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IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT SEX

The ancients forbade the reading of the Song of Songs before the age of thirty. But was that because it was just about sex? Or might they have feared the young would see only sex, tittering like school boys, trampling upon the pearl of great price? That seems to be where the world is today, and we as believers cannot help but be impacted by this pollution. Images of sexual promiscuity have so flooded our land that many believers can no longer imagine how God could use this metaphor to communicate a deep truth to us. We miss what God longs to impart to us.

(This next part is tricky — and I welcome input for the upcoming book. How do I show the problem without becoming part of it? Have I said enough to be clear? Too much?)

Exacerbating the problem are the preachers who have treated the Song as soft porn. They interpret everything in The Song to be just about sex, and treat it as a prescriptive sex manual endorsing practices that would make many women uncomfortable and telling them God commands they do it. As one preacher of a mega-church said, “If you feel like you’re being dirty, your husband is pretty happy.” John MacArthur responded:

That approach is not exegesis; it is exploitation. It is contrary to the literary style of the book itself. It is spiritually tantamount to an act of rape. It tears the beautiful poetic dress off Song of Solomon, strips that portion of Scripture of its dignity, and holds it up to be laughed at and leered at in a carnal way.

With pollution seeping from the world to the church, it has indeed become more challenging to imagine that God would use marriage and the marriage bed as a metaphor for something so sacred. But the fact is, He does.The prophets, the poets, and the parables all rely on this most intimate of metaphors. Jeremiah equates idolatry with adultery; Hosea is a mural of a broken-hearted bridegroom loving a faithless bride; Isaiah tells us that God rejoices over us as bridegroom rejoices over his bride; Psalm 45, the Song and the Parables all point to a great wedding day of the King’s son and his bride. Revelation speaks of a holy city, a “new Jerusalem,” coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Both Revelation and the Song close with the bride calling to the beloved to return. “Make haste, my beloved” and “Come, Lord Jesus!”

Likewise, the central verse about marriage, stated first in Genesis at the wedding of Adam and Eve, and then drumming through Malachi, Matthew, Mark, and 1 Corinthians, finally  culminates in Ephesians where it is clearly revealed that earthly marriage is intended to illumine a deeper mystery:

        “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife,

        and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound,

        and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

                                                             Ephesians 5:31-32

MYSTERYOFMARRIAGE

Ellen F. Davis, in her Westminister Commentary, says we need to see both earthly and spiritual marriage in the Song, for the pictures are  “mutually informative” when held side by side.

We’re going to spend three more weeks looking at overall themes in the Song, and then, when Lent begins, get directly into a verse by verse study.

In the next two weeks we are going to consider five qualities God ordained for marriage, and see how they  illumine the mystery to which marriage points.(This is a division of one chapter, which I’m struggling to title!) I’ve gone from “The Song is Sacred,” to “It’s Not Just About Sex”  and “A Metaphor Not Just a Marriage Manual” Input or other ideas welcome.

God ordained purity and passion for for marriage and they point to a deeper mystery.

THE PROTECTION OF PURITY

PURITYjpg

THE NECESSITY OF PASSION

LACK OF PASSION IS FATAL5bb382e2f7fe2af9c3c70be9ae4f839d

Decades ago I was speaking in California on Mary and Elizabeth. I talked about how challenging it must have been for newlyweds Mary and Joseph to abstain from intimacy until after Jesus was born, but God helped them to do it.  In the same way, it is challenging for young couples today to abstain from intimacy until marriage. It is rare that they do it. But if they do it, God has a gift waiting for them. If they have both managed to be pure, if they have both managed to protect their “garden locked up,” then for at least that first challenging year of marriage, God gives them that tremendous sexual excitement like a “balm,” like a jar of ointment to soothe on one another at night.

balm

They need this balm for the first year of marriage is challenging as they realize they married a sinner, and as they adjust to their natural differences. But if they have dipped into that balm repeatedly before marriage, they come to that challenging first year with an empty jar.

Afterwards a darling little white-haired lady made her way up to me in her walker with something to tell me. Her eyes aglow, she said enthusiastically: “I LIKED YOUR POINT ABOUT THE BOMB! i REMEMBER — IT WAS A BOMB!”

I was confused and then I realized she heard “bomb” instead of “balm.” I began to laugh but thought, I don’t need to correct her. The protection of purity gives you both a balm and a bomb!

But how does that illuminate our relationship with God?

That’s where we will start this week.

You have been so helpful to me with your comments for the upcoming book. Feel free to keep it up — on anything you read here.

 SUNDAY ICEBREAKER

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

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY BIBLE STUDY

Let’s get started with the first: The Protection of Purity

PUREwhite-rose  Though purity before marriage is increasingly rare today, it was and is and always will be God’s best. Ellen Davis writes: Our world is groaning under the weight of instantaneous contacts and temporary relationships…too many souls are stunted, arrested in adolescent  development. Could it be that the cultivation of real intimacy is the greatest social and spiritual challenge of out time? …The images of the Song underscore throughout the lushness of sexual exclusivity. “I come to my garden, my sister, my bride…my dove, my perfect one, is the only one.” (5:1; 6:9)

There are earthly reasons why purity is wise. Not only does purity protect our bodies from disease, but also our hearts and minds from a corruption that hinders entering fully into intimacy with just one person for life.

2. On an earthly level, what do you learn about God’s desire for purity from:

A. 1 Corinthians 7:1-4

B.  Hebrews 13:4

3. If you can give a testimony on why you are glad you waited until marriage, we’d love to see it here! Or, if you are willing to share your sadness in not waiting, that too speaks as a testimony. Be brief and give us the reasons you are glad or sad.

If we failed, Christianity alone gives us hope, for He can make us clean. Watch this clip from Paige Benton Brown and summarize “the grammar of grace.”

4. Share your summary and thoughts on the above, perhaps with a sentence of praise to your Redeemer.

5. How do you see the beloved’s delight in his love’s purity in Song of Songs 4:12-15? 

6. Purity is not just for before marriage, but throughout. Give several ways, besides not having sex with other people, that God calls couples to purity within marriage.

The Song has some similarities to pagan love poetry, but there is a crucial difference. Pagan love poetry is vulgar, whereas in the Song, there is only beauty. God has reformed and raised the language, for marriage is to be honored, and the bed undefiled for it points to a precious mystery.

7. Give an example from the Song of how God speaks of the mystery of sex in beautiful rather than graphic or vulgar language.

8. Let’s consider some ways this parallels our relationship with Christ.

A. What analogy does Paul use for the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 11:2? What could rob them of their purity? How does this apply to you?

B.  What are some ways to identify false teachers according to:

1) Matthew 7:16-20

2) Galatians 1:6-8 (You may need to investigate why this was a “different” gospel.

C. If you are a mother, you are also exhorted to be a “guard” over your childrens’ hearts and minds. The word “keeper” in Titus 2:5, which may be translated in various ways, is from a Greek word meaning guard. 

