Snapshots from Week 2 of The Adventure

Here are some excerpts from week 2 of ‘The Adventure’ (The Courtship).  Song of Solomon 1:12-3:5.  Listen to the full message audio here.

Here in the Song of Solomon, we see this attraction happening for one another, and you see a deep friendship beginning.  If you’re single, especially if you are a student in here, focus on being a friend first.  Get to know the opposite sex as friends.  Spend time in groups, and see what that boy or girl is really like.

A henna blossom (verse 14) is a little red flower.  She is saying this man of integrity and strength…is sweet to me.  He doesn’t raise his voice to me, he doesn’t treat me like a child, or point his finger at me, or try and dominate me in some prideful way.  He honors me, and he is sweet.

When we are dating one another, it is not a problem at all to be sweet.  And then you walk down that aisle, something in you begins to change.  Man or woman, it doesn’t matter.  But you begin to think good, I caught that one, I liked it so I put a ring on it.  But then you begin to choose a path of apathy, rather than one of continually pursuing your mate.  Men, this is especially true for us.  Are we simply giving her the leftovers when we have given everyone else in our life, our very best?

Husbands, wives, maybe you to need go home today, and you to need to look your spouse in their eyes, and you need to say, will you forgive me for neglecting to pursue you like God calls me to.

Singles, ladies especially, do not combine Jesus’ call for us to go and make disciples with the pursuit of a love and marriage relationship.  If you love Jesus and He is your Lord and Savior, then the Bible calls you to only pursue a spouse who also loves and follows Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  So don’t even engage into a dating relationship with another without knowing where they stand with Jesus.

He is seeing her beauty and soul that lies there beneath her eyes.  If you are married, when is the last time, you looked deep into your spouse’s eyes?  Don’t neglect the eyes that you fell in love with.

So this man is speaking words of life into this woman.  He is building her up.  When culture and the world want to whisper to her that she is not enough, or doesn’t measure up, whether intellectually, or physically, or administratively, this Godly man is speaking truth of who she is in Jesus, and how he views her.

Men, if you don’t give that kind of affection and words of life to her, then someone or something else will.  Affairs are rarely about physical sex alone.  They are about intimacy, and allowing someone else to begin to fill the emotional void that is present in your marriage.

In chapter 1, she was embarrassed, ashamed, and nervous about her appearance.  And now look at her…I am a rose of Sharon.  Did her appearance suddenly change?  No, but her perception did, because this man was speaking truthful, loving, sincere, and gentle words to her.

Solomon is saying, my woman stands out.  Her character, her beauty, her inner life, her faithfulness, they set her apart.  In such a way where the rest of the women are just like thorns.  He has eyes for one woman.

A reference to thorns also reminds the man, that other women are dangerous.  Not inherently, but rather that he knows the weakness of his flesh, and is not going to toe the line when it comes to faithfulness.  He isn’t going to go walking in the forest of women, and then wonder why he finds himself among the thorns.  She is his definition of beauty.   She is who captures his attention.

An apple tree among the trees of the forest.  She is saying this man is a source of life in my life.  He nourishes me like an apple would.  I delight to sit in his shade.  Shade brings comfort.  Men, are you loving your wife in such a way where you bring her comfort.  When she is in your presence, she thinks, “Ahhhh…”  Let his banner over me be love.  This is a picture of the man’s protection over this woman.  This man publically identifies with this woman.  So when in public, men, walk with your wife.  Don’t walk 5 steps ahead, or behind.  Walk with her.  Hold her hand.

Men, you can’t nourish, comfort, bring relief, or protect, if you are continually absent from the home.  Whether physically or emotionally.  Men, you should be thinking to yourself, no other man is going to give my wife the affection and attention that God has called me to give to her.  So I won’t be passive, but I will initiate and pursue.

In that culture, raisins were known as an aphrodisiac.  So men, when you speak kindly, and love her emotionally, and protect her, and publically identify with her, and place your banner of security and affection over her.  This woman…says, I’d like to be physically intimate with you.  I want you!  Now, this is not a contract.  I don’t love my wife so I can get something in return.  I love her because in doing so, I’m obeying my God.  The rest is simply blessing.

