Our title is a phrase that is unique to the Song of Solomon. Four times in the book, the Shulammite spoke of “him whom my soul loveth” (3:1-4), and once she called him, “thou whom my soul loveth” (1:7). The intensity of her love is apparent. This was no passing infatuation with her, for in this song, she waited patiently for him, and in two sections (chapters 3 and 5), she went looking for him when she dreamed she had lost him. She was not satisfied unless they were together. She sought the one “her soul loveth” diligently in these dreams (perhaps she would consider them nightmares).
She speaks not of a casual acquaintance, close friend, or the like when she speaks of her beloved. This is one her soul loves! When found, she “held him, and would not let him go” (3:4). The intensity of this love is something that ought to be in our marriages. Paul described this love from the man’s point of view when he said a man ought to love his wife as his own body (Eph. 5:28). He continued, “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it” (Eph. 5:29).
Husbands, love your wives as your own bodies! Wives, love your husbands with your soul! Christ loved His church so much that He “gave Himself for her” (Eph. 5:25). Paul made clear the relationship between a husband and wife reflect Christ and the church (Eph. 5:32). His blood purchased the church (Acts 20:28). In response, the church is to love the Lord and submit to Him (Eph. 5:24). As the Shulammite desired her beloved, and as the wife desires her husband (Gen. 3:16), so let Christians desire to serve and follow the Lord. May we truly love Him, for He loved us first (I Jn. 4:19). Yes, love Him from the soul! Love Him for all he has done for us and how He has made it possible to be in Heaven one day (Jn. 14:3).
The pure love described in Solomon’s Song needs to be applied in our homes and the church. If we haven’t been doing this, let us start today to reflect that pure and intense love. Christ showed it first to us; therefore, let us respond in kind.
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
“Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun” (Ecc. 9:9). Solomon made it clear that a wise thing for a man to do is to spend time living joyfully with his wife. He taught this here and in Proverbs 5:18-19 and 18:22.
Too many people live in joyless marriages. For whatever reason, the spouses do not come home to joy or happiness like they once did. What happened to them? While blame might be found with both people, perhaps in the simplest terms, we have forgotten how to live joyfully with our spouse!
God instituted marriage in Genesis 2. “It is not good that man should be alone,” He said (Gen. 2:18). Thus, God made a “help” fitting for a man when He made the woman. She is his physical complement, as well as his mental, emotional, and spiritual complement. These two were made to encourage and help one another. In I Peter 3:7, God intended husband and wife to be “heirs together of the grace of life.” In other words, we are partners and companions on this earth, and part of our work is helping one another go to Heaven! How can there not be joy in a marriage when we try to help and encourage one another to go to the place of eternal joy?
Why should a man listen to Solomon and “live joyfully” with his wife? Let’s consider a few reasons.
- “Live joyfully” with your wife because she chose you! She could have married someone else, but she agreed to marry you and travel the road of life with you.
- “Live joyfully” with your wife because even when she makes mistakes, she has your best interest in mind.
- “Live joyfully” with your wife because she has bore your children and loves them. A new generation knows about Jesus thanks to “the wife of thy youth” (Prov. 5:18, 31:10-21).
- “Live joyfully” with your wife because she is the closest earthly relationship you have. Ephesians 5:22-33 tells the husband to love his wife “as his own body.”
- “Live joyfully” with your wife because you will have no better friend on earth.
It might seem odd that a man with 700 wives and 300 concubines (I Kings 11:3) would encourage men to “live joyfully” with one wife (Ecc. 9:9). Some might suggest that it took such an extreme measure for Solomon to appreciate what God had provided from the beginning! Regardless of what right or wrong decisions Solomon made in his life, remember that this man was endowed with wisdom above all others on earth by God (I Kings 3:12, 4:30-31, 5:12). The Holy Spirit also inspired him in his writing (II Pet. 1:20-21). As a result, there is something we can learn and apply when we read Solomon’s words. He is not only telling us the wise way to go, but he is also saying, in essence, “don’t do what I did!” Isn’t this the kind of advice we need? We need someone who has already traveled the path to come back and warn us about what we ought to do and not do. Solomon’s decision in this area of life serves as this warning to all.
Let’s listen to the words of the Preacher and live “joyfully” with our spouse (Rom. 15:4).
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
Nehemiah chapter three is one of those chapters that we are prone to skip over because of all of the names. I pray that you don't do this in your reading. As we read and apply the text to our lives today (Rom. 15:4), whether or not we pronounce the names correctly isn't the point. The point is to understand what was happening and how this affected the nation of Judah.
