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Keeping Love Pure (8:8-14)

“We have a little sister, And she has no breasts; What shall we do for our sister On the day when she is spoken for? “If she is a wall, We will build on her a battlement of silver; But if she is a door, We will barricade her with planks of cedar.” "I was a wall, and my breasts were like towers; Then I became in his eyes as one who finds peace. “Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; He entrusted the vineyard to caretakers. Each one was to bring a thousand shekels of silver for its fruit. “My very own vineyard is at my disposal; The thousand shekels are for you, Solomon, And two hundred are for those who take care of its fruit.” “O you who sit in the gardens, My companions are listening for your voice-- Let me hear it!” “Hurry, my beloved, And be like a gazelle or a young stag On the mountains of spices.”

In verses 8-10, a small individualized poetic piece sprouts out of nowhere. Just as the brothers were mentioned at the beginning of the Song, here they are remembered near the end of the Song (1:5-6). The brothers have had the continued responsibility to watch over the girl as she is growing up. Here in verses 8-9, it seems that the girl is recalling what her brothers had said about her as she was in their watchful care. In verse 10, the girl speaks for herself in response to what she has become as a grown young lady. The girl of verse 8 then, is the girl of verse 10.

The word “little” or sometimes translated as “young” for the sister in the text, is a word that refers to a minor, someone under 12 years of age. Before puberty, the beloved of our Song did not have breasts and she had not developed into the woman she would become (See Ezek. 16:7-8). The brothers must protect her for the time when she will be noticed and spoken for or betrothed to another in an arranged marriage. Next, we have mentioned her being a wall or a door. Apparently, the brothers were even trying to protect her by making her work in the vineyards at the beginning of the Song, so that she did not get involved with ruining her sexual purity. The wall and the door discussion point to the idea of her willingness to remain pure sexually (a virgin). If she is a wall (Hebrew describes the wall of a fortified city for protection) she will be arrayed in the silver of a palace for beauty. The door portrays that she is an open entry, unprotected and used by all who want to go in unto her. In this case, the brothers would place a barricade around her as if to block all others from having access to her beauty and sexual purity. Has she been chaste and pure? Has she given away her pure possession to others? She answers by saying, “I was a wall, and my breasts were like towers; then I became in his eyes as one who finds peace.” The beloved admits that she has been completely reserved for her lover and that he finds peace (an interesting play on words with Shalom, the Shulammite, and the name Solomon in Hebrew). The lover finds peace in that his beloved offers a pure love that is reserved only for him. That is the only way that peace can exist in a love relationship. In mentioning her towered breasts she is not bragging on herself nor was she being put down when she had no breasts. What is the point? The towers go along with the imagery of the fortified walls. She has matured and is a beautiful pure specimen for her lover to have for his very own. Young ladies need to be walls today. Young men, instead of violating young women, protect them knowing that one day you are giving them the gift of being able to be a glorious presentation to the one they will eventually love for life. Too many young ladies are open doors and while at the moment you might feel loved, true love waits and allows you to become a woman of God that values sexual purity. Before you think I am being one-sided, young men, if you are tearing down walls to get to the door, you will never be able to build that wall back up. You have forever removed the purity of the young woman that you have taken advantage of in sexual misconduct. For those of us that were sexually active outside of marriage, we know the weight of the shame and regret that we have to bear every single day. Even with forgiveness in the Lord, we realize that we can never give back or get back what took place in those promiscuous transactions. Keep yourself pure!

