing.

But then they go back to their.

Separate ways and so.

Now she's lovesick because they had this feast.

It was wonderful, but they're not married yet, so she's not continuing to be with him.

Verse 8 the voice of my beloved.

Behold, he comes leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.

So they spend some time apart, but then they visit again and she hears his voice and it causes her heart to leap and she's so excited at the sound of his voice.

And and just really, you know, describing those early days of a relationship where she is so excited to hear him and to see him again?

Verse 16, my beloved is mine and I am his.

He feeds his flock among the lilies, and so now they're separated again, they're separated.

For now, but she has full confidence in their relationship.

My beloved is.

Mine and I am his and so it's moved beyond.

There's a general attraction, it's moved beyond, you know we just like it when we get to see each other at banquets.

Now he's mine, I'm his now.

We're committed to one another.

We're really committed to get together to be married.

And so when the time is right, we will be.

Together now obviously I'm skipping a bunch of verses and there's a lot of things that you can work in through these things on your own, but just kind of telling the story of this play as it progresses.

Well, chapter 3.

Moves us into the next part and the final part of this scene act one of the play.

Song of Solomon Chapter 3 verse one by night on my bed I sought the one I love.

I sought him but did not find him.

And so here in the first part of chapter three we have what seems to be a dream that the SHULAMITE has, and so it's really describing this situation.

In her dream, she is searching for him.

She's searching for him until she finally finds him.

And when she finds him in verse four, she brings him.

To bed.

And so it describes for us the desires that she is having towards him.

But again, it's a dream that is going on, it seems, and so it's not again sex before marriage.

Marriage is going to happen in the next act, but but it is an expression of those desires to be with him.

Physically, to be with him sexually.

And so again this.

Set sets the stage for us.

Helps us to understand the the importance of the boundaries that God sets.

And so again the lesson of act one is keep your garden closed before marriage.

Here in this new relationship we have a man and a woman who are attracted to each other who love to be around each other they have.

Those desires those physical desires for one another, but they're not acting out on those they're not engaging in those desires before marriage.

Although their felts, although there is belonging, although there is the desire, this is all part of God.

Design those desires, those longings and the beginning stages of a relationship, that they're all part of the way that God has created us.

Their expressions of the capacity that God has given to us too.

Love others and to unite with them in a relationship.

But we need to understand that God design has boundaries and limitations.

And so, just to say it plainly, God design is that every sexual experience would only happen within the bonds of marriage.

God designed his plans, the boundaries that he would set is there is no sexual experience that you can have outside of marriage.

That is right and appropriate and proper and not harmful to you.

And it's important to remember that God sets these boundaries because he knows what hurts us, what is destructive to us?

And So what God says is sexual experiences outside of marriage.

Don't matter.

You know how you want to classify which one is a sexual experience of which one is it?

You know there, there's those wrestlings that you might have, but.

Every thing that involves that that type of experience outside of marriage, God says that's harmful to you.

That will hurt you.

Stay away from that.

And so you are to keep your garden clothes.

And to not engage in sexual relationships of any kind.

Before you are married to that person, and so that is an important part of what God has established, Pastor Thomas Constable puts it this way.

Perhaps the outstanding characteristic of this first major section of the book is the sexual restraint that is evident during the courts.

This restraint contrasts with the sexual intimacy that characterizes the lovers after their wedding, and so that's the next tax.

And we'll get to that, but but there's this contrast here.

In this first part.

They're not engaging in sexual behavior in that way before the wedding, and that is the way that God has designed it now.

There's a big contrast between this part and then the next chapters, but you can also see there's a big contrast between what is recorded here and then the world around it.

And the world around us has a completely different take on sex outside of marriage than God nuts.

And it's the norm.

It's to be expected.

In fact, it should be, you know, should be practiced and encouraged many times.

By the world.

Around us, and so there's a completely different take and we need to adopt God perspective.

The last song that that we did tonight in worship was I will delight in the law of the Lord because bless it is the one who follows the way of the Lord.

Bless it is the one who takes what God says and put it into practice, and let me remind you that in order to experience God's blessing.

Things you need to take seriously the the boundaries that he has set in regards to love and romance and sex and allow God to be the ones who sets the the parameters.

And yes, the longings, the desires and all of those things are part of God's design in creating us.

