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EDEN RESTORED (SONG OF SONGS) LESSON 15.

SongofSongsThis week I read what I think is the best commentary I have read on The Song of Songs. (Thank you, Elizabeth.) Matthew Henry has a close edge — but this is amazing in part because it is contemporary, and she seems to avoid both the error of the ancients (seeing only Christ and the Church) and the error of the contemporaries (seeing only sex and marriage). I AM SO EXCITED TO SHARE THE TREASURES WITH YOU, MY DEAR SISTERS.

Ellen Davis asks, concerning The Song: “Is it the least Biblical book in the Bible, or the most?”

If indeed, as many modern preachers think, it is only about the beauty of romance and marriage, though that is a fine thing, it is probably the least Biblical book.

But if indeed it is about the love of Christ for His Bride, and her responsive love to Him, then it may be the most Biblical book. For the heart of Christianity is not programs or rules, but relationship — the most intimate and passionate relationship. It is what we are always in danger of forgetting.

In her introduction, Davis took my breath away with a perspective that makes so much sense and makes the whole Song fall together in a harmonious melody. Succinctly, she makes a strong case for The Song of Songs being a picture of Eden restored. She writes: “The Song is about repairing the damage done by the first disobedience in Eden, what Christian tradition calls “the Fall.”

CONSIDER THE THREE-FOLD RUPTURE:

1. BETWEEN THE WOMAN AND THE MAN

2. BETWEEN HUMANITY AND NATURE

3. BETWEEN GOD AND MAN

Could it be that The Song is about the reconciliation of all three?

1. THAT INSTEAD OF USING AND ABUSING ONE ANOTHER, A HUSBAND AND WIFE WOULD LOVE ONE ANOTHER, SERVE ONE ANOTHER, AND TRULY BECOME ONE? WHAT IF THE MARRIAGE BED WAS INTENDED TO BE A PICTURE OF, NOT ONLY THE BEAUTY OF MARRIAGE AT ITS BEST, BUT OF THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST BECOMING ONE WITH HIS BRIDE?

marriage-reconciliation-300x172

2. THAT THE LAND, INSTEAD OF BEING WINTER, WOULD TURN TO SPRING, AND THAT INSTEAD OF BEING CURSED WITH WEEDS, WOULD BURST FORTH WITH GARDENS FILLED WITH LILIES, ROSES, AND VINES IN BLOSSOM? WHAT IF THE LAND BLOSSOMING WAS NOT ONLY A PICTURE OF THE BEAUTY OF THE EARTH, BUT OF THE FRUITFULNESS OF A SOUL UNITED TO GOD?

 lily

3. THAT MAN, INSTEAD OF HIDING FROM GOD, RUNNING FROM THE LIGHT, WOULD RETURN TO WALKING WITH GOD, EXPERIENCING THE PRESENCE AND THE PASSION OF GOD? WHAT IF THIS PICTURE, THIS SONG OF SONGS, WAS THE CULMINATION OF ALL THREE PICTURES?

walking with God

 I have learned so much on this journey, and you have been a part of that. Those who were hesitant at the beginning have grown so much, and all of you have contributed significantly. Next week, Thanksgiving week, will be our last on The Song, for then we will be in Advent, always a special time on the blog.

Sunday/Monday: Icebreaker

1. What stood out to you from the above and why? 

Monday/Friday Bible Study

Ellen Davis writes that modern commentators adhere to a rigidly sexual interpretation of The Song. Their ancient counterparts, she says, erred in the opposite direction, saying the poem was a coded account of religious experience and every picture had to be decoded — the two breasts were, for example, the law and the prophets, or the Old and New Testaments. But might a holistic approach make more sense — that both are present and speak about one another? “Fundamental to both is a desire to transcend the self for intimacy with the other.”

In the same way, there is much interplay between the images of nature and the fruitfulness of a believer abiding in Christ. The woman’s body is often compared to a beautiful land. God, the Creator of heaven and earth, of sexuality and marriage, and of the possibility of intimacy between man and God, brings them all together in this Song of Songs.

2. Read Genesis 3:16.

A. The word “desire” in this passage can be translated either sexual desire or the desire to be in control (see Genesis 4:7) I believe that it is the latter, since sexual desire is a good gift and was present before the fall. If, you interpret desire to be “rule over”, how does this verse describe the changed and marred relationship between husband and wife?