If you have children still at home and have found effective ways to guard the purity of their minds, please share.

D. John closes his letter with, “My little children, keep yourselves from idols.” How does running to an idol compromise your purity and quench the presence of God in your day? Be specific.

E. In David’s penitential psalm after his adultery with Bathsheba, he prays to be cleansed and then lists four results of that restored purity. Find them in Psalm 51:7-13. Comment on each.

F. Have you experienced a correlation between having purity in your life and any of the above results? If so, share.

Sing this to the Lord in your “closet,” making it your heartfelt prayer to Him.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFlgIk7CXbs
 

Now let’s consider the necessity of passion.

passion-red-rose-dsc03094I told “Samantha” I’d pick up for our Christmas tea. I asked her, on the way, to tell me her spiritual background. She smiled, knowing where I was headed, and wanted to reassure me she was okay with God even though she didn’t go to church. “Oh, Dee, I did that. In one foster home they were Baptists and I went forward and said the prayer. So I’m good. I know where I’m going when I die.” I held back for we were at the tea, but am praying for another change to come back to her with the analogy of marriage. I hope to ask: “How do you think you’d feel if “Mike” said to you. “I married you. We’re good. We don’t have to spend time together. We don’t have to talk, walk, or make love. We’re good. We did that.” 9. Only Christianity among the worlds’ religions has a robust view of the marriage bed. Find it:

A. Proverbs 5:18-19 

B. Challenge Question — here is a verse that links purity to passion. Song of Songs 8:10. What do you think it means?

The closest we come on this earth to understanding love and intimacy is in the love of a man and a woman in marriage. In fact the word translated “know” in Scripture refers to both sexual intimacy and to a genuine relationship with Christ. The euphoria of falling in love, the ecstasy of sexual intimacy as intended, and the continual repentance and devotion to the other person that a good marriage requires is, indeed, a window into our relationship with Christ.

10. Counselors say that a lack of passion (either negative or positive) is the surest sign they are headed toward divorce. What correlation might you see with Christ, and how does Revelation 3:15-16.

11. If the passion is gone in your marriage or in your relationship with Christ, here are three things Christ tells you to do. Find them in Revelation 2:4-5. Then pray them.

12. Describe how God feels when he sees his bride’s passion has dissipated. How does he know? Ponder Jeremiah 2:1-8.

Thursday-Friday. Finish (or start and finish!) Sermon by James Hamilton.

James Hamilton Song of Songs 1

If you are married, you could listen to this with your husband. He does address husbands frequently. But he also, unlike most preachers today, takes it deep into our relationship with Christ.

13. Share your notes and thoughts. 

Saturday

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

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167 comments

  1. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? “Lack of passion is fatal.” Thinking on this bomb this morning….

  2. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    I like John MacArthur’s response very much, that this portion of Scripture had been stripped of its dignity. The dear white-haired lady’s comment made me smile…”the bomb”, indeed! I’m glad you didn’t correct her, Dee!
    Scrolling through this entire week, though, is already confronting me with something uncomfortable in my own marriage.

  3. Here are the two I like most: 1. “It isn’t just about sex!” (Because I think that is striking and memorable.)  2. Not Just a Marriage Manual.  
    If I can think of alternatives I will but I like the two above!
     
    In the two red paragraphs. I think you are clear. I love the John MacArthur quote.  
     
    Dee, I will email you in regard to another thought I had that has been lingering. 
     
     
     
     
     

      1. hmmm….not sure if my thought is worth emailing you about..so might not. 

  4. I like the “Sacred Song” or maybe “The Song’s Sacred Dance”, or a question–“Metaphor or Marriage Manual?” And I did appreciate MacArthur’s comments. 
     
    Thinking about the necessity of passion–and that passion cannot be faked or “mustered up”…., it cannot be forced, .I don’t think we alone can even create it. It is a gift. Though it is to be sought and prayed for, asked of Him for–and then once received, it must be well cared for, nurtured, treasured and protected. I think that is true both in an earthly marriage application and our Spiritual union with Christ. 
     
    I liked this too from an article I read by James Hamilton on the Song: “this is exactly why the Song of Songs is in the Bible…What if there was something so beautiful it could break the spell of all that eye-candy? What if there was something so satisfying it would empower us to hear the siren song for what it is—an invitation to ruin and misery with the smoke of your destruction going up forever and ever?  Would God be so good to us that he would give us a book that could describe the lost intimacy of Eden? Not only describing it: holding it out as a possibility, offering it to us, inviting us to partake, inspiring us to imitate.

      1. Dee-it’s the article I emailed you last week–the passion thought is mine–honestly from my own experience, all I’ll say there ;)… but here’s the Hamilton article for here: http://jimhamilton.info/2015/09/21/why-you-need-to-preach-the-song-of-songs/

    1. Lizzy-The James Hamilton quote is a gem.
      Passion can’t be faked or mustered up-it can’t be forced, and your whole paragraph-what an insightful and crucial point! 

    2. Lizzy-I like these also, “The Song’s Sacred Dance”, and “Metaphor or Marriage Manual?”  Having a hard time deciding which one I like best. 

    3. Lizzy, I really like the question Metaphor or marriage Manuel?  And your thoughts on passion are so accurate and well stated!  Thank you for them!

    4. Lizzy – this phrase “the lost intimacy of Eden” really does haunt me.  How tantalizing – purity and passion indeed.  🙂  

    5. Lizzy, did you say we are two peas in a pod? Smile. “Thinking about the necessity of passion–and that passion cannot be faked or “mustered up”…., it cannot be forced, .I don’t think we alone can even create it. It is a gift. Though it is to be sought and prayed for, asked of Him for–and then once received, it must be well cared for, nurtured, treasured and protected. I think that is true both in an earthly marriage application and our Spiritual union with Christ.”
      Passion is indeed a gift. I know as I get older and my physical body gets tired and my heart  fights the tendency to turn inward  and gets selfish at times, I need to ask the Lord to kindle passion for my marriage and my spiritual union with Christ.

    6. Lizzy, oh I too think your second paragraph is wonderful and right on…passion cannot be fake or forced, it is truly a gift from the Lord and one to be “cared for, nurtured, treasured, and protected,” and how true that this applies to both the earthly marriage and our relationship with Jesus.
      I look forward to reading the article a little later (this evening)…thanks for providing the link.

  5. What stood out: The mystery of marriage for passion and purity are it’s life blood. Be hot or cold but not lukewarm..Lack of passion is fatal..pondering this illumination of our relationship with Jesus. 

  6. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    The balm/bomb story surely made me laugh!     
     
    Also, Dee, your bold letters are inescapable:   “Lack of passion is fatal.” 
    Much to think on here.   Needing courage to do this study.   Thank you for leading some of us more timid, tired sheep.   
     
