Song of Songs – Friday Night Genesis – Friday, Feb 7, 2014
Song of Songs or Song of Solomon, as it’s sometimes called, is ...
looking forward to getting into Isaiah and other prophets in coming months where
God directly speaks and interacts, which ...
progressing, would that mean that the relationship is growing and it is really
starting to like you? No, you programmed it...
in their oneness, through our love and marriage we can begin to at least glimpse
the heart of God, and how three can be on...
forgive us if that is how we have portrayed Him! God created us in His image and
through marriage and family enabled us to...
and they will respond to the earth;
and the earth will respond to the grain,
the new wine and the olive oil,
and they will...
and they will respond to the earth;
and the earth will respond to the grain,
the new wine and the olive oil,
and they will...
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Song of songs

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Song of songs

  1. 1. Song of Songs – Friday Night Genesis – Friday, Feb 7, 2014 Song of Songs or Song of Solomon, as it’s sometimes called, is a very unique book that we rarely look at or read in our churches. Which is kind of ironic because it is a work in the most popular genre of all – love. So many poems, songs, books and movies about love and romance, yet when we find it in the Bible, we shy away from it. Admittedly, it is somewhat risqué, and it may make a saint blush to pronounce those verses in public, but then again, is not love and admiration between two people a natural order of things? A word of caution, however. If you are looking for some inspiration on what to say or write to your beloved, Song of Songs may not be the best place to go to. I guess they talked a little bit differently back then and appreciated a different kind of imagery, which today we would find peculiar at best. How about these lines to get that romantic spark going: “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from the hills of Gilead. 2 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone. 3 Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate. 4 Your neck is like the tower of David, built with courses of stone ; on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors. 5 Your breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies. (Song of Songs 4:1-5)” I am admittedly romantically challenged, but even I have enough sense to see that this would not be a hit in today’s world. So as a book of pickup lines it would be somewhat disappointing. [a] The other challenge with this book is that, like the book of Esther, it does not even mention God. And this whole journey through the Bible is for the purpose of seeing the picture of God in the books of the Bible. So I have to admit that I am
  2. 2. looking forward to getting into Isaiah and other prophets in coming months where God directly speaks and interacts, which makes it a lot easier to see a clear picture of God. Having said all of that, do not discount Song of Songs just yet. In the Jewish tradition it is highly regarded, so much so that it is traditionally read on the Sabbath of the Passover. The book is regarded as an expression of God’s love towards His people, and for a Jew, that was most evident in the way God rescued them from slavery in Egypt, hence the reading at Passover, when the event is commemorated. Following this tradition, you may find similar headings in your Bible, depending on which translation you have: “God’s love for the church”, “God’s love for his people”. Reading the text however, it is hard to get away from the impression that this really is about two young people deeply in love with one another, plain and simple. Since love is an integral part of human life and we devote so much time and effort in pursuit of love in our everyday lives, why do we suddenly get all shy and embarrassed about it when it is given voice in our Bibles? Truth is, God is love and He has created us to love and be loved. Therefore it is no coincidence that more or less in the middle of our Bibles we find an expression of love between a young man and a young lady. It is perfectly natural! God created us to be that way. Maybe what we are embarrassed about are the many perversions that have over the years come to be called “love”. As I was preparing for this program, the January 2014 edition of Popular Science magazine hit my mailbox and a small headline on the front page caught my eye: “Robot love. Can you fall for an operating system?” Turning to the article on page 32 the title really got my attention: “Can a human fall in love with a computer?” The article went on to explain how since the 1960’s programmers have been developing these computers, “chatbots” as they call them, which can interact and hold intelligent conversations with humans. Part of the trick is to ask lots of questions, eliciting responses from humans, allowing the computer to gather data about them from which it can develop the conversation. The upshot is that here is something that is talking to you and taking an interest in you rather than talking about itself, something that I, as a human, still have trouble with. People have found this appealing and researches have found that people were more likely to open up to one of these “chatbots” about personal stuff, such as sexual activity and substance abuse, than to real humans. So is this really love? If you programmed a chatbot to become increasingly seductive in its approach as the conversation is
  3. 3. progressing, would that mean that the relationship is growing and it is really starting to like you? No, you programmed it to do that, or someone did! The wretched machine wouldn’t even know, let alone care, if you kissed it, slapped it, bore out your heart and soul to it or just shut it off. It is not aware of you, except as an input source, nor does it have any feelings towards you. Yet, researchers say “it is plausible” to fall in love with a computer. So what really is love and why is it so central to our life? Why did God create us with not just the capacity, but a need to love and be loved? And why do we find such an open account of love between a young man and a young lady in the middle of the Bible? In seeking to answer this, forgive me if I go over some ground that we have covered in previous months, but I do believe it is important to be familiar with the framework within which we are looking at this. Throughout the Bible we see evidence of a conflict over God’s character and government that had engulfed the Universe. When our world was created, there was already an enemy in the Garden of Eden who alleged to Adam and Eve that God was a selfish tyrant holding them down for His own personal aggrandizement. Rather than merely declare to us “I am love”, God set out to show us His heart. Love is not a tree with a trunk and branches and leaves that you can touch and see. It is an abstract concept, so how does God teach us and show us what that looks like? Especially the three-in-one part, which to this day we struggle with. Yet it is that three-in-one circle of love that exists within the Trinity that makes true the statement: “God is love”. In order to show us His heart, God elected a powerful teaching method that we often refer to as “hands-on experience”. And so we read: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27). Adam felt lonely, even in the short time he was on the planet he already felt that need to have a companion, to love and be loved. And so God made Eve as a companion to him. When Adam first saw Eve he exclaimed “Wow! Man!” And that’s how we get our term “woman”  Right after this the Bible says: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Now, obviously, Adam and Eve didn’t morph into a single physical being, they remained two distinct individuals, just as Kelley and I remained two distinct individuals when we got married. But we did also become one. We are now a single unit, commonly referred to as “The Lorencins”. And while we are not always perfectly loving and in one accord as the three persons of the Trinity are