B. Find a picture in The Song of Songs of this marred relationship restored — instead of using one another, they are adoring and serving one another. Quote it and explain why you chose it.

3. Read Genesis 3:17-18

A. What happened to the land as a result of the fall?

B. Find a picture in The Song of Songs of this effect of the fall reversed. Quote it and explain why you chose it.

4. Read Genesis 3:23-24 

A. What happened to the intimacy between man and God in the garden as a result of the fall?

B. Find a picture, drawing from the relationship of the Shulammite maiden and the king, of a restored relationship that is like a restored relationship with God. Quote it and explain why you chose it.

5. Read Song of Songs 7:11-12 and describe the images of the land restores. As you meditate on this passage, what else do you see?

6. Read Song of Songs 8:5 and describe the image. What do you see that is relevant both to restoration in marriage and restoration between man and God?

7. Read Song of Songs 8:6-7. This is a famous passage, often used at weddings. How can you also see Christ and His Bride in it?

Saturday:

8. What is your take-a-way and why?

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167 comments

  1. Just an update: for those of you who know I have back issues. I went to see an orthopedic doctor on MOnday, had Xrays done, nothing revealed there.Everything looks good. But upon examining my back, my left side is a bit lower than my right??? So maybe the cause of so much pain on my left side, a constant….so I went back Monday afternoon for an MRI and I go back next Monday for my results and to see what can be done. Praying I can get some therapy and just get my back to where it doesnt hurt to even sneeze or cough…but Im hopeful and the doctor did not seem over concerned. Thinking that physical therapy may do the trick. Was a very good appointment, God was really with me. Everything flowed so easily and no waiting. Same thing happened with my dental appointment last week, I dread the dentist and dont go often. Did a yearly check up and everything is good except one small cavity (praying I wont need a root canal given where its located, near my root…) and Im going to get some much needed dental work that I have been praying for, and our insurance will cover it all…that is a blessing!!! God knows I have been worried over it for years….reason not going to the dentist too. I love when God shows up and gives you the ‘what were you worried about, didnt I tell you I would take care of you…have no faith woman!!!” lol So I am very relieved with this also. Thanks for all your prayers!!!

    1. Hi Staci, I’m glad your appt. with doctor and dentist went well. I am curious – when he examined your back, finding that left side is a bit lower than your right, did he have you stand with your back to him and bend over and touch your toes? If he saw an unevenness there, I am wondering if you have a mild curvature (scoliosis) of your spine?

    2. Glad to hear that your doctor and dentist appointments went well. I hope the therapist can do something to ease the back pain or the doctors can diagnose what is causing it at least. We are such complex creatures, aren’t we?

  2. 5. Read the Song of Songs 7:11-12 and describe the images of the land restored. As you meditate on this passage, what else do you see?
    I have a thought on the bride’s suggestion of the two of them going out to the fields and lodging in the villages in verse 11. Now that their love is mature, rather than simply focusing on each other, they are free to start sharing their relationship with the villagers, bearing fruit among others, reaching out to the needs of those around them. As believers we reach out with Christ to those around us. Here is a brief quote from Paul Tripp which led me to this idea.

    Consider the call of Christ to us all as recorded in Mathew 5:14–16.
    “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who in heaven.”
    Jesus is saying, “You’ve been lit by my grace, now go let my character shine through you.” How do you do this? Jesus makes it very clear: through a public life characterized by good deeds.

    http://paultripp.com/articles/posts/reasons-to-be-passive-part-2

    1. Diane, Great article-reminds me of our Wed. night leadership study-our new church approaches leadership in a way we have never experienced. So Gospel centered..and again I find myself amazed at His fingerprints all over our move to this church. 

  3. 5. Read Song of Songs 7:11-12 and describe the images of the land restored. As you meditate on this passage, what else do you see?
     