    This Michael Card song, Arise and Come,  speaks to the passion of it all ~
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZBKcSv-mBg
     
     

  7. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    I like the comments in red, Dee, especially the MacArthur quote. I will be so busy the next few weeks that I will not be able to comment here or very little. I appreciate many of you as you have promised your prayers as we gear up for our refugee family to arrive.

  8. 1.  What stands out to you from the above, and why?  
     
    I so love this John MacArthur quote – I remember when he first said this in response to the crude teaching of this mega church pastor.  I wanted to stand up and cheer! MacArthur’s  passion for Jesus and His Word has poured forth faithfully for many decades now and his words on this were sorely needed and apt.  
     
    One of the stumbling blocks I have experienced with the Song over the years has been, frankly, Solomon himself.  🙁  With ALL that God blessed Solomon with …..with the wisdom such as no one had ever experienced……and with all that we see here in the purity and passion of this marriage (and I know there is controversy over some of that)….yet he ended up with multitudes of wives and concubines and his heart was even turned from the Lord by these women.  I feel like by being honest about this I’m raining on the parade!  But those thoughts do continue to creep in – Solomon had a beautiful beginning …..and a sad, sad end.  
     
    Dee, I love how you are asking: “How do I show the problem without becoming a part of the problem?”.  There is such integrity in your service to the Lord!  I see continually your awe of Him and His Word – and your desire to faithfully shepherd the study, the digging, the conversations…..I’m SOoooooo grateful that I “stumbled” upon this blog fellowship a few short years ago now.  🙂  
     
    When you speak of the pollution of the world impacting the church, I’m pondering how even the biblical definition of marriage – one man and one woman – has undergone a sea change – EVEN in the church.  Do even these changes make is harder for us to hear the words of the Song?  Perhaps?  
     
    And oh, the balm and the bomb!!  GREAT story!  🙂  Great comedians (of course this little lady had NO idea that’s who she was at that moment!) do have a way of helping us laugh at the truly funny side of so much of the days of our lives.  

      1. Dee that is a good reflection on Solomon indeed.  Made me turn to that incredible, humble and glorious prayer of dedication that he prayed….in 1 Kings 8:22-61.  Truly one of the OT gems of prayer.  🙂  

        1. Liz you are making perfect sense ….and what you shared here reminds me that I came across something similar in the past.  In the end Solomon, just like us, was a sinner in need of our Holy Bridegroom!  And in the Scriptures I need to seek HIM….not human “role models”!  Your comment here, along with Dee’s, got my focus back on track!  Thank you

    1. Jackie somewhere in my travels and I may be going out on a limb here but  I read something along the lines of it was no accident that the Songs followed the book of Ecclisiates and that perhaps the Songs was what Solomon longed for vs how he had lived. Oh can I add myself here. As he went thru the previous book talking of all that was vanity to getting to this beautiful picture of Christ and his bride. Not sure if I am making sense.

  9. We sang this at church this morning and I thought it was so fitting I wanted to share (warning Renee–this is one of the “twangier” Indelible Grace songs ? ) I even closed my eyes at one point, imagined Nila with her guitar, Rebecca with her voice, and Laura-d dancing…One Day!
    https://youtu.be/Mun3lJZSWnM
    1. The sands of time are sinking, 
    The dawn of heaven breaks; 
    The summer morn I’’ve sighed for – 
    The fair, sweet morn awakes: 
    Dark, dark had been the midnight 
    But dayspring is at hand, 
    And glory, glory dwelleth 
    In Emmanuel’s land.
     
    2. The king there in His beauty, 
    Without a veil is seen: 
    It were a well-spent journey, 
    Though seven deaths lay between: 
    The Lamb with His fair army, 
    Doth on Mount Zion stand, 
    And glory, glory dwelleth 
    In Emmanuel’s land
     
    3. O Christ, He is the fountain, 
    The deep, sweet well of love! 
    The streams on earth I’’ve tasted 
    More deep I’ll drink above: 
    There to an ocean fullness 
    His mercy doth expand, 
    And glory, glory dwelleth 
    In Emmanuel’s land.
     
    4. The bride eyes not her garment, 
    But her dear Bridegroom’s face; 
    I will not gaze at glory 
    But on my King of grace. 
    Not at the crown He giveth 
    But on His pierced hand; 
    The Lamb is all the glory 
    Of Emmanuel’s land.
     
    5. O I am my Beloved’s 
    And my Beloved is mine! 
    He brings a poor vile sinner 
    Into His house of wine 
    I stand upon His merit – 
    I know no other stand, 
    Not e’en where glory dwelleth 
    In Emmanuel’s land.

    1. What lovely words, Lizzy. Oh, I long for that day!

    2. Lizzy,   (or anyone)  
      I have never heard this song.  I went to listen, but am confused by this stanza.  What are the seven deaths?  

      2. The king there in His beauty, Without a veil is seen: It were a well-spent journey, Though seven deaths lay between: 

      1. oooh Wanda–you’re such a learner! I *think this is a reference to Revelation…only because I’m remembering something in my daily readings at the end of the year…but you have me intrigued, so I’m off to search!

      2. Wanda–I was wrong–all I’ve found is this (2 different sites): “The language, by the way, does not mean that we have to clear seven different deaths to get to Heaven. This is not some odd mystical text, listing the seven/ten deaths of the Christian. It is a statement of the unsurpassed value of enjoying Jesus’ presence.” AND “The number seven is often identified as a symbol of that which is perfect or full. Hence, it seems to me that the verse is simply saying that for the righteous, the journey that will ultimately take us from earth to heaven will be a well-spent one, even though it was full of dangerous situations of peril and testing that could have resulted in death. “

        1. Lizzy – that’s what I read too!  🙂  

        2. Thanks for checking, Lizzy and Jackie.   I actually just looked up a bit too.  Maybe the same page you had visited.   
          http://mereorthodoxy.com/reading-the-hymns-%E2%80%93-the-sands-of-time-are-sinking/
          Hymn traditions are pretty fascinating.  So many are unique to their own denomination; never went ‘mainstream’ even in their day, it seems.    I was fascinated that this one had 19 stanzas!  And that it talked about paradise being the transitional ‘heaven’.  I think that is right, but there is so much about the doctrines of heaven that are presented differently with different churches.  Interesting!    Thanks for bringing this up, Lizzy.  

        3. Oh, and then when I read that this song was originally a poem entitled, ‘the last words of Samuel Rutherford’ (that was the version with 19 verses!)   I had to look up who he was.  I don’t have a background in Calvinism or the Puritan preachers, so I wasn’t familiar.   All of this is a good backdrop though, because I was just about to start reading Randy Alcorn’s book ‘Heaven’ as that’s the next one my friend and I are going to discuss together.  🙂  

      3. Wanda – I had the same question!  From my limited googling it just looks to me like this is simply poetic license …..not anything literal about “seven deaths”.  It doesn’t strictly come from the Revelation text….I really did enjoy this piece….but like you, when this part came along I just kind of went “whoa….what is THAT?”.  Interesting.  