There are important parts of the relationship, but we need to show restraint.

As Thomas Constable put it and not go beyond the boundaries that God has set and so keep.

Your Guardian closed before marriage.

Well, that ends act one and brings us to Act 2.

Act 2

Is now the wedding day?

And so the lesson we learned is to open your garden to your spouse.

At first, keep your garden close.

Then you get married and now open the garden doors.

Open the gates and your spouse is welcomed into your garden.

God design is that in marriage the limitations, the boundaries that we were just talking about those are removed.

And so now there is God's blessing upon the sexual relationship between a husband and a wife, and so the boundaries are removed and don't take that so far as to say that there's nothing sinful or nothing that you can do.

You know could be sinful there.

There's still ways to be perverted in marriage as well as outside of marriage.

Right, but but the point is that inside the marriage relationship there is a great blessing that God has given up on that relationship, and that's demonstrated here as we work our way through the next couple chapters of Song of Solomon.

And so for God.

Design marriage includes love.

It includes romance.

It includes that physical relationship.

It's not just obligation repopulation, you know, carrying on the family name, the tribe name, or anything like that.

It is also including enjoyment, pleasure, and joy.

For both the man and the woman, and so we're continuing on in Song of Solomon Chapter 3 jumping.

Into verse 6.

The Shulamite says who is this coming out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all the merchants fragrant powders.

Who is this?

She says, coming out of the wilderness.

We jump forward now to a scene where she is at home and she sees often in the distance this cloud coming up.

And it's a cloud that's coming up because there is a big entourage coming her way.

The marriage customs of the Jewish people were very different than ours.

They would be engaged or betrothed to one another for usually a year, sometimes two years, and during that time.

The groom to be was busy preparing the police for them to live after the wedding.

And then once the police was prepared, then the groom would.

Gather together the groomsmen and go to his wife location.

Pick her up and bring her back for the wedding ceremony.

We have the wyds, the bridal procession right.

She walks down like that's the.

Big event, it was almost completely backwards and radically different right?

The the wedding guests weren't even gathered yet.

The guy is preparing the place, then he goes travels miles hundreds of miles depending on where she is and where he is right.

And she.

He collects her, she he grabs her.

I'm trying to figure out a good word to say that he picks her up and he brings her back to the place of the wedding for them to be able to have the wedding ceremony and then begin to celebrate that.

Now what's interesting also about that is that.

As the guy is preparing the police.

He doesn't set the date ahead of time.

He doesn't say OK, I'm gonna work on this for about six months and then I'll come get you.

He actually doesn't know the date that he will be able to come and pick her up because it was the father in their culture who had the final say.

That the police was prepared for the bride to come, so you can kind of picture it this way, right?

It was like the the final chance of the father to educate the son son.

You can't expect her to live on the dirt.

He put down some some flooring, put down some carpet.

And and sudden, why do you have the walls half painted, one color and half painted?

Another color that's not good son?

No, no before you go get her you need to fix this place up.

Put things in order and so he would be helping his son to put together the home that they would live in and then when the father told the sun OK everything set.

Everything is ready, you're good to go. Go pick up your bride, then he would be able to go and receive her and it gives a little bit of fresh insight to John Chapter 14 where Jesus says in my father's house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again that I will receive you to myself, that where I am, you may be also that picture of.

Jesus and the church as his bride. He is away preparing the place. The father knows the time and when the time is ready and all the preparations are made, then the son's gonna come collect the bride and bring her to himself.

There's some great pictures there in visuals that they would have understood based on the the cultures and customs of.

Their day, but here in Selma Solomon.

This is what we see the wedding day.

The place is prepared.

Everything is ready now.

He is coming to receive her to pick her up and bring her to the wedding ceremony.

And so Solomon is coming to get his bride.

The Shulamite is joining with him.

Verse seven, it says, behold, it is Solomon couch.

With 60 value men around it of the valiance.

Of Israel verse.

11 Go forth or 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.

And so it's this glorious picture.

This grand entrance collecting her heading back to the the place of the ceremony.

It's the wedding day.

The feast day.

The celebration is about to begin, and so we see this grand picture of Solomon and his entourage coming, seated in his chair Chapter 4 now verse one the beloved speaks, he says, behold you are fair my.

Of behold, you are fair.

