The Song of Songs gives us a lot of guidance for our love relationship with Jesus Christ. It definitely gives us permission to have a very intimate, affectionate relationship with Jesus. And one of the things I notice in the Bible is that we all have to be a little flexible with our personal identity to get ourselves into the metaphors of Scripture.
So, the New Testament says that we’re all sons, in the sense that we have an inheritance. If you’re a woman, you have to think about that a little bit—perhaps you’re used to thinking of yourself as a daughter of the Most High God. But you must place yourself into the metaphor of sonship to understand it. In the ancient world, sonship means that there’s an inheritance coming to you.
The Song of Songs gives us a lot of permission to use affectionate language because that’s the way this bride and this groom speak to one another.
Consistently, the Bible refers to the people of God in feminine terms. Your maker is your husband. That’s Old Testament language. The bride of Christ—that’s the church. If you’re a man, you have to find a way, as it were, to say “yes to the dress.” You have to embrace that biblical metaphor—not in a way that’s nonmasculine or that plays with your identity—to get into the metaphor of Scripture and embrace what God has for you.
Marriage to Christ
There’s a dependency, a trust, an intimacy that’s part of the marriage relationship—and God wants us to see our relationship with Jesus in that way. The Song of Songs gives us a lot of permission to use affectionate language because that’s the way this bride and this groom speak to one another.
There’s a lot of poetry here, there’s a lot of reference to the beauty of creation in personal and physical attributes. It’s never saccharine, by which I mean sort of sickly sweet. It’s genuine, it’s pure and sweet in a true sense.
It’s also not casual, irreverent “Jesus is my boyfriend” language. In our own worship, we have to find that place. Some of us really need to grow into using more intimate language—loving words that we express to our Savior. For some, it might be pulling back a little bit and doing that a little bit more reverently. There’s a biblical balance there.
One of the ways we find that biblical balance is by using the words of the psalmists, using the words of the apostles, using the words of the Song of Songs, and trying out some of this vocabulary in our own worship and our own prayer life.
God will guard and guide not only our minds but also our hearts through that process. These are some of the ways that the Song of Songs can really strengthen the intimacy of our love relationship with Jesus Christ.
- The Song of Songs: A 7-Day Devotional
- 5 Myths about the Song of Songs (Philip Graham Ryken)
- Money Is Not Your Master (Philip Graham Ryken)