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The Song of Songs: Chapter 3

Before we get any further into the Song of Solomon, we ought to note that some readers interpret this book symbolically as God’s love for the nation of Israel. We, however, are looking at the images that Solomon’s poetic language evokes.

After spending a lot of time together and getting to know the other person in a deeper, fuller way, the man and the woman each come to a point of knowing something tucked profoundly in their hearts: they don’t want to be without the other. They want to stay together forever.

We caught a glimpse of that commitment in chapter two, and it continues into chapter three. The woman longs to be with the man and misses him so much that she goes in search of him. But she can’t find him. We understand how much her heart ached when she eventually does find him: “I held him and would not let him go…” (4)

At that point, she takes him home to her mom. It looks like they are ready to move deeper into commitment when it is time to talk to the parents.

The love and desire between the two of them is stronger than ever. It is at this moment that we find the exact repetition of the passage from chapter two that advocates restraint. (2:7; 3:5) The love song is clearly showing how expected it is to experience increased passion; it is normal, healthy and good. With that growing desire must also come growing, healthy restraint.

This passage that advises caution resurfaces RIGHT BEFORE the wedding; its chronology indicates that, even though they are going to get married, they still need to wait and that sexual intimacy touches the other’s soul; that is why the Bible says that it is reserved for marriage. The two become one; sex is a spiritual transaction that is meant for the commitment to oneness that two people make in a marriage. This is consistently the message of the Bible — and has become increasingly counter-cultural.

Finally, the wedding day has arrived. And what a magnificent celebration it is! The images of Solomon approaching in his carriage evoke beauty, brilliance, strength and joy. When Solomon the poet began this passage about the wedding, he presented the following picture: “Who is this coming up from the desert in a column of smoke…?” (6) He made a clear reference that every Israelite would understand: God led His people through the wilderness with a column of smoke. Because of Him, they emerged from the desert into a fertile land. As such, this wedding comes together because of God’s guidance. He is leading the couple. He goes before them. He is at the heart of their marriage.

Key Verse:
“Who is this coming up from the desert in a column of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and incense made from all the spices of the merchant?” ~ Song of Songs 3:6

Questions to ponder:

  • How much do you allow God to lead you in your relationships? Is He at the head and at the center? If not, why not?
  • How can you make God the leader in your relationships?
  • How are you handling or did you handle a growing sexual passion in your relationship?
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