February 8 I Saturday
“My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” —Psalm 84:2, NKJV
When Song of Songs, also known as Songs of Solomon, was first considered being inspired by God and part of the Hebrew Canon of Scripture, it was met with some opposition because of its explicitness. Containing only eight chapters, the book is attributed to Solomon, who writes of a romance between a man and a woman, where he encourages the positive enjoyment of sexuality within the context of marriage.
Some, who have read the Song of Songs, will note the romance and words of affection are rather different from our contemporary culture. For example, “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats…” (Song of Songs 4:1). If a husband were to say that exact statement to his wife, she would probably not feel endearment from it. Yet, what we can learn from the Song of Songs is not only a picture of human romance, love and sexual intimacy but at a deeper level, the union of human beings with God.
When the controversy about Song of Songs was eventually resolved and it was included in the Hebrew Canon, one of the Jewish rabbis of the day said, “God forbid that anyone should say that the Song of Songs renders one’s hands impure! The greatest day was the one on which Israel received the Song of Songs. All of the writings in the Bible are holy and the Song of Songs is the holiest of holies.” What he means is Song of Songs shows the deep intimacy that human beings have with God.
Paul affirms this intimacy in the New Testament: “‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ This is a profound mystery––but I am talking about Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:31-32). Paul explains that the physical union between a man and a woman is not just a biological function but also a mystery that reflects the union of Christ and His church. In other words, our desire for physical intimacy––human intimacy––is an expression of a deeper longing for our union and our intimacy with God, where sexual intimacy will never satisfy that longing because it is a longing for God.
In The World, the Flesh, and Father Smith, twentieth-century Scottish writer Bruce Marshall tells us, “…the young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God.” Is our longing for intimacy manifesting in ways that are apart from God and His intended purpose for marriage? May we turn our eyes and hearts towards God to find true satisfaction in our longing for intimacy.
Prayer: Dear God, only You alone could satisfy the deep longing of my heart and soul for intimacy. Help me to fully accept and surrender to Your love alone. Thank You for loving me.