Scripture Reading: Song of Solomon 2:15-17

 

Sermon: "My Beloved is Mine and I am Him"

 

What are your favorite love songs?  What song would you want sung at a wedding? As much as there are many love songs even to this day, this is to be the love song of love songs (hence, the name Song of Songs). The Song of Songs, or Song of Solomon, is explicit in its message; it is about love.  The Song of Solomon is very sensual in the context of marriage, between a man and his bride, ultimately, pointing to God's love for his people.  In the little snippet of a passage that we have here, we can pick up some important points about love. 

 

First, we do see the hindrances of love.   In verse 15, the woman calls for the foxes to be caught.  What are these foxes?  They sound like cute critters but are not.   In biblical times, foxes were well known as predators that fed on small rodents and were therefore welcomed in grain crops. However, farmers discovered that the fox had an odd fondness for grapes. They were even known to tunnel under walls in order to get to grapevines.  They are pests that wreak havoc on the vineyard, forces that can destroy the purity of the love .  The vineyard represents the love relationship between the man and woman.  The foxes represent things that threaten to spoil the relationship.

 

This leads to the question of the foxes that could mess up a good relationship.  Certainly, there are major things like infidelity and other sins that would destroy a good, budding relationship.  But there are other things, like laziness and selfishness as well as unfulfilled expectations of one another.  Further, as the foxes are described as little, often, little things can wreak havoc on a relationship.  In my own relationship, I can count the number of times my wife and I had major fights.  Only about 2 were over serious issues.  The rest were little foxes.  Of those little foxes, at least 5 came in the form of seaweed soup.

 

But what must be done?  They must be caught.  Otherwise, the vineyard gets spoiled.  Little foxes get bigger.  We must deal with these issues.  Granted, timing and grace and prayer are important, but these issues cannot be left alone.  Relationships take work; emotions will only go so far.

 

There is a humorous song poking fun at the notion of love being all you need:

 

So you say you wanna tie the knot

And you're askin' me if I think that the two of you have got

What it takes to make it work

Well one thing's for sure

All you really need is love

 

Let me say I'm happy for you both

And here's a little something that the two of you should know

If you want to do it right

Just take my advice

All you really need is love

 

And a license and a blood test and a bunch of invitations

A minister, a white dress, and of course a congregation

And flowers and music and candles and cake

And a bunch of rice for folks to throw as you drive away

 

Now what's that expression on your face

You're lookin' kind of pale, is everything OK

Don't worry you'll be fine

If you just keep in mind

All you really need is love

 

And bridesmaids and groomsmen and a wedding coordinator

And food for the reception, you'll need someone to cater

Did I forget to mention it'll take a couple rings

And of course a P.A. system if you're wantin' me to sing

 

Now you look so happy you could cry

And that explains the tear drops I see wellin' in your eyes

Don't worry you'll be fine

If you just keep in mind

All you really need is love

 

I'm sure I'm tellin' you something you already knew

All you really need is love

 

Love is a commitment.

 

Second, we see the security of love.  Verse 16, the woman confesses, My beloved is mine and I am his. Security comes in an identity.  The woman knows that she is her beloved's and her beloved's is hers.

 

This is significant because we oftentimes work for that security.  It happens in our work.  We're one bad project away from losing our job.  IBut this is the case relationally.  We work for people's approval.  Women can be particularly guilty.  Women want security and may seek to find that security in a man.  In so doing, she is more vulnerable to giving more of herself physically and with her heart.  Men are simple - they have one thing on their minds.  Don't give that one thing in hopes of security; secure the commitment first.  Not to do so is like wanting to secure a renter that you let the person move in before getting a deposit and a signed contract.

 

Marriage is the commitment God intended.  And marriage is a commitment.  We sin in marriage but also we sin by  giving more before marriage.  That is a reality.  But as we seek God's plan and value marriage and work out marriage, we experience relational blessing.  And in the context of such a relationship do acts of love really have most significance.

 

Third, we see the action of love.  There is powerful attraction, what we will commonly associate with sensuality.

 

Love is meant to be turned toward the object of love.  C.S. lewis says: "Lovers are always talking to one another about their love; Friends hardly ever about their Friendship. Lovers are normally face to face, absorbed in each other; Friends, side by side, absorbed in some common interest."  There is a call for the beloved to turn to her.  There is intense focus on each other. 

 

Song of Solomon 2:2-3: "2 As a lily among brambles, so is my love among the young women.

3 As an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. "

 

This man is described as a gazelle and a stag.  Why?  He will get over all obstacles with grace and power to be with the woman he loves, his bride.  He gets over mountains and hills.  This man is a stud.  This man is in love.

 

Love is a powerful emotion.  It is like a drug.  Medical experts have found that what happens when a person is sexually aroused is nothing short of what happens with drug use.

 

And when you are in love, you know how true it is.  You are crazy.  You dont think straight.  You just focus on that object of love.  You might be tempted to neglect your other responsibilities and will do so, if your love is out of control.  You cross physical boundaries that are not meant to be crossed; immorality takes place.

 

Thus, there need to be warnings about love.  Song of Solomon 2:7: "I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases."

 

So how is it that we love?  The love described in Song of Solomon between a man and his bride finds its fulfillment in Jesus Christ and his love for the church.

 

Jesus initiated that love relationship with us personally and us corporately as a church. 1 John 4:19: "We love because he first loved us."

 

 

Third, Jesus is the one who passionately loved us.  He overcame the obstacle of sin and death.  He is the one who called us his bride, though we were dark and dirty with sin.  And he doesn't give up on us, even when we mess up.  He loves us with a pure love.  And he will purify us with that pure love.  We will be that beautiful bride; he will make it happen.

 

As we come to know the love of Jesus, we can truly love.  It begins with a response of passionate love for the Triune God.  And it flows into our love for others.  And it will govern our love for a special someone.

 

So, what is true sensuality?  Three points to wrap up:

 

First, a man who loves his woman, namely, his wife.  He doesnt disengage but is intently fixed on her.  Yet, when it comes time to work, he get up.  There is a subway ad series called "Subway Storie" by Cole Haan that caught my attention:

 

got up, shoes on, stepped out, stepped up, stripped down, got down, got up, repeat.

 

It may be sexy to be a good lover but it is not sexy to be a lazy worker, a slacker.  There is something appealing about a guy who gets up and steps up in the workplace.   But to take it a step further, it is infinitely attractive for that guy to also step up for God, a man who doesnt need to be woken up and dragged to church but is the one who gets his family ready for church and steps up in ministry.  Men who love Jesus are attractive.

 

Second, for the women: industrious, does work responsibly, not idle or gossipy.  A woman who stands by her man and doesnt put him down or throw him under the bus is attractive.  But in her relationship with God, she is intimate.  She cries out to God, Turn to me!  Rather than finding her identity in a man, she finds her identity in God.  I am my beloved Gods and God is mine.   Also, one who is secure in her identity in God, knowing that she is his lily, no matter what her outward appearance may be (this woman was a dark, coarse woman) is truly attractive.

 

Finally, it begins and ends with God.  The glorious God, one whose glory outshines Solomon in all his splendor, initiates a love relationship with us.  It is a real love; he wants his people badly.  He wants the love badly for it to be pure and holy; he wants his people to love him purely.  But he also wants the relationship badly that he would step up and take on the cross to purify his people.  He would receive dark, imperfect people and make them beautiful.  He is making a bride out of us!  We are to reflect his glory personally but also in the way we love others, and also in our special love relationships.