    I see an anticipation here – of the maiden and her lover – they are going out to survey the countryside to see if the vines in the vineyards have budded and their blossoms opened; if the pomegranates are in bloom. I think there is an expectation that all of this has happened – they want to go early to see it. The mandrakes are fragrant. “At our door is every delicacy, both new and old”….I wonder what the “new and old” refers to. This passage seems to be a culmination of everything…they’ve ironed-out all the “kinks” in their relationship – now there is oneness, unity, and it is spilling out and over to everything around them

  4. I just heard Sally Lloyd Jones on the radio–I think others of you who love the Jesus Storybook Bible will be encouraged by it too. It is short (and there’s a transcript!), but I enjoyed her voice! She also mentions Keller’s influence on her work. It didn’t like it when I tried to embed the link, so I’ll do this way: http://www.familylife.com/audio/topics/parenting/foundations/spiritual-development/the-jesus-storybook-bible/20131121-every-story-whispers-his-name#.Uo5UXBCTOUQ

    1. I caught this on the radio yesterday while driving – she sure sounds delightful with her accent! She sure had an interesting childhood, too…and yes, she mentioned being in the “Tim Keller School of Theology”.

    2. Elizabeth, you so have His Love for others-you enjoyed her voice. 🙂 reminds me of Him. I often feel like the ‘friends’ in song of songs who looks at you and is more attracted to Him. 

  5. 5. Read Song of Songs 7:11-12 and describe the images of the land restored.   
    “vines have budded,” “blossoms have opened, ” pomegranates are in bloom” all describe fertility. Today we might sing “June is bursting out all over!” 
    As you meditate on this passage, what else do you see?   
    For some reason, this time I picked up on the word “early.” “Let us go early to the vineyards.”   I am thinking of how we recently  learned of Muller making his soul happy at the beginning of the day by meditating on scripture and using it as a springboard for prayer.  To me that process seems to fit the description of “going early to the vineyards!”   
     
    6. Read Song of Songs 8:5 and describe the image. What do you see that is relevant both to restoration in marriage and restoration between man and God?
    Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her lover?
    I see an image of contented dependence on the lover/Christ.    I picture the beloved’s head leaning over on His chest.  When lovers assume that position, it usually is a time of peace and calm together.   When we lead/depend upon God, we can find that same kind of peace and calm.  It is a time when we are not trying to prove anything, but are just “resting” in Him.   

    1. Deanna, I like how you make the connection between that word “early” and George Mueller…going early to the vineyards. This is interesting…pondering…I wish at times I could feel that anticipation to arise early (and get out of a very warm, cozy bed) and think of venturing out early to a beautiful vineyard where the Lord is waiting for me! (I guess I could take a blanket along:))

      1. Dee and Deanna, I didn’t think about ‘fertility’ in this passage and how it represents multiplication of the church if we abide in the vine..encouraging.

  6. 5. Read Song of Songs 7:11-12 and describe the images of the land restores.
    Vines have budded, blossoms have opened, and pomegranates are in bloom.    All of these would indicate  a state of fertility.   The blossom immediate precedes the fruit setting on.   Today we might sing “June is bursting out all over!”   
    As you meditate on this passage, what else do you see?
    I seemed this time to focus on the word “early.”   “Let us go early to the vineyards…”   This reminded me of what we learned recently about Muller making his soul  happy at the beginning of the day by meditating on Scripture and using it for a springboard for prayer.   When we follow that practice, we are “going early to the vineyards.”
    6. Read Song of Songs 8:5 and describe the image. What do you see that is relevant both to restoration in marriage and restoration between man and God?
    I see a state of contented dependence in both situations.  “Who is this coming up from the desert leaning on her lover?” I can imagine the beloved with her head resting on His chest.
    When lovers assume that position, it usually is a time of peace and calm between them.  When we stop struggling and depend on Christ, we too can feel that peace and calm.  We are not trying to prove anything, we are merely “resting” in Him. 
     

  7. I apologize for the duplication of posts.    I submitted the first one and edited it.  It said it was saved successfully, however, it didn’t show up again.   So I tried to retype it from memory — they are almost alike!   When I submitted the second one, the first showed up ahead of it.   🙂  Dee or David:  Please feel free to delete one of them. 

    1. Deana, 
       
      If you can catch the duplicated post before the time is up on it, you can just click ‘edit’,  and erase everything you have in there..then if you want you can just write that it was a duplicate comment. I have had to do that a couple of times. Hope this helps! 🙂

  8. Yesterday and today, I listened to 2 Keller sermons on forgiveness, ones I hadn’t heard before. Now coming here again to review the week, there is an even richer depth to these verses in Songs. Christ’s forgiveness, the Cross, the King who became a servant and utterly loves me–His forgiving grace is what calls me out of the wilderness, to the fertile fields. His grace makes the beauty possible again, it is a restoring grace.

