A Lily Among Thorns

Today's devotion from Song of Solomon 1 and 2.

There have many questions concerning how to approach Song of Songs for centuries. Historically, the book couldn't be read in Jewish homes until one was married or at least 30. At one point, some monastics refused to read the book out of fear it might lead to impure thoughts. The reason will become fairly obvious as you read.

Another issue is one of interpretation. If all Scripture is God-breathed for a purpose, then why is Song of Solomon here? Some read it allegorically, some see it simply as a poem on love, others interpret it using a typology that represents God and the church, and some see it as a divine endorsement of romantic relationships.

When we add the confusion of purpose to the graphic content, many people just ignore the book all together. They see no value in walking into muddy waters in an attempt to get to an unknown destination. However, this avoidance cannot be adopted by modern believers.

First, let's simply decide on which lens we will view this book from. I cannot find any reason to view it as simply a poem. The purpose of Scripture is revelation. It is to help us grow in understanding and maturity. Second, I refuse to accept Scripture as allegorical. When we do, we open the verses to any number of potential meanings that may or may not be biblically sound. With this in mind, I think the best way to approach this text from the balanced approach of typological and topical interpretation.

In this way, we can read this love as a love story with a deeper meaning. Just as Christ would compare His followers to sheep, here we see the love of a husband for his wife and, perhaps, catch a glimpse of the meaning of Ephesians 5 in which a husband is commanded love his wife as Christ loves His bride, the church. Within that letter, Paul affirms that a healthy marital relationship is not dissimilar from the healthy faith relationship.

When we stop to consider that, I survey my relationship with my wife and wonder if my children see the similarities between my earthly marriage and my eternal walk with Christ. I evaluate my heart to know if I am as passionate about Christ as I am of my wife. As excellent as I believe her to be, she pales in comparison to the worthiness of God regarding my affection and pursuit.