Marriage is worth it!
“Solomon’s Song of Songs.” Song of Songs 1:1 NIV
The Song of Songs, otherwise known as the Song of Solomon, is a unique poetry book in the Bible. The former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, Michael Hyatt says the hardest type of book to sell is poetry. This is partly because it poetry can be so difficult to read. I have pondered doing a study in the Song of Songs or Song of Solomon for a long time, but truthfully, have often been intimidated by its poetry, content, flow, and imagery.
This short, but controversial book almost didn’t make it into the Bible since God Himself is not mentioned one time over the course of its 8 chapters. Historically, it was included into the Old Testament because it was thought that the story was allegory – or an example of God’s intense and passionate love for His people (referring to Israel or the church). While the allegorical approach does work in this writing, a literal reading of the text, suggest that it is a love poem emphasizing the proper love between a man and a woman in marriage. In these passages there are three main voices; the man, who celebrates his love for his wife, the woman, who speaks first, last, and most freely, and the woman’s friends (who by the way, always come included when a man marries his wife).
I’ve read that Rabbi’s, in Ancient times would forbid any man under the age of 30 to read the text for fear of the emotions and passions it would bring up in him because of its erotic nature. Over the course of these devotions, we will explore the Song of Songs and see what lessons we can learn from Solomon about how to create a passionate marriage.
For this first devotion, I thought we’d focus on the first verse only.
“Solomon’s Song of Songs.” Song of Songs 1:1 NIV
The opening verse in this book already indicates something special about this Scripture. It is identified as not just any song. This is the Song of Songs. While that may not mean a lot to us today, it can be compared to when we call Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. When early Christians gave Jesus those titles, they were saying that He is above all other Kings and above all other Lords. When the early Hebrews referred to the Holy of Holies, they placed a special emphasis and attention on the particular place where the Spirit of God dwelt. In other words, here Solomon is recognizing the Song of Songs as the loveliest of all the songs that he had written.
We can identify from 1 Kings 4:32 that Solomon is known to have written over 1,000 songs and proverbs (which can be seen in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes), so he was a prolific writer. Of all of his works, this was apparently his favorite and his greatest crowning work.
It is almost as if in verse 1, Solomon is speaking through time, “Pay attention to this song. This one is not just another romantic song. It is the song of songs. You may have read the Proverbs and the Psalms that I’ve written, but pay attention to this one. It will help you create passion in your marriage… and that is important!”
As I’ve read commentaries on this book, I realize that there are different interpretations that seem appropriate. I think however that the best reading of the Song of Songs shows that Solomon, the 10th century king, is the husband referred to and if I had to guess, I think that the woman, the Shunammite, is Abishag, the young woman who appeared in 1 Kings 1 to care for Solomon’s father King David. Abishag was identified as a beautiful young woman who came to care for the king when he was old. It can be observed in 1 Kings 2, that Solomon had already had affection for Abishag.
While its language and imagery can make this book intimidating to study, we know from Solomon himself that it is worth studying. If Einstein were to point out specifically which invention he felt was his one greatest work, we’d pay close attention. If Steve Jobs identified for us the greatest innovation that he had developed in his life, we’d sit up, lean in, and give our attention to him. Since Solomon points out that this was his greatest work, we’d be wise to lean in and pay close attention to what he writes as well. Solomon was known as the wisest man alive in his day – not just because of his own innovative ideas or inventions, but because the Spirit of God was upon him. He is remembered as the wisest of the Kings of Israel. The book we are about to explore, is apparently the greatest work he completed. Brace yourself… I sure am. Here we go…
Holy Spirit, this book still confuses and intimidates me at times. I am both excited and a bit nervous about digging into these verses. Give me supernatural revelation and insight as I read. Show me truth about Your love and practical life applications to create a passionate marriage from this time. In the precious name of Your son Jesus Christ… amen.