  9. 7. Read Song of Songs 8:6-7. This is a famous passage, often used at weddings. How can you also see Christ and His Bride in it?
     
    This took me by surprise this morning!  I see that she has matured in this passage. There must not be any idolatry for her love for Him is like His love for her. She is like Him. I am thinking this is in the future? Our love for him is growing here on Earth and oh we are being transformed into His image, but not yet perfect for our love isn’t unquenchable as His for us because we still struggle with Baal on our lips, but in the new heavens and new earth we will be like Him. There will be no baal on our lips and our love for Him and one another will be unquenchable-like His. 

  10. 8. What is your take-a-way and why?
     
    I really struggled this week with idolatry so this week’s study has been such a salve to my soul..it is like Song of Songs is burning into my soul leaving His indelible mark and making me weak again inside and I so need that-(hope that makes sense!). This is why I want it to continue..even if we pause for a break for Advent, I am thinking I will see whatever Dee posts with new eyes anyway-through  the lens of Song of Songs.
     
    To me this book is becoming central to all of Scripture it seems for I don’t just see this being about me and Him, although it is-but also about the church-her “friends” are always with her it seems, longing to be with Him! 🙂  So the future is about US and Him and about creation restored too. He will be the only light we need-we won’t need the sun-that blows me away and for some reason I have been thinking about that all week. 
     
    His furious love, my reluctant yet longing heart for Him but the future oh my…. long for Eden restored-yet I do long for my life here on Earth to reflect Him. I hate my selfishness wanting to stay in bed and not get my feet dirty yet I am so prone to bend to it. This past week I see where I have stumbled and forgot that it isn’t about me but about Him and His body-the body of Christ too..I long to Love like He does and grow in His Love here on Earth and draw others to Him-not me!

    1. This is a beautiful take-away, Rebecca. I can relate to continued struggles with idolatry – I think it will always be a struggle while we live here on earth…idols are very sneaky. But I love how you phrase this: “Song of Songs is burning into my soul leaving His indelible mark and making me weak again inside…” Yes – it is in our weakness that His strength shines through.

    2. I second Susan’s vote that your take away is beautiful. Beautiful in the sense that you are so real — struggling (“your reluctant yet longing heart”) yet leaning on His arm. And your  perspective about the church – her friends – I have noticed a very outward focus in many of your recent posts, wanting others to know and adore this Jesus who is your Life.
       
      I can relate on many levels – my personal struggles; my weakness yet realizing that when I need to be weak, so that, then He is strong in me, and I will point to Him only; and a renewed care for His people, wanting to help, and being more patient with their weaknesses.
       

      Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as  it is in heaven.

    3. Rebecca, this comment “To me this book is becoming central to all of Scripture …” is echoing loudly in my heart as well.  I am finding that my view (perception, understanding, etc.) is being expanded…there is a lenses developing as a result of this study, a lenses that I am beginning to view much of life through.  I read things differently, I listen differently, I see things differently…  I pray that this transition continues; it is a good thing and I am thankful to the Lord for His work in me.  

  11. 6. Read Song of Songs 8:5 and describe the image. What do you see that is relevant both to restoration in marriage and restoration between man and God?
     
    The image is of the maiden/bride and her lover being seen as they emerge from the desert, and she is leaning on her lover. This makes me think of the passage in Hosea 2:14-17. God said, “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards…there she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. In that day, declares the Lord, you will call me my Husband…I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips.”
     
    So the time spent in the desert was a time of restoration. She has forsaken her idols and now clings to Him. Submission isn’t demanded, it is a willing dependence upon One who you know in the depths of your heart loves you and would never do anything to hurt you. I see restoration in marriage – she leans on him and trusts his guidance; he is faithful to protect, tender with her. I see restoration between us and God – from the first man and woman (Adam and Eve) running away and hiding from God, God immediately went looking for them. Only He can rescue us and lead us out of the desert of being lost and alone without Him…we must lean totally upon Jesus and what He has done for us.
    Some think they can make it out of the desert by themselves…others want to live in the desert…some don’t know they are in the desert. Jesus comes searching for His own, and I know I want to allow Him to put His arm around me, hold my hand, whisper words of love and forgiveness to me, and walk with Him, allowing Him to lead me out.

