Here are some excerpts from week 4 of ‘The Adventure’ (The Honeymoon). Song of Solomon 4:1-5:1. Listen to the full message audio here.
God’s design is not for you to either idolize sex, making it the basis of your relationship, nor to have a sexless, joyless marriage or to avoid the subject like the plague. Rather, as we look at Scripture, God’s design is that we would enjoy the gift that God has given in sex, and it would be enjoyed in the context of a husband and wife, lifelong marriage relationship.
If we were to look to culture, or our world, we would determine that sex is about what I can get, what I want, what I need. It is not about the other person, but rather it is all about me. It reflects a very selfish and self-serving heart. Such an attitude shouldn’t surprise or shock us, because this is how we are born. With hearts that are bent toward, what I can get, what I need, and when I want it.
For those who know and follow Jesus though, we are called to serve others. In this chapter, we’ll see a servant’s heart on display in intimacy. Selfless instead of selfish. Serving our spouse instead of serving ourselves.
Men are wired by God to be very visual, and we’ll see that characteristic on display. She recognizes that truth and will serve him in that way. And we’ll also see the characteristic that women like words. So he’ll be using his words, and serving her in that way.
Because Solomon is romantic. He’s not going to rush this. He is using his words to build her up so she will know that she knows that she knows how he feels about her. You are beautiful, inside and out. You are my darling. You are precious to me. You are my best friend. And Solomon doesn’t skip over the most precious thing…her eyes. He is going to work from the top down, and use his words every step of the way.
Typically Jewish women wore their hair up, but she has let her hair down, which is a sign that she is vulnerable before him, and reflects the private nature of this moment, and her self-confidence because of Solomon’s words to her.
She is undressing in front of him, and he is not skipping over anything. He is treasuring this moment. When we take sex out of the boundaries of God’s design, or make it just some physical act between a man and woman, this whole picture gets cheapened. It gets sped up. But when you’ve waited, moments like this are treasured and worshipful.
Husbands, don’t just be focused on a handful of parts, but focus on all of her beauty. What you’re seeing in this passage on this wedding night is a husband who is giving his wife all the words of affirmation that she desires. Husbands, you’re the only person in the world who is called to give her such intimate affirmation. Don’t neglect your God-given role.
She is going to respond to his use of tender, honest, and loving words. Now the clothes start coming off. Again, I’ll remind you that our God is 100% comfortable with this picture. It is pure, holy, and lovely in His eyes. There is nothing shameful about this.
Cheap self-centered, selfish love in the world is get what I want, and leave. All about me, using people simply for our pleasure. God glorifying intimacy that is focused on the other person is tender, lifelong, within marriage boundaries, which reminds the other person, I’m not going anywhere. All I want to be is with you and serve you.
She’s his standard of beauty. Was she perfect in culture’s eyes? No, because remember from chapter 1, she was dark from the sun and that was not seen as beautiful in that culture. But that didn’t matter, because what mattered was how her husband saw her. Now instead of being nervous and ashamed, she is vulnerable and open before her husband and that is a response to how he has treated and spoken to her.
The lie of pornography and culture is that the standard of beauty is defined outside of the marriage bounds, rather than within it. So men, women, if you’re engaged in viewing porn and lust outside of your marriage, then you need to turn away. Flee the temptation, because it is distorting your definition of beauty. It is robbing you of the joy that God intends for you to experience in marriage. And frankly it is a cheap, false, and empty sinful alternative.
Husbands and wives, the words you use in the most intimate of moments matter. They carry weight. So choose them wisely. When you are naked with one another, it is the most vulnerable place to be…so in that moment of great openness, use words that build up, reveal your affection, and your attraction to one another.
Solomon is saying, you might’ve been hurt in the past, you might have a Father’s wound on your heart, you might be hearing from the culture that you don’t measure up…so when you are with me, I will protect you. Our relationship will be different. When you’re with me, you will find comfort, relief, and safety.
Husbands and wives, you want a God-given, God-glorifying escape from the world and the daily grind? Intimacy in your marriage, where the door is locked, and the world and distractions are outside.
Husbands, what about writing her a letter, a note, sending her a text in the middle of your day, that has nothing to do with the king’s chambers, but all about her character and beauty. What are you whispering to her when she walks in the room? Or in front of the kids, are you complimenting and affirming your wife? If you didn’t see it growing up, break a generational cycle and make sure that your kids see it in you. What they are seeing now, is the kind of spouse they will be or the kind they will pursue in the future.
If you’re single, and that attraction for one another is growing…wait. Be patient. Draw the lines and boundaries prior to being in the heat of the moment. Don’t make up the rules on the fly, because you will justify your way right into sin. The desires you are feeling are God given, and it is a gift, but the Word cautions us here…do not arouse or awaken love before it so desires.
So the question that gets raised in dating is how far can we go, or how far is too far? The question itself sometimes reveals a heart that is actually in a sense saying how close can I get to the line or go slightly over and still be ok? The question we should be asking is how can I help protect, honor, and guard the other person? Because again, this is not about our pleasure or selfish pursuits, this is about serving the other person. Serving others = Christlike. Serving yourself = Completely foreign to the life and model of Jesus.
This is a powerful picture for the women here. You are a garden to be cared for and treasured. You are a garden that is locked up, walled off, and protected and only meant for one man who has committed to love you for the rest of your life.
Ladies, the world has sold you a terrible lie that you are nothing but a piece of property to be used. You have been created in the image and likeness of God, and you have worth, value, and dignity. You are a beautiful garden to be walled off. You’ve been made by His loving hands, to worship Him, and to accomplish His purposes in your generation. You have eternal significance in the eyes of your Creator.
Parents, if you are raising sons, raise them to protect and honor women. To honor the wall of the garden, and not look for a secret passage or ways to climb over that wall. If you are raising daughters, remind them early and often who they are in Christ and who God made them to be, so when the lies of the world want to whisper that they don’t measure up, or that in order to get a man, they have to lower their standards, they will quickly discern that they are lies and not a reflection of who they are in Christ.
He has been tender toward her, patient, affirming her with words and all the non-verbals his eyes are giving, and she is inviting him fully in. She is naturally responding to his continual love demonstrated toward her.
She was patient and let Solomon take his time. She wasn’t thinking, can we get this over with, can we hurry this thing up, I’ve got a lot of things to do. She was vulnerable before Solomon. She let him in. She knew he was wired to be visual, and so she was visually generous with him. The bride was also sensuous. He was generous in his demonstration of his love toward her, and she was equally generous toward him.
We think we are the experts. We think that we somehow invented marital romance or pleasure found in sex. What a joke that we think we are the experts, or we turn to culture to tell us how to handle the intimacy that we did not create. God is creator. He is the giver. He’s the creator of the gift, and for a husband and wife, there is nothing gross about this, nor is it the basis of their relationship or in a sense their god. Intimacy and romance is the result of their pursuit of one another.
If you’re going to have a healthy, joy filled, abundant, life of marital intimacy, you’re going to need to talk and listen to one another. How can you serve your spouse? How does your spouse feel loved? Stop assuming that the other person will get it or read your mind.
Eat, friends, and drink; drink your fill of love. God says enjoy one another. Drink your fill of love. I’ve designed it, I created it, it is a gift, enjoy it. Enjoy the good gift I have given you, and allow that gift to lead you to worship me. Don’t just sip at this gift. But drink your fill of it. Are you hearing God’s heart on this one? He deeply cares about the marital intimacy between a husband and a wife.