Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Song of Solomon, Day 2

Episode Resources

Get more from this study. Meditate through the "Making It Personal" questions located at the bottom of the transcript.

Leslie Basham: Yesterday, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth began a series in the Song of Solomon here on Revive Our Hearts.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: I was reading this week in one of my favorite devotionals, The Valley of Vision, and this line struck me as I thought about this series on the Song of Solomon. It said, “My love is frost and cold, ice and snow; let His love warm me.”

Oh, Lord, as we start into this series on the Song of Solomon, I would just confess that my love for You, my love for others, is way too often frosty and cold, ice and snow. And so I pray, Lord, that Your love would warm my heart. And as we see Your love in this great Old Testament passage, that Your love would warm our hearts and fill us and be used to warm other hearts that are ice cold and desperately in need to experience Your love. We pray it in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Tuesday, February 23, 2016.

Nancy: Last year, as I was getting to know Robert Wolgemuth better and as I became his wife, it got me thinking a lot about love stories.

My parents did not have a TV in our home when I was growing up. And over the years I did not fill my mind with a lot of romances—either on TV, or in books, or movies. So when Robert and I were developing a deeper friendship, you know what model I had in my head and in my heart for what a love relationship should look like? Believe it or not, it was many years of studying the Song of Solomon. I found that this book was an excellent model to follow as I grew in my love for Robert.

Now, you may not be in the middle of a romance at the moment, but no matter what season of life you’re in, I know you’re going to find this to be a meaningful study as well. Because it is about the ultimate love story, between Christ and His Bride, the Church. Let’s get back to this amazing love story found in the pages of the Song of Songs.

Nancy: We’re starting into a new series—as you heard if you were with us yesterday—on the Song of Solomon, or as the Hebrew title reads, the Song of Songs. That phrase comes from the first verse of the first chapter of this book. We saw yesterday that the Song of Songs—that’s the Hebrew idiomatic way of saying something that’s the best, it’s superlative, it’s the most, there’s no one greater.

So, this is a song that is superior to every other song that has ever been written or sung. This is the song of "awesomeness," the supreme song in all of Scripture. We saw, as we started out yesterday, that it’s a love song, because love is the supreme subject. “The greatest of all these is love.”

We saw that this book is about the love between a husband and a wife; the beauty of marital love and romance, including the joy and the purity of sexual intimacy within marriage . . . when you see it from God’s perspective. That perspective in the Song of Songs, the Song of Solomon, on human love, human romance, human sexuality—it counters extremes that we find in our world of sexual perversion and lust and unfaithfulness and promiscuity at one end . . . and then the other extreme—the ascetic view that sex is sinful.

The Scripture steers us into this beautiful, pure, holy, delightful line of thinking—God’s way of thinking about marriage and sex. It reminds me of Hebrews 13:4: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled.”

God has a way of thinking about marriage and sex that is pure, it’s wholesome, it’s good, it’s honorable, it’s worth preserving. We’re going to see a lot of insight from the Song of Solomon along those lines.

We’re also seeing that at the heart of this song is the love of a faithful God who loves His people with amazing, covenant-keeping love. We’re seeing that this song is about the relationship between Christ and His Bride, and Christ and individual believers.

I’ll be the first to acknowledge that that is not the prevailing view of this book today. But it is the consensus of sixteen-hundred-plus years of church history. That first this book is about the love of God—divine love. Our love as humans is at best a feeble reflection of the love of God. It’s the love of God that’s supposed to be the source and the enabling and the power for our human love.

The union between God and His people is the model for human marriage. It’s what marriage was intended to put on display. It’s the earthly picture, marriage is, that points to the eternal spiritual reality of God’s covenant love.

The union between God and His people is the model for human marriage.

Many teachers and speakers in our era, over the last twenty or thirty years, have written books, have taught messages on how the Song of Solomon relates to human love, sex, and marriage. In our study over these next weeks, we’re going to focus primarily on how this book speaks to our relationship with Christ. That’s why we’ve called this series, "How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus."

I believe that that is the foundational, ultimate purpose of this book. But along the way, we’re going to be making application to human love and marriage and the sexual relationship. I’m going to have some of my married friends join me at points in this series to share insights on marriage and romance and sex from the book of the Song of Solomon, in a way that is beautiful and wholesome and pure, in the way that God ordained it to be.