  10. How about a “A Holy Metaphor Not Just a Marriage Manual” for a title, Dee? I wish I could think of an “m” word that means “holy” to make an alliteration, but I cannot think of anything else but perhaps “mysterious”. There is something about “It’s not just about sex” which makes me want to back away. Not sure if I can explain why. Perhaps it is because I don’t think the Song is really meant to be about sex at all.

      1. I agree with your point, Dee, about appreciating the gift of marriage. It is definitely a mystery; and marriage as a symbol is used over and over in Scripture, of course.

  11. I appreciate the John MacArthur response  I  am already feeling so much painful work here. However I have been through much painful work in other areas of my life to get to freedom. I am willing to go thru some raw feelings to get there. I came to my marriage with an empty jar. The pain of not having any balm took its toll. I am so grateful for the healing balm of Jesus Christ which never runs out. I am anticipating Him pouring it on.

    1. Liz- what a precious response…tears in my eyes as I read ….praying right now that the balm of Christ will continue to heal and soothe the deepest heartaches .  “Draw me after you; let us run.” Song of Songs 1:4.  

  12. 2.  On an earthly level, what do you learn about God’s desire for purity from:
    A.  1 Corinthians 7:1-4:    His desire for our purity in marriage is not an impossible dream – He has clearly shown us the path to purity.  It is not impossible, but it may be HARD, for it flies in the face of everything we have been and continue to be told from our culture….namely, that our bodies are “our own” and what we do with them is no one’s business but ours.  In chapter 6, Paul has already clearly laid the foundation:   our bodies are NOT our own – we have been bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus!  Now….here in chapter 7 comes an example of the practical outworking of this principle – v. 4 says that the wife does not have authority over her body, but her husband does….and vice versa!  This gets into dicey territory indeed!  But it is very hard to get around the fact that the Scripture here is clearly saying that marriage is meant to be a help to avoiding sexual immorality – IF there is mutual sexual practice within the marriage!  
     
    B.  Hebrews 13:4:    I’ve always appreciated the words “Let marriage be held in honor among all…”.  Even those who are unmarried need to honor marriage.  God expects this honoring of marriage from us “all”.  And if not?  “God will judge…”.  This very simple, straightforward verse surely packs a punch.  In Christ, it is the responsibility of us ALL to honor the sanctity of marriage.  I think we have lost the belief that “God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” as stated in this verse.  After all, sexual immorality is rampant all around us…..certainly in my circle of family and friends and work associates that is the case.  It is “normal”.  And I know that I hate to admit that this fruit is an indicator of hearts in all out rebellion against the living God – who WILL judge.  This issue of purity is one that can make us feel like dinosaurs in our world…..extinct!!  But our earthly sojourn is constantly, moment by moment to be lived with the filling of the Holy Spirit and the knowledge of His presence all around….that what we see may be “real”….but what is unseen is TRUTH.  God’s truth.  

    1. Jackie–(I skipped my RTS class this morning and in stead am soaking up comments I missed and OH) “our bodies are NOT our own – we have been bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus!”–this truth just hit home so clearly to me this morning–something we need to teach our children from the beginning,and daily remind ourselves. It is more than about marriage–I don’t want to put here the latest example from my own child, but there are so many opportunities that while we may try to offer “freedom” with hairstyles, piercings, I don’t know just making this part up now! But the real answer isn’t ‘it’s your body…’ it is that your body is the Lord’s, His Temple.You’ve just impressed upon me again the need to really believe, live and teach that truth, and how it yes, protects marriage, but affects everything, the choices in how we live daily. 

  13. 3.  going to pass on this one….this is just TMI for even me to share on a public space.  
    4.  Share your summary and thoughts on the above, perhaps with a sentence of praise to your Redeemer.
     
    The grammar of grace – pretty incredible.  “BUT”.  A wonderful, grace drenched word!  This is my hopeless condition in my sin….BUT…You oh God are my Savior!  I see that  this clip is alluding to Solomon’s prayer of dedication when the temple was completed.    This prayer begins in 1 Kings 8:22 and is something to behold.  His first words are “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you,…”  This God who keeps His covenants, fulfills His promises, listens to our cries, forgives our sins….
     
    I had never heard this speaker before and initially she made me nervous!!  She spoke so fast that I was thinking of an auctioneer!!!  But I love her valid point:  The Gospel is never causative, but always contradictory!  This is how it is, but this isn’t how it HAS to be!  In light of the greatness of God….forgiveness is always inexplicable!  
     
    O Lord God, there is no God like You.  I am forever grateful that I do not have to work and worry and try to appease You……Christ Himself took on my sin at the cross and fully bore the wrath of judgement in my place.  How can this be?  What kind of love is this?  I bow down at Your feet, my Redeemer.  Take my life and let it be….consecrated Lord to Thee……Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.  Thank you.  

  14. 5.  How do you see the beloved’s delight in his love’s  purity in Song of Songs 4;12-15?
     
    I’m noticing the repetition of the word “all” in these verses….”all choicest fruits….all trees….all choice spices…”  I’m hearing here that she is MORE THAN ENOUGH!!!  She is all, all, all….and then even more!!  And then the fountain, the well of living water, the flowing streams……suggestive of going on and on….never ending!  

  15. 6.  Purity is not just for before marriage, but throughout.  Give several ways, besides not having sex with other people, that God calls couples to purity within marriage.   
    Oh my.  I have fallen so far short in the very things I’m going to write here.  First, foremost and always for me the protection of purity within marriage begins with my heart – specifically my thought life.  And my thought life is rooted in my prayer life and the impact of the Scriptures daily ……I have to ask myself this question:  How am I THINKING about my husband?  How am I praying about my husband?  Am I seeking to build him up or am I tearing him down?  I realized just a few days ago that my prayer life on my husband’s behalf has been SORELY LACKING for quite some time.  Compassion fatigue?  If I am desiring to be filled with the Spirit that excuse won’t fly at all.  
     
    I also have to very carefully guard my emotional life in my interactions with other men.  This has been intentional on my part for many, many years, from the time the Lord first opened my eyes to the dangers therein.  I think that perhaps (?) for those of us with a long marriage to an unbeliever, this one may be very crucial.  I am very careful about the groups I am a part of – even in my church!  I’m careful about the content of my conversations with my brothers in Christ.  The list could go on, but you get the gist……

    1. Jackie I so totally agree with your last paragraph. I have been heavily guarded over the years and even more so now. Taking every thought captive.

    2. Jackie-So good! Yes..I haven’t gotten to this question yet but I may ditto yours for this is right on. You see your depravity and don’t want to put yourself in a position where you might stumble..you remind me of “Happy (blessed) are the poor in spirit for theirs in the Kingdom of Heaven.” 

