Song of Solomon 1:8-2:7 – Intimacy and Grace

INTIMACY

The scene begins with a response from Solomon to his future bride, who is seeking out the one she loves in the heat of the day. Penned in this passage of Scripture are the words of these two future lovers to each other that paint a beautiful picture of intimacy within marriage. As this passage reveals, intimacy is far more than sexual desires or strong emotions. It is a deep longing for another individual that is rooted in a selfless desire to serve and to sacrifice for the good of another. Unfortunately, we live in a culture that has devalued and degraded marriage and emphasized personal gain and contentment at all cost. Self is often at the center of our decisions, emotions, and actions. Combine this with the stain of sin that still dwells in us, and we are forced to admit
that we tend to seek for intimacy outside of the means that God has graciously provided. God has uniquely designed marriage between a husband and a wife as an avenue for gracious intimacy that our souls desperately need. This is not to say that those who have been given the gift of singleness or have not experienced marriage, cannot experience intimacy. God has provided gospel community through relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ to facilitate this intimacy to all of those in the Body of Christ. In this text, the intimacy between Solomon and his bride experience are displayed to one another through their mutual affirmation, attraction, and affection that they share towards one another. This intimacy only points us forward to a deeper intimacy that we experience in the work of Jesus on our behalf.

AFFIRMATION, ATTRACTION, AND AFFECTION

In verse eight of chapter one, Solomon speaks for the first time in this beautiful, poetic book. He opens with words of affirmation to his future bride, who views her scorched appearance as unattractive. Despite her inadequate feelings of herself, Solomon’s view of his bride reveal his feelings towards her. He expresses her beauty and ensures she knows she is beautiful. Men, we can take some notes here! Solomon is not trying to bribe her for his own gain. He is expressing his commitment to her and his delight in her. Despite what others may think about his future bride, Solomon considers her to be a “lily among the brambles” (2:2).

The future bride considers Solomon to be the most attractive tree among all the others in the forest (2:3). The intimacy that we experience in our marriage is fueled by the attraction we have for our spouse. At the end of the day, what matters is not external beauty as our culture has portrayed it, but that our spouse considers us beautiful in their own eyes. Intimacy would be in vain if our hearts were not drawn to our spouse out of a deep affection towards them, an affection that selflessly seeks out the safety and good of its recipient. Solomon’s affection towards his future bride, made her feel feel safe and secure, as if a banner were placed over her. A banner in the Old Testament was a visible sign of identity with a tribe or nation. This deep affection that is displayed by Solomon towards his future bride, gives her a sense of security as she identifies herself with him.

A SHADE OF GRACE

The intimacy that we experience in marriage and relationships cannot meet the ultimate need for the intimacy that our souls were created to experience. Intimacy with those we love is meant to be a pointer to the intimacy that we were designed to experience with our Heavenly Father. Marriage is a glimpse of the great mystery of the gospel (Ephesians 5:32-33). Jesus has come as the Groom to purchase His Bride, who is the “lily among brambles.” Through His work on our behalf, He has reconciled us back to our Father. Despite our sin and failure to love others as we ought, Jesus has selflessly displayed His affection towards us by laying down His life on our behalf to pay the infinite debt we owe. His banner over us is His passionate love for us, that pursues us in our guilt and
shame! It’s not surprising that we fail miserably in our love towards others…What is surprising is that in spite of our continuous failure, Jesus still pursues us and loves us as his treasured possession!

STUDY QUESTIONS
LOVE – GOD LOVES US

How do you see the gospel expressed in this passage? How does this make us fall more in love with Jesus?

Solomon’s future bride found safety and her identity in the “banner” of love that Solomon provided for her (2:4). We find our safety and identity in God’s banner of love over us, which has been displayed to us through the gospel. How does this change the way we think about ourselves and our identity?

DEVOTION – WE LOVE GOD

What does this passage reveal to us about God’s design for marriage? Why is this so important in our current culture?

Intimacy with our spouse is essential to a healthy marriage. Intimacy with Jesus is essential in our walk with Him. Practically, discuss how you find intimacy with Jesus. How have you failed to find intimacy with him?

PASSION – WE LOVE OTHERS

Married: Discuss why affirmation, attraction, and affection are crucial to a healthy marriage. How do you display these to your spouse? How does this reflect our relationship with Jesus?

Single: Discuss why affirmation and encouragement are crucial to good friendships. How do you display these to your friends (especially other believers)? How does this affect your relationship with Jesus?

LEGACY – LOVE LIVES ON

We were designed for relationships and community, not only with our spouse but also with others around us. How does this passage spur us on to connect with those who haven’t yet experienced the deep love of Jesus?