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Garden Feasting (5:1)

In Song of Songs 5:1 we find,

“I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrrh along with my balsam. I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey; I have drunk my wine and my milk. Eat, friends; Drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers.”

While we have been flooded with praises from these two young people to each other, we are wondering when they will intimately fulfill their love with one another. The text seems to hide the initial moment of pleasure, but it is explained by the lover how he had been with and enjoyed the lovemaking of his bride. Not only does chapter 5:1 mark the exact center of the Song, but it also shows the climax of love in these inspired lyrics. He says the word “my” to show that they belong to each other and uses a past tense “I have” (multiple times) to then describe the activities they have enjoyed together. The concepts that are used to describe their lovemaking (entering the garden, gathering spices, eating honey, drinking wine and milk, etc. are metaphors for their consummation of love. Their love is sweet and the passion is overflowing in this scene of unashamed lovemaking. They are married and the marriage bed is undefiled. The writer of Hebrews wrote in Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”

On the opposite spectrum from a pure marriage, although the similar language is used, we need to consider the entirety of Proverbs 7 in contrast to marital love. Listen as a young man is admonished by his father in wisdom not to be taken in temptation by a temptress to fall into sexual sin. The father says, “My son, keep my words and treasure my commandments within you. Keep my commandments and live, and my teaching as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister,’ and call understanding your intimate friend; that they may keep you from an adulteress, From the foreigner who flatters with her words. For at the window of my house I looked out through my lattice, and I saw among the naive and discerned among the youths a young man lacking sense, passing through the street near her corner; and he takes the way to her house, in the twilight, in the evening, in the middle of the night and in the darkness and behold, a woman comes to meet him, dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart. She is boisterous and rebellious, her feet do not remain at home; she is now in the streets, now in the squares, and lurks by every corner. So she seizes him and kisses him and with a brazen face, she says to him: ‘I was due to offer peace offerings; today I have paid my vows. Therefore I have come out to meet you, to seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you. I have spread my couch with coverings, With colored linens of Egypt. I have sprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; let us delight ourselves with caresses. For my husband is not at home, he has gone on a long journey; he has taken a bag of money with him, at the full moon he will come home.’ With her many persuasions she entices him; With her flattering lips, she seduces him. Suddenly he follows her as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool until an arrow pierces through his liver; as a bird hastens to the snare, so he does not know that it will cost him his life. Now, therefore, my sons, listen to me and pay attention to the words of my mouth. Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, do not stray into her paths. For many are the victims she has cast down, and numerous are all her slain. Her house is the way to Sheol, descending to the chambers of death.” While there will be similar feelings and language used in both a pure and defiled sexual act, only one is approved by God. Again, fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

The only lovers that are permitted to have their fill of love are those in a God-approved marriage. The world has lost sight of this truth and they are living in all kinds of sexual sinful practices on a daily basis. The saddest part is that these fornicators and adulterers do no realize that they are on a road that leads to destruction. One of the greatest challenges facing the church today is her work of evangelism in trying to reach people that are living in fornication or adultery. If you expose their unlawful sexual practices and the fact that God condemns their behavior, many become upset and walk away while refusing to change. Their selfish pursuits in this short life on earth are more important to them than the will of God. They would rather spend the days of their life, “happy” rather than “holy” before God. These issues need to be addressed in the church because many churches are tolerating such sins and allowing their fellowship to be extended to those who will not repent and bring forth fruits of repentance in these areas. These matters were not overlooked in the Bible and neither should we dismiss them nor ignore them. John the Baptist was beheaded because he told Herod that he could not have his brother Philip's wife (Mark 6:18). Jesus told a woman that she has had five husbands, but the one that she was currently with was not her husband (John 4:17-18). Paul had to address the Corinthians church and admonish them to exercise discipline on a member of that congregation because he had been with his father’s wife, which was most likely his stepmother (I Cor. 5:1-13). But when two lovers enter a pure union that is honored by God, we should encourage and promote their love. Tell them to enjoy every pleasure involved in sharing love together. We are quick to point out where a relationship might be in violation of the will of God, but we should be celebrating every marriage that is pure and holy before God. As we view the next portion of verse 1, there is an approval message for their lovemaking that seems to come from a group who has witnessed their vows in commitment to one another. This text simply puts a stamp of approval on all of their intimate activities with one another. They are being encouraged to share passionate love with each other. While some have commented that these voices are a group of people standing outside of the marriage tent to cheer on and wait for the consummation of love, this is simply absurd and removes the poetic license from the Song. We are to learn from this text that there is nothing unlawful taking place between the two young people in this verse. God approves so we approve of their intimacy. Throughout our study, we have identified the way that milk and honey are used, along with the sweet wine and a garden full of spices to describe the treasures that they each find in the other. In every case, these pleasurable foods and fancy fragrances are connected to their former eager desire, and now their fulfilled intimacy. “Eat, friends; Drink and imbibe deeply, O lovers.”

SPIRITUAL APPLICATION: There are many sweet symbols used for us coming together with the Lord in spiritual intimacy. We are told to taste and see that the Lord is good. The words that He speaks to us are like honey, sweeter than the honeycomb. His care and concern for us are felt in His touch of love each day. There is also a special appeal that draws the Lord to win our hearts, develop a deep love, and pursue a nearness with us. The Lord takes pleasure in His bride. But our intimacy with Him is not sexual, but spiritual. If we could comprehend the depth of the spiritual connection that we have with the Lord, in the same way, that a new husband and his bride enjoy a physical oneness, we would see the beauty of this application. Paul addressed this in his letter to the Corinthian church when he said that just as a man becomes one flesh with a woman when he becomes sexually intimate with her, so we too become one spirit with the Lord when we become spiritually intimate with Him (I Cor. 6). The reality is that our truest realization of this intimacy will not be fully understood until we enter into our heavenly union with Christ. It will be an unending bond of eternal sweetness that we share with the lover of our souls. While we wait, we are told that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. This will require us to remain pure as a bride before Him (See James 4:8). QUESTIONS: 1. While it often feels like such a fleshly act to enter into physical intimacy, how can we compare the physical union with the spiritual union that we have with Christ?

2. Looking back on all of the ways that the lover describes his first encounter of becoming one with his new bride when was the last time you reflected on how it makes you feel to be intimate with your spouse?

3. If you are unmarried, consider how sweet it will be to experience this union. Can you relate this to your spiritual relationship with the Lord?

4. The approval of the love between the lover and his bride stem from the fact that they pursued love in a pure fashion, fostering a relationship that led to marriage and allowed for this physical pleasure to be shared between them. Can you see how this relationship would not receive such applause or approval if the couple had not elected to keep lovemaking in check prior to marriage?

5. We are told of a feast that awaits us in heaven. Are you making preparations to be invited to the marriage supper of the Lord to His bride?

Now that we have reached the end of the episode today, please accept my invitation to join me in the following study of Song of Songs 5:2-8 in a message titled, “Desperate Dreaming”.

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