International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday October 23, 2011
Purpose: To learn how wisdom and divine love reinforce each other
Scripture Text: Song of Solomon 4:8-15; 5:1a (NRSV)
Song of Solomon 4:8-15
(8)Come with me from Lebanon, my bride; come with me from Lebanon. Depart from the peak of Amana, from the peak of Senir and Hermon, from the dens of lions, from the mountains of leopards. (9)You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride, you have ravished my heart with a glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. (10)How sweet is your love, my sister, my bride! how much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice! (11)Your lips distill nectar, my bride; honey and milk are under your tongue; the scent of your garments is like the scent of Lebanon. (12)A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a garden locked, a fountain sealed. (13)Your channel is an orchard of pomegranates with all choicest fruits, henna with nard,(14)nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all chief spices—
(15)a garden fountain, a well of living water, and flowing streams from Lebanon. 16Awake, O north wind, and come, O south wind! Blow upon my garden that its fragrance may be wafted abroad. Let my beloved come to his garden, and eat its choicest fruits.
Song of Solomon 5:1a
(1a)I come to my garden, my sister, my bride; I gather my myrrh with my spice, I eat my honeycomb with my honey, I drink my wine with my milk.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
This lesson is quite a contrast from last week's, which left us a little depressed with the picture of old age painted by the writer of Ecclesiastes. The Song of Solomon is an unusual Book and it is about Solomon and a Shulamite women and their love for each other.
At the time of this Book's writing, Solomon, according to Chapter 6 verse 8, already had 140 wives and concubines, and virgins without number. 1st Kings 11:3, claims Solomon had 1000 wives and concubines, at a some point of his life, and they are responsible for turning his heart from God.
The Song of Solomon is a series of love sonnets written by Solomon, to a dark Shulamite girl that wanted to be one of Solomon's wives, but she did not want to chase after him. The dialogue of the book is between Solomon, the young girl, and the wives already married to Solomon that live in the palace at Jerusalem and occasionally God joins the dialogue.
Our text is from the consummation part of the story taken from verses 1-15 of chapter 4, verse 16 is the bride speaking and verse 5:1a is Solomon speaking again and 1b is God speaking to the couple.
This book is about sexual desire, lust, and passion, but the love comes from God in creating humankind with this great capacity for sexual desire. Sex is a gift from God, and man unlike most animals, that only mate when they are in season, men and women have the ability to mate whenever they mutually desire.
It would be good to read the entire Book, and see that 6 verses after our text and the consummation of the marriage, Solomon has already lost interest in his newest bride. (verse 5:6)
From reading the lesson it is easy to conclude that lust and desire and not enough to sustain a marriage, in order for a marriage to be successful there needs to be genuine love. The lust and desire part are only the beginning, true love comes from knowing, and learning about each other, and after you know each other’s thoughts, good and bad habits and quirks, then the lust and desire can be consummated by marriage that will last beyond the lust and desire and when you give yourselves completely and exclusively to each other, there is no need for seeking pleasures outside the marriage.
God created sex for us to enjoy, but He also created within us a conscience that destroys us from within, when we fulfill our sexual cravings beyond the bounds of commitment that a marriage requires. Whenever we do things or commit acts that only fulfill our selfishness, we are sinning against God. God has created for us this wonderful gift, but we must use it in a way that glorifies God, not as a means to self gratification. The conflict remains between our selfishness and God's desire for us to enjoy his creation the way He intended.