I am preaching a series on Song of Songs because God created sex and romance and told us what to do with these wonderful gifts, but we are increasingly confused as a culture about these topics. In fact, everyone is talking about sex while the church remains silent. That’s a particular concern for me as a pastor.
Anderson Cooper, Oprah, and Lady Gaga are talking about sex and romance. Your kids’ friends are talking about it (parents, don’t be naïve). The Disney Channel is talking about it. It’s on Youtube, iTunes, TV commercials, and billboards. We are not going to get away from this topic, and that’s okay because we need to be talking about it. God does. There is sex in His book! While we’re NOT talking about it, marriages are being destroyed, singles are living in guilt, and teens are struggling. Our silence is deafening.
This week, we’ll be easing into the subject of sex and romance so I’ll begin with an introduction of the book. This work of Solomon, his song of songs or masterpiece, is a love song. As such, it’s meant to be listened to (or read) and enjoyed. It was the most widely known song in the ancient worshipping community. In fact, and this is amazing, Song of Songs has been studied more carefully than any other book of the Bible, and yet it is probably the least read Bible book in the modern world.
You may be wondering what Solomon, a man with 700 wives, could teach us about marriage and romance. (Then again, some of you may figure, who better to teach us? He had LOTS of experience!) Some scholars believe that the song was written later in Solomon’s life in order to communicate that the happiest form of romance is one man and one woman staying together their entire lives, although we don’t know for sure when he wrote it. The song is not dedicated, in the words of Willy Nelson, “to all the girls I loved before.” It is about Solomon’s romantic relationship with a village girl, who fell in love with him, and he fell in love with her, and they married. It appears that Solomon is saying, I messed up, and you all know it. But let me tell you a story of how God really intended it to be. I was in love once with a village girl, and we got married. It was the most fulfilling love and satisfying sex I have ever, ever, ever enjoyed. This is why it is Solomon’s song of songs.
The song traces the couple’s relationship, from attraction to anticipation (they WANT each other in every way), to celebration (they get married) to honeymoon (things get a bit steamy). It concludes with a statement about commitment. The ending is vitally important to understanding the song as a whole. While two people may be attracted to each other physically, that is not what will keep them together. Commitment—the decision to stick together—is necessary.
This is a beautiful love song I’m going to introduce you to. I hope that you’ll be enjoying it for a long time to come.