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Lesson 12: Love Stories *

Introduction: This week we take another glimpse into God's character and consider another improbable creation: romantic love. Last week we looked at beauty, and considered how a car, a person, a painting and a vista could all be beautiful. We decided that what beauty has in common in these things is to give us pleasure. What does romantic love give us? Pleasure! Can you recall the early stages of love (or infatuation)? It gave you an energy. A pleasure. Joy. How is this a part of God's character? Why would He create such a thing - especially since it is also the source of so much trouble? Let's dive into our Bible and find out more!

  1. A Shocking Song

    1. Read Song of Solomon 4:1. Your eyes are like pigeons and your hair like goats. Is something missing in the translation?

      1. What compliments do you find in these words? (Gray eyes? Soft, abundant hair?)

    2. Read Song of Solomon 4:2. Are shorn sheep still white? What compliments do we see here? (I'm going to assume that they are still white. So, clean, white, regular and all present are this woman's teeth. I like women with all of their teeth.)

    3. Read Song of Solomon 4:3. This woman has ruby red lips and a lovely mouth. However, what is going on with her temples? What color is a pomegranate? The ones that I've seen seem to be green! (A Bible commentary tells me that the "temples" were the "upper part of the cheek" and that the inside of the pomegranate is reddish. A mark of beauty in the west is high cheekbones, with some sort of makeup that highlights the cheekbones. This woman has reddish cheekbones.)

    4. Read Song of Solomon 4:4. Solomon's love must be a giraffe! Can you find a compliment in this? (Yes. She has a stately neck. Not too short. I'm sure the shields are an illusion to the jewelry she wears around her neck.)

    5. Read Song of Solomon 4:5. Many years ago I recall a church member telling me (when I was with others) that her physician told her that she had "perfect breasts." Should this be part of our conversation among church members? (My marriage advice is that you should avoid telling church members who are not your spouse what you think about their breasts!)

    6. Read Song of Solomon 4:6-7. When does the day break and the shadows flee? (The morning!)

      1. What do you think is being referred to here? Use terms acceptable for church when you answer! (I think this refers to the sex act. I've read Bible commentaries which refer to the prior verses and these verses in terms of the church. The breasts refer to the "nutritive virtue in the Church" and "mountain of myrrh" is Calvary or Mount Moriah. That seems absurd. If God wanted to teach us about Mount Moriah, He would have said "Mount Moriah!" For some reason God is talking about sex.)

  2. Why is Sex in the Bible?

    1. By now you are asking, "Why is he going through these verses? This is embarrassing!" Should we have to apologize for studying the Bible? (I've gone through these verses in Song of Solomon for a very important reason. If these are things that it would be better not to discuss in church, why are they in the Bible? What is God's purpose in romantic love?)

    2. Read Genesis 2:21-25 and Genesis 1:27-28. These texts make clear that before sin entered the picture, God created sex. He told Adam and Eve to "increase in number" and He said the two would become "one flesh." Have we now come to the practical reason for romantic love? For the rather graphic verses in Song of Solomon?

      1. If you say, "yes," answer this. There is absolutely no indication in the Bible that God reproduces this way. Why would He have us reproduce this way (even though God says we are made in His image)?

        1. Is sex like beauty - something that God created for no other purpose than to give us joy?

        2. Think of this from God's point of view. Could God have given us the ability to make people like He made Adam and Eve? (God can do anything, but for practical reasons I can see why He would not want to make us creators in the same way He is the Creator. Instead, God created a mechanism by which we create children.)

        3. Do you think God took pleasure in creating Adam and Eve? (I feel certain this is true.)

          1. Would this explain why God gives us pleasure in creating children? (It makes perfect sense to me that God tried to replicate His experience as much as reasonably possible.)

    3. Read Genesis 2:25 and Genesis 3:6-7. After the entry of sin, something happened to the sexual relationship between Adam and Eve. What was it? (Their eyes were opened and they were ashamed of being naked.)

      1. Read Genesis 3:4-5. What did the serpent predict? (That their eyes would be opened.)

        1. How do you explain this? (In many good things Satan has a parallel bad thing. Evil lies next to good. For example, if I preach a great sermon, pride lies next to the satisfaction of doing a good job. The joy and excitement of romantic love in marriage has next to it adultery and pornography. These are Satan's counterfeits.)

  3. The Romantic Love Parallel

    1. Read Isaiah 62:5. If you look at the context, you will find that the subject of this verse is Jerusalem. To what does God compare His relationship to the City of Jerusalem? (God is like the bridegroom and Jerusalem is like the bride.)

    2. Read Revelation 19:7-8. Who is the Lamb and who is the bride? (The Lamb is Jesus and the bride is the church - those who are saved. Those who have put on the robe of righteousness given by God.)

      1. Why would God compare Himself to a Groom and the church to a bride?

      2. Is it possible that God created marriage and sex, not simply for human pleasure, not simply to reveal His pleasure in creating us, but also to teach us powerful lessons about His relationship with us?

    3. Read Hosea 1:1-3. Why does God give Hosea such a bizarre instruction? (To illustrate how our unfaithfulness to God is like human adultery.)

      1. When did Adam and Eve first notice that they were naked? (When they committed adultery against God. When they were unfaithful to God.)

      2. Is Hosea's situation the first time this kind of illustration came to God's mind? (Of course not. I think that God gave us romantic love in part to teach us the powerful emotions involved in breaking the bond of romantic love. Those powerful emotions in adultery teach us about God's emotions when we commit adultery against Him, when we are unfaithful to him.)

      3. If you have been involved in a situation in which there is marital unfaithfulness, does the appearance of the "home-wrecker" make a difference? (If the "home-wrecker" is bad looking, or worse looking than the spouse, it adds to our frustration. We can think of all sorts of other things we might compare - money, intelligence, position. If the home-wrecker is lower on any one of these scales than the spouse, we say, "What is going on!")

        1. Who is God's competition? (This shows us another aspect of God's frustration with us!)

    4. Read Jeremiah 2:1-3. What kind of relationship does God want to have with us? (The kind of fresh, exciting relationship that we find in youthful romantic love.)

    5. Read Jeremiah 2:20-22. Against what does God warn us?

      1. What do these two emotional extremes teach us about God's desired relationship with us? (God has great affection for us. He desires to have the most intense and positive relationship with us. But, when we turn away from Him it causes Him to suffer the most intense pain.)

    6. Friend, have you every thought that God wants to have the most intense relationship with you? I think that God invented sex both for pleasure and reproduction. But, I also believe that He created romantic love for the purpose of helping us to understand the great love and emotional bond that He seeks to have with us.

  4. Next week: The Promise of His Return.
* Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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