So now that we are full of warm fuzzies after studying a union that was beautiful and amazing and wonderful – let’s take a step back into reality. The courtship and honeymoon are now over. As we all know, it can’t last forever. So let’s dive into “real life” for Solomon and his bride. (begin in 5:2)
Let’s talk about Solomon for a minute. I am certain he was a very busy man. After all, he had a kingdom to run. I’m not sure how much time has passed between our wedding night bliss and this next part of the story – but It’s been long enough that the “honeymoon” period has worn off and our new bride is tired of being alone. She is tired of her husband working long hours and not paying much attention to her. And she is acting a little pouty about it. Here she is, lying in bed, waiting for Solomon to come to her, festering over how late it is. (I slept but my heart was awake. 5:2a)
I’m sure this has happened to the best of us. Work responsibilities take over and we may leave our spouse feeling a little left behind. There is a big project coming up and we spend every minute trying to finish it. Our boss wants us to fly across country for a meeting with a client, we go in early, we work late – all the while our spouses are feeling neglected. While sometimes we just have to take care of business (after all, the house won’t pay for itself) we don’t want to forget – our marriage needs work too. Work priorities taking over should be an occasional occurrence, not a way of life. Marriages need nurturing. They take work from both sides. Do not let the ordinary stresses of life become an obstacle in your relationship. Don’t let the “little foxes” take over your vineyard (see previous post https://wordsofthewises.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/song-of-solomon/)
So back to our story, Solomon finally comes to his bride after a long day of working. I’m sure he’s tired and he just wants to put the day behind him and reconnect with is love. So he knocks on the door and asks sweetly for his beloved to let him inside. And she did exactly what most of us wives would do after pouting all night long WAITING for our hubby’s to come home – throw open the door and welcomes him with a kiss and a smile right??…except no – that’s not what she does. And how do we know this? Because that’s not what we would do either. She decides instead to give him a hard time for being late in the first place. She proclaims that she is already dressed for bed. She has already bathed and what, he expects her to get up again?
“Open to me, my sister, my darling,
my dove, my flawless one.
My head is drenched with dew,
my hair with the dampness of the night.” (2b)
I have taken off my robe—
must I put it on again?
I have washed my feet—
must I soil them again? (3)
What Solomon doesn’t know, but we do from reading ahead, is that she is yearning for him. She is prepared for him. She has been waiting for him. She has already perfumed herself in anticipation of his arrival. She isn’t really worried about getting out of bed. In fact, she was planning on it. So as Solomon reaches for the door again and her heart skips a beat…she waits just a moment longer and then when she has decided he’s been “punished” long enough for being late, she goes to the door ready to let him in, and guess what…he isn’t there.
My beloved thrust his hand through the latch-opening;
my heart began to pound for him.
5 I arose to open for my beloved,
and my hands dripped with myrrh,
my fingers with flowing myrrh,
on the handles of the bolt.
6 I opened for my beloved,
but my beloved had left; he was gone.
My heart sank at his departure.
He’s probably tired of playing games with her. He asked nicely, then asked again, when she didn’t answer, he left. How many times in our marriages are we guilty of this? Of playing games. Choosing to be critical of one another when really all we want is to be connected. Focusing on the hurt, instead of embracing the longing. The desire. The love. We have “words” and then go to bed angry. We push ourselves further away out of selfish pride. Solomon wasn’t deliberately staying away because he was trying to hurt his bride. He had work to do. He has responsibilities. He’s a king for crying out loud! But instead of his bride being honest with him, expressing her hurt, she decides to toy with him – and that never leads to anything good.
So here we stand at a crossroad. Solomon came to her, and she let him walk away. Now she has a choice to make. She can slam the door and go to bed weeping and angry because he didn’t “fight harder” to win her affections, or, she can stand up, admit she was acting foolishly, and go after her man!
- Ladies – What would you do? What have you done? I know we’ve all been in a similar situation before.
- Husbands: Imagine the situation reversed. Would your pride prevent you from reconciling with your wife?
Marriage is about humility, not pride. It is about choosing love again and again. Fortunately we aren’t left to wonder what we should do in moments like these. God tells us right here, through this story – exactly what to do. Go after them!
She runs to her friends and begs them to help her. She desperately wants to find Solomon and make it right. And what do her friends say? Probably the same thing you’ve had a girlfriend say a time or two – “Well, why do you want to find him? What’s so great about this guy that you want to go running after him?” (5:9) . Which opens the door for her to do one of two things: Husband bash about the horribly awkward exchange she just experienced, or tell them exactly how amazing he is and what a fool she’s been to let him go. Once again I ask – What would you do? She chooses the latter. She proclaims to her friends all the wonderful features of her beloved for several verses and then ends with this…
“This is my beloved,
And this is my friend,” (5:16)
How quickly we forget in the heat of the moment. We are so lucky to have our spouse, our partner in life, in the good times and bad times. Not only are we to be lovers, but we are to be friends as well. Unfortunately there are plenty of married people out there who are basically roommates that share a bed, and would rather spend their free time with anyone else but each other. How would you answer this question: – Who is the one person you would rather spend your time with more than anyone else? If the answer is not your spouse, then you have some reexamining to do. Sex is wonderful. But it’s not everything. We are meant to walk through life with a best friend. Someone we can share everything with and just enjoy the pleasure of being around.