You have doves eyes behind your veil.

Your hair is like a flock of goats going down from Mount Gilead.

And so here Solomon is describing his bride on their wedding day.

And some of the descriptions don't translate well through the years.

Your teeth are like a flock of shorn sheep which have come up from the washing.

Each one of them bears twins.

None of them is Barron.

He's basically saying you got a really nice smile.

You have beautiful.

Indeed, your lips are like a strand of scarlet on and on.

You know your next like a tower of David.

These are descriptions that would have been meaningful to her and poetic in describing her beauty.

These are all compliments.

But if you try to take these and use them and share them with your spouse today, they may not be received.

Such a compliment as she received them, but he's just enamored.

He is excited about how beautiful she is, and so this description flows forth from him.

Now as we go on.

And chapter 4, verse six through chapter 5 verse one are a description of the wedding night verse, six says.

Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away, I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense.

So they're talking now about spending their first night together.

He's referring to the wedding night, and they're going to consummate.

The marriage in verse seven, he says there is no spot in you, and so referring to her as a virgin, a pure spotless bride.

Verse 12 he says a garden in clothes is my sister, my spouse, a spring shut up I fountain sealed.

Again, description of her virginity and the exclusivity of that part of her life, that he is now participating in verse.

15 a fountain of gardens.

A well of living waters and streams from Lebanon.

And so this garden picture is a reference.

To that relationship her virginity.

Their now shared experience together gardens in those days were enclosed for privacy for protection.

And and again, that's how it is to be before marriage that there is to be that closed garden.

But then on the wedding day and in the the marriage relationship, there is to be a sharing an opening up of the garden.

Check out her 16.

She responds, she says a week.

Oh north wind and come.

Oh South wind blow up on my garden that its spices may flow out.

Let my beloved come to his garden and eat its pleasant fruits.

And so describing here their initial relationship.

Notice the change in wording.

She talks about my garden in verse 16, but also in verse 16 she transitions to his garden.

She says blow upon my garden, that it spices may flew out.

Let my beloved come to his.

And eat its pleasant fruits that that now there is a sharing of the gardens, that that was not there before.

And it was my garden.

Now it's his garden.

There's a transition taking place on the wedding day.

Pastor David Guzik says this is the moment of yielded virginity.

Where the beloved is invited to enjoy the previously protected and sealed sexuality.

Excuse me of the meeting a line before the meeting called it my garden.

Now it was his garden.

Now this is not just something we find in poetry and this you know one book of the Old Testament. The apostle Paul in first Corinthians. First Corinthians makes this point first Corinthians 74.

The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does, and likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.

And then he goes on to describe the importance of sharing the garden and participating with one another in that relationship and in the physical side of the.

The relationship of husband and wife.

Well verse one of chapter 5.

The beloved says I have come to my garden, my sister, my spouse.

I have gathered my mirror with my spice.

I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey.

I have drunk my wine with my milk and he says to his friends eat oh friends, drink yes, drink deeply, O beloved ones.

This is another interesting part of their culture and their customs.

They have.

Their first encounter physically as husband and wife and what does he do?

He goes and tells his friends eat or friends drink, yes, drink.

Deeply, O beloved.

Ones this is very strange for us.

But in their culture the the sexual relationship was not something that was scorned or frowned upon, even though they were very modest, but it was something that was celebrated.

And and the way that they would celebrate is the wedding day.

As I talked about earlier, would start when the guy would go pick up the girl, bring her back to the place of the ceremony.

They would have the wedding ceremony.

And then they would have a feast that would last for seven days.

The feast would not begin.

Until this announcement was made.

And so he goes out.

And he says, eat old friends, drink yes.

He's saying let the feast the celebration begin the the wedding ceremony is complete.

And so the wedding guests would be told when the marriage was consummated, and then they would begin that seven day feast.

That celebration, I imagine that made for some awkward, you know, kind of sitting around the reception table, just like waiting, like taking a while, I mean.

It could be a good sign, or maybe they just don't know what they're doing.

It's taking them a while to figure it out.

We don't know, but the the idea though was that they would celebrate the completion of that Union and the opening of the garden.

Between them and so this was the proper and right way.

This is the way that God has designed and prescribed it.

