Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Book in the Bible I Used to Avoid

In my Christian travels I spent a few years in a Word of Faith church back in the mid 80s. Yeah, you know, the name it and claim it bunch. Those blab it and grab it type people like Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin. You get the idea.
Well, with all that was wrong with that movement I can honestly tell you that I was glad for the time I spent in that church because of one very important thing. Their love for the word. This is not to say that other groups don't love the word, they do. But it was the right church for me at the right time.
Before I attended that Word of Faith church reading the Bible was something like reading the phone book. It was hard going and I didn't have a daily reading habit.
But in that Word of Faith church had a prayer line. They prayed for whoever came up front that they would have a hunger for the Word. I went up for prayer and it was wonderful after that. The Bible opened up to me and it was never like reading the phone book again.....

.....Except for one time after that.....

There was a time when I felt the Lord tell me specifically to start reading the Song of Solomon.

I didn't want to. And at first I didn't. My excuse?
"God, I don't want to read that book. It's too racy for this small town Midwestern girl. It's all about sex and it embarrasses me. It has verses like 'We have a little sister and she has no breasts'. What the heck am I supposed to do with that? Songs may have passed for poetry back in the Bible days but nowadays it's just weird to my Western Civilization ears."
(The reason I thought is was all about sex is because that is what all the sermons and books I'd ever seen and heard on it said it was about. BTW, I could probably count on one hand how many sermons and books I ever saw or read on Songs)
So I wouldn't read it. I refused.

But guess what happened.
The rest of the Bible was shut up to me so that it became like reading a phone book again. I could no longer draw spiritual life from all my old favorite verses. No matter where I read, it was flat. It made intellectual sense but did nothing for my spirit except one little ol' verse in the Psalms.

Psalm 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest He become angry with you, and you perish in the way.
For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blesses are all who take refuge in Him!

This verse jumped off the page at me. It was like firecrackers whereas the rest of the Bible was like wet wood or stone.

Some translations start off as -- Do homage to the Son, rather than Kiss the Son. And I heard at least one preacher say that the original Hebrew there for Kiss and Do homage have to do with worship, somehow.

So anyway, since reading this little ol' Psalm 2 verse made my spirit happy for reasons I couldn't explain, I decided it might be better if I go ahead and study Song of Solomon. What would it hurt?
Who, but God, knew how much the Songs would eventually mean to me.
If I ever write a non-fiction book about studying the Bible, I'll call it "Scriptures I Used to Avoid and How God Blessed Me With Them Anyway."

Just for those of you who don't know. Songs 1:2 goes like this:

"May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine."

And I found that the words contained in that book really were better than wine.


bub said...

I saw your comment on my friend Brenda's blog and thought it was such a nice note that I would stop by and check you out. Hi! Wow, Song of Solomon, huh? I haven't gotten that far in my own bible reading but looking forward to getting to it. Hope you are having a great day!


Brenda said...

Hi Mara,
I'm really glad you left me a comment the other day. Nice to meet you. It's fun to see that Bub stopped by to say hi and how you were lead to his blog. Hope you find some inspiration and hope reading about his journey. I know I have. The very little that I know of him, he is one of the nicest guys I've ever met.

Anyway, I like what you wrote in this post. It definitely seems as though God was guiding you in that strange way to read Song Of Songs. I also have been avoiding that book, not sure why, but not because all that sensual sex talk makes me embarrassed, because it doesn't. I think it's very cool that God included it in His Word. It has a very important place in marriage. I have some pain in my heart towards my husband that I'm trying to get rid of. And now I'm thinking maybe God is speaking to me through you telling me I should read it! Maybe that would help to bring healing. He's got some mysterious ways, doesn't He?

Mara Reid said...

Hi Bub and Brenda. Thank you so much for stopping in.
And Bub, thanks for your encouragement on your blog, and your prayers.

As I go through Song of Solomon, I'm not going to do it as a marriage thing having to do with our husbands on earth. I was led through it because God wanted me to get to a more intimate place with Him. Intimacy, not sensuality nor sexuality. We are, afterall, part of the body of Christ, His bride.

In my personal opinion, the sexual aspects of this book have been greatly overemphasised.
I hope that I can get this point across in my blogging.
After being through it many times and writing the words out in spiral notebooks to become more familiar with them, I don't look upon it as a sexual book at all.

Getting more intimate with God, closer to His heart, and knowing better His feelings of love for me has helped me overcome pain in my life. It has also helped me get a better attitude for my spouse.

Like I said. I hope I can pull it off. I really do look at SOS as the best song of all, within the Bible and out.

Brenda said...

Wow, I don't think I found your blog my mistake either! I also need to get to a more intimate place with God. For quite awhile He has felt very distant even though I haven't given up pursuing Him by staying in the Word and prayer. It's been very frustrating to me. I'm looking forward to reading more of your thoughts on what you get from SOS. It is difficult to read about breasts, lips, mouth, tongue, thighs, and navel, and picturing God and me. It's much more fun imagining my husband in it. But, I'm going to give it a shot. Because you may just be on to something.