Last week we looked at how just as God ordained purity and passion for marriage, He also longs for a pure and passionate bride. This week we will consider how God ordained male and female for marriage and also covenant for marriage — and how these both also apply to our relationship with Him. (This first point is challenging, and I’d love comments to help me make it better, clearer, and stronger.)
WHAT CAUSED ADAM TO BREAK OUT
INTO SONG UPON SEEING EVE?
FINALLY, HERE WAS SOMEONE LIKE HIM.
BONE OF HIS BONE
FLESH OF HIS FLESH,
IN THE SAME WAY, WE ARE LIKE HIM.
AND YET, SO NOT LIKE HIM
THE SONG PUTS THIS POETICALLY.
HE IS LIKE AN APPLE TREE IN THE GARDEN THAT
PROVIDES SUSTENANCE AND SHELTER.
INDEED, HE IS THE TREE OF LIFE.
SHE IS LIKE A FLOWER THAT BRINGS
BEAUTY AND FRAGRANCE TO THE GARDEN
THIS IS, IN PART, THE MYSTERY OF MARRIAGE
THAT POINTS TO SOMETHING FAR MORE WONDERFUL.
1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
Monday-Thursday Bible Study:
POINT ONE: Similarity yet Otherness
…Marriage is living with glory… It is living with a mystery that is fully visible, with a flesh-and-blood person who can be touched and held, questioned and probed and examined and even made love to, to our heart’s content, but who nevertheless proves to be utterly and impenetrably mysterious, infinitely contemplable.
As for me, I still haven’t gotten used to seeing my own wife naked. It’s almost as if her body is shining with a bright light, too bright to look at for very long. I cannot take my eyes off her – and yet I must. Too gaze too long or too curiously is, even with her, a breach of propriety, almost a crime. It is not like watching a flower or creeping up to spy on an animal in the wild. No, my wife’s body is brighter and more fascinating than a flower, shier than any animal, and more breathtaking than a thousand sunsets.
2. Mike Mason draws upon images from nature to describe his wife’s body, just as Solomon does. Take, for example, Song of Songs 4:5 and see imagine what he might be saying, though ever so discreetly.
3. Find a passage in The Song where the lovers are describing one another, and you can see them exalting in the difference between them.
4. Why do you think God ordained man and woman rather than two of the same gender for marriage? (Express this tactfully and winsomely as you might if dialoguing with someone who endorses same sex marriage.)
A strong argument can be made for the value of a child having both a mother and a father, for they bring different strengths to that child’s life. But what if there is an even deeper reason for God ordaining one man and one woman for marriage? What if it is a picture of His relationship with us? Comments?
5. Challenge question: What are some of the ways we, unlike the animals, are like God?
6. What are some of the ways that God is not like you — for which you are so thankful?
Last week a point Deanna made about how couples grow more and more like each other as they grow closer made me think of how the same is true of us as we behold Him, surrender to HIm, trust Him, and abide in Him. I’m in the prisons this week — seeing COMPLETELY transformed women. They are spending hours and hours each day with Jesus, and oh, what a difference it makes. (More next week!)
The Song sings of the bridegroom who is “the fairest of ten thousand,” mighty in strength, and fragrant with “myrrh,” the aroma of sacrifice. This is no ordinary bridegroom. This is our True Husband who can satisfy us in a way that no earthly husband, no matter how wonderful he might be, can. Marriage is a gift, but a transitory one, meant to point us to our True Husband.
He is like us, yet so mysteriously Other that we cannot help but wonder how, indeed, One so glorious could love us, could see us as we really are, could see us “naked,” and yet love us to the sky. Each of us has times when we wonder if it is really true that He, despite our constant failing, will always love us. To assuage our fears, He has made a covenant with us.
POINT 2: COVENANT
Recently in a discussion about sex in an evangelistic Bible study I facilitate, I was challenged: “Where in the Bible does it say there has to be a wedding? My partner and I have privately made promises to each other – we don’t need a piece of paper telling us we did.”
7. How would you answer this? Can you find an illustration in The Song of a wedding with witnesses?
8. What do you learn about how God views marriage covenants from Malachi 2:14?
The earthly covenant, sacred before God, points to a deeper covenant. God has made a covenant with His children, promising to love us for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, and in sickness and in health. Even when we fail Him, He will be true. He longs for us to love Him the same way, no matter how our circumstances fluctuate, but even when we do not, He will be true. We will flounder, and He knows that, but if we are truly His, no one can pluck us out of His hand.
When Martin Luther was endeavoring to recapture the gospel for his peers who had gone back to trying to earn favor with God, he took the verse “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine” and talked about what happens in a wedding ceremony. Everything that belongs to the bride now belongs to the groom—and everything that belongs to the groom now belongs to the bride.
9. Challenge Question: So what do we, as the bride of Christ, give our Bridegroom? And what does He give us?
10. How sure is God’s covenant with us? Support with Scripture if you can?
11. Challenge Question: Hosea prophesied a change would one day come to God’s people in Hosea 2:19-23. Describe this and then, see if you can see this pictured in Song of Songs 6:3?
12. Last week one of you talked about the importance of how learning to trust your husband in the marriage bed was key to experiencing what God intended. In the same way, as we learn to trust God, we find a deeper surrender. Are you experiencing this?
You will have two weeks again — but you may want to get started! If so, share comments.
13. What is your take-a-way and why?