Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

This day before Christmas Eve I want to wish all who stop through a

Merry Christmas

Christmas, as it relates to my understanding of Song of Solomon is...
Well, it's like looking at the baby pictures of the one you have fallen in love with. Jesus knew when we were conceived. He saw us in our mother's womb and was there the day we were born. The Christmas Story is Him sharing His conception and birth with us since we couldn't be there not being omnipresent and infinite like Him. ;)

I've started posts that carry on the idea from Song of Solomon of Ascending and Revealing but as expressed in other portions of scripture. However, instead of starting a series in the middle of everybody's holidays, we'll start afresh after the first of the year.

Until then, keep focusing and celebrating on the miraculous conception and birth of the Lover of our souls.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Personal Study/Journey 4

Matthew 11:28 Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Vs 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.
Vs 30 For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.

Here's another place Jesus calls us to come to Him. Here is another place that He reveals His nature. In Exodus God refers to Himself as gracious, compassionate, etc. Here, Jesus shows us that he is gentle and humble in heart. And He has the gift of 'rest' for us. Just being near Him and learning from Him in His presence will give us rest.
He knows that this world makes us tired and loads us up with burdens too heavy to bear. He knows this. He sees it. He wants to make things better for us. He calls us to Himself with promises of rest. With promises that His yoke is easy and His load is light.
Some professing to be leaders in Christianity tie up heavy burdens onto people. But they are a false leadership. They do not reflect the nature of Jesus. This is why we must press past those who 'shut off the kingdom of heaven from (in front of) men' (Mt 23:13) and find Him for ourselves. He has so much to give to our weary souls.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Personal Study/Journey 3

Exodus 34:6b ... "The LORD, the LORD GOD, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth (faithfulness).
Vs 7 Who keeps lovingkindness for the thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations."

We've had this scripture before in my November 26th post. We talked about how God wants to reveal Himself to us. This is a good verse for not just teaching about God's nature and character. It is also good to meditate on for two reasons.
1.) We see God's goodness toward those who turn to Him.
2.) He assures us that He IS just and will call into account the unrepentant someday.

I like meditating on His compassion, graciousness, patience, lovingkindness, and faithfulness.
Living in a world dominated by people who are harsh, impatient, abusive, hateful, and faithless, it is good to know that God is there for me to draw near to, for me to love, and rely on.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Personal Study/Journey 2

The second scripture is like the first.

Matthew 23:37c ... How often I wanted to gather your children together , the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

Here Jesus is lamenting over Jerusalem. And He speaks more openly of His desire for His people. He desires to gather them to Himself. Yet, here again, we see their unwillingness. It broke His heart.

And again, I can learn a lot from this.
My prayer, after meditating on this verse, might look like this:

"Lord, You longed to gather them. Show me how you want to gather me to Yourself. Forgive my unwillingness. Forgive my distraction and hardness of heart. Forgive my bitterness and resentment. Show me how to be willing to be gathered. I want to be more 'gatherable'."

I don't have to relate this verse and the last one to SOS. But I can.
The Beloved was totally 'gatherable'. When He brought her to His chambers, she was not unwilling. When He brought her to His banqueting table she came freely, no hesitation, no distraction. When He offered her His shade, like an apple tree or the wing of a hen, she sat down and took great delight.

May God help us all to be gatherable to Him.
I know that's what I want.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Personal Study/Journey

My musings on SOS 2:15 is taking longer than I thought.

So instead of abandoning this blog, perhaps writing about other scriptures that are speaking to me now might be nice. So here we go, the first of several.

John 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me;
Vs 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you might have life.

Jesus spoke this to the Pharisees. He pointed out that the main job of scripture is to bear witness of Him.
Too many people use it for other things like for support for a personal opinion or to gain dominance over another. When they do this, they are using Scripture wrongly.
Scripture is to help us find and understand God. He wants to reveal Himself to us.
I like this scripture and take it to heart because here Jesus is saying that He wants us to come to Him. And it helps me to see that sometimes (more often than what we want to admit) we are unwilling to come to Him. When I meditate and pray with this verse my prayer might go along the lines of...

"Dear God, forgive me for when I'm unwilling to come to you. Forgive me when other things pull me away and distract me so that I'm not in the frame of mind to come to you." etc.

Because the Pharisees are not the only ones who have difficulty in letting their guard down long enough to go to Him. We all have trouble from time to time and it's not wrong to ask God to help us in this area.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Proverb's Woman Break

Something Jane said made me think of something.

Those who have been with me for a long time know my view of SOS and the Proverbs 31 woman.

Essentially, I feel, that many parts of the church have it all wrong in teaching the Proverb's 31 woman. They use it as a box to confine women when really it is a proclamation of what all women can do when their husband's trust and uphold them. And it is a proclamation to husbands to learn to trust godly women.

Some churches use the Proverbs 31 Woman to heap shame upon women who don't measure up. Many women feel beat down by life and sometimes even by the church. Then to add scathing preaching on how women don't measure up with Pr 31 as the proof text is an improper use of the Word of God.

My belief is that before anyone can really accept the words of Proverbs 31, they need to be healed and delivered. This applies to both men and women.
Men who have issues and wounded areas concerning women really need to get healed. And preachers who have these issues need to refrain from preaching Pr 31 until they get healed. Otherwise they will preach condemnation and shame, taking out their woundedness on women who don't deserve it. May God pour healing on all such men.

The Song of Solomon is the perfect healing book to prepare the heart of a woman to become a Pr 31 woman. Eventually, once going all the way through SOS, I was going to go through Proverbs 31:10-31.

But Jane brings up the point that women who are called to be relief workers need to be release, upheld, and sent out, by the church. And if they are not, these women need to turn to God alone who can release, uphold, and send them out (not her words, but my best paraphrase of what I think she is saying.).

This is in keeping with the words concerning the P 31 Woman. She is defined as one who extends her hand to the poor.

And who are the poorest of the poor?

Oppressed women from ravaged, war torn nations receiving the brunt of the hatred of men.

The church is called to reach those women with healing, deliverance, and whatever protection we can muster up.

If the men will not rise up and do it, this does not mean the women can't. They need to be sent out. And nobody has to wait until I get done with my series on SOS before they act on Proverbs 31.

As a side note. I look upon Proverbs 31 in a similar way as I do SOS. I see that the Pr 31 woman can be an individual woman, all the women of the church, or even the Bride of Christ including the men of the church. Each of us must do with these passages in the Bible as we feel the leading of the spirit.
Paul calls us the Body of Christ, one may be a hand, another an eye, etc. In the church, some are called as relief workers. Not all of us, but definitely some of us. And it is not just men who are called to it. More women than the wives of men called to relief word are call to it. Single women can be called to it. Married women who have husbands that don't feel called to it, and/or aren't even Christian can be called to it.
It is a crime that parts of the Church have worked long and hard to dissuade women from pursuing relief work and other things God has called them to.
For those women who have been prevented from pursuing the call of God in their lives, may they first receive healing and forgiveness. May they forgive themselves. And may they work to get into a position to receive God's call again and act upon it, know that God's blessing rests upon it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Let Me See Your Glory

SOS 2:14 O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret place of the steep pathway, Let me see your form, Let me hear your voice; For your voice is sweet, and your form is lovely.

Yes, there is more. It gets deeper when you compare similar scripture elsewhere.

Exodus 33:18 Then Moses said, "I pray Thee, show me They glory!"
vs 19 And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion."
Vs 20 But He said, "You cannot see my face, for no man can see Me and live!"
vs 21 Then the Lord said, "Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock;
vs 22 and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.
vs 23 Then I will take My hand away and you shall see my back, but My face shall not be seen."
Exodus 34:1 Now the Lord said to Moses, "Cut out for yourself two stone tablets like the former ones, and I will write on the tablets the words that were on the fromer tablets which you shattered.
vs 2 So be ready by morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to Me on the top of the mountain.
vs 3 And no man is to come up with you, nor let any man be seen anywhere on the mountain; even the flocks and the herds may not graze in front of that mountain.
vs 4 So he cut out two stone tablets like the former ones, and Moses rose up early in the morning and went up to Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and he took two stone tablets in his hand.
vs 5 And the Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he call upon the name of the Lord.
vs 6 Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "The Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loveingkindess and truth (faithfulness);
vs 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.

