A Wild Heart – Part 2
The other refrain in the Song (besides, “do not stir up or awaken love until it pleases”) addresses biblical marriage using covenant language: “My beloved is mine and I am his.” This chorus echoes the biblical refrain of God’s covenant with us where He is our God, and we are His people. The marriage metaphor describing God’s relationship with his covenant people is a theme threaded throughout the bible culminating in the consummation of Jesus’ marriage to His bride, the Church, in Revelation.
And while there is much to hear about in the Song regarding marriage, the overwhelming theme is what we will call a “doting desire.” Simply put, the Song is an anthology of love poems, a kind of erotic psalter. This is erotic poetry set within the ethical limits of the marriage bed.
Imagery of vineyards and gardens saturate the Song with an emphasis on the sexuality of the female.
Sustain me with raisins;
refresh me with apples,
for I am sick with love.
His left hand is under my head,
and his right hand embraces me!
(Song of Solomon 2:5–6)
She sings first and she sings most, but his heart is no less wild in his love for his bride.
I came to my garden, my sister, my bride,
I gathered my myrrh with my spice,
I ate my honeycomb with my honey,
I drank my wine with my milk.
(Song of Solomon 5:1)
And in all of it, God is glorified in his good design and gracious gifts of sexual pleasure: “Eat, O friends, and drink; drink your fill, O lovers!” (4:16).
It is important to remember that the Song is not a dating guide or a sex manual. It is not a “how-to” book, but rather poetry intent on evoking a mood more than making mandates to the reader concerning specific types of behavior. Nonetheless, the Song’s passionate and intimate descriptions of sensual touch may serve the purpose of freeing married couples to experiment and experience a physical relationship they wrongly thought forbidden by their Christian commitment.
And rather than a heavy burden placed on the sexually broken—who, perhaps, through sexual sin or sexual abuse feel the freedom expressed in the Song an unattainable fantasy—the Song points us both back to the Garden in Genesis 2, and forward to another Garden where our Redeemer began to endure the suffering and weight of sin and brokenness for us, to restore us.
In the Song of Songs we read about the man and the woman in the garden. They are naked, and feel no shame. One cannot help but to hear echoes of the Garden of Eden while reading these poems. A time without sin and shame (Gen. 2:25). Set in the canon of Scripture, the Song of Songs points forward to a day when Jesus—the perfect Husband—will come to rescue His Bride, washing her with the water of grace, restoring her in the Gospel (Eph. 5:26-27).
As the truth of the Gospel washes over us, and the power of the Holy Spirit breathes new life into us, we can experience, more and more, the freedom and pleasure of marital love that the Song sings of.
I am praying for a holy intimacy in our marriages, that will both strengthen our families and our church, and give an example to the many singles in our church what great things the LORD has planned for them if they choose to marry.
Read Part 1 here.
Read Part 3 here.
Read Part 4 here.
Read Part 5 here.