    1. Beautiful, Susan. I loved the connection between SoS 8:5 and Hosea 2:14-17. I love that one day I will sing again as in the days of my youth and turn to idols no more. That day is not just in the future but also begins now, though we are still weak and continually falter. I also love your description of the desert as a time of restoration. 

      Only He can rescue us and lead us out of the desert of being lost and alone without Him…we must lean totally upon Jesus and what He has done for us.

  12. 7. Read Song of Songs 8:6-7. This is a famous passage often used at weddings. How can you also see Christ and His Bride in it? I will be honest and say that I don’t fully understand the seal terminology. I need to read again about its significance. I do remember conversation on here (or perhaps it was Mike Reeves) about jealousy being stronger than the grave – He was jealous of death and so He saved us from it, giving His life so that the grave would not win our souls. The fire terminology makes me think of refining scriptures about refining the church, and different references to chaff being sorted out, etc. also the promise to refine us individually. 

  13. I wanted to share a story about soul talk. Yesterday I had to run an errand in the evening, the drive was about 25 minutes one way so I used the opportunity to put on my worship music and sing away. About half way there something sparked my memory (I think one of the songs brought back a memory), I stopped singing and suddenly I was walking down the dark side of memory lane, seeing regret after regret flash through my mind and my heart began to spiral into sadness. But then I remembered it is important to speak the beauty of Christ to our souls and so I did. I chose to immediately start singing again of the beauty of God and Christ and don’t you know it… my heart bobbed right back up into contentment. The demons (and bad memories) fled at the sound of His name. Praise be. 

    1. Jill, what a great example of speaking truth to your soul, I really related–love how you took your thoughts captive and turned to Him!

    2. Excellent, Jill…thanks for sharing.  I recall in “The Land of Blue Burqua” the author shares a time when she was literally scared for her life and well-being…at root the issue causing the violence stemmed from the evil one…anyway, similarly, rather than allowing herself to give into the evil one’s fear, she began to worship right there and then…  It is cool to think and really practice what Romans 8:38-39 tells us:  (NLT) 38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  14. I have to admit that I am having a hard time as I read all of your posts. I feel that I am missing something. I’m getting it logically, but not emotionally. I will keep studying and praying that the “penny will drop”. 
    On a different note, there seems to be a correlation between Adam and Eve’s first act of covering themselves (what they were covering) , our needing to restore “intimacy” with God and  1 Cor. 6:18 “…Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” It’s no surprise that people want to disconnect from what the intimate aspect of our relationship with God really is. That he calls it adultery when we go after idols and he longs to “become one” with us again. I think that it is an area that Satan is working overtime to keep us from understanding. That means that it is probably vital for us to understand it.

    1. Hi Dawn, I want to encourage you here…we have all seen you make great progress as you’ve shared with us your friendship struggles-and they have been hard-and how God has met you in that and you are pressing into Him more and more. I know, it can be hard to read others’ posts and wonder why it didn’t strike you the same way, or why you’re not at the same place the other person is. I want to encourage you with the words of Mike Reeves (which I copied into my Bible on the opening page to the Songs so I wouldn’t forget it) “This is poetry…it’s drawing you in to taste, to savor, to sample, this love. In fact, you are explicitly invited to come and taste the viewpoints in the song. Enter into the enjoyment of this beauty.” I pray that you will do just that – accept the invitation to come and taste, savor, and sample His love for you, laying aside any and all expectations and seeing what He will speak to you!