Some have taken this interpretation that I’m going to take in the Song of Solomon to unwarranted extremes. You’ll read some of these books and they see a spiritual parallel in every little detail of the book. I don’t think that’s the way this book was intended to be read. After all, the genre is poetry . . . Hebrew poetry.

It’s meant to be felt and experienced, more than to be dissected for every little detail. We’re meant to read it, and as we read it, to get an overall sense of what true love is all about. So I’m encouraging you to read this book over and over again over these next weeks.

I’m using the New King James Version. You can pull that up online and follow along, or in your own translation—that would be fine. But as you read it, try to get a big sense of the kind of love that’s talked about in this book. You’re going to see a love that’s:

  • passionate 
  • intense 
  • uninhibited 
  • freely expressed 
  • exhilarating 
  • expressive
  • exclusive
  • sweet 
  • pure
  • simple 

It’s a love that gives versus takes. It’s a love that has to be nurtured and protected. We see in this book that true love is not static. It’s always growing and at times it gets tested. At times our love wans. It ebbs and flows.

At times we’ve loved Christ more than at other times, sometimes our love for others ebbs, but His love for us is always the same. It’s faithful and loyal and devoted. This book points us to the amazing love of God for His people. It reveals His heart and His ways. We see that the “steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end.”

We see the redemptive story, the redemptive love of Christ.

Then this book is a call to intimacy. There’s so much rich insight in this book about how to cultivate an intimate love relationship with Christ. It’s that relationship—your relationship with Christ—that makes it possible to experience the greatest possible intimacy within the marriage relationship.

One writer said on this subject, and I thought this was so helpful:

The antidote [the cure, the solution] for immoral, premarital relationships and for the breaking of marriage vows among professing Christians [the solution for all of those problems] is not more sex and marriage manuals or counseling sessions, but it’s a return to our first love.1

You see,When you’re growing in your love for Christ, then you’re going to have the capacity to grow in your love for your mate . . . and for others, for that matter.

When you’re growing in your love for Him, then you’re going to have the capacity to grow in your love for your mate . . . and for others.

So this is the Song of Songs. The first verse goes on to tell us it’s "the song of songs, which is Solomon’s.” Solomon is the human instrument that God used to author this book. Now, we don’t know when in his life he wrote it. It may have been written in the early years of his reign, when he walked closely with God. First Kings tells us, “Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father” (3:3).

The bride in the story may have been his first wife. Or, he may have written this book later in his life after experiencing—and perhaps being restored from—his years of spiritual backsliding.

Solomon is seen repeatedly in the Scripture as a type of Christ. Think of some ways that that's true. He's the son of David, unprecedented wealth, intellect and wisdom. Remember when the Queen of Sheba came to see Solomon and she said, "Behold, the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard." We could say that about Jesus, couldn't we? He's a type of Christ in that sense. In the splendor of his kingdom, Solomon is a type of Christ. He points us to Christ and His eternal kingdom.

The name Solomon actually means "peace." Shalom, those are related words. Solomon was the prince of peace following after his father David who was a man of war. Solomon in this sense prefigures the coming of Christ to reign as the ultimate Prince of Peace.

Solomon was a great man in many respects, but as you know, also deeply flawed in many respects.

On every count, the One to whom he points is greater than the type. Jesus said in Matthew 12, “Something greater than Solomon is here” (v. 42). Christ! He is our Solomon, our King of peace. So, the Scripture says this is the Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s.

We’ve said that this song is a love song—it’s the greatest love song. And Solomon knew a lot about love. In fact, a lot of it he learned the hard way, right? In fact, knowing what we know about Solomon, it’s kind of astonishing to me that God would have chosen Solomon as the human instrument to pen this song.

Solomon—who had gazillions of wives and concubines, including many pagan ones who turned his heart from the Lord—Solomon, who at points in his life betrayed his covenant with God . . . From a  human vantage point, would you have chosen Solomon to write the supreme love song of all time?

