This past December 8th, we had the opportunity and blessing to travel to Boquete, Chiriquí and participate in the II Marriage Retreat organized by the brothers in this area. This article’s title is the same than the one I was asked to preach, based on the text of Song of Solomon 6:1, “Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee.”
The book Song of Solomon, also known as Song of Songs is not very popular in preaching. Many people prefer to ignore it, and it is not commonly studied because of the morbidity that many have generated around it. Brother Wayne Jackson beautifully defines it as “The Song of Solomon celebrates the joy of wedded love; it illustrates the value of marriage in cementing male/female relationships.”[i]
Brothers and friends, is known through the Scriptures that King Solomon “spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five” (1 Kings 4:32), and that “he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines” (1 Kings 11:3), being these the reason why his heart turned away.
The Song of Solomon, from the thousand and five he wrote, is the one that the Holy Spirit inspired to be part of the Scriptures. Of the thousand women that Solomon had as wives and concubines, one is the dedicated in this beautiful love story, yes, as you read, this song is about a beautiful love story that needs not only to be told and read, but also taught in every marriage. This was the focus of the message that I was honored to preach during this event. Seven points were briefly studied, based on the text of the song, to identify where we are going in this search for “The Rescuers of Love”.
Every story has a commencement, a beginning. We all have a story to tell about how we met the love of our lives. We all have the opportunity to remember those beautiful moments when we met our helpmeet and when the ceremony was held that brought our lives together forever. Solomon, in his youth, tells us this in his song, being thus narrated by the protagonists through the writings in Chapters 1, 2, 3.
No relationship can be effective if there is no communication. Lovers in this song communicate constantly. Their conversations led them to the point of not stopping thinking about each other. The beloved dreamed of the day she could share her life with her beloved. Some drawbacks were no obstacle for them to continue their love story. Today, perhaps, the main problem in couples is the lack of communication. Dear friends, let us devote time from our busy schedules to communicate with our spouses, time will give us the reason for the great effects that this simple practice gives to our relationships. I invite you to pay attention to the communication between the lovers through the same chapters read in the first point.
It is amazing to see how after they got to know each other and communicate one with another, the lovers decided to unite their lives “till death do them part”. Every couple craves the day when each one tells the other “Yes”. Every girl dreams of their wedding day. Brothers and friends, we must pay attention to how King Solomon changes the way he refers to his beloved starting at verse 4:8. From that moment on he does not only see her as an acquaintance, or as his friend, but he starts referring to her as “my sister, my spouse”. Brethren, it is wonderful to know that the woman with whom we marry is ours, of no one else, is reserved for the rest of their lives to us, not as an object, but as our ideal companion, our perfect help. The Apostle Peter simply teaches us that our wives are like the “weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7) that we will find in our lives, and as such, we must always protect them, God put them in our lives to care for them. The marriage, after the church, is the most beautiful and precious institution that God gave us. This writer will never get tired of preaching how the word translated as “cleave” in Matthew 19:5 carries by meaning the “sticking to something like glue”, “glued together”. Did you ever use “krazy glue”? Once some things are glued with this material, it is very difficult to separate them, and to do so, one of the two will elements that were glued is destroyed or left with severe damage. Hence our Savior gives us such a clear explanation of why the divorce is valid only after an act of fornication is confirmed, because, certainly, this event deeply damages the trust and emotions of the innocent party toward the guilty one. The other way a marriage is separated is out of our reach, and that one is the death. Everything else has a solution, and part of that solution is to apply the point number 2 as mentioned above.
Solomon, his wisdom and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit teach us how in every love story there are complications. When we read Song of Solomon 5:1-7, we read how the King prepares to go to his bedroom at dawn, but finds the door closed, while his wife sleeps, she listens to him, and when she decides to open the door, he already left, she regrets of her decision to do not open earlier, and goes desperately to seek for him, but cannot find him. Beloved readers, even though we are not given much more details, some of us can empathize with her in similar situations, and we can ask the following questions, Why was Solomon out so late (coming back in the morning)? Why was the door closed? Why did not she want to open it? Why did she feel remorse for not opening the door? The answer to all these questions is simple, in every couple are arguments and misunderstandings, even in those that do not seem to have them. Pride is the worst weapon we can use. On this occasion, the beloved not only did not open the door, she soughts for excuses not to do so, and once she reacted, her beloved was already gone. She sought and sought and did not find him, because she did not seek where she should. When we let anger and pride act, we do not think well, bringing more complications than solutions.
