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.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Horses and Goats in a Love Story?

Well, honestly I cannot imagine the significance of goats and horses to the Hebrew culture back in Solomon's day.

Jesus spoke of goats. But it wasn't in a positive light. He said He would separate the sheep from the goats. The difference between them was their level of expressing God's love to others. The goats didn't do it. They didn't follow the lead of the Shepherd. They didn't know His voice and mimic His actions of care for others.

The Beloved is said to have goats in SOS 1:8. And that may mean absolutely nothing. Or it may mean something. We'll get back to it after we look at a more puzzling verse.

SOS 1:9 To me, my darling, you are like My mare among the chariots of Pharaoh.

vs 10 Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, Your neck with strings of beads.

What in the world?
Is the Lover comparing the Beloved to a horse?
I don't know about the Hebrew culture, but in the one I live in, a woman being called a horse is fighting words...
And not the least bit romantic.

Well, setting aside the fact that I'm clueless as to the cultural meaning of verse 9, I do want to share another scripture that I have stumbled upon that might shed some light on this verse.

Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

Vs 9 Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near you.


Remember we are only in chapter one of SOS here and only about half way through at that. The Beloved is only new at this relationship. She's been burnt, may still have shame, may still feel very shy. This a comparison to a mare, lovingly expressed, does it imply that the Beloved still holds herself afar? Has she not yet phased out of the goat stage of her relationship to the Lover the Good Shepherd and into the trusting sheep phase? The kind of sheep that knows His voice?

Remember, what I present on this blog is strictly on a take it or leave it basis. If what I share does nothing for you, it does nothing. God is huge and the Bible is pretty big too. Each of us will be inspired by different parts.

But before I wrap this post up, let me share one more scripture. I have actually shared it before in my series on the Fear of God.

Psalm 3:21 When my heart was embittered, And I was pierced within,

Vs 22 Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast (an animal) before Thee.

Vs 23 Nevertheless I am continually with Thee; Thou hast taken hold of my right hand.

Vs 24 With Thy counsel Thou wilt guide me, And afterward receive me to glory (with honor).

Is the Beloved still bitter over her treatment at the hands of her brothers? Is she a bit skittish around the Lover, around men in general? Does she need healing, the kind we looked at in SOS 1:13? My heart tells me yes. It tells me that God is speaking to me and other women through these verses with understanding towards our hurts in this "man's world" that cares little for the hurts of women.

The name of this blog is From Bitter Waters to Sweet. It is my attempt to reveal to others the path I have followed and am still following that leads me out of bitterness and into His sweetness.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Veiled Woman?


I have jumped ahead and addressed SOS 1:13 & 2:3 as a bit of a reaction to some faulty teaching going around.

Now I'd like to go back a pick up after SOS 1:6, that place that talks about the angry brothers and her dark complexion resulting from their oppression.

SOS 1:7 Tell me, O you whom my soul loves, Where do you pasture your flock, Where do you make it lie down at noon? For why should I be like one who veils herself (wanders) Beside the flocks of you companions? (NAS)

This is the Beloved asking the whereabouts of the Lover and His flock. She wants to be near Him. She wants to come out of hiding or away from the place of wandering.

The huge significance of this verse to me in this day and age is tied up in the word translated as veil or wanders. With the growth of the Islamic culture and the recent decision by France to outlaw the burqa, we have become far more familiar with the "veiled woman" now than in the past.

Here is a link to a woman expressing the idea that the veil is oppressive and marginalizing to Muslim women. If you have time, follow her link to the Jerusalem Post article:

Muslim women aside, (Not because they and their fight for freedom are not important) how does this pertain to the average, everyday Christian believer?

Well, think about what happened in the garden after the fall. They hid themselves. But God went looking for them. "Adam, where are you?"

Think of what happened the day Jesus died. The veil was was torn in two.

One more thing to think about. What are certain groups of Christians trying to do to women?

Shut them down. Shut them up. Bar them from service in the community setting of worship.

What is the Beloved asking? Why should I be veiled among the men? Why should I have to wander and be marginalized?

The response:

SOS 1:8 If you do not know, Most beautiful among women, Go forth on the trail of the flock, And pasture your goats By the tents of the shepherds.

What does this mean? She is not to wander. She is not to remain hidden. She has just as much right to be by the tents of the shepherds as the men. Even if she has goats.

There is significance to the goats, here, by the way. But we will address it later.

God had a plan for man's salvation before the fall. It was Jesus Christ who made a way for us to boldly come into the throne room of God. We need not wander. We need not hide. Neither male nor female is kept from God's presence. The veil was torn in two for all.

Now we can seek His face, unashamed, as we let Him reveal His love for us and allow Him to teach us how to love Him back in a manner worthy. Not with an earthly carnal love. But with a heavenly, godly love.