  15. 2. Read Genesis 3:16.
    A. The word “desire” in this passage can be translated either sexual desire or the desire to be in control (see Genesis 4:7) I believe that it is the latter, since sexual desire is a good gift and was present before the fall. If, you interpret desire to be “rule over”, how does this verse describe the changed and marred relationship between husband and wife?
    The “rule over” in it’s extreme language is abuse. It has been so misinterpreted and misunderstood in our culture and still is, even in churches.  We are to be submissive to God and submissive to one another.  To honor one another and love one another.  To serve one another.  There is no hierarchy just equality.  We are called to be our husband’s helpmate.  Sort of like when the Holy Spirit helps us.  Our conversation is so stilted over this subject b/c of pain I guess or maybe just a lack of understanding.
    My first marriage was very controlling & very abusive.  I was jst saved and my neighbour Diane had jst given me a red bible.  I was a new Christian, Diane Skillen attended the Evangelical Free Church and was my neighbour and was my friend.  I attended no church.  Even then God was taking care of me. 
    Late on I attended the PAOC church.  Anyhow….whn the subject of “submission” came up it was very skewed in my life.  My understanding of submission was very wrong.  I remember in my pain, sorrow, anger, sin I ripped up the red bible Diane had given me. (God gave me a new one by another group of women when I was staying in the transition house – a home for abused women)
    I didn’t get submission or trusting God or men.  Now I do.  Now I understand that Eph. 5 vs 25-33 gives a clearer picture than what I had.  My thinking was messed up.  I remember one time we were doing a bible study at the church.  It was on the Old Testament.  It was abt King David.  Absalom had tried to take David’s throne.  He was angry at his father for not doing anything about the rape of his sister Tamar.  Anyhow…. Absalom raped King David’s concubines at noon in front of everyone.  It is sick I know but a true story.  I remember the Pastor’s wife asking us if this was ok?  I remember saying yes.  She was pretty horrified by my response.  I knew I had said something wrong but I was not sure what?  I know b/c of my childhood that rape was normalized.  It happened but we never talked about it until now. 
    God is teaching me that in Eph.  2 vs 17 that I am allowing love in – in a deeper way –  May Christ through your faith (actually) dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! (my heart)  May u be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love.  This verse is similar to John where he speaks of seeing the Word.  The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (tabernacle awhile) and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father.  Absolutely love that verse.  I picture Jesus walking, talking and just being.  How I long for that time when I can see Him face to face.
    God is teaching me that when I accept and receive His love I am protected. I am letting God’s love  settle down into my heart and my life – I am at peace and I am protected-.  God’s love protects me.  He cast out fear b/c fear has to do with punishment and punishment does not exist in love. 
    I love that!  It is my “realization”in my life and my heart.  This bible study has helped me in the last year to realize that.  God is still redeeming, restoring and reshaping my life into His image and I am eternally thankful.  I did nothing to earn it, I accept and receive His gift of love, life and rest in it. 
    In Eph. 5 vs. 32 it speaks of the mystery of Christ and the church.  There is always that mystery in love but u accept it and receive it and it is so freeing. 
     
    B. Find a picture in The Song of Songs of this marred relationship restored — instead of using one another, they are adoring and serving one another. Quote it and explain why you chose it.
    In SOS chapter 2 vs. 14 and 15….let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.  God is my shield, He is my protector, (his love protects me).  For thou O Lord art shield about me, you are the lifter of my head.  God has given me a word picture and that is it…. He is lifting my head and telling me that I am beautiful and that my voice is sweet.  I am accepting His words of love and resting in His love and believing and accepting His love. 
    Then in vs.  15 ( My heart was touched and I fervently sang to Him my desire)…for our vineyards are to blossom (amp).  Jesus then allows the foxes to be destroyed in my life (the vineyard) -the lies, the pain, the sorrow, the anger, the rage, the pain, the hurt, the jealously, the running away, the “I can do it all myself routine”- God destroys all of that junk, when I submit to Him, accept His love, believe His love and rest in His love!  
    When I do that, I can then rest, believe and trust that my husband loves me.
    It is a two way street but God is always the initiator!  I can do nothing but accept His love of protection and in return I adore Him. 
    It is the same with my current husband.  After forgiving ourselves and one another I can now believe that he loves me and accepts me and I can trust his love. 
    But I could not before b/c I had not done so first with the Lord.   
    3. Read Genesis 3:17-18
    A. What happened to the land as a result of the fall?
    The ground was cursed. 
    B. Find a picture in The Song of Songs of this effect of the fall reversed. Quote it and explain why you chose it.
    SOS Chapt 2 vs 12…. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing (of birds) has come and the voice of the turtledove is heard in the land.  
    I have this on my plaque – a dear sister in the Lord gave it to me-  It means to me that winter is over, (that I am in a different stage in my walk with the Lord)  a deeper walk where God is rooted in my life.  His love, His peace, His promise to restore, to reveal, to heal, to bring about peace is so evident.  As I rest in His love, I enjoy everything more.  The world is beautiful.  I look for the red tail hawks now when I am driving.  Or the eagles.  Or I notice the brilliance of the moon now.  The reflection of sunlight on the hills.
    I was dead but now I am alive with Christ’s love in my life.  He quiets me so that I can hear the singing of the turtledove in my life.  I like that. 
    4. Read Genesis 3:23-24 
    A. What happened to the intimacy between man and God in the garden as a result of the fall?
    Adam was banished and he could not go back into the garden
    Gone was the time when he could walk with the Lord God Almighty in the cool of the day.
    B. Find a picture, drawing from the relationship of the Shulammite maiden and the king, of a restored relationship that is like a restored relationship with God. Quote it and explain why you chose it.
    Again it is chapter two for me.  That chapter met a lot to me.  In vs 7… Jesus charges ….that u not try to stir up or awaken (my) love until it pleases.  Then in the following verses I can see Jesus initiating and the maiden responding.  God moves first (even in Genesis chapt.  3 vs15 God is reaching out- the first messianic promise of redemption)  it shows God’s heart of love, of reaching out and how dependent we are on Him and His protection.  His love is our protection. 
    Anyhow…. the following verses speak of Jesus running, leaping over the mountain.  He comes to her house.  I like that.  That he is running to us/me.  He is pursing and the onus is on Jesus not the maiden. 
    God restores, God redeems, He always keeps a remnant.  His banner over us is love.  He delights over us with singing.  I love that.  That I can depend on Jesus and He will save me.  I rest in that.
    5. Read Song of Songs 7:11-12 and describe the images of the land restores. As you meditate on this passage, what else do you see?
    The vines are budding, the grape blossoms have opened. 
    I see life beginning.  The possibility of love and life being born.  Newness and just the sheer pleasure of a garden.  Inviting us to reach out and touch and savour and smell and dream new dreams. 
    6. Read Song of Songs 8:5 and describe the image. What do you see that is relevant both to restoration in marriage and restoration between man and God?
    Leaning upon Christ.  It is not triumphant but relaxed and accepting.  Savouring the battles won and lost.  Coming back to the original place where their love was awakened (under the apple tree) and she was born (amp).  The leaning upon Christ signifies intimacy, shared secrets, overcoming, triumphs, battles won and lost.  The two become one.  like the mystery of Christ and the church.  The mystery of becoming one in marriage.  Not sexually but much deeper than that.  True intimacy of a shared life and love.
     