In Exodus chapters 33 and 34 we have Moses calling out to God, asking to see His glory.
It must not have been wrong because God answers.
God reveals Himself and His nature proclaiming who He was, compassionate and gracious, and so much more.
The similarities between the verses above in blue and the one above that in fuchia are noticable. But the one big difference is between who's point of view (pov) it is seen. In SOS 2:14 it is from the Lover's pov. In Exodus it is from Moses's pov. Moses is part of the nation of Israel. The nation of Israel is compared to a bride or a betrothed in other places. Moses, as a representative of Israel would make Exodus 33 and 34 from the 'beloved's' pov. If you follow me.
The similarities, of course, the beloved in SOS and Moses in Exodus is the fact they were both in a high place.
Beloved -> steep pathway/cliff. Moses -> Mount Sinai.
The other thing would be the cleft of the rock.

Am I saying that these two evens are one and the same. No. Not necessarily. I'm just pointing out the similarities.
And from the comparison I'm seeing that God both wants to reveal Himself to us and wants us to reveal ourselves to Him.
In one, He assures us of His compassion, grace, and so much more.
In the other, He assures He really wants to see us, our appearance. He wants to hear us, our voice.

A major serious part of this road of ascent is the revealing of the two parties involved, the Lover and the Beloved to one another. And God encourages us, on one hand, to open ourselves up to Him, and on the other, to open our eyes and ears to see who He really is.

This is why the personal ascent of the believer up the mountain of God is so important. Too many have made God out to be what He was not. They made Him after the image of imperfect men who love imperfectly. Then people, men and women, are called to bow down to the imperfect image thinking it is true. But each believer needs to be on a quest to find who He really is. We can, and SHOULD, compare notes along the way to keep ourselves from getting off balance. But we should NEVER allow another, a preacher, a spouse, a favorite Christian personality... We should NEVER allow another to spell out every detail of God for us. We need to do our own home work. We need to ascend the mountain ourselves and find Him.

I'm not going to lie to you.

Sometimes finding the fullness of God is painful to our sinful nature. Isaiah cried out that he was being undone, torn apart at the seams in God's presence.
But hiding in the shadows and never facing the fullness of God makes fertile ground for error in our understanding of Him.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Let Me See Your Appearance

SOS 2:14 O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
In the secret place of the steep pathway,
Let me see your form,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet, And your form is lovely.

This is a very loaded and symbolic verse that I'd like to really dig into. But before we do I want to retype it with my Bible's footnotes added.

SOS 2:14 (words of the Bridegroom) Oh my dove, in the clefts of the rock (or, crag),
In the secret place of the steep pathway (or, cliff),
Let me see your form (Literal - appearance),
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet, And your form (appearance) is lovely.

I put this verse in here twice, the first time without the footnotes for the sake of initial clarity. The second time with the footnotes to add a little deeper understanding.
As I mentioned, this verse is loaded and full of meaning.
First, there is a continuation of the ascending theme of phase two.
She is on that road upward. She's on that steep pathway, climbing the rocks upward.
During this climb, the Lover of her soul wants to see her appearance and hear her voice.

Both of these are significant to women in general and oppressed women in particular. In spite of what a woman's culture tells her, her God, the True Lover of her soul wants to see and hear her. He does not desire for her voice to be take away from her, no matter what her culture or religion says. He does not despise her, hate her form or her voice.

There are some cultures that despise a woman's voice and go to great lengths to cover up her form, calling them both evil, or at the very least a stumbling block.
There are traditions that do not allow women to read the Bible. There are Muslim countries where it is against the law for women to sing.
These are the traditions of men, men who despise women.

But the Lover of women's souls, He thinks women are lovely.
And Christ, the Bridegroom of the church, He loves the praises of His people, male and female. And He loves it when they seek His face.

And this is only the first layer.
We'll have to get to the next layer in a new post or this post would become freakishly long.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Song of Ascents and Ascending

In SOS chapter one the Beloved cries out and asks the Lover to draw her to himself and let them run together.
SOS 1:4a Draw me after you and let us run together.

But what does he do first?
SOS 1:4b The king has brought me into his chambers.

Did you ever notice that. She asks for one thing, and she gets something else first.
He doesn't start answering her first request until well into chapter two.


Well, it may have to do with the fact that the believer's rest is more important than the believer's activity.

The Lover fully intends to fulfill her request. But AFTER he brings her into a place of rest, healing, refreshing, and safety. Once this is accomplished, then he can move onto calling her to a place of freedom and strength, running alongside him.

SOS 2:8 Listen, My beloved! Behold he is coming, Climbing on the mountains, Leaping on the hills.

First thing, where is he? In a high place, higher than her.

SOS 2:9 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag. Behold, he is standing behind our wall, He is looking through the windows, He is peering through the lattice.

Perhaps looking for her? Perhaps seeking her out? She sought him first. Now he seeks her.
Also notice the comparing of him to a gazelle, or young stag. Graceful, agile, strong, wild, and free.

SOS 2:10 My beloved responded and said to me, 'Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along.

Okay, NOW he is answering her request to draw her after himself so they can run wild and free together.

SOS 2:11 For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
vs 12 The flowers have already appeared in the land; the time has arrived for pruning the vines, And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.

Why is he answering her now and not before? Because the winter of her oppression is over. The spring of her new found freedom has come. The voice of peace has come and silenced the voice of turmoil in their land and in her heart.

SOS 2:13a The fig tree has ripened its figs, and the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.

Then he repeats himself and adds emphasis.

SOS 2:13b Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along!

If she wants him to draw her after himself so they can run together, then when she's ready, that's what he is going to do.
He's drawing her outward and upward to a higher place.
Like the prophet who said that God makes his feet like hinds' feet and sets him in the high places. Habakkuk 3:19
Like the psalmist who said that God sets him securely on high. Psalm 91:14
Like the sage in Proverbs says that the path of the righteous grows brighter and brighter until the noon day. Proverbs 4:18

The Song of Solomon is a song of ascents, both poetically and in its call to the beloved church to arise and shine for our Light has come. And the glory of the Lord is risen upon us. Isaiah 60:1

God is calling us, drawing us to ascend to the place where He is. If we request that He draw us after Him so we can be free and run with Him, He will answer it. He may have to bring some healing first. He may have to bring security and peace to our hearts before we are ready to run at such an exhilarating pace. But we can be assured. As long as we cooperate with Him and His work within us, our winter will past. Our wilderness or desert experience will come to and end. Then we can run with all our might the race that is set before us.

The Song of Solomon is a song of ascending. The strongest call upward appears in this second phase. But when phase II ends, the call upward does not end with it. The call to ascend to the high place God has for us is alluded in the other phases as well.
But we are not done with phase II yet. There are more encouragements and symbolism in this song of ascent.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Trouble With Earthly Kingdoms

As mentioned in previous posts, I was shocked to come across teachings on Song of Solomon (SOS) being put out by well known preachers.

You'll be glad to know, the shock has worn off. I'm past most of the angry stage and have moved more onto the sad stage. I'm going to leave the angry stage posts up because they get across pretty well what has made me angry. But I want to mention a few things that I have thought since there has been a little time and distance from the initial shock.

First of all, in the future I will avoid reading or listening to the messages that Mark Driscoll and other Shock Jock preachers like him spout off concerning SOS. Lord willing, I'll not slog through another sex saturated teaching on SOS if possible. I'd rather focus on the good things gleaned from SOS during personal study and meditation.

In a way, I feel sorry for these men because they have built part of their ministry/kingdoms on sand. Jesus Christ is the foundation of our faith. He's our Rock. Building a church on teachings about sex can't be all that stable. I may be wrong. But time will tell.

But I'm glad I'm not in their position. I'm glad I don't have to maintain the status quo to keep my kingdom going. I very much prefer meditating on the love of God as displayed through His Word. And I prefer helping others learn to seek after the height and width and length and depth of God's unfathomable love.

We seek after the Lover of our souls.

We do this so that we can then turn around and love those around us, even those that are hard to love. Even those who don't deserve it, for we know we don't deserve love but God gives it to us anyway.

With the Love of God growing in our hearts, the day will come when can actually obey God's Word where He says, "Bless those that curse you" and "Love your enemies."

It's not easy to do. And it is impossible to do if you don't 'get' God's love for you in the first place. It takes time to grow in understanding of His love. It takes more than a few hours of meditation on the verses concerning His Love. If people don't care to use SOS in their meditation on God's love, I feel no condemnation towards them.

However, if people want to condemn me for using SOS to meditate on His love, I guess I'll have to just bless those who want to curse me, put me down, marginalize me, scoff at me, etc.

I do not envy men who have built their kingdoms on the sand of over sexualizing SOS.

I feel bad for them because they have ignored a whole entire side to this book and keep others from discovering it, as well. They miss so much. May God help them to find it someday before they die.

