To finish up laying the groundwork for our adventure in Song of Songs, I thought I’d write a little bit on Old Testament perspective. It seems that Solomon wrote this in his youthful time, when He was very close in his relationship with God. As Old Testament characters go, Solomon was as close as anyone ever was in his “relationship” with God during this period, yet there is a danger for Christians in understanding how far this could be likely to have gone.
Obviously, living as he did in the Old Testament, Solomon couldn’t have enjoyed the sort of relationship that many of us might think about, for there wasn’t yet direct access between Man and God because of the impediment of sin. Sin isn’t just an abstract point; it is very real as an obstruction. The Old Testament Law placed human intermediaries between us and God, with sacrifices galore being required; there was no indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and no forgiveness of sins. There was atonement through blood sacrifice of course, but atonement only puts the penalties for sin off for a period of time, which makes our blessings through Christ all the more amazing.
For Solomon to have written such an intimate book about personal relationship with God, he must have been either an exception to the rules of the Law or very farsighted about the glory of what was coming in Jesus, and I believe that the latter must have been the case in this instance. Before I move on, I want you to take note of the language I am using here, because this is an opinion and you are welcome to disagree. I am basing my opinion of this on the sin issue first of all, and upon the fact that the notion of Christ as Bridegroom and the Church (Body of Believers) as the Bride is a New Testament and not an Old Testament concept other than in typological analysis that relies on the New Testament.
OK, I’m on the verge of getting into deeper academic territory than I normally do here…
Trying to keep this reader-friendly, let’s look at it this way: The Old Testament has the hierarchy I mentioned previously, as does the New. The New Testament adds the Bridegroom – Bride imagery. Solomon uses Husband and wife as the basis of his book, and so I’m suggesting that Solomon had much deeper recognition than his contemporaries about what God was planning on doing in the future. With this deeper understanding on his part, and his relationship with God imperfect though it would have been, I think Solomon, together with the added insights of the New Testament, has painted for us an amazing picture of what the Christian relationship between Man and God is supposed to be.
Oh, and by the way, a beautiful picture of what human marriage is supposed to be.
Thus, I would maintain that this is a book that all of us should study carefully, and if necessary, ask ourselves how we can get from the place we are now to the place we should be in both our divine and human relationships, and that is how I plan on dealing with Song of Songs.
Whew! I’m glad I’ve gotten that all said and done with… we’ll jump into the fray in earnest in the next post; see you then!