    7. Read Song of Songs 8:6-7. This is a famous passage, often used at weddings. How can you also see Christ and His Bride in it?
    Christ is strong, protective, mighty in His love.  His love is fierce, intense and nothing can quench His love.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God.  Love is freely given and accepted.  God never gives up pursuing us.  God has no hidden agenda.  He just wants to love us. 

  16. 7. Read Song of Songs 8:6-7. This is a famous passage, often used at weddings. How can you also see Christ and His Bride in it?

    Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death.  SOS 8:6

    I see a connection with several New Testament passages that refer to the Church or the body of those redeemed by Christ.

    He annointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.  2 Cor. 1:22

    …sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his.  2 Timothy 2:19

    And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.   Ephesians 4:30

    …until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.  Rev. 7:3

     

     

  17. Sisters, I have a huge I spy this week. 🙂 Wish Anne was here to hear this!
     
    You have been praying in regard to a church home for us-mainly because of our oldest son not jelling with his peers in other churches-they didn’t really include him and most of the times were mean to him even though he reached out. I am happy to report that not only has God provided a warm and welcome place for my son in the High School ministry-he has for all our boys and for Patrick and I too. He is blowing me away with how Gospel centered our church is. It has been a LONG time since we have been challenged and felt His sweet presence moving in our hearts making what is comfortable uncomfortable as a result of our pastor’s teaching, and when he leads the Wednesday night leadership training!
     
    My son said, “Mom, these are real Christians-they are kind to me and to one another.” My son ALWAYS wants to go to church and to Wednesday night meetings. I just wanted to thank you for praying-and I mean it-THANK YOU. I love you all so and so love your hearts always wanting Him and pursuing Him..I thank God for you, every time I think of you!
     
     

    1. OH REBECCA!! I am REJOICING with you! What an incredible praise–I can’t stop smiling! This has been such a long hard search, I know. I am so thankful for how He has led you and heard your cries…love this!

    2. This is great, Rebecca. Rejoicing with you!

    3. Rebecca, so wonderful that all of you have found your “home”…it must be so encouraging for you!

    4. Rejoicing with you, Rebecca! =)

    5. Rebecca,  What a relief!     Praise God!

    6. Rebecca, I echo everyone’s exuberance in your family finding a church home…so very happy for you!

  18. Dee, (or anyone who would have a suggestion)
    My husband is interested in the Idol Lies study, however we both wonder if a book written for women by a woman wouldn’t fully resonate with his heart (I do not mean that negatively, I do hope I don’t offend). Is there a male counterpart to your study? I have referred him to Tim Keller’s sermons listed in the Idol Lies study. Thank you. 