It really would bless them if they let it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Rainbow Review of First Phase

SOS 1:1 Name and intro of song
SOS 1:2-3 Beloved praises the Lover
SOS 1:4a Beloved longs to join Lover in freedom
SOS 1:4b Choir joins in and amplifies praise.
SOS 1:5 Beloved recognizes her burnt state.
SOS 1:6 Her darkened complexion is a result of brothers' harsh treatment
SOS 1:7a She asks about affairs of the Lover
SOS 1:7b She asks why she must wander or remain veiled among Lover's companions.
SOS 1:8 Lover speaks for the first time. He tells her to seek for answers.
SOS 1:9 Lover compares Beloved to his mare.
SOS 1:10 He tells her she's beautiful with her jewelry
SOS 1:11 Choir joins in to amplify His giving and creative nature.
1:12 Beloved speaks again, this time about her perfume.
1:13 She compares lover to myrrh (healing) near her heart.
1:14 She compares Him to henna (beautifying)
1:15 Lover praises the Beloved's beauty, emphasising her eyes, (the window to her soul)
1:16a The Beloved calls him handsome.
1:16b She notes also that he is pleasant and the couch they recline on is luxuriant.
1:17 She further notes the strength and beauty of the ceiling over their heads.

In chapter one, the Beloved has 11 verses and the Lover has only 5, not even speaking until verse 8. Therefore most of the chapter is from the female point of view, not the male.

SOS 2:1 Beloved compares herself to a common and abundant flower.
SOS 2:2 Lover assures her that she is special to him.
SOS 2:3 & 4 Again the Beloved makes mention of being sheltered and fed by the Lover on no small scale.
SOS 2:4 The Beloved mentions that she is faint with love.
SOS 2:5 She desires an intimate embrace from the Lover.
SOS 2:6 The Lover asks that his beloved, or love, itself, not be awakened before it's time.

This is the end of phase one.
In phase one the Beloved has 16 verses. The Lover has only 7. Also note that after the intro the Beloved is the first to speak and her mouth is filled with praise. The Lover has the last word, but his greatest concern is for the pleasure of the Beloved. He is also concerned about pushing love too fast. He doesn't want to do that.
Also note the foundation that phase one has made for the rest of the book. There is only loving, caring, giving, and sheltering toward the Beloved from the Lover of her soul. A perfect set up for phase II.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Closing Out Phase One of SOS

Song of Songs 3:5 Sustain me with raisin cakes, Refresh me with apples, Because I am lovesick.
vs 6 Let his left hand be under my head and his right hand embrace me.
vs 7 I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the hinds of the field, That you will not arouse or awaken my love, Until she pleases.

These three verses together close out the first distinct phase of SOS. Part of verse 5 & verse 7 are repeated elsewhere to close out the third stage. All of verse 6 is repeated elsewhere and All of verse 8 is repeated to close out other phases.

I don't have much to say over verse 5.

Verse 6 is the one others have tried to sexualize, but looking up the words in the original Hebrew, embrace really only means embrace. It is a cry out for intimacy. And other than that I don't have much to say over it except for it's importance in SOS in helping to make distinctions between the phases.

Verse 7, however, is pretty loaded. I mentioned the gazelles already and will go over their significance in a later post when I get started on phase two.

The last part of the verse has been preached on by many as a warning against waking up the sexual side of a person before they are able to do anything about it in marriage. And I believe that is a completely legitimate message from preachers and parents alike to young people at any time.

However, I'm seeing more than just that in the verse. Since it appears in SOS a total of three times, and since the beloved has two dreams between these urgings of not being awakened before her time, AND lastly in chapter eight, the lover, himself, awakens her, then there may be more to the verse than what initially meets the eye.

SOS 8:5b … Beneath the apple tree I awakened you; There your mother was in labor with you, There she was in labor and gave you birth.

Was it not time to wake up in chapter one or two? Apparently not. Apparently the time for being fully awake is in chapter 8 When the Lover does it Himself. So what is going on in chapter one and even in chapter two, later when the Lover begins telling the Beloved to arise and come along?
Well, let’s think about it.
First of all, my Bible has a footnote saying that the last three words may actually be "until it pleases" rather than "until she pleases". This may not mean a thing. But it makes me wonder.
There seems to be no rush in waking up either the Beloved or love in general. What could this mean? At the very least the Lover is expressing, one way or another, that he is in no hurry. He feels no need to pressure. He is satisfied to go at her pace rather than his own. He’s satisfied for the Beloved or their love, in general, to flow naturally. He feels no need to force, coerce, or otherwise manipulate her into anything until she is good and ready to wake up to that area of love on her own, when SHE pleases.

Also, allegorically, it goes along with the idea of God being patient with us as we grow in love and learn to understand it. When we first give our hearts to the Lord, we love Him with all we have, which isn’t much. But HE receives it and loves us back. As we grow in understanding of His love for us we are able to love Him more and more.

Romans 13:11 And do this knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep: for now (our) salvation is nearer to us that when we first believed.
Ephesians 5:14 For this reason it [He] says. "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you."

When we come to the Lord, we come as babes. Babies know very little. Though they are aware, their awareness is limited. They can only take in so much, but they are learning all the time. Just as we grow physically and emotionally, so also we grow spiritually. We go through changes when we leave babyhood and enter childhood, when we leave childhood through the road of adolescence and enter adulthood. These kinds of changes also occur spiritually. We awaken to new levels, new phases all throughout our spiritual development. And these phases should not be rushed.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Song of Ascents (intro and explanation)

What is a Song of Ascents?
Well, it seems to be a poetry form used by the Hebrews around the time of David and Solomon.

My dictionary says that an ascent is 1. the act of ascending, rising, or climbing. 2. an advancement, as in rank, fame, etc. 3. a.) a way leading up; upward slope; acclivity b.) the amount of such slope [an ascent of 3 degrees].

My Holman Master Study Bible's [HMSB] encyclopedia says that "A Song of Ascent" is "a phrase occurring in the title of fifteen Psalms, 120-134, inclusive, They may be so called from a certain rhythm which is obvious in several of them, by which the sense apparently by degrees or steps, the first or last words of a preceding clause being often repeated at the beginning of the succeeding one."

So a song of ascents is a song of steps or degrees.
A good example of what my HMSB encyclopedia said is in Psalm 121. It is very strong, almost from verse to verse.

Psalm 121:1 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From whence shall my help come?
vs 2 My help comes form the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
vs 3 He will not allow your foot slip; He who keeps you will not slumber,
vs 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
vs 5 The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade on your right hand.
[and so on]

What does this have to do with the Song of Solomon (SOS)? Well, I'll tell you. SOS can be divided into very distinct stages or phases. The first two are 1.) SOS 1:1-2:7 and 2.) SOS 2:8-3:5
Both these sections end with the same verse

SOS2:7 & SOS 3:3 I adjure you, oh daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the hinds of the field that you will not arouse or awaken my love Until she pleases.

I had already noted that these two sections existed and ended with the same verse. I also noted that the second section was the next 'phase' that the bride was going through. But what I didn't notice until the other day was that the first couple of verses of the second section does this little 'song of ascent' thing in that it uses a word from the last verse of the first section.

SOS 2:9a My beloved is like a gazelle or young stag.

I already understood that SOS is a definit progression, a definit maturing and empowering process that the beloved goes through as she grows from being an oppressed maiden to being Proverbs 31 Woman material. Looking for a word or phrase to call this progression, the phrase, "A Song of Ascents" came to my mind. I though that there was a psalm called that somewhere so I looked it up and learned about this form of Hebrew poetry. And this has confirmed to me that the Song of Solomon is indeed a Song of Ascents, loosely in a poetic form, strongly in the progress the beloved makes from chapter one to chapter eight.

I have more to say about SOS being a Song of Ascent but feel the need to close out section one (1:1-2:7) before we discuss the strong upward call in section two (2:8-3:5)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Boundaries, part III

All this talk about boundaries was leading up to something, as I have warned you.
I wanted to point out that it is no small thing to move a boundary mark where real estate is concerned. It is also no small matter to transgress people's personal boundaries, men, women, or children.
Just as this is true for property and person, so also is it true for scripture.
I am saddened by the fact that a boundary marker has been moved in the Bible book, Song of Solomon (SOS). But I wrongly accused a Major Shock Jock (MSJ) of doing so. Now I know it was moved before, and he just read a book, or two, or several on SOS that led him to believe that SOS is not chronological. I am saddened to say that I also read one of those books. It is called, The Act of Marriage.