  16. 2. On an earthly level, what do you learn about God’s desire for purity from:
    A. 1 Corinthians 7:1-4
    That the husband and wife would not withhold their bodies from one another for if they do they are opening themselves up to temptation from satan toward infidelity.
    B.  Hebrews 13:4
    Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed pure with no adultery and sexual immorality. 

  17. 3. If you can give a testimony on why you are glad you waited until marriage, we’d love to see it here! Or, if you are willing to share your sadness in not waiting, that too speaks as a testimony. Be brief and give us the reasons you are glad or sad.
    I didn’t know the Lord in my first marriage and we didn’t wait, well even before my first marriage I was looking for love in all the wrong places. That is why I identify so with women in prison, women who are promiscuous, teens who are wild and rebellious. After I came to know the Lord my husband left. I remained single and didn’t want to get married partly for fear of it and also in wanting to keep my eyes on the Lord- no distractions..until around 5 or 6 years later when God started changing my heart about marriage and brought my husband along who also is His. We remained pure before we married-while it was difficult-we did, by His Mercy.  I am so glad we waited until marriage for there is so much beauty in it-renewal, purity, and one-ness in Him.   

  18. 7.  Give an example from the Song of how God speaks of the mystery of sex in beautiful rather than graphic or vulgar language.  
     
    5:1–  “I came to my garden, my sister, my bride.   I gathered my myrrh with my spice, I ate my honeycomb with my honey, I drank my wine with my milk.  Eat, friends, drink, and be drunk with love!”

  19. I was in Genesis 19 this morning and this stuck out: When the angels told Lot to grab his family and go before they destroyed the City..ultimately Lot lingered instead of leaving right away as the Angels asked so the Angels forced him and his family out of the door…HIS MERCY. I see the Gospel! :))

    1. ❤️

  20. 8.  Let’s consider some ways this parallels our relationship with Christ.
    A.  What analogy does Paul use for the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 11:2?  What could rob them of their purity?  How does this apply to you?
     
    He compares the divine jealousy that Christ has for us as His Bride to that of an earthly husband’s jealousy for the purity of his bride.  verse 3 seems to tell us how unfaithfulness can unfold ….we can be deceived by the evil one and our thoughts can be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ – just as Eve was led astray by the cunning of the serpent.  The implications for my own life are that I need to remember daily that ANYTHING other than the pure Word of God can lead me astray and erode my devotion to Christ.  Even well meaning and godly friends may not always be on track in their “advice”…..I need to filter EVERYTHING through the Scriptures!!    Just this weekend….on a very long walk with a friend….I was receiving strong encouragement to gently back out of a situation I am in that is requiring some significant sacrifice on my part.  It came from a loving perspective of how this could impact my availability to the needs of family members as well as impacting my little business.  All of which is true so far as it goes……but even while we were talking I ended up saying “I just don’t know.  This is something I need to pray about and take to God.  I have to hear His voice on this. ”  Strangely enough, the passage that came to me was from the OT….at the very end of 2 Samuel, when David says” I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing.”  I know, I know….we are no longer offering burnt offerings to God….but I do think the heart principal holds – offerings to God, taking up our cross and following Christ, COST something.  Or should.  The passage spoke deeply to me and then….I received a phone call from the person I am attempting to serve…..and her distress and discouragement and heartbreak broke me.  I need to be “in this” for the duration….until the Lord resolves all of the complicated pieces of the story……and I need to live with the uncertainty, the lack of a “plan” or a timetable.  I need to rest in Him in this.  It was SO SWEET to hear from Jesus in this…..worth it all!!  🙂  

    1. That 2 Samuel verse has come  mind for me too when serving others has been long and hard,

    2. Jackie–your hearing Him tell you to stay “in this” and “live with the uncertainty”…reminded me of something I read yesterday on Desiring God (Jon Bloom): “Your affliction has a purpose. You likely don’t know what it is yet, but someday you will. And your affliction has a timeline. You likely don’t know what it is yet, and likely it already seems too long. But someday you will understand. And you will understand that the purposes for both your affliction and how long you were required to endure it extended far beyond the range of your perception. And then it will make sense.”
      ~prayers for you

      1. Lizzy, I love this quote by Jon Bloom. “Your affliction has a purpose. You likely don’t know what it is yet, but someday you will. …” Thanks for the reminder.

    3. Jackie, I am not able to take much time to comment on this blog, but , oh, this comment of yours is a treasure, especially the 2 Samuel passage about God asking that our “sacrifices” COST us something. Like you, I am in the midst of a costly time of complications and uncertainty (though mine is very different than yours). Thanks so much for encouraging me with your thoughts. 

  21. 8B.  What are some ways to identify false teachers according to:
    1. Matthew 7:16-20          “you will recognize them by their fruits” – 
    2.  Galatians 1:6-8             false teachers preach “a different gospel”…..meaning we have to be rock solid sure of the TRUE gospel, as taught us in the Word.  My study Bible actually mentioned Mormonism as a “different gospel” that supposedly came from an angel.  The Galatians were being taught that they needed circumcision and to keep the whole law along with Christ…..a “different gospel” .  

      1. That came from the footnote on the verse in the ESV Study Bible.  

  22. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? I am coming back to this question because I was in a hurry yesterday to get to church on time and didn’t really answer it.
     
    Something that keeps coming back to my thoughts regarding the conundrum with the sex metaphor (by conundrum I mean how our society and attittudes toward sex have polluted the metaphor): The metaphor came first. God didn’t look around and say, “Hmmmm what can I use to illustrate my point…” No. Just as He created fathers and sons to demonstrate His love He created man and wife to demonstrate His love as well. The metaphor came first. Somehow when realizing that it makes it a more ready and stronger foundation for phsycologically jumping into the topic.
     
    Passion. Interesting as I just rewatched Camelot Friday night to refresh my memory of the faithful King Arthur in his dealings with Gwenoviere, the unfaithful bride. He says, right before intermission, “Can passion be chosen?” I have grown up being told (not verbally but indirectly through so many other messages) that passion is bad. Unbridled emotion of any kind is immature and inappropriate. I have been taught to temper emotions and be constant and “strong.” There is some good truth to this: however, just as you can not muster up passion and fake it why should you try to stuff all other emotions the other way toward stoicism? I am a fairly passionate person and while my reactions need tempering by wisdom and the Holy Spirit I often am embarrassed when I let my passion be seen, it’s “not normal.” Hence, in striving toward non-passionate reactions I am giving way to my approval idol just the same as mustering up passion for a show would be. (Please do not read this as everyone needs to be passionate, I know there are different temperaments, only airing thoughts on ME here.)

