Another thing our culture will tell you is that sex outside of marriage is fine, if not necessary. You wouldn’t commit to buying a car before test driving it, the idea goes, so why would you commit to someone in marriage before having sex. But the biblical idea is much different.
(3) While the world tells you to try it before you buy it, the Bible tells you to wait.
That means that sex should take place within the bounds of the marriage covenant. In the Song of Solomon waiting isn’t seen as a negative, but a positive. Just before they consummate the marriage, the groom says starting in verse 9 of chapter 4,
“You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice! Your lips drip nectar, my bride; honey and milk are under your tongue; the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a spring locked, a fountain sealed. Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates with all choicest fruits, henna with nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all choice spices— a garden fountain, a well of living water, and flowing streams from Lebanon.” (So 4:9–15)
Reading this, the first thing you’ll notice is that he’s definitely using different language than we would use, but what he’s getting across is his love for her and how much he values her purity. He compares her virginity to a locked garden, a sealed fountain, after which he lists a number of unique and valuable items that are set apart from everyday use in order to communicate her value. So apart from the world’s concern, we see that the groom was satisfied with his soon to be wife, even praising her for her virginity.
He was satisfied with her and will continue to be satisfied with her because he actually built a relationship with her. It wasn’t all about the physical act of sex. That wasn’t what drove their relationship. Instead, their relationship was driven by a desire for one another that transcended sex.
Their relationship, then, not only teaches us that we should reserve sex for marriage, but it also teaches us that we must build our relationship on something other than sex.
Question for Reflection
- How are you working to build a relationship that’s not centered on sex?
Post developed from my sermon What does the Song of Solomon Teach us about Relationships and Sex?