I read this book long ago. My husband and I were given this book when we were married. And I thought it was a decent book back then. And for the most part, I'm okay with it now. Except for one thing.
In my opinion, they have moved a boundary marker. It is subtle and for noble reasons. Even so, the moving of this marker is what has opened the door for others to do some serious trampling of scripture in my strong opinion.
The LaHayes wanted to use SOS 2:6 for a euphemism for something sexual. I do not know if it originated with them or with someone else. But regardless, they knew they could not use it for something sexual if the book was written chronological because the couple are not even married until chapter three. Thus, it was declared, 'not chronological'.
Just as I heard MSJ flippantly declare it, with no support, so others make the same claim and find, more secret 'euphemisms' for sex.

Those following this blog know I've brought this up before with a little bit of evidence as to why I strongly disagree with the 'not chronological' take on SOS. I'm bringing it up again for two reasons. One, I'm acknowledging that MSJ didn't come up with this himself. He read others who said it first. He liked what they said and now teaches it as fact.

The second reason I brought this up again is because I want to show more evidence that SOS is, in fact, chronological. That though there may be euphemisms for sex in it, they do not occur before the middle of chapter three.

I will present this evidence later. For now I just want to say, I understand what the LaHayes were trying to do. But what they have accomplished is to move an ancient boundary marker, thus sowing to the wind. Now the body of Christ is reaping the whirlwind with renegade preachers ordering wives to perform certain things in the bedroom that were, at one time, against our nation's sodomy laws.

[I blogged on this June 27, 2009, A Lil' More on SOS 2:3 for those who missed it]

Monday, October 19, 2009

Boundaries, part II

In this post we will look specifically at scriptures about boundaries and find out what God had to say about it.
First a couple in Deuteronomy. Note, these verses were spoken and written before the children of Israel entered the promise land to possess it. God was making sure ahead of time that these people understood the importance of respecting physical, property boundaries.

Deuteronomy 19:14 You shall not move your neighbor's boundary mark, which the ancestors have set, in your inheritance which you shall inherit in the land that the LORD your God give you to possess.
Deuteronomy 27:17 'Cursed is he who moves his neighbors boundary mark.' and all the people shall say, 'Amen'

Then later in the book of wisdom boundaries are brought up again.

Proverbs 23:10 Do not move the ancient boundary, or go into the fields of the fatherless; vs 11 For their Redeemer is strong; He will plead their case against you.

When I read Proverbs 23:10, I cannot help but think about the girls I had in my cottage at the residential treatment facility. If God was concerned about the physical property of the fatherless, how much more is He concerned over their physical body, or their hearts and emotions. And yes, I considered my girls fatherless. They had no fathers to protect them from abuse. And in some cases, it WAS their fathers that abused them, which meant that their fathers were not fathers at all.

Hosea 5:10 The princes of Judah have become like those who move a boundary; On them I will pour out my wrath like water.

Again, God points out that He is judge and that He takes boundaries very seriously.

Proverbs 15:25 The Lord will tear down the house of the proud, But He will establish the boundary of the widow.

God is the ultimate establisher of boundaries for people and also nature.

Job 38:8 Or who enclosed the sea with doors, when, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; vs 9 When I made a cloud its garment, And thick darkness its swaddling band, vs 10 And I placed boundaries on it, And I set a bolt and doors. vs 11 And I said, 'Thus far you shall come, but no farther; And here shall you proud waves stop.'?

And when you think about it. That is what the Ten Commandments are all about even though the word 'boundary' never occurs in them. The top Ten Establish boundaries that protect people. Stealing is a definite boundary violation. Adultery violates the boundaries of marriage. And of course, the ultimate boundary and trampling over another individual it murder.
So boundaries of the weak and helpless are important to God. He established boundaries for people to follow, and also for all His creation to follow.
And He takes a dim view of those who ignore boundaries or think they don't apply to them.
He curses them and pours out His judgement upon them. And He fights for those who are weak and cannot defend their own boundaries.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Boundaries, part I

I can't remember if I've talked about boundaries here before. I know I have else where, had discussions and what not with other bloggers over boundaries. I'd like to talk about boundaries as it pertains to something I see in Song of Solomon (SOS) but feel I need to lay some ground work. Thus, this short series on boundaries.

And don't worry, I'll not go over the books written on boundaries by two Christian men. Most of the people who come here most likely have already read them. But in case someone comes along here's a link to their amazon listing.

You don't have to read any of these books to understand what I'm going to write about. But it wouldn't hurt to read them for the sake of the rest of your life.

Okay, enough about that.

For those who don't know, I worked, for a time, in a residential treatment facility for troubled youth. The 'cottage' I worked in had 9 girls (ages 13-17), 7 of which had been prostitutes at one time including the youngest.

One thing I learned was that most of these girls had boundary issues resulting from the fact that those who should have been caring for them growing up did not respect their boundaries. Many, if not all, of these girls had been sexually molested or raped by family members, mother's boyfriends, their own friends or boyfriends. In other words, their personal boundaries had been trampled on by people who didn't know enough or care enough to respect their boundaries.

So one of the things that our treatment facility was trying to train them was how to recognize and respect their own boundaries and the boundaries of others. When someone came too far into their personal space, some of them would put up a hand and say, "Boundaries!" and the others knew what she meant. Sometimes it was a joke, like playing around. Sometimes they didn't take it seriously. But at least someone somewhere was trying to teach them how to protect their own boundaries.

Viewing this in that treatment facility and then reading the Cloud and Townsend books really opened my eyes to what boundaries are and how so many in this world don't respect them, at all.
And this disrespect for boundaries is also present within the church.

Monday, October 12, 2009

October Update #2

Been meditating on a certain section of scripture outside of SOS and wanted to mention it here.

Those interested in my further musings on SOS need not worry. I've not dropped it. I'll get back to it. Things are stirring in my heart again in that area but I have to have time to look up scriptures concerning it. Plus, also, this meditation does actually touch on my understanding of SOS.

But the scripture that's rolling around within me now, I don't need to look up.
I can quote it from memory.
It comes from John Chapter one the first five verses.

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being by Him and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
In Him was Life. And the Life was the Light of men.
And the Light shines in the darkness. And the darkness did not comprehend (or overcome) it.

I memorized this one while still young in the Lord. It has been a source of strength and comfort.

Notice in the last line that I have parenthesis that contain the word overcome. I put that there because that is what the footnote in my Bible says could be used in the place of comprehend. When I was young, the idea of Light overcoming darkness was a more powerful, needed, and even a romantic or heroic thought than the fact that darkness could not comprehend Light.

But lately, I have seen how deep and foundational the truth of darkness not getting/understanding/comprehending the Light. The longer I walk this earth, the more I see people who think they have the Light, walking around in darkness and not really understanding what the true Light is.

As an example, think of the Old South and slavery. Slave owners used to use the Bible to support their practice of slavery. Since their were laws in the Old Testament and Advice given to masters and slaves in the New Testament, this was good enough for plantation owners to continue in this barbaric practice.

But I like the words of Abraham Lincoln. (borrowed from Molly's AIM blog. Thanks Molly!): "Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally. "

Our 16th president had a better grasp on Light than the plantation owners. He understood 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'
The plantation owners were only interested in the parts of the Bible that they could use to maintain their privileged life style on the backs and sweat of others.

There is another example of a man being completely blinded by the darkness of this world and the darkness of his own mind. Yet he held up certain Bible verses as proof of his privilege and used them to lord it over another. This example can be found in my May 21, 2009 post, "The Big Picture". I'd link it here but for some reason my attempts to link to my own posts never succeed. But it's in my archives.

A friend of mine told me about something her young son said to her one day. He turned to her and said, "Mom, I'm five now. I know everything."
We laughed at this. But really, this boy demonstrated what happens to some Christians when they think they have 'arrived' at some spiritual pinnacle. They think they have a firm handle on truth and Light. But they don't. They don't know that they have some knowledge and knowledge puffs up. It's all around us.

There was a man in our history around the time of the revolution, wish I could remember who he was. Any way, he was a lawyer or a judge or something and a Christian. But people always saw him scribbling on paper. And since he was such a knowledgeable and wise man, people believed he was scribbling down great amounts of wisdom.
One person braved a chance and looking at this man's notes and was shocked to find that all he had written was, "More light, Lord. More light."

This historical figure had it figured out that we live in a dark world and needed light. He didn't make the mistake of looking around and deciding that what he saw and what he thought was Light. He knew better than that. He knew that God's ways are higher than our ways and God's thoughts are higher than ours.

