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Weekly Devotional

Monday
Song of Solomon 1:15-17

Man
15 How beautiful you are, my darling. How very beautiful! Your eyes are doves.
Woman
16 How handsome you are, my love. How delightful! Our bed is verdant; 17 the beams of our house are cedars, and our rafters are cypresses.

Song of Solomon is the forgotten treasure of the old testament. Many avoid the book and have decided it’s uncomfortable to read and a little scandalous. This is because we have perverted the idea of love and marriage so much that we read this book like an ‘R’ rated movie instead of a beautiful picture of the love God created for us to enjoy. The idea of this love comes from the beginning of time in Genesis 2 when God says, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” God never intended for us to go through this life alone. He created and ordained marriage to help us understand His love for us. The agape love that God has for us is completely unconditional. The love in a marriage and leading toward a marriage should be based on the same. The problem is sin has crept into our lives and ruined the idea of both love and marriage, but have hope, through Christ we can still have the relationship God created for us to have.

In today's verses, we see the comments of the man and the woman in the poem. They use imagery to describe their love for each other. The man is talking about the woman’s beauty and describes her eyes as doves. Obviously he isn’t saying her eyes are bird-shaped or have wings. That would be a little crazy looking. He is talking about the beauty and purity of her eyes. This extends into the personality and spirit of the woman. Matthew 6:22 says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,” The intent, love and purity of a person can be seen in their eyes. Many people say the eyes are the window to the soul. The man in this section is talking about the woman’s beauty as a whole. Her outward and inward beauty totally captures his attention.

The woman has similar things to say about the man. Once again she is using imagery to describe their love. She likens their relationship to a verdant bed, beams of cedar and rafters of cypress. All of which describe beautifully, purity and strength. A verdant bed is a way of describing a lush, rich countryside. A place where everything flourishes or is successful. The cedar and cypress describe strength, longevity and beauty. These are all great things to have in a relationship. 

This description of their love for each other should be a measuring stick for us when pursuing a relationship with the opposite sex. We need to seek to love the person inside and out. Would you describe them in ways that show purity, strength, and healthiness? Take time to evaluate before you pursue something deeper than a friendship. In all of this we need to remember to keep God at the center of the relationship. That’s the only way it will work.

Tuesday
Song of Solomon 2:2-3

Man

2 Like a lily among thorns,
so is my darling among the young women.

Woman

3 Like an apricot tree among the trees of the forest,
so is my love among the young men.
I delight to sit in his shade,
and his fruit is sweet to my taste.

We all seek to be special in one way, shape or form. Some of us want to be the center of attention and some of us don’t, but we all seek to be loved in a special way. We want somebody to love us for us. We want someone to only have eyes for us, right? Let me say the answer and fulfillment of this desire is first found in the person of Jesus Christ. Psalm 139 shows us how important and special we are to Jesus. It shows that we are, “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and that we are fully known and loved by God. When we can hold on to that it allows us to then find the person that makes us feel the same. It starts with Jesus but if His will is for you to marry, He will bring that person into your life who will make you feel the same way. Not to replace Him but to mimic Him. This is why we should begin praying now for our future mate and focus on God so that we can be the mate that we are praying for ourselves.

In today's scripture, we see the man looks at the woman as a lily among thorns. It’s rough if you're one of the thorns he’s referring to but if you are the lily, you are honored and loved. The man says this to say that he only has eyes for the one he loves. Men, can you say the same? If you can’t keep your eyes and mind off other girls then you are not ready to date. Reset yourself and begin to seek God to help prepare your mind and body for the one he has created you to be with.

We also see the woman’s commitment in today's scripture. She describes Him as an apricot tree among the forest. She is saying he is a fruit bearing tree that not only looks full and handsome but also provides the nourishment and needs that she has. He alone is her comfort and nourishment. She isn’t seeking the attention and affection of others. He is all that she needs. Ladies, can you say the same? Just as we saw with the guys, if you can’t keep your mind and heart away from other guys then you too need to reset your heart on God and allow Him to prepare you for the one He has for you.

In total, Christ is enough for all of us. A relationship that leads to marriage is a perk that God has given to us. When we are focused on God and following His will for our life, HE will lead, guide and direct us on the path He has created. God will bring your path together with the one He wants you to marry. If you are both focused on Him, that focus will be directed by Him to one another. Let God direct your steps and watch what He has for you.

