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My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
 and come away, for behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
 the time of singing has come,
 and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land..."

I'm pointing to chapter 2 verses 9-14 but I've only quoted verses 10-12 above because I think it holds a great summary of these verses.

Tender Words
Look at how tenderly this man speaks to the young lady; my love, my beautiful one, my dove etc are all very romantic and tender terms. This man is a great example in how we men should treat our wives with our words. Abuse is not limited to the physical sin of men towards their families, but also and perhaps as damaging are the words we speak. When we consider the words of Jesus when He declared that out of the abundance of the heart so the mouth speaks, our words are a huge indication of our level of love and intimacy in a relationship.

In Spring
The man describes their love as being like spring, the rain is gone, flowers are budding forth and it is a time for singing. New relationships can often seem like spring, yet as the years go by we may describe a marriage as more like the blizzard of winter or the scorching of summer. But not so with this couple at this point. It is all new, all butterflies in the tummy and laughter at even the worst jest.
We will return to spring as we hit later passages and particularly later years in this couples marriage.

We men must do our best to keep that springtime romance alive. This isn't easy because we men tend to drop romance once the ring is on the finger. And quite often our creativity seems to die as a relationship goes on. But this should not be the case.

"As an apple tree among the trees of the forest,
 so is my beloved among the young men.
 With great delight I sat in his shadow,
 and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
He brought me to the banqueting house,
and his banner over me was love."

She describes this man as standing out among all the other men, as an apple tree would in a forest. She finds shelter and protection in him and he provides sweetness and nourishment for her.
A relationship should be healthy and men have a huge responsibility to protect, build up and nourish a woman.

Even at the stage of dating, if a couple break up the girl should walk away having been built up, encouraged and protected. Rather than simply using someone we should be seeking their good and betterment.

One thing to keep in mind is the fearful truth that if we are not  that protective shelter, providing sweet nourishment for our wives, chances are that someone else will step in and offer it. It may be found in other avenues, or she may begin to crumble; becoming insecure in life, in self worth and in her faith.

This lady also says that his banner over her is love. In this culture commanders and kings would arrive on battlefields with their banners proclaiming who and where they were. His love for her was plain to see, and as publicly declared as if he had flown a flag saying I love (fill in name). Their relationship was no secret, in fact it was as though he shouted it from the rooftops.

"Tell me, you whom my soul loves,
 where you pasture your flock,
 where you make it lie down at noon;
 for why should I be like one who
veils herself beside the flocks of your companions?"

In these verses the girl is basically asking for a noontime rendezvous. She wants to meet up with him at the lunch time break. However she is being very clear that she will not compromise her sexual purity. She will not be like the prostitutes who would veil their faces and follow the men around as they worked plying for trade. Here she is plainly stating that she will not buy his attention or affections with her body, rather their relationship is in fact that; a relationship.

Dating is not about physical passion it is about becoming best friends. It is the founding, construction, deepening and fortification of a relationship with the goal of marriage, but until the ring is on the finger and the vows have been made God's wise calling is that we do not sell ourselves like Esau when after a rumble in his tummy sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. We must treasure the passionate intertwining of our souls and like this young woman of Scripture refuse to whore ourselves out, despising the gift of intimacy.

"I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
that you do not stir up or awaken
 love until it pleases."
Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5, 4:16, 8:4

 While SOS is a biblical book about romance, marriage and passion, it's cry is that passion be kept in it's place - marriage. Only after the couple are married do we read "awake O north wind, and come O South wind! Blow upon my garden, let it's spices flow."

 The Bible always calls for purity.

There's no doubt about where song of Solomon is going when you read it's opening words:

 "Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine..." Song of Solomon 1:2 

Psalms is wisdom about worshipping God
Proverbs is wisdom about general life
Ecclesiastes is wisdom about sin
Job is wisdom about suffering

 And song of Solomon is wisdom about romance

Past to Present
Years ago I received a sermon series by Tommy Nelson on the Song of Solomon. It was a huge challenge to me as a newly married guy. But life sometimes has a way of moving on and while many of its principles stayed with me, the huge passion I had over the book (and in teaching it myself - or rather passing on its lessons) left me.

Recently several men I have had contact with, some of whom were very close friends, walked into depths of sin that destroyed their marriages and left a painful wake behind. I picked up the sermon series again and began studying it afresh.

A book about love
I am convinced more than ever that this book is primarily about human marriage. I know that many translate it more about Christ, and I guess that since marriage is a mere shimmer of smoke pointing to Christ and His Church there is a very good reason for that.

I intend to share some thoughts and lessons from it in much quicker blog posts than this one. We men can expect to be challenged by it to repent before God and our wives for this is a book that calls us to a holy and Christ exalting, sacrificial and creatively romantic love for our wives that will paint a little picture in this world showing Christ's love for the Church.

In an age when marriage has lost its meaning, where sex is not cherished and the only regard for the sexual partner is as an object of pleasure and gratification; the Scriptures call us to raise the bar and declare that marriage is amazing and majestic. That passion may blaze brightly as an act of worship . . .

When the Bible says " do not take the Lord's name in vain" I sway towards the meaning being more to do with saying you are a child of God (a Christian) when you are not. It is taking His name upon yourself.

As a Christian I am uncomfortable with societies use of God's name, particularly the name of Jesus Christ being used as a swear term.

I'm also grateful we don't live under Old Testament laws as one section of Leviticus tells of a young man who used the name of God as a swear word and tells of God's jealousy over His name.

"Now an Israelite woman's son, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the people of Israel. And the Israelite woman's son and a man of Israel fought in the camp, and the Israelite woman's son blasphemed the Name, and cursed. Then they brought him to Moses. His mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan. And they put him in custody, till the will of the LORD should be clear to them. Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Bring out of the camp the one who cursed, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. And speak to the people of Israel, saying, Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. Whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death."