Too many men, preachers included, think that the darkness bumping around in their own heads is not darkness, but light. They err in their thinking and believe it is the truth and even use the Bible to back it up. But they miss the Light altogether. They miss it because they do not comprehend it.

I like how Ezekiel responded to God when God presented him the Valley of Dry Bones. God asked him if those bones could live again. Ezekiel knew better than to say yes or no. He said to God, "Thou knowest" because he knew he had no clue himself.

God invites use to come and reason with Him. Though our sins are like scarlet, He can make them white as snow. Though we live in a world of darkness and are steeped in dark thoughts, He can call us out into the Light. If we humble ourselves and stop thinking we have some sort of corner on the truth market, then He can send His Light to overcome the darkness.
But if we insist on living in the darkness, and calling it light. Our darkness will not comprehend true Light when It shines in the lives of others.

Friday, October 9, 2009


It's been over a month since my last post and I thought I better update people.

It's true I've hit a snag with this blog personally. But I'm sure I'll get through it and post more on this topic soon.

But, as with all of us, we go through busy times and busier times. And I'm going through one of those busier times. But it's good.

I'm teaching a junior high Sunday School class in my church and I love it. I like how our church does it. They divide up the year in quarters and have different teachers every quarter so no one gets burned out. The core group of kids in the jr. high class are an absolute delight and I love preparing lessons for them and teaching them and watching them grow.

This year I've had the privilege of putting together my own curriculum for them based on Dick Eastman's book, The Hour That Changes the World. It's a classic. Even though it's an adult book, my kids are pretty sharp and are able to follow along.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interest in prayer. It covers eleven types of prayer, all mentioned in the Bible. Many of these types of prayer, however, are unknown to the average Christian and not utilized by the Church to their full extent.

Eastman does an excellent job explaining these prayers, using both scriptures and the words of Christians from all ages.

Even if the structure he sets up for prayer time is not to your liking, his teachings on these different types of prayers are a must have for anyone taking prayer seriously.

Okay, enough from me.

If anyone out there is still reading, I'd like to hear about books on prayer that you like. And, in fact, you don't have to limit it to that. If some book you have read recently has really helped you, opened a door for you, made God more real, or something along those lines, I'd like to hear about it. Thanks so much.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Revisiting SOS 2:3 in Context

Well, were back at Song of Solomon (SOS) 2:3.

SOS 2:3 Like an apple tree among the trees to the forest, So is my beloved among the young men (sons). In his shade I took great delight and sat down, And his fruit was sweet to my taste.

I don't want to spend a lot of time on it but want to point out a few more things I overlooked in my initial shocked reaction to some off-balanced teaching on it.

The Main Shock Jock (MSJ), when he approached this verse in the cleaned up version of his series got a real smug and self-satisfied look on his face and said something to the affect of, "This shulimite was very bold and had no inhibitions..." wink, wink, nod, nod. And he implied that this verse SOS 2:3 was all about her performing oral sex (OS) on Solomon.

Well, if MSJ would have actually read SOS from chapter one, verse one and saw the actual point of view (pov) of the maiden from the very beginning, he might not have presumed to decided for her what her pov was. Then again, MSJ displays that he can only view SOS through the clouded lens of his man's man, with a man-sized sexual appetite pov.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, when you take SOS as a whole, you begin to see that this is the story of a pretty, but wounded and insecure young lady and the process she goes through to grow and become a strong capable woman, like the Proverbs 31 woman. She is not the bold, brazen sex kitten MSJ wants to paint her out to be in SOS 2:3. She gets bold later as I pointed out in my previous post. But here at the beginning of Chapter two, she is no where near the bold, no inhibitions woman MSJ wants women to be in the bed room.

MSJ is projecting upon her what he wants, and it is just another case of "Guys!!! It's NOT all about YOU and what YOU want and how YOU want your wife to cater to YOU. It's not about how you want your 'fruit' to be sweet to her taste. YOU don't define her fruit. She does. SOS 2:3 are the words of the female, not the male. Please actually hear what she is saying in the context of the whole and stop pulling out bits and pieces and hearing what you want her to say. SOS 2:3 is not about you and what you want. It's about the female and how HER needs have been met by the male, the Lover of her soul."

As mentioned before, she refers to herself as dark and oppressed. And even a couple verses previously, she again looks at herself and thinks she is nothing special. And here MSJ paints her out to be aggressive like the girls in the porn magazines. He paints her the way he wants her to be rather than paying attention to what the words actually say.

Even the verse after SOS 2:3 shows the context to support the pov of a young lady appreciating food and shelter, both real and symbolic. As in real food in a banquet hall and the refreshing food of loving interaction. As in the physical shelter of a house and the shelter of love and protection.

SOS 2:4 He has brought me to his banquet hall (house of wine) And his banner over me is love.

SOS 2:4 supports and repeats SOS 2:3. It's not about what the Beloved is giving to the Lover in the way of sexual favors. It is about what the Lover has given, is giving, and continues to give the Beloved. Again, MSJ has it backwards. A verse from the Beloved's pov talking about what she has received has been turning into a verse about what she gives, that is, what some men pressure their women to give to them. (Note: Some women do like OS. That's between them and their partner. But more often you hear the stories of men pressuring women into this behavior that many women find to be distasteful. Pun intended. Dear men, don't make the mistake of thinking SOS 2:3 is God giving you permission to pressure your wife into ANYTHING. If you think this, you completely and totally fail in your understanding of SOS. You are too immature and self-centered to have the right to even read this book let alone teach on it.)

Just because men think receiving OS from a woman is sweet (the male pov), this doesn't give them the right to define sweet for the woman. Let the woman have her own pov and stop projecting what you want onto her. Projecting your own needs onto another is a sign of immaturity. And when you manipulate the Bible to project your needs onto another, and use that to push your agenda onto another, you rush in to where angels fear to tread.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Beloved Relapses Into Insecurity (SOS2:1)

SOS 2:1 I am the rose of Sharon (crocus), The lily of the valleys.

It is said that the rose of Sharon was a common flower that carpeted the fields during the rainy season. Here, it appears that the Beloved says that she is just one of many. And when the Lover showered her with his gifts and blessings, she bloomed as any common flower would. She was nothing special. She has a bit of a relapse into looking at herself and seeing herself in an inferior light.

But the Lover assures her that she is special to Him

SOS 2:2 Like a lily among thorns, so is my darling among the maidens (daughters).

She is not the self-assured bride with no inhibitions that MSJ wants to portray in the next verse. She still has a long way to go before she becomes the bold woman who says in SOS 8:1 ..."If I found you outdoors, I would kiss you; No one would despise me either". Boldness comes to her. But much later, after a considerable time receiving love, gifts and healing from her Lover. We see a hint of her blossoming confidence in chapter three. We see more of it in chapter five. But by chapter eight it is full blown boldness.

In fact, if you take SOS as a whole, you can see the progression of the abused, knocked down young lady into healing, wholeness and boldness. In chapter one, she is not Proverbs 31 woman material yet. She comes through a full healing before she is ready for that.

People who don't take SOS as a whole, but who cherry pick verses and put their spin on them don't recognized the chronological progression and make the mistake of flippantly saying that SOS is in not chronological. I understand that people can read the book several times and not see this. But knowing and seeing the chronology of it, myself, makes me want to cry out to the cherry pickers, "Have you ever actually read the book? All the way through? From start to finish? Or are you just leapfrogging from one 'good bit' to another?"

So, in chapter two, the first verse she shows her insecurity and need for reassurance. A need that the Lover adoringly bestows on her in verse two.

This inspires her in verse three and four to again praise him for what he has done for her so far.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Closing Out SOS Chapter One

SOS 1:15 How beautiful you are, my darling, How beautiful you are! Your eyes are like doves. vs 16 How handsome you are, my beloved, and so pleasant! Indeed our couch is luxuriant! vs 17 The beams of our houses are cedars, Our rafters, cypresses.

SOS 1:15-17 close out chapter one with the Lover and Beloved expressing admiration for one another.

In addition the Beloved seems astonished at how pleasant the Lover is. Is it because her brothers were not pleasant? Was it because they were angry and harsh with her and demanding? Does this pleasant behavior from the Lover surprise her? Was she beginning to think that all men were harsh and demanding? Did she feel that if her own brothers, those of her own blood were harsh, then surely a prince would be as bad or worse because of his exalted position?

