The Secret Garden
Day: 21 | Plan: Covenant
Today’s Reading: Song of Songs 4
Song of Songs 4:7 (NIV) “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”
If Song of Songs hasn’t made you blush yet, today might just be the day. Remember, God ordained marriage between one man and one woman. He fashioned our bodies for sexual intimacies. Song of Songs is a God-ordained celebration of that love.
The wedding day has finally arrived! We are not privy to the actual celebration itself, but we skip right from the processional in Song of Songs 3 to the consummation in Song of Songs 4. The courtship ends, and the marriage begins.
How tender the husband is to slowly and affectionately praise his wife’s beauty. Many brides are nervous on their wedding night, and this groom takes time to make her feel totally loved and adored. In Song of Songs 1-2 the bride admits her insecurities (Song of Songs 1:5-6; 2:1), and on their wedding night the groom poetically and modestly praises her beauty as he takes inventory of her physical features.
Likewise, you have been uniquely designed by your heavenly Bridegroom. (Psalm 139:13-14) And one day Christ will receive His bride without spot, wrinkle or blemish.
The husband praises seven of the wife’s features: her eyes, hair, teeth, lips, temples, neck and breast. Seven is the Hebrew number of perfection, and he assures her that she is perfection to him. The groom touches her heart with his words before he touches her with his hands.
For the first time, he calls the woman his “bride.” In five verses he uses the word five times. (Song of Songs 4:8-12) Newly-married couples often enjoy calling their spouse “wife” or “husband.” I’ve even known a few women, including myself, to practice writing “Mrs.” with their soon-to-be new last name before the big day. No doubt Solomon is excited to finally be able to call her his bride and he continues to woo her with his words.
“You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain” (Song of Songs 4:12).
In addition to referring to his wife as his bride, he also refers to her as his “sister” (Song of Songs 4:9-10; 4:12; 5:1). In ancient Near East love poetry, “sister” was a term of endearment that a husband would often use when referring to his wife, not a literal flesh-and-blood sister.
Yes, the bride’s virginity has been like a garden locked up, a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. And now, at the proper time, she is giving her husband the key: “Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits” (Song of Songs 4:16b).
What she had previously considered “her garden” now becomes “his garden.” This reflects Paul’s words to the Corinthians: “The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife” (1 Corinthians 7:4). It is a gift we give.
C.S. Lewis, in his book, Mere Christianity, describes “one flesh” unity of marriage in such a beautiful way:
The Christian idea of marriage is based on Christ’s words that a man and wife are to be regarded as a single organism—for that is what the words “one flesh” would be in modern English. … The inventor of the human machine was telling us that its two halves, the male and the female, were made to be combined.
What a stunning picture as we end Song of Songs 4 with the bride handing the key to her husband, and he opens the lock. What began in the Garden of Eden with the first man and woman, continues with Solomon and his bride as she lovingly gives her garden to him.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the way You created me. Your works are marvelous, I know that full well. When I look in the mirror, help me to see myself as You see me — a masterpiece of divine design. Thank You for the way that You created a husband and wife to become one flesh. I look forward to the day when I will be united with my heavenly Bridegroom for all eternity. Until then, I will be about the business of getting ready. In Jesus’ name, amen.
The descriptive language that the husband uses to describe the beautiful attributes of his wife may... Read More
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