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Paul J. Bucknell
12 “While the king was at his table, My perfume gave forth its fragrance. 13 My beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh which lies all night between my breasts. 14 My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms In the vineyards of Engedi” (Song of Solomon 1:12-14, NASB).
How do relationships grow? Although early relationships do have setbacks, they often are caught up in an increasing desire to be with one another. The maiden has allowed her feelings to be further swept away by the presence of the man. In a sense, the swarming of delightful thoughts of being desired carry her away into a dream of a life together.
Already we find that their relationship has grown to the point where she was invited to eat with him. While then or afterwards, she seized her thoughts for a moment and painted them into a graphic mural.
Although there are many words spoken to each other, there are many more silent words that are thought, dreamt, shared and sometimes written down into special diaries. In our busy age, people often don’t have enough time reflecting about their desires and what is happening in their relationship. By pausing and reflecting, greater depth comes to the relationship. It is like forming bigger pipes so that more love can flow. Of course, we need to remember that if we do not talk with the other partner, then we might misunderstand certain words or gestures and unduly amplify something that was not there at all. Here, however, it seems that she has been meeting with him.
She probably was reflecting back to the time the king actually invited her to his table. She could sense that her perfume flowed from her body over to the king as if making the relationship bound together in a pleasant aroma.
Twice she calls him ‘my beloved.’ He has been given a spot in her heart. She has given her heart to him. By calling him ‘my beloved’ or ‘my loved one’, she has targeted him for special affection and devotion.
Relationships that form into solid commitments at some point begin a shared life. At this point, they have done this in mind or heart. They evidently are beginning to meet each other on a more formal basis and are allowed to confirm their desires for each other. Once this happens, they can release further expectations bound up in their affectionate desires.
She describes the intensity of the relationship in two ways: a pouch of myrrh and a cluster of flowers. They both take something small and precious and allow its glory to spread about.
Many think that intimate pleasures are a means of deepening relationships. They do not. Instead the pursuit of pleasures usurps the goal of deepening relationships. God forbids fornication because it actually prevents people from developing deep relationships.
The pouch of myrrh was stored on her chest all night bringing its beautiful scent to her mind in pleasant and inviting waves. This pouch to her is he. He does not lie there. ‘Sleeping together’ is fornication and totally out of the picture here. Many think the action and the thoughts are the same. This is wrong. We are focusing on the development of the relationship along with deepening the commitment. Many at great cost sidestep the development of the relationship for the sake of pleasure. They confuse the two.
Relationships need to grow without the intense focus on sexual intimacies. Once these strong passions rise up, it is hard to slow down and develop proper relationships. There are other reasons for the Lord to have reserved sexual intercourse after the wedding. These will be discussed later in the series.
Relationships develop as one selflessly care for others. Following one’s lusts leads the opposite way. Once one has embedded, both know that compromise has taken place. They then seek sexual fulfillment for self rather than genuinely developing an ability to understand and care for the other.
The bunch of henna blossoms can be imagined to be a beautiful bouquet sending the gorgeous colors and perhaps fragrant smell around to onlookers. When she sees him, the dazzling colors, so to speak, stir her. She is drawn to him. She wants him close by.
If the relationship only consisted in these thoughts of attraction, we should consider them as a beginning of her imagining herself bound together with him for the rest of her earthly existence. To be committed requires a lot of right thoughts. These thoughts must include the desire to be with him or at least the notion that life with him is better than not being with him.
The Christian must in a similar way begin to see life with Christ. The clearer this distinction can be seen, the easier it is to make right judgments. It is said that a person on the average hears the gospel close to twenty times before coming to know the Lord. The clearer the picture of what the relationship will be like, the better the relationship will grow.
When a seeker begins to think about the possibility of having Christ in their lives, they will begin to change in two aspects. They will first have an affection for Christ where they will be transformed by the way His presence wonderfully affects their lives. They, secondly, will begin to think on how they need to come to a point of commitment. If they want to follow through and gain Christ, then they will need to say no to other things.
We need to take time reflecting on the worth and value of our relationships because this is how one begins to calculate the cost and value of making a long term commitment. Commitments are needed to secure the joy and security of the longterm relationship. Indeed, the glory of Christ is worth everything we might ever need to give up. Let us think more and more of the glories of Christ.