Song of Solomon 8:8-14 – The Right Timing

Read Song of Solomon 8:8-14

We conclude our time in this book by returning again to the courtship and even before. The beautiful, voluptuous woman we know as Shulamith was once a young girl. Can you still remember the innocence of your youth? I can still hear my mother telling me, “be careful of boys,” “protect your reputation,” “save yourself for marriage.” All those messages seemed hard to understand at the time hormones were raging through my body. Perhaps if she had shown me theses verses in the Song of Solomon it would have made more sense to me.

I was a rebellious teen, so you can imagine why she was telling me these things. There was no vineyard in our family where she could hide me away from the world as I blossomed into a woman. Shulamith’s family did that for her. As she toiled in the hot sun, shut off from friends and meeting boys, she probably wondered how in the world she would ever meet Mr. Right.

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Song of Solomon 1:1-11 – Getting Ready

Read Song of Solomon 1:1-11

We’re about to embark on a new discovery of the wedding gift God gave to a husband and wife. As we read through these beautiful and sometimes odd descriptions of lovemaking and how best to cherish our spouses, remember the intention. It’s a love song of a couple, King Solomon and his bride, Shulamith. Some say this is an allegory for God’s love to his people. It can be both, and when we truly enjoy each other as God intends, we can’t help but thank him for loving us that much that he gave us such a gift.

Being part of Scripture, we can be certain that God intends for us to see the beauty in sexual relations within marriage. So much of what we see on television, in steamy novels, and in other forms of media would lead us to believe that sex outside marriage is okay, that perversion is normal, and that sexual escapades are open season. I could go on and on. Rather, God created sex for more than procreation, and it is certainly not dirty or perverted. He wants us to enjoy it, treasure it, and be blessed by it. Could I be so bold to say, sex is holy?

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Hebrews 13:1-5 – Be a Better Lover

Read Hebrews 13:1-5

I hope we all know the most important thing is to love God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. Beyond that, this passage reminds us of others who should receive our affection as well. As our author closes this letter, he wants to remind us all of what should be obvious but often forgotten.

Love one another. That can sometimes be hard. Especially loving those who are hard to love. We all had someone come to mind just now. Maybe it’s the crotchety neighbor or the busybody at church or the obnoxious, loud-mouth co-worker. We are brothers and sisters after all, and we should love each other as family. Love as Jesus loves. Continue reading “Hebrews 13:1-5 – Be a Better Lover”

Mark 10:1-12 – Marriage

Read Mark 10:1-12

As you can imagine, this text is not one of my favorites (especially vv. 11 and 12). It is why I stayed in an abusive marriage for 15 years. I was beaten and watched my children be beaten. I cowered at any loud noise or raised voice. I prayed and prayed for God to rescue us. I had made a bad decision. It not only left me broken, but it has left a lasting scar on each of my children’s hearts. For that I am devastated. I cannot fix it. I caused it.

I have worked through recovery, like an alcoholic or drug abuser. I was broken. I had been brainwashed to think I was nothing; that I was stupid. I believe in a loving God who does not want us to live a life of torture and fear. I continually pray for forgiveness for what I have done. I have devoted myself to serving him and using my story to help other women avoid making the same mistake.

My story has a happy ending as I have found the man of my dreams. His story is his for him to tell, but suffice it to say he was hurt and abused, too. Two broken souls have united to make a beautiful union, stronger than ever to serve God together. That is exactly what we do. I believe in my heart that God intended for us to be together. I don’t know where either of us would be apart, if we had stayed unmarried to avoid adultery.

In studying a commentary or two on this text, here are some helpful insights. Some marriages fall short of God’s intention. While Jesus didn’t say “do NOT remarry”, he made it clear that to do so would affect the divorced spouse. A residual relationship exists by the mere fact we were married and shared those years together. As I understand it, my remarriage then negatively affects my abusive spouse. (I wrestled with this during my recovery phase, worked the 12 steps was amazing journey.)

We are also taking these words quite literally. For us to follow to the letter sets a very steep expectation. While Scripture, especially the words of Jesus, are alive for us today, this passage reminds us that we should not take the marriage relationship lightly. It is intended by God to join the couple forever as a beautiful union. So friends, be careful in choosing your mate. Make sure they are the one God intends for you. Keep God at the center of your marriage, always and forever.

Let’s pray. Lord I struggle still with this passage. I thank you that I am now in a position of strength. I thank you for the empowerment you have given me to overcome the hurts of my past. I pray as hard as ever for my children that they, too, will feel your peace and that their joy will be restored. Help them to remember that you, their heavenly Father, will never hurt them. I pray for all those women, and men, in abusive relationships. May they be looking to you for rescue and restoration. Forgive me for making bad choices that keep me separated from you. Thank you that you are burning brightly inside me to give others hope. In Jesus’ name. Amen.