    1. Jill I could so relate to what you have said here. “I am a fairly passionate person and while my reactions need tempering by wisdom and the Holy Spirit I often am embarrassed when I let my passion be seen, it’s “not normal.” Hence, in striving toward non-passionate reactions I am giving way to my approval idol just the same as mustering up passion for a show would be.” 
       I can relate to the feeling of “not normal” with my passion.  I find so often people do not know how t take it. I feel odd. (speaking for myself) Almost want to say I am bad for being passionate. ( oh there you go again)
       
       
       

  23. Jackie – have you listened to the sermon yet? He addresses your thoughts on Solomon. I agree with struggling that the greatest love story was told by a man who had no “the one.” However, ultimately it was a book inspired (like all the Bible) by the Holy Spirit and so written by God and not Solomon. One more thought: who better to write of the passionate feelings of a pot boiling over than one human who obviously couldn’t resist it?!?

    1. Jill – no, I have yet to listen to the sermon, so thank you for further whetting my appetite for that.  🙂  And yes, indeed.  God is the author of this love story…..and for His own reasons He chose Solomon to be the human transmitter!  Once again….His Sovereignty, His lavish Grace……and within me, while still honoring and esteeming human marriage…..so grateful to be longing for that “something more” that ONLY Christ will ever fill!!  

  24. Dee – I really appreciate the mini-overview of how the sex metaphor is used in the Bible, it definitely takes away from the shock of seeing it in the SoS if you realize hat you are seeing it again and again and not “just” in the Song.

  25. Need to start each day with this but especially now. all I want is truth
    https://youtu.be/cvl-MfqvgkE

    1. love this song Liz! I have never heard it before. Love Crowder too!

  26.  What stands out to me?  It makes me sad how we have perverted marriage in our secular society. Marriage is a covenant between God, man and woman.  It is biblical and sacred.  I’m also sad and that my mother didn’t teach me about purity before it was too late. She did the best she could as a single mom, but this is one area she struggled with in conversation.  But then again, I had those talks with my children, and look what we have now! We have a beautiful baby grandson.  I would love to have been part of the gift God gives when you remain pure. 
     
     I think you should title your chapter A Deeper Mystery that would make me intrigued and want to read more. 

  27. 2. On an earthly level, what do you learn about God’s desire for purity from:
    A. 1 Corinthians 7:1-4
    There should be one woman for one man. 
     
    The man and woman each, have authority over  each others’ bodies. 
     
    B.  Hebrews 13:4
     
    No committing adultery. Those who do will be judged by God. 

  28. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    I realize that it wasn’t one of your main points, Dee, but I loved the funny anecdote about the older woman’s remark about “the bomb”!    I’m assuming you will put that in the book, as a little humor is always a welcome relief from much seriousness.     Dee, you were worrying about being part of the problem.    I think your red paragraphs were quite clear.   No problem there that I can see.     I found it reassuring that you traced the metaphor through the Bible — Genesis, Malachi, Matthew, Mark, 1 Corinthians, and Ephesians.   It adds to the credibility of the metaphor, and that makes me more comfortable with it.   
     
    I think there is one more aspect about the metaphor that I would like to lift up, and that is growing closer.   The intimacy between husband and wife grows and grows until there is an inseparable bond between the two.  I have even seen couples who start to look alike in their facial features.  Likewise our “marriage” to our Lord grows to the point that we cannot bear the thought of separation from Him, and in fact we are not separated even at death, but cross over to another mountainside of eternity, to be with Him forever!    

    1. Deanna- your second paragraph is so profound.  your words about our marriage to Christ and the growing intimacy are so well said.  And such life filled words about our death and the “never separated from Christ” aspect of it.  such a rich bedtime take away for me tonight.  🙂

  29. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    The photo stands out, I kept going back to it.

    I think the paragraph in red is perfect, it is impossible to say what needs to be communicated without a necessary level of discomfort. I wouldn’t change a thing.

    The part about sexual purity going into marriage made me wince. I feel like the jar wasn’t just empty, but filled with unclean things. I hate what damage my sin had already had at such an early age.

  30. 3. If you can give a testimony on why you are glad you waited until marriage, we’d love to see it here! Or, if you are willing to share your sadness in not waiting, that too speaks as a testimony. Be brief and give us the reasons you are glad or sad.
     
    I answered this above in number 1.
     
    4. Share your summary and thoughts on the above, perhaps with a sentence of praise to your Redeemer.
     
    Tears on this quick little mini sermon…to think of the awful things that some of these biblical characters did, and to think they were forgiven GIVES ME HOPE. Dear Jesus! Thank You a thousand times over for forgiving me from the awful things I can’t seem to “get over” that I have done in my short life. I am sorry I disappointed You, but, I am so glad I have You to save my wretched soul.

  31. 2. On an earthly level, what do you learn about God’s desire for purity from:
     
    A. 1 Corinthians 7:1-4 – I like the Message translation of this: “Is it a good thing to have sexual relations? Certainly – but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder.” The first thing I learn here is that God says that sexual desire isn’t wrong, but there is so much “sexual disorder” in our world and God wants to protect us from it, so he provided an acceptable way for us to be sexually fulfilled, and that way is marriage. That’s the pure way, and what the world offers is fulfillment any way, with anyone, at any time.
     
    B. Hebrews 13:4 – God desires for marriage to be honorable and He says that sexual intimacy between a husband and his wife is sacred, and we are to guard that. It’s like drawing a boundary line around the married couple that keeps out “casual and illicit sex”, as the Message translation puts it.

    1. Susan, your use of the Message here reminded me of Gary Thomas in Sacred Marriage saying that my spouses only legitimate way to meet his physical desire is dependent on me. That isn’t a direct quote at all but is what I remembered. It was convicting to me.

  32. 3. If you can give a testimony on why you are glad you waited until marriage, we’d love to see it here! Or, if you are willing to share your sadness in not waiting, that too speaks as a testimony. Be brief and give us the reasons you are glad or sad.
     
    I’m in the sad group…I identify with Chris’ comment that “I feel like the jar wasn’t just empty, but filled with unclean things.” I can testify that past sexual immorality still causes me problems today. It’s rich fodder for Satan to throw my past sins in my face, making me feel shame and guilt to this day. It has brought a lot of unwanted “baggage” right into my marriage. It’s very hard to look back and realize that what I did in the past was very wrong and bad, and then to turn around and view sexual intimacy in my marriage as good.

  33.  
    Wonderful “grammar lesson” here! The gospel is always “but” and “and yet”, never “because of”. It’s not logical. The wages of sin is death, BUT… The grammar of grace is not causative, it is always contradictory. This is what is true (about me), BUT Lord, save me anyway! Never “because of” (well Lord, I’ve been really, really good and I’ve tried to clean up my act and I’m better than I was) but “in spite of” (Lord, please forgive me in spite of the fact that I have failed miserably and I do not deserve anything but your punishment).
     
    Lord Jesus, when I think that if a movie of my life, all of it, every secret, hidden thing that nobody knows about but You, were played on a big giant screen for everyone to see, I know that everyone would walk out, probably even my own family. They wouldn’t want to look at me anymore. Jesus, thank you that only You would stay to the end…You already know it all. You would move in close, the only One willing and able to remove the dirt and the shame.