In verses 11-12, please do not lose sight of the real lesson from mentioning the vineyard of Solomon at Baal Hamon. Again, this is not to bring Solomon into the picture of this love relationship, but to explain the immense value of remaining pure. We know that Solomon had lush gardens and vineyards. These plots were the best in the land no doubt. Therefore, they had value. When he leased the property to keepers, they were to protect the ground and produce fruit, thereby producing a great profit, a thousand silver coins. Now, put all of that aside, and listen to the young girl here. She said, “My own vineyard is before me.” We have already seen imagery where she talked about how the wind carried the fragrance of her vineyard before her lover to draw him into her love. Here she is showing the value and precious price that can be placed upon this locked garden. No other tenants have been in the garden, but her brother protected her from intruders. It is priceless because she has never allowed anyone else to explore and enjoy the sweetness of her love. The thousand silver coins that must be paid for the fruit of Solomon’s fruit, no doubt has a reference back to the silver embattlement that would be built upon her for her willingness to be a fortified wall. When some parents try to keep their children from going to questionable gatherings in order to keep them from getting into sexual misconduct, they are serving as the protectors. When your big brother put a knot on that boy's head because he was getting fresh with you, don’t get mad at him. He is doing you a favor that will last forever. Listen to the voice of reason, no matter through whom it may come. They are increasing your value by keeping you chaste and pure.

Finally, at the close of the Song, we see some familiar dialogue between our lovers. He cries out to the girl and wants to hear her voice again. While many others enjoy hearing her voice, he wants to hear its sweetness all the more. Remember earlier when she fled like a bird into a cleft of a rock. He wanted to see her face and hear her voice. Now in the garden, which no doubt also had reference to her vineyard, he wants her to speak with him those sweet nothings and she wants him like a gazelle or a young stag to hurry to her and be by her side. When we never tire of hearing the voice of our beloved and we always are eager to be back together in each other’s presence, then we will have a happy healthy relationship of love that will last forever. When we are together, we share in the mountain of spices, fragrances, sweet delicacies, and everything that makes love so valuable. Awake, married lovers, and have your fill! For those of you still approaching marriage, no matter how far off, be a wall until it is the right time to allow someone to unlock your garden. Do not fall into the modern ideology that you have missed something if you are not prematurely intimate with someone else while you approach your wedding day. Surround yourself with protection and accountability and preserve all that you have to offer for the one that you will one day give your all to in marriage. I promise you that it will be worth the wait. Do not arouse or awaken love until it pleases.

Write these Song lyrics on your heart. Sing them often and never forget that God values your love relationship being not only the Creator but the one who instituted marriage. He also through this Song and other inspired writings wants to be the Sustainer of this union. God bless you in your pursuit of love as God ordained it.

SPIRITUAL APPLICATION: While we are young and innocent, we are pure before the Lord, but the defilement of sin eventually makes its way to our heart and we are in need of renewal and the love of a Savior. This is the beauty of our relationship with Christ. He cleanses us and then makes us new, reassuring us that our past is forgotten and we are acceptable and deeply loved by Him. One day, we hope to have our union with Christ as His church. We want to be presented as a chaste, pure, undefiled bride. Now is the time for His people to remain unspotted by the world, to be accountable to one another, and to do everything to fortify our faith in Him. Do not give up and open yourself up to the world. Remember the value of being found by Him as innocent and unstained. He is our first love and we cannot entertain other adulterous pursuits. One day we will see Him coming on the clouds to redeem His bride and we will join Him in everlasting life, while He showers His love upon us. What a day that will be! QUESTIONS: 1. As we conclude the study, what value is there in keeping one’s purity as a virgin before entering a marriage. What are the challenges for those that chose not to be a wall but were a door?

2. Knowing the redemptive grace of Jesus for sinners, in what way can we forgive and be willing to forget the past mistakes of those who weren't sexually pure in their past?

3. There are certainly rewards or benefits for those that refrain from sex prior to marriage, but we must remember that sins of the flesh are forgiven by the blood of Christ and those that receive His salvation are also heirs of the treasures of heaven. How does this help us to accept forgiveness and what motivation should this give us to maintain purity in marriage.

4. Sexual maturity develops over time. What can we learn about the importance of putting up fences (boundaries) for those that are lustful or on the verge of being promiscuous prior to the time when it is appropriate to have our love awakened?

5. Finding a lifelong companion to love can bring the reward of peace. What could occur in a relationship that would bring chaos instead of peace?

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