He certainly was not worthy of being used by God to write the Song of Songs. That’s exactly where grace comes in, for Solomon and for us, as God is writing His love story in and through our lives.

Interestingly, the name that Solomon was originally given by the prophet Nathan at birth was Jedidiah. It’s a Hebrew word that means “loved by the Lord.” God knew that Solomon would at times falter in his love for God, but Solomon was still given that name, “loved by God,” not based on anything that he had done, but all based on grace.

It’s a reminder, even in Solomon’s first name “Jedidiah” that God loves us, not because of who we are or what we have done or how well we love Him, but because God is love. That’s why He loves us.

As I've been pondered on the fact the God chose Solomon to write this magnum opus, this supreme work about His unfailing, unfaltering love, it's been a reminder to me that God chooses and uses flawed human beings—us, people who love Him and others imperfectly—He chooses and uses us to be messangers of His perfect love to others.

One seventeenth century commentator said it this way, "Grace has fitted and use of many a knotty tree for the Lord's work." If God does anything with our lives, it's grace, right? You say, "I'm not worthy for God to use me. I've blown it; I've failed. How can I talk about the love of God? I've blown it in love matters." That's what grace is for—for failures. That fact that God would choose and use Solomon and have him pen this book is astounding.

I received an email not too long ago from a friend whose husband had committed adultery. I had been walking with them through this journey as this came to light. He’s been broken, repentant. But he was still months later struggling with this huge sense that he’d thrown away his life . . . that God could never use him again.

His wife wrote and was sharing this with me. I responded back to her with an email that said, in part,

In the wake of your husband’s failure, I’m sure the enemy wants to keep him buried in a sense of guilt and shame, but God wants him to walk in grace, mindful that none of us is worthy to serve the Lord, that Christ alone is our righteousness, and that His blood has fully atoned for every sin we have ever committed or ever will commit.

The enemy wants your husband to feel that he could never, ever, really be useful to God. But God wants him to believe that there is no limit to how He can use those who are broken and repentant over their sin and are recipients of His amazing grace.

A great example, I think, of this truth is that God chose Solomon, who was anything but a faithful lover. He was a man who spread his marital affection to hundreds of women. God chose that man to give to His people the Song of Songs—the greatest song ever written about the love of God.

So I went on to say to this wife,

In time, I believe God is going to use you and your husband to turn what the enemy meant for evil into great good, and to share with others about the superlative, everlasting, never-failing love and mercy of God.

Maybe you feel the way that husband does. You’ve blown it; you’ve thrown away any chance to ever be used by God. You’ve failed Him so miserably. You’ve broken your covenant with the Lord. You’ve broken your covenant with your mate. Can I say, God can’t bless the sin of your past, but He can and He will bless a broken and repentant, a contrite heart. That’s the person God wants to use and chooses to be a channel, a vessel of communicating His love and His grace and mercy to others.

So far, we’ve had two programs on the Song of Solomon. We’ve covered one verse, one line, and there are eight chapters and 117 verses in the book. I’m reminded of the eighteenth-century British pastor named John Gill who preached 122 sermons on the Song of Solomon, and then compiled them into a humongous commentary.

We’re not going to take that long, but we are going to take our time going through this book. Here’s one reason—there’s just so much in it, I want to savor it. But I also know there are so many women who struggle to experience the love of God. I don’t think that changes by just a few short lessons on the love of God. I think it changes over a period of time as we immerse ourselves in His love—in His Word, we let it wash over us and we let it renew our minds so we stop believing the lies and we start believing the truth.

Some of you have tapes that play in your head over and over again—maybe from your childhood, maybe from when you were rejected instead of loved by parents, maybe from something you experienced from a husband and it's hard for you to receive the love of God. 

Over these next weeks I want you to hang in there as we take our time to walk through this book and see how great is the Father's love for us. I believe in time it is going to change your thinking and your heart.

I want to make just a few other introductory comments about the Song of Solomon, and then starting with the next session, we’ll dive into the text. Again, I want to encourage you to be reading the Song of Solomon. If you want to follow along in the New King James version, you can pull that up online. Go to BibleGateway.com or other programs that are available, and you can print that out and follow along as we study.