    1. Susan – your prayer really moved me.  I prayed it along with you word for word.  THANK YOU!  

    2. Susan, your prayer is beautiful and your comment on the Grammar of Grace. I share your thoughts and love your responses. God is good to our hurting hearts.

  34. 5. How do you see the beloved’s delight in his love’s purity in Song of Song’s 4:12-15?
     
    He likens her to a garden locked up, to a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. He calls her “my sister, my bride”. What anticipation he must have that she has been pure, “locked up, enclosed, sealed” and he is the only one with the key, the only one permitted into the garden. It’s such rich language of exclusivity and privilege and specialness.
     
    6. Purity is not just for before marriage, but throughout. Give several ways, besides not having sex with other people, that God calls couples to purity within marriage.
     
    Jackie made some really good comments above on this. Thought life…I have struggled mightily in this area and many years ago had a huge problem with my thought life involving daydreaming and fantasizing about a particular man as a way to fill my longings and unmet needs in my own marriage. Jesus said that you can commit adultery in your heart; it doesn’t have to be the physical act. God brought me to conviction that not only was I an adulteress in this way, but I was a spiritual adulteress as well. I’m with Jackie in that we must be careful to keep boundaries in place between us and other men. My husband doesn’t go to church with me. I’m in a ladies only Sunday school class; I really do not interact with any men at church at all. Those boundaries need to be in place in the workplace, at the grocery store, and everywhere I go. I don’t read romance novels, but I believe this could also lead to trouble in a woman’s thought life as well. I know I have to be careful about what movies I watch; some just stir up the wrong kind of emotions in me. I think another huge problem today is pornography and how many couples are deceived into thinking that bringing a form of it into their marriage will “spice things up”, when just the opposite is true.

  35. 4. Share your summary and thoughts on the above, perhaps with a sentence of praise to your Redeemer.
    I am a sinner, YET He forgives..The Gospel isn’t causation, “I do this, therefore He will forgive.” It is, “I have sinned, YET you forgive me.”  It isn’t logical. It is upside down-unexplainable. It reminds me of this song we sang at church yesterday:  https://youtu.be/rzyQ2yD55xM

    “Brokenness Aside”
    Will your grace run out If I let you down’ Cause all I know Is how to run’Cause I am a sinner If it’s not one thing it’s another Caught up in words Tangled in lies But You are a Savior And You take brokenness aside And make it beautiful Beautiful Will You call me child When I tell you lies’Cause all I know Is how to cry’ Cause I am a sinner If it’s not one thing it’s another Caught up in words Tangled in lies But You are a Savior And You take brokenness aside And make it beautiful Beautiful You make it beautiful You make it beautiful
     
    Lord I am broken, yet you hold me..I have messed up so bad with my son, yet you have forgiven me and you will take my brokenness right now and make it beautiful..so I sing this to you for you are my savior-the lover of my soul-where would I be without you? I am without words for I am grateful for you were broken for me..I don’t deserve you, yet you gave yourself to me..it is all you blowing me over by the winds and waves of your Mercy..And you will make my brokenness beautiful. Thank you-oh thank you. 
     

  36. 7. Give an example from the Song of how God speaks of the mystery of sex in beautiful rather than graphic or vulgar language.
     
    “May the wine go straight to my lover, flowing gently over lips and teeth. I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me…Let us go early to the vineyards to see if the vines have budded, if their blossoms have opened, and if the pomegranates are in bloom – there I will give you my love. The mandrakes send out their fragrance, and at our door is every delicacy, both new and old, that I have stored up for you, my lover.” (Song of Songs 7:9-13) The verses just before this, too…“May your breasts be like clusters of the vine, the fragrance of your breath like apples, and your mouth like the best wine.”  
     
    This is descriptive and poetic, the language rich with metaphors and beauty. Quite the contrast to the day last year I went to get my hair done, and started to listen to the song that was playing overhead, and I was shocked at how lewd and vulgar the lyrics were. Something about “drunken love” or “drunk in love” but it was crude, and I thought, that’s not love.

  37. 2. On an earthly level, what do you learn about God’s desire for purity from:
    A. 1 Corinthians 7:1-4  Sex is powerful, we are to be careful with it and the not be selfish in the way we think about it.
     
    B.  Hebrews 13:4 I like the Amplified Bible here:
    “4 Let marriage be held in honor (esteemed worthy, precious, of great price, and especially dear) in all things. And thus let the marriage bed be undefiled (kept undishonored); for God will judge and punish the unchaste [all guilty of sexual vice] and adulterous.”
    We are to protect marriages, God means that we should take seriously the vows we take to be faithful.

  38. 3. If you can give a testimony on why you are glad you waited until marriage, we’d love to see it here! Or, if you are willing to share your sadness in not waiting, that too speaks as a testimony. Be brief and give us the reasons you are glad or sad.

    I was an early bloomer, I got my first period at age 9. I’ve read that early menstruation is a huge risk factor for sexual promiscuity because of the attention a girl who is too young to process it receives. Maybe that is just a way to try and excuse my sin. I didn’t even particularly enjoy most of what I did, I was hoping someone would want to love me. It was really hard for my husband to get past it and trust me. It is heartbreaking even now after more than 30 years of marriage to think about. How I wish I would have waited.

  39. 2. On an earthly level, what do you learn about God’s desire for purity from:
    A. 1 Corinthians 7:1-4 – I do not fully understand the context but it appears Paul is addressing something that was written to him about it being good for a man to abstain and he is weighing in on this saying the temptation of sex outside the marriage will become too great if you do not meet that need within the marriage bed. He then goes on to say that the wife and husband SHOULD give each other the gift of intimacy to the point that your body is not even your own but belongs to your spouse. I have heard this preached (if your husband has a Porsche in the garage he won’t go looking for the station wagon on the street…). But spiritually there is application here, too! Not for the husband for me, the bride, in regards to temptation…if I am not meeting God in our relationship the temptation to be in “other beds” with prove too much and I will succumb to temptation. Seeing this new this morning.
     
    B. Hebrews 13:4 – Let the intimacy in a marriage be held in honor by all. Sexual immorality will be judged. I see an admonision to the body here, not just the couple. To respect that bond and hold it in honor. Jackie mentioned being careful of male relationships because of her situation but I think it’s appropriate for everyone to be aware of that, I do the same especially when my husband is deployed. I never have any man over without a group setting, nor do I converse one on one with a man about deep matters of the heart (group situations are different I feel).
     
    3. If you can give a testimony on why you are glad you waited until marriage, we’d love to see it here! I did wait until marriage. However, I learned the lesson very well that “sex is bad and dirty and naughty.” So I never opened the balm. I have struggled over the years (15 this month!) of feeling truly free to have passion and vulnerability in the marriage bed because the lesson persists that I am getting away with something that I shouldn’t be. I listened to Tim Keller on the marriage covenant 2 years ago and it began to change my thinking… So I am in the other side of the spectrum.

