Longing For the Ideal
Pastors avoid or over-interpret it. We’re often confused by it. But the Song of Solomon is in our Bible. Although we might stumble over the imagery (comparing a woman to a mare would hardly go down well in the modern world), we can’t help but be entranced by the idealism and the tender, rather racy relationship of the joyful couple.
“ ‘Have you seen the one whom my heart loves?’ . . . I found him whom my heart loves. I held him and I would not let him go” (Song of Solomon 3:3–4).
Their relationship appeals to what is pristine and ideal, a picture of what God created marriage to be. The lovers physically delight in each other and woo each other with affectionate words. We might brush off this poem like other romantic poetry and literature, ideal, but hardly plausible in our world, which would take pleasure over love. We further deconstruct the purity of the Song of Solomon based on the reality we experience (or at least know about): the lust, sexual abuse, and promiscuous relationships that are rampant in our world (and more rampant than we’d like to think, even in Christian circles).
Despite hesitations, we shouldn’t brush aside the fact that this book is included in the biblical canon. The Song of Solomon shows us that we were created for a different life—for an ideal. We were made by a God who is perfect and intended for us to live bountifully. This realization makes us thankful that we live in the grace that Christ bought. And through the Spirit, we can put to death the sins that entangle us. It can help us look forward to a time when all that is perverted is judged, and when we ourselves are made perfect, purified from all the dross.