Song of Songs 2:7 - The Restraint on the Way of a Man with a Woman
Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.Song of Songs 2:7
When a couple grows toward one another it is only natural that they will long for greater physical intimacy. Such feelings and desires can be very strong. Song of Songs is very open and up front about it. God made us with emotions and feelings. This should not be covered by a shroud of shame. The woman in this love song stands at the door of marriage and expresses her desire to be in the arms of her lover in the most intimate way (1:2-4b). She thinks of how delightful it will be to be in his embrace.
Praise be to our God that He allows a man and a woman to express their deepest feelings of love and devotion to one another. Yet such intimacy must not only be protected by privacy, chastity and modesty but also by the boundaries of the marriage relationship. Sexual intimacy is only for the marriage bond. That is why you are playing a very dangerous and wrong game if you allow someone of the opposite sex to touch you in a sensual manner or with obvious sexual overtones.
What God has reserved for marriage can so easily be abused, twisted, and distorted – especially in a society that equates romance with getting into bed with someone, and “love” with lust. The beauty of intimacy and scenes that God created to be private affairs are openly displayed not only in pornographic material but also in popular movies. Sexuality is treated as if it were a consumer’s item.
The daughters of Jerusalem (women of the church) are given the solemn charge, a holy obligation, not to arouse or awaken love until it pleases. The author compares the beauty of true love to that of the wild deer and the gazelles whom you can only see in full view if you tread cautiously and carefully. If you approach them recklessly they will soon disappear out of sight.
The Holy Spirit wishes to emphasize this point with us. He repeats these very same words in chapter 3:5 and chapter 8:4. Thereby the Spirit of God underlines how our feelings and emotions must be restrained. The man and woman spoken of in the Song of Songs are not looking for an illicit consummation of their love.
Feelings are described in the Song of Songs – sexual feelings that are real, natural, moral. But the LORD has made provision for these feelings and desires to be expressed and fulfilled within the bounds of marriage. The same point is made later in this same chapter, in verse 15, Song of Songs 2:15, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” To protect your flower and vegetable gardens you have to trap the raccoons, foxes and squirrels that “vandalize” them. Likewise, men and women of faith are to protect those feelings and emotions that the Lord wanted to be expressed in the right manner by removing whatever may be harmful. The marriage relationship must be protected. There are “foxes” that can spoil, damage or sour the relationship. A couple must be diligent in removing them already in courtship and engagement. Avoiding communication may seem the easy way out but it could threaten or ruin the relationship.
The primary and most forceful reason women are not to stir up any wrong desires in a man (and the other way around) can be put very simply: it belongs to a life of obedience. Love, feelings and emotions may not be separated from faithfulness. Any inappropriate behaviour, action or dress that provokes and stirs up wrong and sinful thoughts in the opposite sex is contrary to the manner in which the Lord designed us to be with one another.
For this reason we should also do away with watching movies and TV shows, reading books and magazines, entering chat rooms on the Internet, that stir up sinful and illicit thoughts and damage other relationships. Let’s not try justifying what we watch or read with such arguments as “Most of it was pretty good,” or, “They didn’t really show any nudity.” The author to the Hebrews says,
Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.Hebrews 13:4
Solid relationships built in Christ are under a tremendous amount of pressure in our society where promiscuity and sexual immorality is advertised and available like it has never been before. Let us therefore be diligent in conforming to God’s standards for sexuality both within and outside of holy marriage.
Where men and women solemnly pledge to honour the Lord’s design for marriage it will be of benefit to the entire church. Our relationships as brothers and sisters in Christ will become stronger. As we grow together in love for the Lord our desire will also be for a deeper relationship with one another. In the communion of saints we may arouse and awaken love for Christ as we look forward to the day when our love will be consummated at the marriage feast of the Lamb. At that time we will enjoy an intimacy with the Lord and with each other that will be far more beautiful than we can envision.