The Song of Songs is a poetic literary creation that traces the love affair between two lovers from courtship days to marriage years. It is a book that celebrates intimacy within a covenantal love relationship. I believe the Song of Songs is meant to point its readers to the intimacy that mankind is meant to enjoy with God and with each other. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve were “naked and unashamed” before God and before each other. This surely is an expression of unobstructed intimacy that they were enjoying with God and with each other. The Song of Songs seeks to portray how we can return to this intimacy with God and with each other.
The Song of Songs contains valuable lessons for each one in the community of Christ who is at different stage of his/her life:
For the Singles
Let the Song of Songs remind you of your heavenly bridegroom, Jesus Christ. Whether single by choice or by circumstances, you are not incomplete because you do not have a life partner. The Scripture testifies that we are made whole and complete in Christ Jesus (Col 2:10).
Earthly marriage is not the ultimate thing in life; the ultimate thing in life is our eternal union with Christ! Let this season of singleness be a time whereby you can grow in your undivided devotion to Christ! Dwell in the joy that you are the beloved in God’s eyes and He is beautifying you through His Word and Spirit for Himself. May you long for Him and His love (Songs 5:8), may you rest in the knowledge that you are His (Songs 6:3) and may you look forward to the joy and ecstasy that awaits you in the day of consummation when Christ shall return to claim you as His bride!
For the Courting
Let the Song of Songs remind you of the beauty of consummating your love within marriage. The beloved in the Song of Songs had guarded her chastity and preserved it for marriage. Similarly the lover in the Song of Songs did not trespass intimacy and waited for the day of wedding when he became her husband to be the legitimate possessor of her chastity. We live in a world whereby pre-marital sex has become normative. The Bible however teaches us to keep the marriage bed holy (Heb 13:4). God has ordained physical union to be experienced only within a marital relationship between a man and a woman. So the Song of Songs adjures us not to awaken love until the right time (Songs 2:7). Let us not trespass love, let us not trespass God. Physical intimacy that obeys God’s timing and laws will enjoy God’s blessings. I urge any among us who have fallen into pre-marital sexual relationship(s) to come to the light and confess your sins before God. Speak to the elders and the pastoral staff. I assure you that when you confess and repent from your sins, God can redeem the ruins and make them glorious!
For the Married
The love affair of the two lovers in the Song of Songs reminds us of our eternal union with Christ. The Scripture testifies that marriage is meant to point us to the mystery of Christ and the church (Eph 5). Therefore remember you are stewards of this sacred mystery. As you experience the joy and ecstasy in your physical union, be the proclaimers of the joy and ecstasy that awaits every believer in their eternal union in Christ. As God calls you into an exclusive relationship with your spouse, do not let it become a reclusive one. Do not let this marital relationship pull you away from Christ and His community, rather let this relationship empower you to become even more committed to Christ and His community. Do not let your public display of physical affection stir others to envy or distract them from God. Rather display your spiritual oneness in the way you help each other grow deeper in devotion to Christ.
We are called to enjoy intimacy with each other and the community of Christ. However, sin continues to obstruct this path of intimacy. Our broken identity can hinder us from being authentic in our relationship with others; we need to surrender our brokenness to God so that we will not carry any emotional baggage into our relationship with others. Our love for others can also grow cold; we need to be intentional in loving others. Love is a verb; it involves acts of forgiving, forbearing, connecting and caring.
While waiting for unhindered intimacy with God and with each other in heaven, may God continue to beautify us through His Word and His Spirit at this side of heaven, so that we can become “naked and unashamed” once again before God and others.
By Rick Toh, Lead Pastor/Elder (YCKC Bulletin 3&4 December 2016)