He was not harsh. He did not send her out into the scorching sun to do his bidding. He did not send her out to labor in his field. He welcomed her into the chambers of his own home and had her recline at his table and eat his food. No wonder she thought the couch luxuriant. No wonder she loved the beams and rafters of his house that sheltered from the harsh sun and the harsh treatment of her own family. She loved the food and shelter of his home, food and shelter that he shared with her freely.

She felt more at home with him than in her own home.

On an allegorical note. Some women live with pretty harsh men. (and I know it also goes the other way, but I'm talking to women who can think outside the box and don't mind the allegorical side to SOS. ;)) Sometimes women come to false conclusion that God views them the way the men in their lives view them. It is a blessed change when a woman realizes that God loves her soul just as much as He loves a man's. And God loves her in ways the men in her life cannot even touch. God has the fruit of the Spirit working in Him toward her, love, patience, kindness, gentleness, peace, goodness, (etc) even as the men around her are impatient, judgemental, sarcastic, harsh, and unkind.

Also in the spirit of I Corinthians 13 she finds out that God is patient, God is kind and is not envious. He doesn't brag and is not arrogant. He does not act unbecomingly and doesn't always seek His own way. He's not provoked nor does He take into account a wrong suffered. He does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. He bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. God's love never fails.

God's love is a far cry from the love of men who are arrogant, brag, seek their own way, are easily provoked, and take into account every wrong suffered.

P.S. Men who are tired of the harsh nature of the people (men and women) around them can also bask in the wondrous knowledge of a God who loves as I described above. Looking at the allegorical nature of SOS isn't as disgusting as MSJ tries to paint it out to be. It has real emotional and spiritual benefits for both genders.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Trouble With Boxes

There is a book out called, "Men are Like Waffles -- Women Are Like Spaghetti".
Here is a quote from the little blurb you can find on Amazon:

"Bill and Pam Farrel explain why a man is like a waffle (each element of his life is in a separate box), why a woman is life spaghetti (everything in her life touches everything else), and what these differences mean."

I read the book a few years back and remember that the authors said that when men are in one box, they can really only think of the things that pertain to that box. If it is something that doesn't pertain to that box (in their mind), then they more or less have to mentally exit the box they are in and move over to the box that contains what the thing you ask them to think about.

Well, this is what I see going on with certain preachers and their messages on Song of Solomon (SOS). They say, SOS is about marriage and sex and that's all. It can't possibly be about anything else. They CANNOT see outside the box. And just because they can't see outside the box they decide that nothing exists outside that box pertaining to SOS.

The Main Shock Jock (MSJ) preacher, Mark Dricsoll, makes this mistake. It is reported that he said if SOS is allegorical then Jesus does (I can't even mention what he says but it is sexual and highly inappropriate) to him.

What I actually heard on part two of his series was mockery and derision for anyone who thought SOS could be allegorical. He brought up the most ridiculous allegorical applications of SOS in the history of man, held them up to be laughed at, then smacked that argument down as proof positive that all allegorical applications were just as laughable and needing to be squelched.

So, here I am. A person that tried to avoid SOS as I mentioned in my January 25th, 2009 post before I ever hear of Mark Driscoll.

But God was persistent to encourage me to go there. When I gave in and obeyed, then He opened it up to me in ways I never saw before. I knew, before I got into it that many thought of it as an explicit book. And even once into it, my dear husband did reaped some benefit from my meditations.

But then, I'm a woman. I'm not like a waffle, according to the book I mentioned above. I'm like spaghetti. Every part of my life touches every other part of my life. I can think outside the box because I'm not trapped in one.

And this, my friends, may be one of the ways women were created to help men. To see outside their little waffle cubicle thinking. To see the forest that all these trees add up to.

As I mentioned before. It doesn't bother me that people use SOS to teach about sex and marriage. SOS is big enough for both that and an allegorical view. My beef is not really with preachers who preach on the sexual aspects. My beef is with the small-mindedness of some preachers who cannot think outside the box. The all encompassing box that sex can become if you don't spend enough time outside that box. And not only do they remain trapped in their little boxes, they insult, mock, ridicule and otherwise put down all others who aren't sucked up and consumed by the sex box as well.

You older people remember those gizmos they used to sell on TV.
You know. "It slices, it dices, it makes julianne fries."

Well, it is as though the SOS=SEX crowd says SOS can slice, but can't dice and sure as heck can't make julianne fries.

You've heard the saying, "There's more than one way to skin a cat."
Well, the Mark Driscoll SOS=SEX crowd says. "No, there is only one way to skin a cat, the right way, my way, which also happens to be God's way."

You remember the old westerns where the gunslinger comes into town, gets off his horse and trudges toward the other gunslinger, spurs a clinkin' "This town ain't big enough fer the both of us..."

Well the MSJ and his clones says, "SOS ain't big enough for both our views, so I'm gonna verbally shoot yours all to pieces."

This is what Mark Driscoll does when he ridicules any other view but his own.
And that is the trouble with burly, verbal gunslingers hunkered down in little boxes.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Manipulating Scripture For Personal Benefit

The below verses are attributed to the Beloved.

SOS 1:12 While the king was at his table, My perfume gave forth its fragrance. vs 13 My beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh Which lies all night between my breasts. vs 14 My beloved it to me a cluster of henna blossoms in the vineyards of Engedi.

Verse 12 is pretty self explanatory. Except I wonder if her perfume was among the gifts that the Lover has given her.

Verse 13 we have gone over. Not surprisingly, the Main Shock Jock (MSJ), Mark Driscoll, made reference to how a man finds comfort between the breasts of a woman. I'm not arguing that this bit of information about men liking women's breasts is not true. But I am saying, point blank, that is not what this specific verse is about. There is a verse in the Bible that is better suited at expressing that bit of info about men than SOS 1:13.

Proverbs 5:18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth. vs 19 As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated (intoxicated) always with her love.

In SOS 1:13, rather, it is the Beloved who is referring to her own breasts and referring to her Lover as being like a pouch of myrrh she keeps near her heart. But we've been over that in my June 30th post and I don't care to belabor that point.

Now, as for verse 14...

SOS 1:14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms In the vineyards of Engedi.

Sigh. The first mistake Driscoll makes here is not rightly defining the word Engedi. He said it was a desert region.

Well, I hate to nitpick, but Driscoll bases his entire teaching of verse 14 on Engedi BEING a desert. He goes into how a wife is supposed to be an oasis for her husband in this dried-out-desert-existence they call a life.

To begin with, my Holman Master Study Bible's (HMSB) encyclopedia states that the literal meaning of Engedi is "fountain of a kid" and that the Engedi is "a fertile region of the W. shore of the Dead Sea, named from a warm spring which still issues out of the cliff at this point: called also Hazazon-tamar (division or row of palm trees)."

So he gets the part about Engedi wrong which points out blaringly that he does not have the heart of a teacher. As an aside to this, I've heard others say that Driscoll would make an excellent evangelist because he gets people saved. I heard someone else say that once people are saved in his ministry that they should move onto somewhere else to receive teaching because he "ignores sound Biblical exegesis". Not even sure I know what exegesis is. But I do know a true teacher of the word who actually has the God-given heart of a teacher would not make such a mistake and then base a whole teaching on it. A mistake in passing is one thing. Misdirecting an entire teaching because of not looking deep enough to make sure the basic facts are straight is something all together different.

Back to SOS 1:14.

Just for sake of argument, let's say my Bible's encyclopedia is wrong and that Engedi really IS a desert. What MSJ says about the marriage bedroom being an oasis in a desert really isn't a bad teaching. Even the part about men working hard to support their families and that they need for their wives to be a cluster of henna blossoms when they come home. It's very sweet, really. A good picture. Problem is, as I mentioned in my last post, he takes verse 14, the words and feelings of the female, steals them from her and hands them over to the male... Then later throws her a crumb and says something about the bedroom needing to be an oasis for both after he'd gone on and on about the man's needs.

Now I can see one thing. How many men want to look at themselves as henna blossoms? That is not a view of themselves that most men want to think about. But the Beloved also refers to him as myrrh which is also a plant. Is there something about henna that is good for a woman, a part of it that is specifically and exclusively for a woman as opposed to men?

My MHSB encyclopedia has this to say about henna. It "is a tall shrub of much beauty and fragrance, native of Egypt and far eastern countries. Women in the Oriental countries used a yellowish-red dye made of its powdered leaves for coloring their fingernails and toenails, and sometimes the soles of their feet."

Well, what do you know? The henna plant is used for beautifying. This thought does not go against the teaching that God beautifies us. Remember Ezekiel 16?

Vs 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dress was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour, honey, and oil; so you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. Vs 14 Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you," declares the Lord, God.