First, we see that when Nehemiah encouraged the people to “build up the wall of Jerusalem,” the people responded by saying, “let us rise up and build” (Neh. 2:17-18)! Nehemiah three records that these people were more than just “talk”! They went into action! They didn’t allow days and months to go by before they started. They started repairing the walls immediately!
A second thing we see is that these people did the work in pieces that could be handled by each respective family. One family didn’t rebuild one-half of the wall or take on more than they could handle. Each family took a section that they could handle and began the work! There was much to do, and as the old saying goes, “Many hands make for light work.” This was the case here. All the people united in a common goal and made the work much easier to handle.
Nehemiah 3:12 mentions the fact that Shallum’s daughters worked with their father to help rebuild the walls. I think this is significant. These daughters deserve special praise for the work they did in helping to finish a job that God wanted them to do.
I hope that these statements will stir our minds to make applications to ourselves. No, we don’t have a wall to rebuild, but we do have work to do in God’s kingdom (I Cor. 15:58). We have daily work that needs to be done, and we need to make the effort! It’s one thing to “talk” about what needs to be done in the Lord’s kingdom, and it’s quite another thing to do it (Jas. 2:18-26)! Examine yourself, friend. Are you active in the Lord’s service, or are you just good at pointing out what needs to be done? Don’t be like the Pharisees (Matt. 23:3-4)!
Similarly, let’s remember that we all have work to do in the Lord’s kingdom (Gal. 6:9). It’s not laid at the feet of the preacher or elders or deacons alone. Yes, these men have work to be done in God’s kingdom just as everyone else does! We mustn’t shirk our duties, though, thinking someone else will do them. Our lack of action may be the point of weakness that Satan needs to tear down and destroy a life, or a family, or a church! Don’t be the weak link!
Just as Shallum’s daughters went out and worked as the sons did, let’s remember that in Christ, we are all one (Gal. 3:28). Yes, we have different roles to fulfill at times, but everyone who is a child of God is loved and respected by God and needs to be busy in His work! Far from being misogynistic, Paul speaks highly of his sisters in Christ. Let’s encourage our sisters and our brothers in the Lord to do the work God demands.
You won’t get out of this world alive, but you can leave this world ready for the next. Are you ready (II Cor. 6:2)? What do you need to do to get ready (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38)? Do as the Jews in Nehemiah’s day did (Neh. 3). Stop wasting time and get busy with the Lord’s work!
- Jarrod M. Jacobs
Unless The Lord Builds The House …
About 1000 years before Christ, David wrote, “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain…” (Ps. 127:1). These words are just as true today as they were when they were penned. Unless the Lord is building the house, (i.e., one’s family) the efforts of men are in vain.
How can the Lord build our house? Allowing the Lord to build our house means that we are allowing the Lord to take first place in our lives. All that we do and say in our home must be based upon what the Lord has already said (Col. 3:17; I Pet. 4:11). When a husband and wife submit their lives to the Lord’s will (Matt. 19:6; Rom. 7:2-3), they will be truly blessed by God.
Some today try to say a family can include two men marrying one another, or two women marrying one another. Some have said that polygamy is acceptable before God. Yet, when we read the Bible, we see that God has described who can be married and why. In the beginning, we find that God created man and woman, and these two, male and female, are the ones to be married (Gen. 2:18-25). This was God’s plan from the beginning. Jesus also repeated the truth of Genesis 2 in Matthew 19:4-6.
Sadly, our world says that marriage should only last so long as it is “convenient” for both partners. In fact, one practice becoming more widespread is children being brought into the world without folks feeling the “need” for being married. There are many people today just “playing house”. Sometimes, people are living this way because they allowed their passions to get out of control, and what was beautiful within the relationship of marriage (I Cor. 7:2) was made ugly due to sin. Sometimes, this behavior is excused as a way to get a “tax break” or a check from the government. How terrible that we justify our sins in the name of money! We need to get acquainted with I Timothy 6:10! This society has forgotten the words of Scripture which say: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterous” (Heb. 13:4).
Others wish to make things “legal” and be married, but they have either divorced for an unscriptural reason, or have married someone who does not have the Scriptural right to be married (Matt. 5:32, 19:9). In such a case, they are not allowing the Lord to build their house, either. God does not sanction sin. He does not bless people spiritually for their wrongdoing. Since this is true, we know that those trying to build their house in this way are doing it in vain. They are trying to build a house without the authority of God (Matt. 7:21-23).
Are we trying to build our house without the Lord? If so, why are we doing this? David makes it clear that it is a waste of our time to do so. Let us humble ourselves before God and accept His way of doing things. God loves us and He always has our best interests in mind. Yet, when we try to build a house without the Lord, we will fail every time.