Song of Solomon 5:2-6:3 – Imperfection and Grace

TROUBLE IN PARADISE

Solomon and his bride are married and have fully consummated their marriage. This is where one expects to find those classic words, “and they lived happily every after.” We know that real life does not work that way. Even the greatest marriages on earth face constant mountains that must be overcome. Some marital issues are simply the result of living in a broken world. Other problems are the result of our own sin.

The text begins with the Shulammite bride in bed and half asleep. Solomon comes knocking on her door and fully awakens her. Solomon was known for his parties and it seems he was in a very good mood and wanting to enjoy his bride (Ecclesiastes 2:3). It is clear his bride desires and loves him from the entirety of this song. However, tonight she is annoyed by her husband. This is evident in the fragile excuses she gives, an ancient way of saying, “I have a headache.” Solomon tries to get in the room. The bride has a change of heart. She is perhaps flattered by the lengths to which Solomon is going to get to her. She decides to let him in, but by the time she gets to the door her lover is gone. He has given up on their love for the evening.

The bride declares “my soul failed me when he spoke” (vs. 6). Her husband had desired her and she had selfishly denied her lover. Scripture teaches that our bodies are not our own in marriage. The body of the wife belongs to the husband and the body of the husband belongs to the wife (1 Corinthians 7:3-4). The only time these rights should be denied is if the couple has agreed together to fast marital intimacy in order to seek God for a short period (1 Corinthians 7:5). The bride becomes frantic as she realizes she has sent her lover away. Her insecurities return to her, and she begins to search the city looking for him. She is found by those who watch and protect the city at night. They beat her, thinking the slightly dressed, anxious woman is a troublemaker or prostitute. This is representative of how sin leads to pain and brokenness.

Finally, she finds the daughters of Jerusalem. They have become friends and peers to her as she has joined herself to Solomon. These women ask questions that help the Shulammite bride to process her feelings. She describes her beloved, and we see the desire she has for him is as strong as it appeared in chapter one of this song. Her insecurities subside and she calms down as she reflects upon him. Though the night began badly, he would not leave her completely. This text ends with Solomon returning and the couple engaging in marital intimacy. The bride’s final words are, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (6:3). Notice this is quite different from her earlier speech, “My beloved is mine and I am his” (2:16). Solomon is no longer hers first. Rather, she first belongs to him.

A SHADE OF GRACE

There was only one perfect human that walked this earth and His name is Jesus. The rest of us can number ourselves among those who walk imperfectly in this world (1 John 1:8). We have all acted selfishly and done what we want, rather than what God wants (Isaiah 53:6). Sin does separate us from God (Isaiah 59:2). For a Christian, sin can bring a great deal of anxiety to our hearts in respect to our standing with God. Like the Shulammite bride, we can become frantic, wondering if God still loves us or will return to us. Here is the good news: Jesus is standing at the door and knocking (Revelation 3:19-20). Repent of your sins, which simply means tell Jesus you’re sorry and ask Him to help you stop sinning. Jesus loves you and is faithful and just to forgive you of your sins (1 John 1:9). Be comforted, and allow the grace of God to cover you in Jesus Christ. Belong to Him as He belongs to you.

Study Questions

LOVE – GOD LOVES US

At times, we sin against God and may feel He has deserted us. What does Matthew 18:12-14 tell us about God’s faithfulness to us when we stray from Him?

Sin leads to pain and brokenness. Read Psa 55:22 and 1 Peter 5:7. How does Christ meet us in our burdens and our pain?

What does it mean to be “beloved” by God? Read Ephesians 5:1 Colossians 3:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:13. Do you experience this reality in your life?

DEVOTION – WE LOVE GOD

The Shulammite has a change of heart (Song of Solomon 5:6) towards Solomon. This reminds us of what it means to have a change of heart towards God. How does repentance help us to experience the love God has for us?

In Song of Solomon 5:9 and 6:1, the daughters of Jerusalem ask the Shulammite questions to help her to work through what is happening in her life. What does it take to be this kind of friend to others? Read Romans 12:10; Galatians 6:2; 1 Peter 1:22-23 for more on loving one another in Christ.

PASSION – WE LOVE OTHERS

How does dealing with conflict with other believers give us unique opportunities to demonstrate our devotion to Christ? Read Ephesians 4:31-5:1 and Romans 15:5-6 for help.

LEGACY – LOVE LIVES ON

How does your family resolve conflict? Do you go to one another and resolve issues that you have biblically? Read Matthew 5:23-24 and 18:15. What kind of legacy will you leave your family in this area of your lives?