Summary: Our God is intimate in his Character - he created human intimacy, and has a plan for it, And he wants an intimate relationship with His Church and with the Christian individual
God Stories – Attributes of God May 11, 2003
God of Intimacy
Song of Songs (Song of Solomon)
This is a piece of the scriptures that we usually ignore – I have never preached a sermon from this book, and I have even preached from Nahum! I think that we ignore it because it is so hard to figure out what it is doing in scripture – scripture is supposed to be about God, who He is, and his interaction with humanity – what is this sensual love song doing in the midst of it?! This song is not just a love song – in his introduction to the Song, Peterson writes “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.” This is why we’ve generally stayed away from it – we don’t like to mix faith and sex.
But Peterson goes on to write: “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.”
“Yes Mike, that’s very nice, but in Church?”
Yes in church; because it is in the Bible, and because it teaches so much about God, who he is and how he created us! (“All scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching…”) And because Solomon says it is his best song! The first verse is translated “This is Solomon’s song of songs, more wonderful than any other. Solomon gave us most of the proverbs, and a few of the psalms, and he probably had a number of unpublished psalms, but he says of this song – it is so far better than all the rest, it is the song of songs – all the other songs are just words without rhythm or poetry compared to this song!
Just before we get into it, I need to talk about how to read the scripture. There are some people who read the song as only a metaphor for the relationship between God and his church, and it is that, and we will get to that, but it is not only a metaphor, nor is it first a metaphor, it is first and foremost a love song that Solomon wrote for a specific woman in a specific time. And it is a beautiful and God-breathed love song. To not know this is to miss the song altogether. This is always the way that we must read scripture – take the most obvious reading first – even if it goes against our theology, or our sensibilities. Take the most obvious reading first, and struggle with that against the backdrop of the rest of scripture and the illumination of the Holy Spirit.
Here we go – (this sermon has an at-least 14+ rating)
The song has three voices – the Man, the woman, and the chorus made up of the woman’s friends. The man is the king and they are newly married – she has her own chamber. The imagery doesn’t always wash with modern sensibilities, but just try to go with it.
The woman begins: 2-4
Continue to 4:15
It is a great song!
- the deep affection that they have for each other, the passion
- the attraction, the glorying in each other, they swoon over the very presence of the other
- the joy of each other’s presence, the longing & anticipation when they are apart!
- The joy that the young women take in the whole romance, and the beauty of the two!
It is a great song! But in the Bible? In Church?
Yes! Why? – because God is the God of intimacy. We are looking at attributes of God in the sermons the first week we saw a bit about the awesome holiness of God, and last week that he is the creator of all that is – both thins seen and unseen, this week we are talking about the God of intimacy.
God created intimacy, he created sex and sexuality, he created romantic love – he created all that is unseen – like romantic love.
God created pleasure – for some reason we think that the devil created pleasure – he didn’t he is a created being, he can’t create anything, he only perverts what God has created. To pervert means to twist something that is good into something that is bad.
When I say that God created sex and sexuality, It is not the same as saying that God created this rock, or this flower. No, God created sex and sexuality as something sacred, something set apart, something to hold in high honor. The Bible tells us that this is the place where a man and a woman become one flesh – there is a mystical union created. Paul describes it as a mystery – a holy mystery. Not only is this the place where the two become one, but this is the place where new life is conceived! It is sacred, and holy. And as something that is sacred and holy it has its place – just as when the articles of worship were consecrated as sacred and holy they were kept in the temple at the altar, so sex and sexuality has its place in the marriage and only on the marriage. Marriage is the temple that holds these sacred acts. This is why adultery is such a terrible sin – it takes the sacred out of the temple and profanes it on another altar.