Following on from yesterday's Spurgeon sermon, I was thrilled to hear from Dave Bish - the well-known Bluefish blogger. He and I have shared thoughts on the Song of Solomon for some time now and he's encouraged me many times on his insights on this beautiful book of the Bible.
Dave spoke on the Song of Songs to his UCCF team recently. Here is the link to the notes from the session:
"Love the Church - Lyrics of Love".
Dave accurately sums up the two positions on how to view the Song;
"There are two broad camps of understanding about The Song. Those who say it is about marriage – as it appears at first reading, and those who say it is about Christ and the church, as I’m going to argue. Of course it is both, but which we give priority really effects how we proceed".
That last point is key to my whole understand of this book. I don't have a problem with married couples reading and learning from the love expressed in the Song of Solomon. What a better model to follow? But I do believe that if Christ and His church is isolated from this book (as per Driscoll/Mahaney etc) then a substandard love will result both for Christ in worship and indeed in marriage. As Dave says - what we give priority to will effect how we proceed.
Dave responds to Mark Driscoll's "icky" dislike of seeing corporate love in the Book by reminding us:
"Driscoll’s key argument is that it’s just too icky if this is about “Jesus and me”, I agree but whilst its true that Jesus gave himself up in love for me, we also know “Jesus gave himself up for the church” – and that a corporate reading is more the norm in Scripture. The bride is not individual believers but the church as a whole. Us not me, our husband not my husband".
He then splits the Song of Solomon up very helpfully by "tracks" of lyrics;
Track 1 (1:1-2:7) - Delights.
Track 2 (2:8-3:5) – Desire.
Track 3 (3:6-5:1) – Wedding.
"I find myself thinking – if he loves the church like this I want to know that love, to be found in the church and feel this love by the Spirit. To know his love as Ruth experiences the LORD’s love through Boaz. That means being found among God’s people not being alone. I am not his bride, the church is – it is the church whom he loves like this".
Track 4. The fourth song (5:2-6:1) – Loss
Track 5 (6:2-8:4) – Grace
Track 6. (8:5-8:14)- Home
Dave concludes wonderfully;
"This brief overview is designed not entirely to convince you to read the Song as about Christ and the church but to tug on your heart to love the bigger story of Christ and the church. To want to be found in her to know his love for her, and to grow with the church to love him as she does".