Continuing with our study, when we read Song of Solomon 5:8-16 we see how the beloved seeks help from her friends, the daughters of Jerusalem. She begs them, in the case, they found him, to let him know how lovesick she is. She is desperate, humiliated (remember how the watchmen treated her), but above all, she feels guilty about not having cared for her beloved. They ask her who is her beloved, as if they did not know, to what she gives them a description filled with praise about her husband, who is not only her beloved, but also her friend. Her friends, refer to her as the “the fairest among women”. Sometimes, we think that a person who has everything, does not need anything, and is full of strength, but we are wrong. We all have necessities, we all have weaknesses, we all need to be comprehended. She needed to be comprehended and helped, she had made a very big mistake towards the love of her life, and did not know how to rectify it. This writer remembers a common illustration about the man who visits the doctor because he is very sad, and that the doctor, finding nothing wrong in him, recommended him to go to the circus that visits the city, where the clown brings a smile to the face of everyone in the audience, however, this man cannot do it because he is the clown. There will be moments when living as a couple will be difficult, but we must comprehend our spouses, to see what is happening and support them in finding the solution. Sometimes we just have to remain silent and listen. When a friend approaches and opens himself or herself up to tell us of the difficulties with his or her spouse, we must be hearers only, and let us comprehend them before giving our opinion.
Every love story has comrades, it might be a mutual friend who helped the lovers to meet, the workers at a meeting place, a blind date made by a friend, etc. The daughters of Jerusalem are mentioned since the beginning of this love story, and they are the ones who ask the questions that are part of our study, “Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee” (Song of Solomon 6:1). Many interpretations can be made about it, however, through what we have studied this time, let us consider the following,
They asked her “Whither has he gone?” “Whither has he turned aside?” Do they not know that she went out looking for him? They tell her that they will go with her to look for him, which seems as if they know that she knows where her beloved is. It is probable that she, by her guilty feeling, is fearful to confront him by herself, causing her to seek for her friends, as comrades, to give her the support and courage to go and talk to him.
There are many out there, who, instead of being our comrades in helping us with our partners, what they truly seek is to destroy ourselves. They do not like to see what we have because they do not have it. On this occasion, the comrades of Solomon’s beloved, instead of going with her flow on what she wanted to do, helped her to open her mind and understand what she really needed to do. Friends like them are the ones we need in our lives.
Every love story has, after complications, a moment of completion. The verses in Song of Solomon 6:2-3 give us that moment. The beloved recognizes that she knows where her beloved is. He is in his garden, that place that allows him to find peace, where he relaxes and meditates. Brothers and sisters, the calm comes after the storm. The text at no time suggests that Solomon has gone angry because his wife did not open the door for him. A lot of things might have happened, maybe he did not want to disturb her because she was asleep and decided to leave. Maybe if he got upset, instead of making a scene, he decided to go to his place of peace, to relax and let those thoughts out of his head. The beloved makes a statement, that for many commentators and scholars is the central theme of this love story, “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine”. This must be the thought of everyone that is married. God clearly tells us, in His word, from the beginning that “they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24), Jesus Christ reaffirms it in his defense to the marriage according to Matthew 19, and the Apostle Paul reinforces it (Ephesians 5:31). The woman was created to be the companion of the man, not to be his toy, object, or inferior. We must go side by side, one of the other, complementing each another in our goals to live our lives in Christ, supporting each another in doing everything we must do in order to gain the crown of life and reach heaven, where we can share with all the saints who have obeyed and been faithful to the will of our heavenly Father. A marriage is not complete if God is not in it. Marriage, as a brother once suggested, is not a line between two points. It is a triangle, being the husband and wife two corners, and the third corner, the upper one, is God. The Word of God is our guide in everything, and in that everything, without a doubt, our marriages are included.
Beloved brethren, in order to be rescuers there is a need for a sinister or disaster. God is not a disaster, the apostle John majestically wrote,
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).
God is love, none of us has the power to rescue Him, because He certainly does not need to be rescued. Those who do need rescue are lovers and their marriages, and for that we must focus on helping them since their commencement, to communicate, to commit, to face together the complications that arise, to comprehend each other, to be comrades of each other, and to complement each other by making the same statement that Solomon’s beloved made, “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine”.
Brothers, we can be rescuers to our friends, but most importantly, we must be rescuers to our own marriages. Who will pay attention to our marital counsel if our marriage needs to be rescued? I want to finish, just as I did during the activity, with a brief dynamic I learned from my beloved brother, Keith A. Mosher, Sr.
Let us read the following passage together, substituting the word “Love” (in some versions says “Charity”) with our own name,
“ suffereth long, and is kind; envieth not;
vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
My dear brother, do you love your wife this way? My dear sister, do you love your husband this way? This is the simplest way God teaches us how to love like Him. Let us begin by loving our spouses in this way, and so we can grow in loving others, and serve God as He has commanded.
It is my prayer and desire that all married couples grow in this way, loving unconditionally, dedicating oneself to each other, protecting each other, enjoying each other. Love is beautiful, God is beautiful. Many commentators agree to say that the last sentence of Song of Solomon 5:1 are words spoken by God to Solomon and his beloved, “eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.” God has given us a beautiful feast, available only through the disposition of marriage. The world teaches us that engaging in the sexual act can be practiced by anyone, but the love, passion, and beauty of doing it within marriage is a blessing that God gives us.
Dear brother and reader, where is your beloved one? Dear sister and reader, where is your beloved one? Please go and find each other, get together, delight each other, and commence again.
God bless you!
[i] Jackson, Wayne. “Making Sense of the Bible.” ChristianCourier.com. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/1022-making-sense-of-the-bible