So after convincing her friends that Solomon is worth all of this fuss (5:10 – 16) in the middle of the night, they agree to help her find him, and they ask her quite simply “Where should we look for him?” And then she has her “Ah Ha” moment. (6:1 – 2) Now that she has taken a moment to let her emotions settle, after having a good talk with the girlfriends, she realizes she already knows exactly where he has gone. How does she know this? Because they are best friends. She knows him completely. Of course she knows where he would go to see refuge after an argument.
Ladies: Do you know where your husband would go?
Husbands: would you know where to find your wife?
Now that she knows where he is, she goes to him. And now that she has found him, it is Solomon who has the choice. He can welcome her back with open arms, delighted that she finally came around, or he can puff up, let his pride get in the way, and make her “beg” for forgiveness…I’m so glad our loving God is writing this story and not me. Because I tell you what…I know what I would do, and have done, and it’s not pretty. But of course Solomon welcomes back his bride gladly.
So what comes after a fight? The “make up.” Solomon begins to praise his bride, much like he did on their wedding night, proclaiming her beauty & assuring her that she is the one and only woman for him (6:4-7:13) And you thought Hollywood created make-up sex. Nope 🙂 The bible doesn’t explicitly say what happened next, but come on…these two have had a burning passion from the very beginning. You better believe they “kissed and made up”…and probably a lot more.
Most of Chapter 7 is dedicated to Solomon once again praising his wife’s body; Her feet, her thighs, her navel, her waist, her breasts, her neck, eyes, nose, head and hair. This is actually the most intense and vivid description we have gotten so far. He covers her beauty from head to toe, literally. Often we are “shocked” by how sensually Solomon speaks of his beloved…but maybe we’ve got it backwards. I bet if Solomon were here today, he’d be quite “shocked” how little we speak of sexuality in marriage. Here is a sampling of the intense description of Beloved.
Your graceful legs are like jewels,
the work of an artist’s hands.
2 Your navel is a rounded goblet
that never lacks blended wine.
3 Your breasts are like two fawns,
like twin fawns of a gazelle.
6 How beautiful you are and how pleasing,
my love, with your delights!
7 Your stature is like that of the palm,
and your breasts like clusters of fruit.
8 I said, “I will climb the palm tree;
I will take hold of its fruit.”
May your breasts be like clusters of grapes on the vine,
the fragrance of your breath like apples,
9 and your mouth like the best wine.
- Husbands: take note, it is important that your wife hear you say how beautiful you think she is, out loud. Especially as the effects of time and/or birthing children start to take it’s toll on her body. Cherish the body of your wife. Let her know that you do. Embarrassment isn’t called for.
- Ladies: take note. This means you too. Although here we only hear Solomon’s side of the story here, just a few chapters earlier she was praising him from head to toe as well. Make sure that as time progresses and maybe his hair starts to thin, or silver, or his body is no longer the athletic version of his youth, make sure he knows that you still adore him. You still want him. He still makes your knees go weak. It is important that we make certain our spouse knows that we desire THEM, and them alone. Plenty of people in this world are beautiful/handsome. But we need to make very clear that only our SPOUSE can ignite that fire within us, as she does here for Solomon.
I am my beloved’s,
And his desire is toward me. (7:10)
Our happy couple has been reunited & they have been reconciled to one another. But it came at a cost for poor beloved. Let’s backtrack for a minute to verse 7.
The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
They beat me, they bruised me;
they took away my cloak,
those watchmen of the walls! (5:7)
Think back to what this scene must have looked like. Beloved running around the streets in the middle of the night, smelling of perfume, probably acting kind of crazy, looking for a man…What do you think the police would think today if they found a woman walking the streets in the middle of the night looking for a man smelling of heavy perfume? That is how the watchmen probably thought of beloved. Pretty badly. Her selfish, immature treatment of Solomon led to a physical punishment, in addition to her internal turmoil.
Sometimes life can be that way for us. In our marriages. In our relationship with God. Sure – we can forgive, and be forgiven. But forgiveness doesn’t erase real consequences of bad choices. Consequences of gambling – could be losing your house. Consequences of cheating on a spouse – could be pregnancy/STD’s. Consequences of rebelling against God – could be missing out on blessings or missing out on the opportunity to bless someone else. The lesson we learn here is that mistakes have a price. But, with God, there is always hope. Although consequences in this life are unavoidable, our eternal punishment, our price, our cost, has already been paid – by the blood of Jesus.
I’m really glad God inspired Solomon to write this part of the story. Most of us strive for perfection. We live in a culture where most of the time we are all pretending to be something we are not to impress someone we don’t even know. Solomon however, wasn’t interested in how he and his beloved would be perceived. He just wrote their love story as it was. Real. And guess what – life and marriage are REAL! We are not perfect. Throughout the course of any marriage, one, or most likely both, parties will do something childish, stubborn, selfish, or just downright mean. Because we are sinful people and try as we might, sometimes the temptation to sin wins out over our better judgment. But what a lesson in grace we learn here. Regardless of our behavior, admitting what we have done and seeking forgiveness is all it takes to reconcile us to each other, and most importantly, to our Heavenly Father. All is washed away and we can begin anew. That is what Grace is all about. Being given a second (or third, or 4th or 100th) chance, when what we really deserve is far far worse than anything we can imagine.
My challenge to everyone: Married or single – take care in how you treat your relationships with others. There is no place for selfishness, pride, immaturity, or mean heartedness in the life of a Christian. Our actions have real-life consequences. For us, for those we love, and for those around us. The next time someone “knocks” – just open the door.