Just a couple of other notes: First of all, where does Song of Solomon fall in the Old Testament canon? It follows the book of Ecclesiastes, also written by Solomon. I think there’s an interesting contrast between these two books. The theme of Ecclesiastes is “vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” “Emptiness of emptiness, all is emptiness.” And that serves as a perfect introduction to the Song of Solomon.

Ecclesiastes shows us that earthly things cannot provide lasting satisfaction or joy. Then we get to the Song of Solomon and we lift our eyes up from this earth. We discover that true joy and blessing are found, not on earth, but above the earth—in a Person, in a love relationship with a covenant-keeping God and with His Son, Jesus Christ.

Let me just say a word about the outline of the Song of Solomon. This is not a typical story or a plot line that has scenes in sequence . . . where you can follow this happened and then this happened and then this happened. It’s not a narrative in that sense.

It’s more a series of scenes—Hebrew poetry. You’ll see references to things that are not always in chronological order. Don’t try and make it all fit chronologically or it will be a little frustrating for you.

John MacArthur in his study Bible has an outline of the overall book that I think is helpful. He says that the first section is on the courtship, the middle section on the wedding, and the last section on the marriage. The courtship is “leaving,” the wedding is “cleaving,” and the marriage is “weaving.” I like that simple outline.

However you outline it—and I’ll share mine with you in just a moment—you see in this book the progression and development of a love relationship from initial love to mature love. This progression deals with different seasons in that relationship—different situations, different circumstances in a relationship of marriage, or in the life of a believer, or in the life of a church.

I’m really glad that this book about love. The Song of Songs deals not just with the high points of that love relationship, but it also deals with the low points. It deals with the failures. We’re going to see how barriers arise in a love relationship and what to do about them.

So, let me just quickly give you the outline I’m going to use for this book. Don’t try to remember all this or jot it down. It will be on our website, and you can get it there.

The first section, we’re going to see initial love. We’ll spend several days on that section.

Then we see unheeded love, and you’ll notice in the first two sections the main speaker is the bride, because she’s occupied mostly with herself.

Then in the middle section (of five) we have growing love. In that section the bride speaks less and listens more. Big hint there.

And then, number four, we have faltering love, where once again the bride is the primary speaker.

In the final, or fifth section, we have what I’m calling mature love. Initial love, unheeded love, growing love, faltering love, and mature love.

Throughout this story, the bride is legally, technically, positionally one with her lover, but she’s in pursuit of the fullest possible expression of that intimacy. This is a picture of the pilgrimage of an individual believer, or a body of believers, who long for a greater intimacy with Christ.

So some of the themes we’re going to see—and as you’re reading the book over these next days, you’ll see these coming out—we’re going to see the loveliness and the beauty of the Bridegroom. He’s wonderful! We’re going to see the theme of grace and how this love is undeserved . . . it’s unmerited . . . the love that the Bridegroom has for His Bride.

We’re going to see the transforming power of true love as the bride is transformed by the love of her bridegroom. We’re going to talk about the pursuit of intimacy, what promotes intimacy, what fosters it, and what hinders or destroys intimacy in a love relationship . . . whether with the Lord or your mate or others. And once it’s been broken, that intimacy, how can it be restored?

Then, we’re going to see that the objective of an intimate love relationship is not just for our personal enjoyment, but it’s so that we can be a blessing to others. So look for the concepts of fragrance and fruitfulness throughout the Song of Songs . . . fragrance and fruitfulness. We want to get filled with that love so that it can flow through us and impact others’ lives.

This is a song about fruitfulness. You’ll see dozens of references to vines and vineyards and fruit and gardens. Notice those as you read through, and just be reminded that God made us to be fruitful, and He is glorified when we bear much fruit. Fruitfulness is the outcome of oneness with Him. Union, communion with Christ, makes us fruitful. It’s true in a godly and good marriage, too. Oneness produces fruitfulness. That why intimacy is so important.

So as you read the Song of Solomon, be looking for what this says to you about human love and marriage, and be also looking for insights about God’s love for His people and the relationship of Christ to His Church. I want to encourage you to pray as you’re reading this book, as I have been over these last weeks.

