Song of Solomon 3:1-5 – Pursuing and Grace

PURSUING HER GROOM

Chapter three begins with the Shulammite bride alone in the privacy of her bedroom. Some commentators view the next passage as a dream and some view it as a reality. Nevertheless, the point of the next five verses is evident. The bride deeply desires to be with the one she loves. She leaves the comforts of her house and ventures out into the dangers of the city at night to find Solomon. Keep in mind the city streets and squares at night were not the safest of places, especially for young women during this time. She is willing to risk her safety to find her love, and she will stop at nothing to pursue him. When she finds Solomon, she clings to him desperately. She then takes him back to the intimacy of her mother’s house. Of course there is a sexual connotation here, but that is not the point. She desires sex in the appropriate context, the context of marriage and family. Her mother’s house was the house were she was born. It is the house that is so closely connected to her and her past. Her desire is for her husband to truly be united to her, not just physically. This reminds us of God’s design and plan for marriage found in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” However, the time for their marital consummation is not yet, as love has not
quite been awakened (3:5).

PURSUIT IN MARRIAGE AND RELATIONSHIPS

We weren’t designed to live in isolation. Made in the image of the triune God who has always lived as a community of One, we were designed for community and relationships with others. These relationships don’t just effortlessly happen. They take hard work and effort! If we want a lasting marriage, we must mutually work and fight for that. An intimate, God-glorifying marriage, or any relationship for that matter, must be diligently pursued even when it’s uncomfortable and risky. Our problem is that we are too comfortable and selfish in our intentions with our spouse or others. We want the benefits of the relationship, but we often don’t want the actual relationship, because it is too difficult. Some of us are unwilling to commit to one individual, and we cannot possibly fathom a life with a single spouse. Our culture has taught us that we are to use the other person in a relationship as a means to obtain something that pleases ourselves. Because of sin, we believe this lie. So, we easily disconnect sex from marriage and become consumers in relationships, seeking a way to be constantly pleased. But that’s not at all what the Bible teaches us. True relationships are rooted in a biblical love for one another. These relationships are messy because they involve two sinners, who are selflessly committed to one another, even when the other’s worst is on display!

A SHADE OF GRACE

As recipients of God’s grace, our hearts should long for our Savior, because He is the treasure that is more valuable than anything else the world has to offer. We should passionately pursue Him in prayer and in His Word. We should also find it comforting that God is not hiding from us, as if life were a big game of hide and seek. Like Zacchaues learned, as we are seeking Him, it is actually Jesus who sought us first (Luke 19:10). The Bible tells us that the grand story of Scripture is that God, in His goodness, came to seek after the lost sinners who rebelled and hid from Him. Jesus left His comfortable throne in heaven and embarked on an uncomfortable mission to pursue and rescue those who would abandon Him. He willingly paid the price to restore us back to the Father by being crucified for our sin and defeating death through His triumphant resurrection. If we are in Christ, we can have confidence in that truth and know we are forgiven even when we fail with others. God’s grace and empowering Spirit enables us to pursue our spouse in the midst of the messiness.

Study Questions

LOVE – GOD LOVES US

Think about the time in your life when you came to Christ. How was He pursuing you in in the days, weeks and months before then? Was there a person or a church that was instrumental in bringing the message of the Gospel to you?

Enduring commitment characterizes a godly marriage. How does Jesus commit Himself to His bride, the Church? What are some passages from Scripture that demonstrate Jesus’ commitment?

DEVOTION – WE LOVE GOD

Scripture often shows us that our use of God’s gift of sexuality is a strong indicator of our devotion to Him. Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-20. What reasons does it give for using our sexuality rightly as a means of devotion to the Lord?

Have you taken a step towards pursuing others in community at Four Points? If not, are there any obstacles that you can remove as you respond to Jesus’ call to “love one another”? If you are already in close fellowship with others at Four Points, what could you do this week to strengthen those relationships?

DEVOTION – WE LOVE OTHERS

Why are our relationships (marriages, friendships, work partnerships) with others so messy and difficult? Read James 4:1-3. What does the passage say is one of the major roots of our troubles? Discuss how this is true of you in your relationships.

What does it look like to pursue others that we have offended? What does Matthew 5:23-24 teach us to do in these situations? Why do we need to “leave our gift” until we have made things right?

LEGACY – LOVE LIVES ON

Think back to your answer to Question 1 above. The people who brought the message of the Gospel to you had to overcome obstacles of fear, inadequacy, and unbelief. What challenges face you as you seek to make disciples?