Tag Archives: intimacy

Summer’s Love

Song of Solomon 1-3

A very strange book to say the least, especially in the Bible. But it is in our canon of scripture, so it behooves us to understand why. I had to look up some background information about the book, not the writer, I knew that to be King Solomon. But why was it written and how do I understand the language, which by the way is very sensual in nature. SO I listened to Chuck Swindoll and he gave me some good tips to understanding and reading the book. Now pastors have a way about them to allegorize things they don’t understand. Many have tried to make a connection between the two lovers in the book to Christ and His Church [Bride]. One could make a case for such, but the language of intimacy cannot be attributed to such an analogy.

Chuck Swindoll helped me understand even when the book was written; he stated that Song of Solomon was an early writing of the King, followed by Ecclesiastes then the book of Proverbs. the Song of Solomon is the greatest of all Canticles of Solomon; chapter 1:1. Solomon wrote as many as 1000 songs – `1 Kings 4:32. So, if Solomon wrote this in his younger days, then we can understand that the Book is really a dialogue or love letter between a woman and her soon to be husband, in this case King Solomon’s marriage to the Shulammite woman. It is a love letter that we get to read. It the letter we find strong language about sensual topics and very descriptive analogies to parts of the woman physical body. Summer love, wedding are dominantly planned in the Spring or Summer months. So it is fitting that I am writing about this love letter now.

Chuck Swindoll gives rules for reading the Song of Solomon: read it literally and personally. He suggest that it is love a love letter that has been intercepted and read out loud before an audience. Many of the words and thoughts are extremely intimate and meant only for the recipient. He goes on further to say we should read it, enjoy it but stop short of trying to analyze it. This makes sense, because it is two lovers king and pinning away in their love and separation.

We have the brideĀ  who is referred to as a Dove and the groom to be called the Beloved. There is lots of descriptive sentences that we would call “gushy mushy” stuff. I would think that this is a book that would be hard to preach before a congregation – for both the pastor and audience would blush and be embarrassed!

However, we must read these poetic words for what they were meant to mean to the reader. There is something about a young couple trying to express in words what their hearts convey. There are limits to how we can say what we feel in words. But these chapters do capture the emotion and longing for the other person. If we are truthful we have to admit, that much of the language used reminds us of our days gone by. We must admit we rarely hear of the passion and excitement in marriage relationships like this. Our relationships can and do become stale. It should be a refreshing in our minds of how we once felt – when we were head over heels in love with someone. At this point I will draw parallel with our relationship with Jesus; we can get “old hat” with Jesus. We can and do get comfortable with Him and take Him for granted; just like in our marriages. In these first chapters before the wedding in chapter 3:6-11; we read of the extravagant doting of the bride in oils and perfumes for the beloved. It has been said that if woman [and men] continued to do what they did to get a spouse after they are married, there would be a lot less broken marriages. Summer love, young love – is more than infatuation, it is a phenomena that can’t be easily confined or defined.

I hope that the reading of this love letter will spark the memories of all of us to how we once were young, and that it will rekindle our desire and passion for our own Beloved!

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Filed under 2020 missed passages

Humble dependency

Psalm 131 will be the focus of this blog entry. Looking at Psalm 131; I couldn’t help but think of the line in a Clint Eastwood movie that says “a man has got to know his limits.” At the crux of this Psalm 131 we find humility. Now I don’t know about anyone else but this is the hardest of all Christian attributes to gain and maintain. I guess the reason is we like to have our egos stroked with compliments and praise. Being puffed up or arrogant usually doesn’t bode well for people in ministry. As I write this blog I have read several articles and reports about Bill Hybels and Willow Creek. To say this is devastating and disappointing is an understatement. Willow Creek has been a stalwart organization and ministry for thousands of believers. Bill Hybels has written great books on “seeker sensitive” groups. I was once overly impressed with Hybels when he discovered that Willow Creek after being evaluated was a “mile wide and an inch deep.” Hybels shut down the Willow Creek machine, for in the evaluation, it was discovered that the discipleship which was the flagship of Willow Creek was woefully substandard. I though very highly of Hybels for recognizing and shutting down operations until they fixed the problem. I don’t know what to say about all the allegations, so I won’t comment. Needless to say Bill is not the first nor the last of spiritual leaders to fall into sin. The bible is filled with men and women who have “skeletons” in the past. I recent wrote another article indicating that pastors and ministry people cannot allow the thought that they are bigger than the ministry itself. Others within my own denomination just this year have caused great hurt and disappointment. Frank Page, and Paige Patterson are two that quickly come to mind, I continue to pray for both of these men – knowing that except the grace of God it could be me!. Man is a sinner, we have a fallen nature; we must always remember that we are only one decision away from great failure.

In Psalm 131; the humility and genuine dependency on the strength and provision of the Lord ring with confidence ONLY in the Lord. Paul said he had learned that in whatever state to therewith to be content. But the writer here brings more than just a confidence in God, but also a great intimacy in relationship with the LORD. The picture of a child nestling a mother’s breast depicts this intimacy. The Psalmist goes on to describe this dependent intimacy exposing his heart of humility by not getting “airs” about himself; not boasting; to have haughty eyes or an arrogant heart. One of the decisions of most importance in ministry is to know what to engage in and what to stay away from. The Psalmist intentionally stays away from matters that “are too big for me.”

Too often in ministry there is the enticement to be known publicly, to have others know your name and to “be on the platform” at conferences. This all in a worldly sense tells you that you have arrived. Francis Chan did something a few years ago, that absolutely further raised my appreciation for him. He found that the “speaker’s circuit and platform personality” world got bigger and consumed him. He resigned his church, left the circuit and went to Indonesia for a year. He didn’t even preach for six months! He said he felt overwhelmed by it all and had to stop. Scripture says “woe unto you when all the world thinks highly of you.” Pride before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Knowing that this Psalm was written to be sung as Israel ascended to the Temple to worship, reminds us that we are not God. Idolatry worshipping something or someone other than God. We are but dust, that’s a good thought to remember when with more highly of ourselves than we ought [Romans 12:3].

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Filed under 2018 Poetry