  4. 4. in their oneness, through our love and marriage we can begin to at least glimpse the heart of God, and how three can be one. Just as God created new worlds and new beings with whom he could share His love, so we too have been given the ability to become one in love and marriage and create beings in our own image to share that love with. Low and behold we have two daughters. Caroline, our oldest, is by all accounts a little mini-me in her appearance. But as we have watched her develop, both of us have also noticed some of our personality traits coming out in her. In the same way, I believe that when God created us in His image, that image was more than skin deep. God created us in His image and gave us marriage and family in order that we can understand His heart, to understand that other-centeredness that we call love which makes God tick. We, hopefully, get to experience the feeling of having our attention totally centered on another person, the beauty of working and acting in unity as one for the good of the entire family and a myriad of other little nuances that are difficult to explain, but are intrinsically experienced in the confines of a marriage. And then there’s kids. Sometimes it’s hard to understand what would even compel someone to embark on the madness that is having and raising kids. But to then experience the love for this little being that has come from you and that is completely dependent on you is something that is poorly expressed in words. To understand the process of teaching them about life, about avoiding the dangers around them, the frustration of having your kids stubbornly refuse your guidance and then getting into difficulties, and experience the love that you have for them in spite of this. For all of this there is just no substitute for hands-on experience. Having read the historical portion of the Old Testament, I’m sure that when we stood back and saw what was going on in the history of Israel, many of the parents among us recognized in Gods actions our own dealings with our children. Teaching, establishing rules, establishing rewards and punishments for compliance or breaking of said rules, all the while working and hoping that our kids will grow up to see and understand the intrinsic consequences of their actions that lie beyond the rules which protected them while they were growing up. All of that is a part of the experience, and the reward is that those kids will hopefully choose to love us back. We may also experience what it’s like when your kids choose not to love you back. This is probably the most salient point of all. Satan would have us believe that God is up there in heaven, completely aloof, needing to be appeased and begged for a morsel of love and grace. Should we openly rebel against Him he will execute severe punishment on us. Yet in our own experience as parents and spouses we find ourselves acting much better towards those we love than what we ascribe to God. I recently saw a few friends of mine post this cartoon on Facebook. God
  5. 5. forgive us if that is how we have portrayed Him! God created us in His image and through marriage and family enabled us to experience a glimpse of His heart towards us, and if that experience has taught us anything it is that we do not have to be begged for our affection towards those we love, nor do we actively set out to harm those that we love, even if they choose not to love us back. There may come a point in time when there is nothing left to do but sadly let them go their way. And if you have had a misfortune to experience that, you have gained the clearest understanding of what God feels towards those who have rejected Him. God will spend eternity missing many of His dear children. All of this and much more is wrapped up in the fact that God created us to love one another in His image. This is not just my speculation. When I saw the little headings about “God’s love for His people” the thought crossed my mind that this was way too risqué and intimate to be that. Song of Songs are, without a doubt, the words of two lovers who are eager to see each other and spend time together. But then another thought crossed my mind. How many times does God refer to His people and His church as His bride, to Himself as their husband? So I had to concede that yes, God is that intimate. And why not? If there is anyone who knows you better than you know yourself, if there is anyone who can anticipate your reaction, your next move, if there is anyone who can read your mood, if there is anyone who can finish your sentences for you – it is God. If there is anyone who knows all your faults and loves you unconditionally in spite of them – it is God. If there is anyone who longs to be with us and spend time with one another – it is God. He loves us and longs to be known by us and loved in return. This is most clearly seen in the book of Hosea, which we will get to look at in a few months. The image threading through the whole book is that of God as the husband and Israel as an unfaithful wife running after different lovers. God continually pursues her, asking her to return to Him. After she comes to ruin and finally returns to God this is what God says: ““In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master. ’ 19 I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. 20 I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD. 21 “In that day I will respond,” declares the LORD— “I will respond to the skies, [d] [e] [f] [g]
  6. 6. and they will respond to the earth; and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. 23 I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one. ’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people, ’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’” (Hosea 2:16,19-23)”. Isn’t that beautiful? And it’s in the Old Testament! 22 [i] [j] Jesus too referred to the oneness that He hoped would exist between God and His people. Listen to His prayer in the upper room. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me— so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:20-26). So as we read and consider Song of Songs and watch these young lovers appreciate each other for their beauty and virtues, how they long to be with one another, how completely they are engrossed in their love for one another, we don’t need to be shy about it. God created all of that – in His image. He gave us all that so that we would experience and understand His heart for us. And as we watch love blossom through these two young lovers, we may have the assurance that God’s feelings for us are just the same. God longs to be one with us, just as the members of Trinity are one in each other, and just as the husband and wife voluntarily unite in love and become one.
  7. 7. and they will respond to the earth; and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. 23 I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one. ’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people, ’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’” (Hosea 2:16,19-23)”. Isn’t that beautiful? And it’s in the Old Testament! 22 [i] [j] Jesus too referred to the oneness that He hoped would exist between God and His people. Listen to His prayer in the upper room. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me— so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:20-26). So as we read and consider Song of Songs and watch these young lovers appreciate each other for their beauty and virtues, how they long to be with one another, how completely they are engrossed in their love for one another, we don’t need to be shy about it. God created all of that – in His image. He gave us all that so that we would experience and understand His heart for us. And as we watch love blossom through these two young lovers, we may have the assurance that God’s feelings for us are just the same. God longs to be one with us, just as the members of Trinity are one in each other, and just as the husband and wife voluntarily unite in love and become one.

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