Song of Solomon 6:1-12 – Reconciliation and Grace

CONFLICT RESOLUTION

In the previous passage of scripture, we witnessed the imperfections of a husband and his wife. As JC Ryle stated, “Marriage is, after all, the union of two sinners, not two angels.” A healthy marriage is not void of conflicts. Conflicts in marriage are inevitable, because marriage involves two individuals who are far from perfect, and are in daily need of God’s rescuing and enabling grace. Chapter six of Song of Solomon shows us how conflicts should be resolved within a marriage. Solomon’s bride leaves the comfort of her home once again and searches out her man, who, after an intense conflict, needed some alone time. It’s important to note, that the Shulammite bride knew Solomon so well that, although in verse one, she asks about his location, she immediately finds him in verse two and answers her own question. She knows where he would be because she truly knows her husband, and is fully devoted to him.

Surprisingly, when she is rejoined to Solomon in verse two, she was met with words of affirmation, not belittling or blaming. If we are honest, this is typically not our first response to our spouse after a conflict. Often our spouse hears our harsh words, such as “What’s wrong with you?” or “I can’t believe you would do something like that.” In fact, Solomon’s words after their night of conflict are similar to his words of passion in chapter four before the couple’s consummation of their marriage. His love for her hasn’t changed despite their differences. Why is this so? She is the “perfect one” and “only one” for him (6:9). He is fully committed and devoted to his bride, despite her flaws and imperfections. His heart is set on forgiving his bride who still captivates his heart, just as she did when they first met. This may seem foreign to many of us as we live in a culture that cannot fathom a devoted, life-long commitment between a man and woman. Relationships are generally treated as a buffet where one says, “If you don’t like this, just move on to something else that you like.” We are trained in relationships to have one eye on the door at all times. But the Bible, and specifically this passage, paints a different picture of marriage. Marriage is meant to be a life-long commitment between a man and a woman, who are profoundly devoted to one another in awe-inspiring union, a union that is strong enough to stand firm amidst the struggles, failures, and conflicts that arise when two messy sinners become one. And whether we are married or not, conflicts are opportunities that allow us all to grow, to die to ourselves, and be strengthened in the grace that God has provided for us. God uses these opportunities of tension to turn us away ourselves and towards Him, as he makes us more and more like Jesus.

A SHADE OF GRACE

Whether we want admit it or not, Scripture tells us that our marriages are visual displays to a lost world of God’s relentless love for us in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:31-32). The depths of our marriages are designed by our Creator to show the amazing riches of His grace to everyone around us. The reality is that our relationships with our spouse (or one another) pales greatly in comparison to the true love that God has shown His people. We often fall miserably short in displaying humility towards our spouse and others, forgiving one another, and selflessly sacrificing for our spouse. We all have divided hearts that selfishly refuse God’s goodness and grace. Yet God has made a life-long commitment to us, and has demonstrated that commitment by sending Jesus. In Jesus, we have forgiveness for all of our shortcomings, and an undeserved righteousness credited to our account. Our infinite debt due to God has now been paid. Jesus came to ransom us, His unfaithful people. He endured the Father’s wrath to reconcile us back to our loving and devoted Creator. We can rest in that truth and trust in God’s grace and the power of His Spirit to enable us to pursue reconciliation in our marriages and relationships.

Study Questions

LOVE – GOD LOVES US

As He institutes Communion (Matthew 26:28; 1 Corinthians 11:25), Jesus institutes a “new covenant” with His people. What does the gospel teach us about living in covenant with God? How does He respond when we fail to keep it?

DEVOTION – WE LOVE GOD

Discuss a situation in which you have seen God’s faithfulness even when you did not keep faith with Him. How has his faithfulness caused you to worship Him and draw closer to Him?

What habits can you build into your life to help you strengthen a lifelong commitment to Jesus?

PASSION – WE LOVE OTHERS

How has God’s mercy towards you helped you to become more merciful towards those who sin against you? What are some ways in which your words are less than merciful towards others?

How does God make two “sinners, saved by grace” more like Jesus by marrying them to one another?

Married: What can you do right now in your marriage to help it to remain strong when you face challenges and conflicts?

Read 2 Corinthians 5:18-20. What does it mean to become a “minister of reconciliation”? How does this affect your relationships with others in the body of Christ? How does it affect how we treat those who do not know Him?

LEGACY – LOVE LIVES ON

How does the local church help to strengthen marriages? In what ways does healthy marriages benefit the body of Christ? How are healthy marriages a blessing to the world around us?