A Flaming Love
Theme: The Truth About Love Between a Man and Woman
Text: Song of Songs 8:6-7
Time: Sunday Morning February 18, 2001
Question: What does love btn man and woman Look Like in God’s eyes?
The biggest lie you ever told - deepest fear about growing old
the longest night you ever spent - the angriest letter you never sent
the boy you swore you’d never leave - the one you kissed on new year’s eve
the sweetest dream you had last night - your darkest hour, your hardest fight
I wanna know you - like I know myself
I’m waiting for you - there ain’t no one else
talk to me baby - scream and shout
I wanna know you - inside out
I wanna get down deep - I wanna lose some sleep
I wanna scream and shout - I wanna know you inside out
I wanna take my time - I wanna know your mind
ya know there ain’t no doubt - I wanna know you inside out
The saddest song you ever heard - the most you said with just one word
the loneliest prayer you ever prayed - the truest vow you ever made
what makes you laugh, what makes you cry
what makes you mad, what gets you by
your highest high, your lowest low - these are things I want to know
I wanna know you like I know myself
I’m waitin for you - there ain’t no one else
talk to me baby - scream and shout
I wanna know you - inside out
Brian Adams song “I Wanna Know You” - a song of two people - man and woman - sharing everything - most intimate thoughts - the most passionate desires - knowing someone completely - taking the time to do it - losing sleep trying to achieve it - Some may shudder and think piously - “How can a Christian talk like that!!!” But when done in the right way - we can be open, intimate, honest, and desirous in our love relationships! It’s God’s gift!
I have yet to hear a Christian artist speak of love and intimacy between a man and a woman in this way!
Scene from Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” - “I greatly esteem him.”
As I watch our Young Adults grope around in the dark - having nothing to truly go on - few authentic examples of what is truly happening in their time of life - having grown up in a sexually stiffled atmosphere - I see their desire for what is real - for what they feel deeply.
In the Song of Songs - or essentially - The Greatest Song - is the story of a young man and young woman who fear God and love each other passionately - it is here that we see what courtship or dating and engagement should be between two young people.
The Story in The Song:
This is a story of faithful, passionate love. A beautiful virgin in love with a shepherd is brought away from her home to King Solomon’s court against her will [“I went down to the grove of nut trees to look at the new growth in the valley, to see if the vines had budded or the pomegranates were in bloom. Before I realized it, I was captured into the royal chariot of my people and wisked away] She was taken away to be one of Solomon’s wives. Despite Solomon’s declarations of affection, his royal promises, and even the harem women’s encouragement to join herself to the blood line of David! the Shulammite maiden remains true to her betrothed lover (or fiancee) [“I am my lover’s and my lover is mine; only he browses among the lilies. 6:3 “I belong to my lover and his desire is for me” 7:10]. Her lover searches for her far away. When the mighty King’s sexual adnvances are rejected by the Shulammite virgin, the Shulammite and her lover come back home to renew their vows near the sweet smelling mountains: [“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal over your arm; for love is as permanent as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like a blazing fire, like the mighty flame of God. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would utterly be scorned.”] The lover pointedly concludes the story [8:12] -
“The thousands are yours, [King] Solomon!
....my single vineyard here before me is for me alone.”
The Song is a critique of the lustful advances and behaviour of King Solomon which had plagued Israel as many others followed his example. It is also a Song that encourages the truth of what God has created between a man and woman - and when lived out in reverence toward God and in passionate intimacy - it is the most wonderful and intimate relationships in all of life!
Transition: First of all the Song :
1. REJECTS THE CARRYING OUT OF LUSTFUL DESIRE
a. Two men in the story - one is a lustful king - the other is a loving fiancee.
There are two very different voices that speak to the woman in the Song - one is a very harsh and crass style [Solomon] - the other is a sweet, gentle style [shepherd]
Solomon speaks of her by referring to her - literally - piece by piece:
“How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves, Your hair is like a flock of goats - Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn - coming up from the wash - [listen to the presumption in his tone] Each has its twin; not one of them is alone. Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely, Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate - Your neck is like the tower of David, built with elegance; on it hang a thousand shields” - give me a break!
Shepherd’s words to her are gentle, sensuous, playful and intimate:
“You have stolen my heart, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, - How delightful is your love, my bride, How much more pleasing than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice! Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue - you are a garden locked up, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain “
b. Society that serves Sex - not God
And so demeans the person from whom the passion is desired - objectifies him or her and destroys the dignity and respect that is due them as one of God’s children. cf. the shepherd calls her “my sister” - now that may sound gross to us - but he is referring to her as one whom God has created - and so related to him in that fashion
A true intimate - passionate love can only come from two people who love God.