I’m not saying that wives, your husband has to earn or somehow obtain enough favor from you, like a carrot on a string.  Withholding sex as some sort of manipulation is not honoring to God nor respecting your man.

Men, if you expect to be with her physically, you better be with her emotionally in an ongoing way.  You pursue her throughout your days, not just when the moment is right.

To the singles…you want your future marriage and your physical affection for one another to only grow?  Men, you model what Solomon does here.  You honor her physically with boundaries.  Women, you model this woman who does not throw herself physically at him like a veiled woman (chapter 1).

She wants to give herself to him, because he has continually given himself to her, and is tender toward her.  So this sexual desire is blooming in her.  So what is a dating couple supposed to do about these feelings?  Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

Singles…if you are dating, or will date someday, you need to know a desire to give yourself physically to a person you are attracted to is normal.  Those feelings are God given.  Those feelings are not dirty, or wrong.  Those feelings are to be controlled and protected for the glory of God and for your future.

In verse 7, Solomon is well aware that his woman is ready, and he could be with her, and he says, not yet.  Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.  While we date and court one another, now is not the time.  Solomon says, I could take advantage of this, but I won’t.  Some of you single men are taking advantage of an emotionally insecure woman right now, and you need to stop immediately.  You need to turn from that sin.  You need to protect her, guard her, honor her, and not take advantage of her.

Dating couples, if you know those feelings will be there, then don’t toe the line.  Don’t put yourself in a position where you know the end result will not be one that honors Jesus.  Set up the boundaries, and ask for an older, Godly couple to help hold you accountable for the good of your future marriage.

Romance honestly comes pretty naturally while dating and courting.  When you’re married, you’ve got to work at it.

Single men, you need to become a student of her.  Stop talking about yourself all the time.  Ask her questions.  After one conversation, or one date, did you learn something new about her?

Husbands and wives, don’t allow your communication to simply be around surface subjects.  Do you have extended time of talking?  If you’re expecting to have extended time of touching, then you better have extended time of talking.  Are you sharing yourself, what lies underneath the surface, with your wife or husband?  Be vulnerable enough to get to the depth of sharing emotions, hurts, dreams, successes, failures, fears.

And one of the biggest obstacles to romance are distractions which is where Solomon goes next in verse 15.  In a vineyard, foxes eat the buds before the grapes can form.  They rob the relationship of what it can become, because love then does not have a chance to bloom and ripen.  So what are the potential foxes in our lives?

And notice, Solomon says, catch for us, not catch her foxes.  Like it is just her problem.  But this is theirs together, us, and we.  Marriage is much more about God changing your heart, than you trying to get your spouse to change.  Genesis tells us, the two shall become one flesh.  So this is no longer about the individual, but the marriage instead.  If you’re going to get married, you better be willing to change.

Husbands, your wife longs for you to show your affection and love to them.  For you to use your words, to speak life, to not just love her on February 14, but love her sacrificially, intentionally, faithfully, week in and week out, for the rest of your life.  She desires for you to share your soul with you.  To pursue her, to not be absent where she has to go searching.

If you are single, you will want to give yourself sexually to another.  And that feeling is God given.  But you can’t build a long-term joyous God honoring relationship built on sex and the physical alone.  It will mask the cracks in the relationship that are there, and then when you get married, and the earthquake happens, the cracks are revealed, and sex no longer is the cure all.

Dream a bigger dream than the world will give you.  Have a bigger vision that says, you know what; I don’t have to do it that way.  We can go about a relationship God’s ways, and trust that He will be so faithful to us the rest of our lives.  Patience and self control…these are fruits of the Holy Spirit.  And God brings blessing, freedom, and delight when we obey.

This message is not to condemn your past but to protect your future, and spur us on in our relationships.  God is bigger than your past.  He is a God who makes all things new.  You give Him your past, and you trust Him, and He can make beautiful things from what seems like wastelands to you.  The brokenness can be healed, the relationship can be strengthened.

Trust Him with your future.  Trust in His timing.  Trust in His ways.  He’s the designer and creator.  He knows how to do it best.