Wednesday
Song of Solomon 2:7

7 Young women of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and the wild does of the field,
do not stir up or awaken love
until the appropriate time.

This is a verse that repeats throughout the book of Song of Solomon. The woman in the poem sends out a warning to all of the young women of Jerusalem. The warning is to not jump into, stir up or awaken love until the appropriate time. This goes for both young women and young men. Love is not something to take lightly and should be thought through and pursued with caution. We must guard ourselves to be lead by God into these relationships and not lead by our emotions or peer pressure.

In High School and Middle School we sometimes allow our peers to influence us by pressuring us to have relationships to allow us to achieve a certain status. The cool guy dates the cool girl or the idea that if you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend, there must be something wrong with you. Rumors start swirling and lives get ruined by this peer pressure. The woman in this poem is pleading with the young women to not worry about this relationship until the appropriate time for this very reason. The damage done in bad relationships are far worse than the peer pressure felt when you don’t participate in them. 

We need to think of our relationships as different colors of clay. Maybe your a vibrant color of clay, pick your favorite color, and God has another complementing, vibrant color of clay just for you. When you have relationships that are not God-honoring you pick off a piece of their clay. Your once beautiful vibrant color of clay is now tainted by all the bad relationships you have had in the past. This is what happens when you go from relationship to relationship. You have a small piece of them and they have a small piece of you. It truly takes away from the beauty God intended for you to have with the relationship He designed for you. This is why it is important to take caution, seek God and follow His word when you are looking to find a relationship.

Maybe you just read that last paragraph and your saying, “too late for me, I’ve already messed up.” It’s never too late when it comes to God. That’s the beauty of grace. God said to Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Know that God’s grace is enough to clean that clay back up and put you back on the right path. It’s as simple as asking for forgiveness and then pointing your life focus back on Him. Begin now to focus your life on your relationship with Christ and allow Him to guide you to the point where you are ready to truly find the one He wants you to marry.

Thursday
Song of Solomon 2:10-13

10 My love calls to me: Arise, my darling. Come away, my beautiful one.
11 For now the winter is past; the rain has ended and gone away.
12 The blossoms appear in the countryside. The time of singing has come, and the turtledove’s cooing is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree ripens its figs; the blossoming vines give off their fragrance. Arise, my darling. Come away, my beautiful one.

Relationships prior to marriage are for the purpose of leading us to a marriage relationship. What does this mean? Simply put, if you aren’t ready to start thinking about marriage, you aren’t ready to date. If you are looking for a relationship, can you see yourself one day marrying that person? Dating is not meant to be a trial and testing period that gets repeated over and over, it’s meant to help us pursue a God honoring relationship that turns into a God honoring marriage. This is completely apart from the norm but having this attitude toward dating will help us in finding a relationship that brings honor to God.

When you read about the pursuit of the woman and the man throughout the Song of Solomon, you can see the purity in their desires for one another. This is a relationship built on more than looks and convenience. It is built on pursuing, learning, listening to, and loving one another. Todays scripture shows their strong desire to just be together. They had been apart from one another and the desire is to spend time with one another. You can see the imagery that paints a beautiful scene that would be in just about any movie about a love story. The birds are singing, it’s the beginning of spring and the weather is perfect.

Take some time and think of the purity of a God honoring relationship. What does that look like? What do you think God would want you to do and say to your future spouse? What are ways you can spend time with each other and get to know each other that would bring honor to God? What would your communication look like? Take a moment and write down your ideas and compare them with Gods Word, then pray that God would help you to hold to His standard for your relationship and guide you to the right person at the right time.

Friday
Song of Solomon 2:16-17

16 My love is mine and I am his; he feeds among the lilies.
17 Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, turn around, my love, and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the divided mountains.

Love is a word that we use often in our culture. We say things like, “I love my dog” or “I love pizza” or “I love my parents.” When you read those three statements, you can’t tell if there is a difference between the love of the animal, food or parents. I would hope there is at least some sort of separation between the three. Because of this our culture has created a misuse of the word love and it has lost its meaning and strength.

Todays scripture starts with My love. When you read the content of the poems found in the Song of Solomon you know this love is not comparable to the love of food or an animal. This is a God given, God ordained love for a man and woman. There is purity found in this. To understand the love that is written in the Song of Solomon we must know the proper definition of love and that is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Paul says, “4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” This is the definition that we must go by when we seek to have a Godly relationship with the opposite sex and that is exactly what Song of Solomon is trying to teach us. The purity and beauty of a God fearing marriage.