Pastor Thomas Constable says though she had kept the kept her most intimate parts from others in the past, they were now open to Solomon and he experienced full satisfaction with her love again.

This is God design.

Before marriage, the garden is closed in marriage.

The garden is open and meant to be shared again, not just random Old Testament passages that tell us this.

Hebrews 13 Four also tells US marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled.

But fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

Sexual relationship within the parameters that God has established.

It's blessed.

It's honorable.

Sexual relationships outside of that.

Fornicators adulterers

The author of Hebrews says God will deal.

With those who.

Engage in that because that is not God's design.

Well, that brings us to the end of the wedding day and now the end of act two.

Now we'll work our way into Act 3.

Through the rest.

Of the book.

At three, is now some further things beyond the wedding day.

The lesson I put down for this is that we maintain your garden.

With your spouse.

Now as you go forward in the marriage relationship, there is a maintenance that is required.

And so they're married now.

And what we see right off the bat is that they experience some conflict.

And there's always going to be conflicts in marriage, even for the couple that was just, you know, a few pages earlier, madly in love, and dreaming about each other and complimenting each other with great descriptions.

Of each other.

All of that is true.

And yet within marriage because of our sinful nature, there's always going to be conflict.

There's always going to be ways that we fall short, and even if I try my hardest.

As a husband, I'm always going to fall short and fail in many different ways.

And the sad thing about us as husband and wife is that we don't even always try our hardest, even when we try our hardest.

We will fail.

But we don't always try our hardest, and so there's going to be issues and failures and conflicts that we will face in marriage and God design is for us to learn to work through those things and to love each other in spite of.

Those limitations and failures in spite of our sinful nature, in spite of our selfishness, that we would develop and grow in our love for one another in that covenant.

In that commitment to one another.

So chapter 5, verse 2 the Shulamite 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 dew.

My locks with the drops of the night.

So again, we see the shulamite having a dream.

It seems to be one of the techniques that Solomon was using in display to kind of set the stage and and and tell the story of what was going on.

Maybe the harpist would play you, do you know?

And so they all knew it was a dream and there she is dreaming and she hears.

Solomon called out for her at the door.

And she decides not to open.

So describing here this kind of conflict, the aftermath of a conflict, really.

Where he's coming to try to make amends and you know, reconcile with her.

He's saying I love you.

I'm uncomfortable in this position this situation, but she's not quite ready to receive that reconciliation until a few verses later.

Verse 6.

I might have done one one song too many today verse six, she says I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and was gone.

My heart leapt up when he spoke.

I sought him, but I could not find him.

I called him, but he gave me no answer and so she's describing this intense desire for her beloved.

But now he is not there, he was there.

Here, but she was not ready to reconcile at that point.

And then when she gets up to open the door, he's gone.

He's given up and and really, it describes a very realistic type of conflict that often happens.

Within the marriage relationship again, this is all part of her dream so.

This isn't necessarily trying to say this is exactly something that happened, but the idea is that there was this.

Failure this conflict.

There was this battle that happened perhaps and and then now in the aftermath they're they're not quite In Sync yet, they're they're kind of desiring to get, you know, right together to be reconciled together.

But but they're.

A little bit out of balance or a little bit out of step with one another.

Pastor David Guzik says here the writer gave us.

An emotionally accurate picture.

Of the dynamic of conflict in a relationship, especially in marriage and many times that's going to happen where after the conflict one is ready to.

Resolve the conflict.

While the other is not quite ready.

And then when that other one is ready.

Then the other one.

Is given up.

The initial person gave up because they were ready before and now it's.

Taking too long.

And so now they're they're still out of sync, and so this is where we find.

Them verse 9 the daughters of Jerusalem.

This is the the chorus that I mention.

They say what is your beloved more than another beloved or fairest among women?

What is your beloved more than another, beloved, that you so charge us here?

Essentially, they're saying what's so special about your guy, why you working so hard to reconcile and to to to get back together with him in that way.

Well then verses 10 through 16 she says, well, I'll tell you what's so great about him, and she now describes him in a similar way to that he had described.

Previously now it seems that the descriptions of the men are much more transferable through language and time in history than the descriptions of a woman like Solomon used.

Because ladies, if you read these verses and say them to your husband or the guy that you're interested in, he will take all of these.

And it'll put a big smile on his face and he'll be really happy that you think he's so great and.

