Canopy of Praise (1:15-17)

Updated: Aug 17

WARNING: The following material is intended for mature audiences. While this is a Bible study, the Song of Songs is written with references to sexual themes, intimate textual innuendos, and suggestive figurative language that may not be suitable for some audiences. Viewer discretion is advised. It is recommended that you approach this book from God with pure motives and pray that His will in preserving these song lyrics can be a blessing to you. It is advisable that if you have been enjoying this podcast with young ears present that you refrain from doing so at this time. Wait until you are in a private setting to continue. Thank you for taking this word of caution into consideration as we begin today’s episode.


In chapter one verses 15-17 of the Song of Songs, we hear more exchanges of praise for the way these young people feel about each other. Actually verses 15 and 16 begin with similar praises of “how beautiful” and “how handsome”. These words in the original language mean more than “pretty” and “cute”.



Let’s read the passage:

“How beautiful you are, my darling, How beautiful you are! Your eyes are like doves.” How handsome you are, my beloved, And so pleasant! Indeed, our couch is luxuriant! The beams of our houses are cedars, Our rafters, cypresses.”

Later in the Song, we will see the way the lover feels about his beloved girl. In Song of Songs 4:9-10, we see the young man offer similar praise for her eyes, “You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride; You have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes, With a single strand of your necklace.” A single glance with her eyes is all it takes to get his heart racing. In Song of Songs 6:4-5 he tells her that her eyes send him into a state of confusion because they are so beautiful, “You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling, As lovely as Jerusalem, As awesome as an army with banners. Turn your eyes away from me, For they have confused me…”


He tells her in verse 15 that her eyes are like doves. Whether she has eyes like a dove or shaped like a dove (as portrayed in Egyptian paintings), of this we are not certain. Whatever it means directly, it is an attractive feature to the lover in the Song. Jesus spoke of doves as a symbol of innocence in Matthew 10:16. Most of us know that look in the eyes that come with a growing relationship and in particular a relationship of love. It could be that her eyes were also white in appearance and not yellowed or red.


She responds to his praise by telling him he is charming, attractive, and delightful (the meaning of the original word). This is a vital part of any relationship. They are not trying to tell little lies about the others looks to only gain access to love, but are rather telling each other how they truly feel. When was the last time you took a moment to look over your beloved and praise them for the features that drive your passion for them? If this is not happening in your relationship, it may be time to reassure your spouse that you still find them attractive. We need to know we are loved. The next time your spouse asks you, “Why do you love me?”, have a ready answer, and be willing to share the particulars. It is okay to highlight some features about them that simply drive you wild!


She mentions the couch again as if to draw from her imaginations in verse 12. Let me suggest that the bed in this verse is probably out in nature and the reason it is luxuriant is due to the fact that they make each other feel like king and queen and therefore, appear like royalty in each other’s hearts. The beams and rafters of the houses (not literal houses but rather the trees of the forest), provide them with many choices for where they can be together. They take themselves away from civilization and society and reveal their heartfelt longings for each other, which will ultimately be fulfilled in their marriage bed. They created a canopy in nature that allowed them a place to praise one another.


We all need our favorite places to go with our lover. It could be that we visit a special location in the countryside for an afternoon drive to find a place to picnic, or even a simple trip to our favorite local restaurant to sit at a table for two in the far corner of the establishment. The point is that this place of refuge is meaningful to both and it allows them to get away from whatever in life seems to stand in the way of enjoying each other. During these mini excursions, we find time to praise and adore the one we admire and hold near and dear to our hearts. In this case, the man and woman of our story weren’t shacking up but truly dating. They were out hiking and finding an oasis in the woods away from the crowded streets of the inner city to build their relationship. Sometimes it is those serene places where we can focus on our beloved, so that we see them in their fullness, without distraction, and learn to appreciate the finest qualities in them. Here we identify the features that make them unique and pleasurable to us. In essence, we are creating a canopy of praise when we get together in a secluded place to imbibe deeply the lover to which we are committed for life.


SPIRITUAL APPLICATION:

​We will never feel closer to our Lord than when we are among His creation. He has expressed over and over again His love for us. He is madly in love with us. When we pray or sing the praises of our Lord, we are reciprocating the love extended to us. Some of the deepest devotion that we share with the Lord takes place when we leave all others and the distractions around us and invite the Lord to join us under the dome of a secluded getaway. We are most vulnerable in this environment, but it is the only place where we will find true intimacy with God. Perhaps the teaching of Jesus comes to mind here where we are told to visit the closet to pray. Jesus made his closet on a high mountain, completely alone. Find your special place and get there as often as you are able. Praise Him! He thinks the world of you. Enough to die for you. While many a man has said he would die for the love of his life, Jesus literally followed through on the promise. He rose again and is anticipating a grand wedding day where the church becomes His eternal bride.


QUESTIONS:


1. What is it about nature walks that creates an enlivened place for love to thrive?


2. Do you find value in praising the love of your life and do you appreciate it when it is reciprocated?


3. How do we keep our praise fresh without sounding cliché or redundant?


4. Using the same ideology about being alone with a lover in nature, do you see the same value in visiting a wooded place to pray and praise the Lord?


5. What is your favorite passage where the Bible reveals how God values you in your relationship with Him?

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