    1. Jill, do you know what the name of that Keller sermon on the marriage covenant is? I would be interested in hearing it. 

      1. I’m looking for it, Diane… In a nutshell he equated coming together intimately as a renewal of the covenant that you entered into on your wedding day. I think it is one that we listened to here….but perhaps it was one I listened to on my own…I’ll post it when I find it!?

  40. Chris and Jill – seeing both of your potent responses to #3 back to back really covers so much ground and encapsulates  an abundance of spiritual wisdom and scriptural teaching in a nutshell!  Others here had great responses as well….just the timing of the content of both of yours – like both sides of the coin.  You both have something precious and hard won to pass on down to the next generation.  🙂  

  41. 2. A. 1 Corinthians 7:1-4
    Sexual intimacy is to be enjoyed only within the context of marriage; the husband is to only be intimate with his wife, and the wife is only to be intimate with her husband.
     
    B.  Hebrews 13:4
    Sexual intimacy is strictly to be enjoyed within the marital relationship, not prior to or with another (not spouse), if married. 

  42. 3. I am thankful my husband and I both waited, and yet, I cannot paint a rosy picture that it has in any way been an easy road! The first 10 years of almost 22 now, were more than rocky in that area. But,  He has redeemed and made something more beautiful of our marriage than I could have ever imagined. I think no matter what your years were like leading up to the intimacy of marriage, there is one common, desperately needed commodity—and that is trust.If you haven’t waited until marriage, I imagine trust could be the hardest part, maybe? Still for me, I didn’t really know how to trust. Fear and insecurity, engulfed me in the area of intimacy. It took a long time of building that foundation of trust—not just with my husband, but really releasing my fears to the Lord and trusting His plan for marriage, His plan for me as a living creation—allowing Him to free me. That was the key that truly unlocked the “jar of balm”. We have different stories, but we are all so broken, so fragile. And I think in this most intimate of places in our physical lives, we most need Him to come and heal,to replace the images the culture has thrown at us, in order for it to be what He designed it to be. I never really valued it as a treasure, a gift, like I do now. Sorry—too long and there’s even more in my head ;0

    1. Lizzy – incredible.  You have really gotten  into the heart of all of life ….”…really releasing my fears to the Lord and trusting His plan….”.  Your words here are like a pearl for sure….I want to handle them gently and with the honor due them.  🙂  And I never tire of hearing the “more in my head” that you left unsaid!!  You are a woman of deep waters dear Lizzy.  LOVE what you shared here.  🙂

    2. Lizzy thank you for sharing this. 

  43. 6.  Purity in marriage just like Jackie and Lizzy shared means keeping boundaries on our thought lives, what media we take in, on our tongues as we talk about our husbands to others, and our tongues as we talk about sexuality in general.  A number of years ago God convicted me about my thought life during times with my husband.  I finally prayed that if I couldn’t be pure in my mind that He take the drive away from me, and He did.  I remain eager to meet my husband’s needs, and wouldn’t change that prayer.
    13. Remembering a line from Beth Moore, when a woman told her that she prayed every day to thrill to her husband’s touch.  I think that is a beautiful prayer, both in marriage and with the Lord.  A friend told me once that nothing in the Bible was new to her.  It made me so sad.  I want to thrill more and more to my Savior’s words!
    Lizzy, that hymn is fabulous!  And Jillwithaj,  I love that the metaphor came first.  Thank you all for being the iron that helps sharpen me!!

    1. Mary B. – now you are driving the challenge home!   That simple line prayer that the lady shared with Beth Moore is making me uncomfortable, but I trust that I can (and should) pray it too.  🙂  Thank you for being responsive to the Spirit in sharing it…..

  44. 5. How do you see the beloved’s delight in his love’s purity in Song of Songs 4:12-15? 
    Could it be in verse 12 He is delighting in her not letting anything in that could taint her garden: She is a Garden locked-spring locked-fountain sealed in Him. I also think of not only letting anything in that could taint or stunt her growth but also not letting anything in by throwing her pearls to swine either. 
    And He is delighting in her ‘choice’ fruit that is developing and the fragrance..I see suffering-sacrifice and healing in Myrrh and Aloe, I see Frankincense as offerings to Him for He is her High Priest-repentance and turning..I see His delight in their one-ness for this choice fruit reminds me of Him too. “Living Water, and flowing streams from Lebanon..” is Him and it is flowing in her-she is like Him.  
     
    Just a thought but if this were about earthly marriage what do they do with verse 15? 
     
    John 7:37-39  Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

  45. 4. Share your summary and thoughts on the above, perhaps with a sentence of praise to your Redeemer.

    And yet…this is what is true but save me anyways…inexplicable forgiveness…I feel the need to hear this daily.

    Thank you for calling and cleansing me, for a righteousness that is alien but imparted, for creating good works, for the voice that says this is the way walk in it. My heart is moved by your goodness and all of my hope is in you.

    1. Chris – the prayers of this group of sisters move me so deeply.   Yours here overflows with Scriptural roots and references….and I love it.  I prayed it just now.  Thank you.  “all of my hope is in You” – how I want that to be my heart cry ….from the depths of my being.  

      1. I prayed yours too when I read it Jackie 🙂

  46.  
    7. Give an example from the Song of how God speaks of the mystery of sex in beautiful rather than graphic or vulgar language.

    Song of Songs chapter 7: 6-9: 
     “How beautiful and how delightful you are,My love, with all your charms! “Your stature is like a palm tree,And your breasts are like its clusters. “I said, ‘I will climb the palm tree,I will take hold of its fruit stalks.’Oh, may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,And the fragrance of your breath like apples, And your mouth like the best wine!”
     

  47. 8. Let’s consider some ways this parallels our relationship with Christ.
    A. What analogy does Paul use for the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 11:2?
    The Church as a chaste virgin,
    I had a reference that I loved to Hosea 2:19-20
    19 And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.”

    What could rob them of their purity?  
    False teaching, those proclaiming another gospel

     How does this apply to you?
    I need to be on guard against lies and false teaching, holding up what I hear to all of scripture.

    B.  What are some ways to identify false teachers according to:
     
    1) Matthew 7:16-20  By their fruit… “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23.
    I looked up forbearance, one of the definitions was this:
    “the action of refraining from exercising a legal right, especially enforcing the payment of a debt.”
    Sounds like Christlikeness 🙂

  48. DEE I was reading this morning that the Jews used to call the Song of Solomon ” The Holy of Holies of Scripture” I just thought that was beautiful and wondering if you had heard that before?

  49. DEE I am reading the introduction to the Songs by J Vernon McGee he also says ” To open up this little book will be like the breaking of Mary’s alabaster box of ointment, and I trust the fragrance of it will fill our lives and spread out to others”