  19. So happy for you findijng that church Rebecca!    Staci, praying they find the right treatment for your back!

  20. 7. Read Song of Songs 8:6-7. This is a famous passage, often used at weddings. How can you also see Christ and His Bride in it?
     
    “Place me like a seal over your heart” makes me think of Ephesians 1:13, “…having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit…”
    The seal seems to speak of something binding, permanent, a covenant not to be broken.  And she asks him to “place” her over his heart…those that belong to Him, He takes as His own.
     
    “For love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.” Jesus’ love for us, His Bride, was so strong, so unyielding, that He faced and endured real, physical death for us. “Unyielding” – He was not willing to give up on us, not willing to give us up.
     
    I am pondering the last verse, “If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.” The cross-ref is to Proverbs 6:35, which says that a husband whose jealousy has been aroused (in the case of taking revenge on a man who has committed adultery with his wife) will show no mercy – he will not accept any compensation or bribe, however great it is.
    I had a thought…Satan tried to get Jesus to abort His plan to die for us. He tried to compensate Him, bribe Him, with offers of giving Him material things, wealth, power, the adulation of men. But Jesus knew that the Cross was His victory over our enemy, and He scorned Satan’s offers. The love of Jesus for His Bride does burn like a mighty flame that nothing can quench.

  21. 8. What is your take-away and why?
     
    I know I want to take-away this whole metaphor of the rupture between God and man (well, the whole three-fold rupture) and the picture of the Song of Songs showing us the three-fold restoration, most importantly the picture of a heart at peace with and at rest in the Lord.
     
    Secondly, something that Deanna helped me to see in SOS 7:11-13, as she connected it with George Mueller’s habit of getting his soul happy in the Lord as his first priority. When I first answered that question, I didn’t glean much from the passage, but after reading Deanna’s thoughts, something clicked. I used the passage as my springboard for prayer the next morning. It was, for me, journeying to the vineyard with Jesus to see “if the vines have budded…” To me it pictures, how am I doing spiritually, in relationship with Him, in relationship with others? What is going on in my ‘vineyard’? What is growing there, what will we find there together? I am afraid that often there are bitter roots of resentment, unresolved anger and hurt and disappointment keeping the good things from growing. Weeds choking the fruit. It is also a place that, as I spend time with Jesus, I give Him my love. It was such a positive experience, though, on Friday, that I was not prepared for how I felt all day Saturday…depressed, hopeless, sensing no hope for the future, lonely, hurt, angry. I have hopes and expectations of how family relationships should be, how I want them to be, and it seems that all I end up with is feeling disillusioned and disappointed and wondering what went wrong? I don’t know how to live “above” my circumstances, obviously, when my joy and peace evaporates depending upon how others respond to me.

    1. Susan, I loved your answer to 7 and the realness you expressed in 8. I have the same exact struggles, the one glimmer of hope for me is that the down days don’t seem as hopeless as they used to. Don’t beat yourself up because of your inability to “live above your circumstances” run to the Lord even when you don’t feel like it.

    2. Susan–this is so rich and honest–this got me ” What is going on in my ‘vineyard’? What is growing there…” wow. I just listened to an old (free) Keller sermon this morning called The Search for Happiness–your response reminded me of much of what he said of our struggle. Your circumstances are harder than I can really imagine–yet you are here, you are with Him, you are faith-filled. You are honest in your lament. You cannot control your environment–but you model for me that faithfulness to a greater Hope.

  22. I think my take away is more about Him than me. This lesson i have been struck deeper by this part of God’s character–He is a God of Restoration–and that says SO much to me! He sees there is always hope, there is always life that can be found. What I see as dead, a failure, impossible to overcome–He sees HOPE. He sees life beneath the ashes. Only He can do that–no other god, no other idol–nothing can bring life from death but our Lord. And He is in the business of eternal restoration. It brings deeper meaning to every relationship, to our world here, to nature, all of creation–He is always restoring, making new. I think this is a jumble so I’ll stop! But this part of God, of who He is–fills me with hope.