Nor does it go against Ephesians 5:25-29:
Vs 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; vs 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, vs 27 that He might present to Himself the Church in all her glory having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. vs 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; vs 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church.
Nor does it go against the context of Chapter One of SOS. It is the Beloved who's life is a desert. She is the one forced to work out in the heat of the sun by angry brothers. It is the Beloved who was sun burnt and perhaps blistered. If she had been left out there in the sun and not brought into the palace, she probably would have prematurely wrinkled.

Solomon grew up in the palace. He could sit on a purple cushion while servants fanned him with peacock feathers and fed him grapes one at a time. His life was no desert. He was rich and had everything to give and little to gain except the pleasure of being able to give to the sun burnt little Shulimite brought in from the vineyards.

(Side note. Notice that the way Solomon in SOS and God in Ezekiel beautify their brides is not by rebuking, shaming, or otherwise putting them down or in their places. They beautified them by giving and giving and giving some more. I only bring it up because I have seen men take Ephesians 5:26 as an open invitation by God for an open season on their wives and pick at them to try to "sanctify" them. Jesus sanctified us, first by dieing on the cross. Then by giving and giving and giving some more.)

So we see in verse 13 that the Lover is a healing balm and in verse 14 that He is beautifying to the Beloved. But Driscoll stole away the female's expression of feelings and needs and how the Lover meets them and handed it over to the male. This is the work of a thief, or at the very least, a preacher who thinks it's all about him and the male point of view.

No wonder men don't want to look at this book too closely. It is a hard message for a man to take. No wonder some want to just focus on the "good bits" and skim over the rest of it. It's a tall order being the Lover of this story. You have to be rich, be very giving, and stop being so self-centered. What earthly man can fill this order? Not many.

These first couple of chapters of SOS are about a prince who decides to pour out all his best on an oppressed maiden. Turning this book exclusively into a marriage manual all about how husbands and wives should treat each other confuses the text. Sure, good things can be gleaned from it for marriage even for today. But if that's all it is about, then these preachers need to see ALL of what SOS is saying and apply all the parts properly, giving the female her parts and the male his and stop mixing them up and changing them around to better suit the male point of view (pov).

Why? Because SOS is not JUST about the male pov. Neither is it about the female pov that men approve of and want to see (more on this in a later post). It is also about the wounded female heart that many men don't want to see and gloss over as though such a thing doesn't exist. Or if a woman's heart really is wounded, it is somehow the woman's own fault and she just needs to shape up, all the while serving the man with a sweet disposition.

Yes, I've heard messages from preachers about bitter women. I've heard the rebukes and criticisms, and blaming that these senseless preachers freely pour out on already wounded hearts. I've heard about the merciless shaming of pastor's wives who "let themselves go". What do these men know about a woman's heart? Nothing.

They know nothing because they do not care. The heart of a woman is of little value to them. They care about the outward rather than the inward. If the outward is not seemly enough, then let the ridicule fly. If the outward attitude is not sweet, then run her off and call her Jezebel since she is of no use to the man and not worth his trouble.

Thank God, He knows everything about women. Thank God, He cares deeply about every wound. Thank God, He sees past the sometimes prickly self-defenses of a wounded woman and seeks after her heart. He poured Himself out generously to heal and comfort every woman cursed and spoken against by self-righteous preachers, supposed brothers, false shepherds who attack the ewes to garner favor with the rams.

God heals and comforts without adding shame. He is the LORD our Healer. He is the LORD our Provider. And you can find those aspects of God in SOS.

Monday, July 27, 2009

It's Not About You

Anybody read "The Purpose Driven Life"?
I tried to start it. The first chapter was -- It's not about you!
Which is probably a very good message. But it was the wrong message for me at the wrong time.
As I've mentioned before, I'm married to a man with Adult ADHD. He's a good man with a bad disorder that went undiagnosed for the first 17 years of our marriage. And one thing I learned in those years is that it was never about me. My spouse's disorder consumed him, me, and much of our family life. I already knew it wasn't about me.

So when I read that first chapter of that book, my only reaction was, "NO FREAKING KIDDING IT'S NOT ABOUT ME! When has it EVER been about me?" I wanted to throw the book against the wall.
Needless to say, it was the wrong book for me at the time.

The books I needed and read were the ones that said things like, "When your family member's disorder has you tied up in a pretzel, it's not only okay to back off and take time for yourself, you NEED to take time to take care of yourself. If you don't you will have a break down and you will not be able to help yourself let alone your family."

In addition God led me into Song of Solomon (SOS) and opened my understanding to it so that I could see... Yes, even in the Bible, sometimes IT IS about me. It is about my needs and my healing and what makes me happy.

God showed me that He has seen my burnt out state from dealing with my husband's disorder. He has seen the bitterness that this disorder launched within me. He was deeply concerned over my pain. He cared for my wounds, my needs, my healing. And He showed that to me in SOS and Ezekiel 16 and Hosea 2 and even Psalm 45 (which we haven't gone to yet). Provision for my wounded female heart, and all female hearts had been provided. I just had to let Him show me.

So this is why it upsets me so when preachers mess with SOS. This is why it irks me when supposed Bible teachers play fast and loose with the scriptures.

This is why when the Main Shock Jock (MSJ) twisted parts of SOS that pertained to what the female thought, wanted, needed and how the male met those needs and made it all about what the male thought, wanted, needed and how the female was to meet those needs I had an intense reaction.

And now I know who "The Purpose Driven Life" is written for. It's written for men who think it's all about them. It's all about them getting what they want and using the Bible to do it. It's about men who turn scriptures around and take the portion given to women away from the women and giving it to the men so that the gospel becomes even better for men at the expense of women. It is written to men who want to twist the gospel into a male favoring gospel.

Am I getting out of line?

Well, maybe. But my next post will be about a section of scripture that MSJ, either intentionally or unintentionally, turned on it's head. He took words that were attributed to the female and gave them to the male then used that as an admonishment to wives to meet their husband's needs.

Understand. I know everybody has needs. But sometimes, some young, male preachers have very strong drives within themselves. And some of these drives have not been contained using the fruit of the Spirit of self-control. And these preachers make the mistake of overlooking the needs of women or even telling women what their needs should be rather than allowing women to have and express their own needs.

The end result is that areas of scripture that women can meditate on for their own healing are taken away from them.

These areas of healing are good for a woman's heart. When her heart is healed, her family gets the benefit because she is better able to love them. She is more complete and able to love more fully. But these women don't even know those healing scriptures exist for them because some man thinks SOS is all about him and his uncontrollable drive and confuses that drive as being a most important need. Since it's all about him and his wife must only have needs pertaining and corresponding to his own needs, he leaves no room for the possibility that anything in SOS might be about anything else. His wife is not allowed to have needs that SOS speaks to that he doesn't approve.

In addition, if a man needs healing in his heart, he can turn to the allegorical nature in SOS, consider himself as part of the Church/Bride, and get in on some of that wondrous healing too. After all, there are men out there married to abusive women or women with disorders. There are men who have been abused by fathers or mothers or both. There are men who have been burnt by school situations, work situation, family situations, or church situations. There are men who need healing in the deep places of their masculine heart, that place no one can really touch or minister to except God.

Which is another reason preachers should not over-sexualize SOS and read sexual content into certain verses that don't even talk about sex. People can't get past the visualizations created by such exaggerations. People cannot get into the healing parts, the parts about the heart, because someone keeps pointing them toward sex. And everyone knows that sex sells. Kingdoms can be built through selling sex. We've seen that with certain men and their girly magazines. Who knew a church could be built on it? But it's a kingdom built on sand.

So anyway. The title of this post should have been, "Hey guys! SOS is NOT all about you and your needs and how you think sex should be and how your wife can work real hard to make it that way for you." Yes, I know, it is in part about you and in part about sex. But it is also about how you can love and give and listen to your wives, how you can woo her. It's about her hurts and her needs. You can either be like the brothers in SOS 1:6 who demand service and harp on how her body can best serve you. Or you can be like the Lover and actually LOVE her heart and soul and be part of her healing if she needs it.

Some of you not seeing it yet? Yeah, I know. It's hard to see the forest for the trees. It's hard to see the overall view of SOS when all the teaching you've had is someone over focusing on the "good bits" that tantalize and cater to the male libido like a girly magazine.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Little Aside Related to SOS

I believe I had mentioned earlier somewhere that I was not interested in slogging through the Main Shock Jock's (MSJ) very long series on Song of Solomon (SOS). However, since then, on another blog, a MSJ supporter challenge me to listen to part 2 of MSJ's series claiming that if I actually listened and watched I wouldn't find it all that objectionable.