So you can.

Read through that and see her description of him.

Well, verse six, I'm sorry, chapter.

6 verse one.

They begin to reconcile verse one where's your beloved garno fairest among.

Women, where's your beloved?

Turned aside that we may seek him with you.

And she says, my beloved has gone to his garden, to the bed of spices, to feed his flock in the gardens, and to gather lilies.

I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine. He feeds his flock among the lilies and so now there is the restored relationship. I'm my beloved's he is mine. We're back together in the garden.

Of love, and so there is this reunion and reconciliation.

That takes place.

Solomon in verses 4 through 7 describes her beauty again, and so they're kind of renewing and restoring that attraction for one another.

That passion for one another, then Chapter 7 verse 6.

He says how fair and how pleasant you are.

Oh, love with your delights.

This statue of yours is like a palm tree and your breasts, like its clusters.

I said I will go up to the palm tree.

I will take hold of its branches.

And you get the.

Point right, so now they're reconciling.

They're restoring and they're continuing on in their relationship together.

She says in verse 9 the wine goes down smoothly for my beloved.

Moving gently, the lips of the sleepers, and so clearly Solomon and the shulamite are describing their desire for.

Physical intimacy with one another and in their marriage relationship.

It is blessed by God.

It is part of.

God's design.

And it is now restored after this conflict that they had previously.

This description of Union is interesting and I like the way this author put it.

Craig Glickman, he says.

Whereas the wedding night focused on the purpose of sex as the consummation of marriage, this night focuses on the purpose of sex as the nourishment of marriage.

As they fell asleep the last.

Kiss lingered in each other's minds.

Like the after taste of good.

The idea here is that they are enjoying their relationship with one another and that is as God intends.

Well, chapter 8 wraps it up.

There's a couple things in here, but I'm not going to get into them and so you can explore those things on your own.

They continue on in their relationship.

There's some cultural things.

To wrestle with in Chapter 8 a little bit, you don't have to wrestle with it, but just to understand, to be able to put it into perspective.

But this scene, I think, sets the stage for us pretty well.

We understand the need to maintain your garden with your spouse that there is going to be issues and conflicts and difficulties in marriage, but that there is the need for us to learn how to work through them to overcome them and to be reunited together as husband and wife.

So poetic lessons of for your garden.

Love love keep your garden closed before marriage.

Open your garden to your spouse.

Once you are married and then maintain your garden with your spouse as you develop your relationship for one another.

Again, if you believe.

Eve and follow the world view and version of love.

It will hurt you.

It will bring great destruction to your life.

But if you will believe and follow God design, it will bless you and you will benefit greatly.

He knows what is best and that's why he set the boundaries and parameters that he set and so learn.

These lessons, they're poetic.

There's a lot there that you can meditate on and consider and perhaps benefit your relationship with your spouse or your future spouse.

And allow the Lord to lead you in those things, but keep your garden closed.

If you're not married, open up the garden.

If you are married and learn to maintain and develop and grow beyond those conflicts and failures with your spouse, let's pray.

Lord, we thank you for your word and Lord that you.

Are interested in every aspect of our life.

Lord, you're interested in those passionate moments or interested in those bitter, cynical moments and Lord, you're able to handle all of them and so we can come to you.

In all of those things and seek you for guidance and seek you for direction CQ for your will and your way in each aspect of our life.

And so I pray that you would help us to do that to draw near to you, to hear from you, and receive from you, Lord, that we might enjoy this life to the fullest.

But you said that you came.

That we might have life and life more abundantly.

And so Lord, may we come to you.

To receive that life.

To receive the direction that we need, I pray Lord, that you would bless all of the marriages of those who are here in the church in this body, and those who are listening or watching this later on.

Lord bless their marriage.

And help them Lord to seek you and put you first Lord and really learn how to experience what you designed for them in their marriage, relationship and God for all those who are unmarried, single, widowed.

I pray God that you would lead them and guide them in the path that you have for them and Lord.

You have just as much to say and just as much to do, and just as much joy and blessings to pour out upon them.

And so, God, I pray that you would help them to seek you for that Lord, that they would take your words seriously and abide by it.

Lord, that they.

Might experience that blessing in the goodness that you have in store for them.

I pray this in Jesus name.