When it comes to dating and relationships some are quick to say they love the other and some are slower. The speed in which you say I love you is not the problem. The problem is the motivation behind it. Some use it to push their desires on the other. Some use it as a weapon against the other, something that can be given and taken away at any moment. A good test to see if you are ready to say the words “I love you” is what I call the replacement test. Take the definition of love, in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and replace the word love with your name. Does that define you? If it does, does it define you towards the person you want to say I love you to?

Love is a beautiful thing. Dating and marriage are God-ordained and absolutely amazing when done by the guidelines God has put in front of us. Don’t take it lightly. Take the time to evaluate yourself and the relationship you are in or will be in in the future. Ask God to prepare your heart to love the way He loves and to prepare the heart of the one He wants you to marry. Ask God to give you patience in this search and to show you when the time is right.

 

Saturday
Song of Solomon 5:16

His mouth is sweetness.
He is absolutely desirable.
This is my love, and this is my friend,
young women of Jerusalem.

The love story continues. In this section you see that the young women are asking questions about the man in the poem. They are all seeking more information from the woman in the story. They ask the woman, “What makes your love so great?” Maybe curiosity but could also be some jealousy. The woman doesn’t hold anything back. She makes a long list of all the things that make her love so great. This is a great thing and it shows how much she loves the man in the poem, but it is the final final that grabs my attention. She says, “This is my love, and this is my friend.” This is something worth thinking about.

Many times we all get distracted by love. But in all honesty, it’s not love we are distracted by, it’s lust, the desire to be wanted or the desire to be popular. This means we are seeking out relationships to achieve a certain status, be accepted into a certain crowd or we are trying to fulfill a fleshly desire within us. None of these things are the proper way to love. All are self serving and love is selfless. This is why I love how she says, “This is my love, and this is my friend.”

My encouragement to you would be to seek incredible Godly friendships. Allow God to take those friendships and mold them and make them into the relationship He desires for you to have. I know it’s a common thing to say, “you are stuck in the friend zone” but make that the priority. When you learn how to be best friends you get a taste of what love is and when the timing is right God will guide you into a deeper and more meaningful relationship. The point is this; let God guide your relationships, allow Him the power to guide your heart and mind.

Begin today with praying for your future spouse. Ask God to lead you and to guard your heart. Keep your focus on Him and He will lead you down the right path.

Sunday
Song of Solomon 8:6

Set me as a seal on your heart,
as a seal on your arm.
For love is as strong as death;
jealousy is as unrelenting as Sheol.
Love’s flames are fiery flames—
an almighty flame!

By this point we have talked through the idea of dating and marriage pretty thoroughly. Song of Solomon paints a beautiful picture of what a good, loving and Godly relationship looks like. It’s a poem that we can truly learn from, but it is this last part that shows why Song of Solomon 2:7 is so important to remember, that it was repeated all through out the book. Remember, it says, “7 Young women of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and the wild does of the field, do not stir up or awaken love until the appropriate time.” Relationships should be taken seriously and they should not be pursued until you are ready. This is important to remember and todays verse shows us why.

In this section the woman uses words like seal, strong as death, unrelenting, flames, and almighty flames. These are all very serious words to describe the permanence, security, belonging and seriousness of love. This is why we must not pursue relationships until we are ready. Take the word ‘seal’ for example. The idea of a seal comes from a king sealing a royal document. This seal could only be broken by the one who put it there or the one who the document was addressed to. The penalty for wrongfully breaking this seal was imprisonment or death. The woman is telling the man that she wants to be the seal on his heart. In other words his heart would open to only her and himself. This is a serious request and a serious commitment. That is what marriage is all about. It is a commitment between each other and God to love one another until death. Nothing should be able to separate them because of the commitment they made to one another.

We all know this is hard and we know that sometimes things don’t work out like we think. This is not written to point out the flaws we all have but to encourage us to seek a God honoring relationship. The best time to start this is before you are ever in one. Once again, make the commitment to God to seek Him first in everything and then further that commitment by taking relationships with the opposite sex seriously. It is a beautiful thing when it is done the way God has shown us through His word.