“The love will be good if it is properly unconstrained, freely given and gratefully received. The love will be perverse if it is capricious, indiscriminate, selfish, or idolizes one form of love at the expense of others. The love will be “strange” and ugly if it try to make the bonds void or deny one loves as bodily man or bodily woman.”
c. “You can’t buy me love!”
“If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”
And so is Solomon so enticed with his voracious appetite of lust that he boasted a harem of literally hundreds of wives - no one was never enough - because it was all about getting - rather than giving.
The Shulammite warns the women in the harem when she is confined from her true lover
“Don’t arose love until it is time” - in other words you can’t force someone into love - it is made to happen spontaneously - birthed in the meeting of two people who truly fall for each other!
“Love is a full-fledged bodily act that translates the deepest root and presence of a person willingly into the very life stream of a fellow creature of God.”
Young Adults - some of you are trying so hard to get - that your missing the point of someone striking you with the unexpected - Your looking for what “you want” when what God has designed is that someone will come your way who will entrall you in the deepest way.
Married Couples - men and women - your looking for a passionate love from your partner to satisfy you yet you may seem to think - as the world so entices - that the best passionate love is lustful - that it is the kind that breaks the bonds of marriage - That is wrong! The very passion that is desired in your relationship with your spouse is recognized when we have a relationship with the God who is the source of passion in life.
Transition: Second, the Song:
2. AFFIRMS PASSION THAT IS OPENLY EXPRESSED AMONG THOSE WHO FEAR GOD
a. A Clean - Bonded Passion
The two lovers in the Song - the Shulammite virgin and the Shepherd - are an engaged couple - who have pledged themselves to each other - and have promised themselves to each other without constraint - totally given to one another - and free to speak in this way as well.
b. Approved and applauded within the context of family
They were talking to each other this way within the approval and encouragement of family. They return to the apple tree where they had learned that one of them was conceived under!
They were told the stories by their parents of the passion that brought their mother and father together.
It was encouraged people! They were not fornicating because they feared God and knew the dangers - but they caressed each other with their words of love and spoke openly about the time when they would be able to give themselves in body to each other!
Note: In our context - of what I’ve seen and lived - we literally scare young adults to death about even thinking such things of those they pledge themselves to - expecting them to not anticipate - to not speak in this way.
What we are doing when we inhibit - is make it seem wrong - when truly God has made it Good.
Peterson says in his introduction to his translation of the Song:
“We don’t read very far in the Song of Songs before we realize two things; one, it contains exquisite love lyrics, and two, it is very explicit sexually. The Song, in other words, makes a connection between conjugal love and sex - a very important and very biblical connection to make. There are some who would eliminate sex when they speak of love, supposing that they are making it more holy. Others, when they think of sex, never think of love. The Song proclaims an integrated wholeness that is at the center of Christian teaching on committed, wedded love for a world that seems to specialize in loveless sex.”
c. An enticing attraction that is accompanied by commitment
It wouldn’t hurt our to have some physical contact - even when your in church - holding hands together - whenever your together - putting your arm around your spouse, kissing your spouse - for goodness sake - where do you think we are in a monestary!
No wonder our young people don’t come to us for advice on their sexuality - they look at us and think - man! they don’t even seem to like each other! [ they don’t see us holding hands, hugging our spouses, kissing in public] - now of course within reason. They don’t need to tell you to “Get a Room” either!
I’m going to shout it as loud as I can without hurting your ears - that GOD CREATED MAN AND WOMAN TO BE INTIMATE AND TO BE SEXUAL WITHIN THE PROPER CONFINES OF ATTRACTION AND COMMITMENT AND WE IN THE CHURCH SHOULD BE CELEBRATING IT AND LIVING IT!!!!!
We need to be encouraging our Young Adults -
Men - you need to take some of these guys under your wing and teach them about how they should with a woman - how they should act with them - before and after the wedding day - how they need to love them - with all of their heart - with all of their passion honouring God as they do!!- one of God’s creatures.
I’m telling you right now - no selfish, lustful, ignorant guy is ever going to date one of my daughters - because we are teaching them now - yes now - how a man should treat a woman - I won’t have to chase them away - they won’t give them the time of day!!!
Objective: True love between a man and woman is like the mighty flame of God - full of passion, desire and fulfillment!
Listen to this:
“Fear the Lord, which is evidence of Jahve’s Grace! alone that can save us from the demon of unlawful passion and lead us in the Way of love.
Only God’s creating Grace can undo our fumbling,
thoughtless love “affairs,” brittle friendships, mundane marriages,
the deteriorating respect among nations and races,
and keep us in the constant temptation of lawlessness.
Only the Holy Spirited fear of the Lord God who came to us in Jesus Christ, inside our passion, can restore us woebegone men and women to the created glory Jahve fashioned, and give us the joyful peace of love and life on earth lived more abundantly than we are wont to know. “