Sunday, October 30, 2011

Song of Solomon 8:5 - 14: Unrestrained Communion

LINK: Song of Solomon 8

BACKGROUND

This section sums up the message with a final picture of the couple. The wilderness had two symbolic meanings in the Old Testament. First, it was associated with Israel's 40 year trial that we read about in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. This couple had overcome trials that were a threat to their relationship, but they came out on the other side into the Promised Land! Second, the wilderness symbolized God's curse (see Jeremiah 22:6; Joel 2:3). This couple had come out of the wilderness and had overcome the curse of disharmony pronounced upon Adam and Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:16). The picture goes from the desert to the fruitful apple tree that was symbolic of love and romance in the ancient world. The lover had received a second "birth" through the love of his beloved.

In this passage there is a powerful explanation of love. The beloved asked to be her lover's most valued possession. Love is portrayed as exclusive, possessive, passionate, invincible, persevering, and priceless. It is the "very flame of the Lord" because the Lord is the Source of this powerful love.

In the epilogue (8:8-14), there is a flashback to hopes the woman's brothers had for her (some commentator believe it was the hopes that the woman had for a younger sister). If she was self-controlled and virtuous (a wall), they would give her freedom. If she lacked self-control and was promiscuous (a door), they would restrict her freedom. She was a wall and pure for her husband, Solomon. Thus, she gave him peace/contentment (There is a word play with Solomon's name and the Hebrew word for peace, Shalom). This flashback to courtship shows that their love had not lost its initial passion.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary sums the Song of Songs in this way:
[It] is a beautiful picture of God’s “endorsement” of physical love between husband and wife. Marriage is to be a monogamous, permanent, self-giving unit, in which the spouses are intensely devoted and committed to each other, and take delight in each other. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24).

REFLECTION from Union and Communion

If you have not been reading along in this book due to lack of time, I heartily recommend reading this last section. It summarizes all the previous chapters!

Section 6: UNRESTRAINED COMMUNION

(Part of the reason I have used this book in the reflections was to expose you to quality devotional literature if you have never been exposed to any before. Besides the Bible, devotional classics have been a rich part of my growth in the Lord. May I also recommend Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret an inspiring biography of this author's life! It is one of my favorite books.)

APPLICATION

I hope this reading has encouraged you! 
The branch of the vine does not worry, and toil, and rush here to seek for sunshine, and there to find rain. No; it rests in union and communion with the vine; and at the right time, and in the right way, is the right fruit found on it. Let us so abide in the Lord Jesus. James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905)
PRAYER

First Love

You are my first love,
Sweet and gentle as the night.
Just being near you now,
Is like a lullaby.
All that I have I give away to follow you,
I can't imagine having life
without you, oh....

When all these worldly battles,
Seem to never cease,
You simply lift me up,
And rest me in Your peace.
I heard some people say,
You're only in my mind.
I hope that someday, You'll
Choose to find them.

All other loves will slowly fade,
Like dying flame.
Tomorrow, now, and yesterday,
You're still the same.
I wake with a longing heart to
see you come again;
Your sweet and tender love will never end.

(Lyrics by Amy Grant)
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