The Danger of Improper Love
The danger of Improper Love
Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5; 8:4; 8:8-9
“Do not arouse or awaken love until she pleases.”
We are a culture obsessed with sex. It dominates our movies, music, and television. Companies use it for advertising their products. The irony is that in our age of sexually objectifying women, many women claim to be empowered by taking off their clothes. Today's catchword is, “if you got it flaunt it.” What was once considered pornography is now considered mainstream. Recently, shows such as “Game of Thrones” became one of the most popular TV shows in the United States and globally, even though it was filled with scenes that previously were considered “adult” and pornographic. Our obsession with sexuality has changed how we perceive our identity. Instead of our identity being based on God's image and his character's reflection, it is now based upon our sexual desires.
In our sexualized world, at first glance, it may seem that the book of Song of Solomon is part of that culture. However, when we look closely, we discover that it brings a differing focus. While the book celebrates the physical expression of love within the marriage relationship, it also warns of the dangers of improper love. Four times in the book, the writer pauses to warn against awakening love before the appropriate time. Throughout the Bible, the sexual relationship between a husband and wife is seen as a gift from God and an expression of the mutual love that the husband and wife have for one another. But there is also the warning of sexual love outside the context of marriage. The expression of sex outside the bonds of marriage is universally condemned throughout the Old and New Testament (Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 18:22; 1 Cor. 6:18-20; Matthew 5;28, etc.). Sexual immorality is not just a violation of the marital vows (1 Cor. 7; Hebrews 13:4); it is also an act of idolatry. In Colossians 3:5, Paul writes that all sin, including sexual immorality, ultimately expresses idolatry. What we worship is what defines us. If our identity is found in our sexuality, then sex has become our idol.
Because the sexual relationship is an expression of love within the confines of marriage, the Song of Solomon challenges the brothers of an unmarried sister to “build towers of silver on her and enclose her with panels of cedar (8:8-9). In the Ancient Near East, the brothers were responsible for protecting their sisters, so they saw the importance of protecting their sister’s purity until her wedding day. Rather than being sexual predators, men are to be sexual protectors. They are to not see a woman as an object of desire but rather as a precious treasure to be protected and to see her status as a virgin to be honored and maintained until the appropriate time in marriage.
The Song of Solomon points to the joy of the physical relationship between the husband and wife as an expression of their spiritual unity. But it also points to the importance of keeping a proper view of sexuality. It is to be celebrated and enjoyed, but only in the context of marriage. Any expression outside of that is a distortion of God’s intent and a devaluing of the individual. What we need today in our culture are not women who feel empowered by displaying their sexuality but women who are empowered by expressing their modesty and moral purity. What we need today are not men who objectify women but men who honor women by protecting their moral purity.