Lord, You are our beloved and our desire is toward You.
Read SONG OF SONGS 7:7b – 8:14
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.
May the wine go straight to my beloved,
flowing gently over lips and teeth.[a]
10 I belong to my beloved,
and his desire is for me.
11 Come, my beloved, let us go to the countryside,
let us spend the night in the villages.[b]
12 Let us go early to the vineyards
to see if the vines have budded,
if their blossoms have opened,
and if the pomegranates are in bloom—
there I will give you my love.
13 The mandrakes send out their fragrance,
and at our door is every delicacy,
both new and old,
that I have stored up for you, my beloved.
8 If only you were to me like a brother,
who was nursed at my mother’s breasts!
Then, if I found you outside,
I would kiss you,
and no one would despise me.
2 I would lead you
and bring you to my mother’s house—
she who has taught me.
I would give you spiced wine to drink,
the nectar of my pomegranates.
3 His left arm is under my head
and his right arm embraces me.
4 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires.
5 Who is this coming up from the wilderness
leaning on her beloved?
Under the apple tree I roused you;
there your mother conceived you,
there she who was in labor gave you birth.
6 Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy[c] unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.[d]
7 Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of one’s house for love,
it[e] would be utterly scorned.
8 We have a little sister,
and her breasts are not yet grown.
What shall we do for our sister
on the day she is spoken for?
9 If she is a wall,
we will build towers of silver on her.
If she is a door,
we will enclose her with panels of cedar.
10 I am a wall,
and my breasts are like towers.
Thus I have become in his eyes
like one bringing contentment.
11 Solomon had a vineyard in Baal Hamon;
he let out his vineyard to tenants.
Each was to bring for its fruit
a thousand shekels[f] of silver.
12 But my own vineyard is mine to give;
the thousand shekels are for you, Solomon,
and two hundred[g] are for those who tend its fruit.
13 You who dwell in the gardens
with friends in attendance,
let me hear your voice!
14 Come away, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or like a young stag
on the spice-laden mountains.
- Song of Songs 7:9 Septuagint, Aquila, Vulgate and Syriac; Hebrew lips of sleepers
- Song of Songs 7:11 Or the henna bushes
- Song of Songs 8:6 Or ardor
- Song of Songs 8:6 Or fire, / like the very flame of the Lord
- Song of Songs 8:7 Or he
- Song of Songs 8:11 That is, about 25 pounds or about 12 kilograms; also in verse 12
- Song of Songs 8:12 That is, about 5 pounds or about 2.3 kilograms
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘Let me hear Your voice!’ (1 Song 8:13) Lord, amid the noisy challenges and choices of this day, may I hear Your voice above all.
A while ago, our church preaching team held its breath and launched into a sermon series on Song of Songs. We were unsure where the journey would take us. Would we be able to sustain weeks of playful frolic and unfamiliar metaphors without becoming repetitive? We were also excited: how might God’s Spirit speak to our sophisticated 21st-century congregation from this ancient collection of poems?
As we read these last verses, it is a bit like turning a kaleidoscope. Fragments and feelings, personalities and protagonists dance across our view. If we want to detect a progression of an idea or story, we may struggle. Instead we see shards of desire and dream, the public and the private, holding back and letting go, memories of the past and an open future. Erotic love, fierce, burning, overflowing, is never just about two people. We are reintroduced to the wider community: the pregnant then nursing mother, the protective brothers, wealthy King Solomon, the chorus of onlookers, the friendly daughters of Jerusalem. Slightly dazed, we stumble to the end, just as the lovers leap off the page towards ‘spice-laden mountains’ (8:14), leaving a trail of color and energy.
The quest never ends. Our inbuilt need to love, to be touched, to belong is where we can experience the most excruciating pain and the most exquisite delight. No sermon series or daily notes tie up the loose ends, but it is good that we have held them for a while. In a society where sex is used to sell products, the Bible affirms the mastery of God’s creative design and the mystery of human love. Brokenness and healing are the nitty-gritty of the Spirit’s work through His people.
Bring to God those who need to hear God’s voice speaking to them in the complexity of their sexual experiences.
Lord, belonging to You and being with You is the best experience we humans can know.