Just so you understand... the reason I don't refer to MSJ by name is because I don't want his supporters and defenders doing intense searches and coming upon my site. My site is more for healing than debating. I don't want one angry person or small group to come in here and scoff and mock as they have been trained to do by example from the preaching of MSJ. I don't want to have to shut down comments because the wrong people show up.

Anyway, back to my story. I went ahead and followed the link and listened to MSJ's message. And true to the supporter's word, much of what he said in the beginning before he actually got into the Word was pretty decent. He spoke about the love languages and talked about feeling protective over his wife even before they were married. He talked about getting her the kind of house she wanted, rather than what he wanted. All fairly decent. But as I listened, I kept in mind that this was the cleaned up version that took the place of the more outrageous version that they pulled.

To be fair, I treated this version as though it was the only version. And when done I went back to the blog where the MSJ supporter issued his challenge and told him honestly what I told you above.

BUT, I added that when listening to any preacher, one must eat the hay and spit out the sticks.
And with MSJ, there are MANY sticks.

For one thing, when MSJ actually got into the section of SOS that he wanted to cover, he displayed a clear lack of understanding of the overall view of SOS. He read it and interpreted it as a man with an agenda, rather than a Bible teacher. In short, his personal bias and cherry picking tactics made SOS into what he wanted it to be about sex and marriage rather than what it actually said.

So why do I bring this up now? Well, we are getting into a section in the first chapter that he covered in his series that I disagree with and wanted to explain how I know what he said when elsewhere I said I really didn't want to get into it. No, I don't want this blog to be an "answer" back to his teaching. But his teaching is out there for everyone to see. And I see error in it and will take that on in the next post or two.

Monday, July 20, 2009

More on the Giving Nature of God

A quick recap of Song of Solomon (SOS) Chapter One.

After the introducing of the book in verse 1, the Beloved goes right into praising the Lover, longing for Him in verses 2 and 3. In verse 4 he brings her into his presence, where she is exhilarated and the choir joins in praise. By the way, according to a verse in the Psalms, the Beloved came into the presence of the Lover the correct way.

Psalm 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.

Then once in his presence the Beloved becomes painfully aware of her own shortcomings and confesses them in verses 5 & 6. Even so in verse 7 she asks about his affairs.

In verse 8 the Lover tells her. In verse 9 He compares her to his mare, very lovingly. Then verse 10 the choir joins in to amplify his desire to give gifts to her.

Now we are going to take little excursion into another verse that is an allegory of God's love like a husband to a bride. It is toward a city. Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 16:8 Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread my skirt over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into covenant with you so that you became Mine," declares the Lord, God.

Vs 9 "Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil.

Vs 10 I also clothed you with embroidered cloth, and put sandals of porpoise skin on your feet; and I wrapped you with fine linen and covered you with silk.

Vs 11 And I adorned you with ornaments, put bracelets on your hands, and a necklace around your neck.

Vs 12 I also put a ring in your nostril, and earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head.

Vs 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dress was of fine linen, silk, and embroidered clothe. You ate fine flour, honey, and oil; so you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty.

Vs 14 Then your fame went forth among the nations on account of your beauty, for it was perfect because of My splendor which I bestowed on you," declares the Lord, God.

The above verses are a witness to God's giving nature which is expressed in SOS 1:11

So are the below verses in Hosea. They express God's lovingkindess and tendermercies even to a people, the nation of Israel, who have rebelled against Him.

Hosea 2:8 "For she does not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the new wine, and the oil, And lavished on her silver and gold, Which they used for Baal."

Vs 14 "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Bring her into the wilderness, And speak kindly to her (upon her heart).

Vs 15 Then I will give her her vineyards from there, And the valley of Achor as the door of hope. And she will sing there as in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.

Vs 16 And it will come about in that day," declares the LORD, "That you will call Me Ishi (my husband) And will no longer call Me Baali (my master).

Vs 17 For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, So that they will be mentioned by their names no more.

Vs 19 And I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, In lovingkindness and in compassion.

Vs 20 And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the LORD.

Is there any more question about the giving nature of God?

If only those devoted to the idea that SOS is only about married sex could grasp the higher understanding of SOS. Not only is it a love story between Solomon and the Shulammite. So also is it an exchange between the Creator and the crown of His creation, the redeemed of the Lord. It is an expression of praise from one and giving from the other.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Choir Joins In, Part 2

I mentioned in the last post SOS 1:4a and how the choir joins in to amplify the words of praise that the Beloved sings to her Lover.

In SOS 1:11 the choir joins in with the Lover and amplifies His heart cry toward the Beloved.

SOS 1:11 We will make for you ornaments of gold with beads of silver.

What is his heart? It is a heart of giving.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
John 4:10 ..."If you knew the gift of God and who it is who says to you, 'give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.
Acts 2:38 ..."Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
James 1:17 Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.

In SOS they speak about gold and silver, the most precious metals known to man. But God's eternal gifts are of more value than them. In SOS these precious metals can symbolize the greater, spiritual gifts that God has for us.

Psalm 12:6 The words of the Lord are pure words; As silver tried in the furnace on the earth, refined seven times.

Jesus spoke to the church of Laodicea.

Revelation 3:17 Because you say, "I am rich and have become wealthy and have need of nothing, and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
Vs 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself , and that the same of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes,that you may see."

He is not speaking so much about real gold and real garments, but about the spiritual.

Incidentally, SOS 1:11 is in back up to SOS 1:10 which we spoke about before where he compares her to a mare decorated with ornaments and beads. But in verse 10 there is no mention of gold or silver. Were the Beloved's decorations costume jewelry of lesser value? Perhaps. But no matter. The Lover owns cattle on a thousand hills. He is more than able to provide gifts for those He loves. We just need to get a clue and seek the Giver of gifts out and ask for what He has to offer us since we come from a fallen world and we are wretched and poor.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Choir Joins In

There is a Bible version that has some popularity. It is called the Amplified Bible.

I have one but don't use it much.

I only bring it up because SOS seems to have some 'amplified' portions. They are the places where the choir joins in to add emphasis to certain things. My Holman Master Study Bible (NAS) has little numbers and notes in the margin calling these portions - CHORUS.

There are two places where the chorus joins their voices with the main speaker/singer in chapter one. The first time is with the Beloved (SOS 1:4b) and the second time is with the Lover (SOS 1:11).

Both places display the importance of what is being said by joining in and adding amplification to the words. Both places also display their positions in the beginning of this love story that unfolds.

We'll start with SOS 1:4 where the first half is just the Beloved and the second half the chorus joins in:

SOS 1:4 "Draw me after you and let us run together! The king has brought me into his chambers."

"We will rejoice in you and be glad; We will extol (mention with praise) your love more than wine. Rightly do they love you."

Verses 2 & 3 of chapter one of SOS is the Beloved praising the Lover from a distance and longing to be closer to him. Verse 4a is expressing a desire to be "wild and free" so to speak, and wanting to run with him with the wind in her hair. Then it speaks of him bringing her into his apartments which about takes her breath away. Then the choir rejoices with her.

For the believer it is like the angels joining in with praise. They also, along with the Beloved, will rejoice and be glad in the Lover.

Psalm 119:14 I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
Psalm 119:162 I rejoice at Thy Word (Promise), as one who finds great spoil.

Then the chorus sings with her that they will extol (mention with praise) his love more than wine.

Psalm 86:15 But Thou, O LORD, art a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth (faithfulness).
Psalm 89:1 I will sing of the lovingkindness of the LORD forever; to all generations I will make known Thy faithfulness with my mouth. (vs 2) For I have said, "Lovingkindness will be built up forever. In the heavens Thou wilt establish Thy faithfulness.
Psalm 103:11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. (vs 17a) But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him.
Psalm 117:2a For His lovingkindness is great toward us.

Back in the eighties the little church I attended used to sing as part of a praise and worship chorus, "Thy lovingkindness is better than life..." Which also comes from somewhere in the Psalms. And just yesterday in church we sang, "I could sing of Your love forever..."

In the New Testament Paul also praised the great love that the Lover of our souls had for us.

Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, (vs 5) even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), (vs 6) and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ, (vs 7) in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

No one has more love within themselves than God. No one has more love to lavish freely on us than Him. It is His love that we can extol (mention with praise) more than wine. The love of mortal men often fails... unless it is supernaturally supercharged by the Holy Spirit. But the God kind of love never fails (I Corinthians 13:8). It is worthy of our praise.