“Lord, as I study the Song of Songs, would you show me Your love? Help me to believe it, to receive it, to experience it. Show me Your love. Would you deepen my love for You? Let me love You back, as You are worthy of being loved.” Then, if  you’re married or hope to be someday, would you pray, “Lord, may Your love be seen in and through my marriage.”

Lord, we do pray that over these next days You would show us Your love, and may we receive it, and may we have grace to love You more than we do today. Then, may Your love be channeled and flow through us. I pray especially for my married sisters, or those who will be (for this gal on the front row who will be married in a number of weeks) I pray, Lord, for her marriage, and for all the marriages represented, that there will be an overflowing of Your love into those marriages, that they may become intimate and bear much fruit for Your glory. We pray it in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. It’s easy to hear a message like that, get a lot out of it, but then get busy and forget what you’ve heard. I hope you’ll follow up on today’s message and really get it deep in your heart. Nancy’s here to tell you how.

Nancy: I've spent a lot of time over the last thirty years meditating on the Song of Solomon. As a result, it's become a sweet part of my personal relationship with Jesus. I know that this study in the Song of Solomon will be a much richer experience for you if you don’t just listen to it, but if you meditate on this Scripture and let it work its way into your life.

To help you immerse yourself in the Scripture we're studying, I’ve written a series of what we call "Making It Personal" questions. We’ve compiled them in a study booklet called “How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus.” There’s an entry for each day of this radio series, indicating the Scripture for that day's teaching. If you are not able to follow along with this series each day, you can go through this study at your own pace. You can re-read these passages from the Song of Solomon, and then answer these follow-up questions.

The questions will help you examine your heart. Are you living out these truths? Are you experiencing the reality of an intimate love relationship with Jesus. And if you are married, are you applying these principles in the context of your marriage. 

We’ll send you this booklet, “How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus” based on this series on the Song of Solomon, when you support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts with a donation of any amount. It's gifts from listeners like you make it possible for us to continue to keep bringing you this podcast, and we need to hear from you.

Ask for the booklet “How to Fall and Stay in Love with Jesus” when you call 1–800–569–5959, or donate at ReviveOurHearts.com. We’ll send one booklet per household for your donation during the series. Thanks so much for helping to make this teaching and this ministry possible.

Leslie: Prayers can so often get boring and predictable. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth invites you to come to the Lord and say, “Kiss me with the kisses of your mouth. Your kisses are better than wine.” She’ll launch into verse one of the Song of Songs tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture has been taken from the ESV.  Song of Song references have been taken from the NKJV.

1 Philip H. Eveson. Foreword to Ellsworth, p. 10.

Making It Personal

To get the most out of this verse-by-verse study of the Song of Songs, try to read through the entire book several times during the course of this series. You should be able to read this short book in approximately 15–20 minutes. This will give you a birds-eye view of the whole story. (This study is based on the New King James Version. You may want to print out the text at www.BibleGateway.com so you can follow along.)

As you read, make a note of any observations or questions that come to mind. Also, record your thoughts in relation to these two questions: 

  • What insights does this book give you in relation to human love and marriage?
  • What insights does this book give you regarding God’s love for His people and the relationship between Christ and His Church?

Day 2 – Introduction (Solomon’s Song—Song of Songs 1:1)

  1. "The song of songs, which is Solomon’s" (1:1). How does knowing that God chose Solomon to write this book encourage you or give you hope? 
  2. Nancy describes the Song of Songs as a picture of the pilgrimage of a believer who longs for greater intimacy with Christ. Is that true of your life? How can you experience and nurture a closer relationship with your Savior? 
  3. “My love is frost and cold, ice and snow; let His love warm me” (The Valley of Vision). Can you think of a time when your love for the Lord was “frost and cold”? How can contemplating His love for us warm our hearts?
  4. One of the themes of the Song of Songs is fruitfulness. What are some evidences of spiritual fruitfulness in your life? Are you aware of any hindrances to fruitfulness?
  5. Take some time to pray the prayer Nancy suggested at the end of today's program:
    • “Lord, show me Your love . . . help me to experience and receive it in a greater way.”
    • “Deepen my love for You.”
    • (If you are married or hope to be some day) “May Your love be seen in and through my relationship with my mate.”

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