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God’s Word for You

Song of Solomon 2:10-13 Getting Away Together

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Sunday, October 22, 2023

10 My lover spoke and said to me,
  “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
  and come with me.
11 Look! The winter is over;
  the rains are over and done.
12 Flowers appear on the earth;
  the season of singing has come,
  the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
13 The figs on the fig tree are beginning to ripen.
  The grapevines are blossoming
  and spread their fragrance.
  Arise, come, my darling;
  my beautiful one, come with me.”

The wife is speaking but she is quoting her husband, happy with every word he has said. The rainy season in Israel is their winter. It is followed by a sudden eruption of flowers that blanket the land, and their fragrance fills the air. In a grim contrast, spring is also the time “when kings go off to war” (2 Samuel 11:1; 1 Chronicles 20:1). The husband wants his wife to come away with him during this beautiful and delightful season.

The mention of doves “adds to the romantic atmosphere” (Brug), and since they are migratory in Israel, their appearance is something like that of the robin here in the springtime, along with blackbirds, bluebirds, and waxwings. The fig tree fleshes out with green leaves before any other plant in Israel, even before it has figs coming (see Matthew 21:19). But here, the figs are already beginning to ripen, having been tended by someone who knows what they are doing (Amos 7:14).

Grape vines are also a sign of spring. The stumpy vines do not look very impressive, but spring brings out their almost comically big leaves and the beginnings of little grape-clusters. Grapes need a lot of air, and those who tend the vines need to prune many of the new shoots and branches to be sure that the fruit clusters will benefit from the most water, air, and sunlight.

In marriage, timing is important, and planning and finding time alone together is vital for the health of the marriage. Time alone does not need to be a trip around the world; it can be a walk around the block, or a weekend in a nice hotel in the next town over. Or just a quiet couple of days at home with no commitments. A couple may want to do a little work gardening, painting a room or a hallway, or doing some canning for freezing vegetables in the fall. The point is that they are investing time, energy, attention and affection in their marriage, reminding and remembering their passion, their vows, and the romantic dance of their life together.

Spiritually, the Lord invites his bride, the church (or, as Gerhard admits, Christ and any faithful soul ) to enjoy the creation: to note the change of seasons (provided for us as a clock and calendar, Genesis 1:14), to give glory to God for the miraculous gift of his providence through growing things, the fragrances that draw us to seek out his blessings (and to avoid the foul smells of corruption and decay), and praise him for all of his gifts. Not least among these is the gift of marriage, which is not merely the point of comparison in the Song, but one of the greatest gifts before the Fall and the need for our Savior.

Since we have touched on providence and marriage, this is an excellent place to pause and remember the doctrine of “Man’s Present Abode,” which is to say the universe in which we all live.

I, The universe was created by God in the beginning to be the abode of man (Genesis 1:1-2:3; Proverbs 3:19).

  1, The Creator is God, particularly the Father (1 Corinthians 8:6)
  2, The existence of the world is due exclusively to a creative act of God (Psalm 115:3; Ephesians 1:11; Psalm 50:9-10).
  3, The world was created at the beginning of time (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 90:2)
  4, What God created in the beginning is (a) heaven and earth (Genesis 1:2, 2:4), (b) the world (Matthew 13:35), (c) all things (1 Corinthians 8:6); (d) other worlds (planets, etc.) (Hebrews 1:3, 11:3).
  5, The world was created to be the abode of mankind (Genesis 1:26-29; Psalm 115:16).

II, God also provides for the maintenance of his creation and for man’s subsistence (Matthew 6:32; Psalm 36:6; Psalm 145:15-16).

  A threefold providence can be distinguished:
    (a) all his creatures (Job 12:9-10; Job 38:41)
    (b) mankind in particular (Job 14:1,5; Psalm 139:15-16)
        (even the wicked, Psalm 73:3-5; Matthew 5:45)
    (c) a special providence is shown to Christians (Psalm 1:6, 91:1-16)

III, Two of the agencies instituted by God in his providence deserve our special attention: the family, and government.

  1, The foundation of family life was set in place by God: the divine institution of marriage between one man and one woman (Genesis 1:27; Matthew 19:4-6; Romans 7:2-3).
  2, The purposes God established for marriage are companionship, children, and chastity.
    a, Companionship (marital love) is expressed with the words “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24), and includes the encouragement of the spouse’s faith (1 Corinthians 7:12-16; 1 Peter 3:1,7).
    b, Children are a blessing and God’s will is that they be raised in a believing household consisting of a father and a mother (Psalm 127:3-5; Mark 10:14; Exodus 20:12).
    c, Chastity, which is sexual purity, was established after the fall into sin as a safeguard for marriage. (1 Corinthians 6:12-20, 7:2-5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).
  3, According to divine institution, marriage only ends without sin when one of the spouses dies (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:6; Romans 7:2).

  4, Civil Government is also of divine institution (Romans 13:1).
  5, The general purpose of government is to encourage the good and deter the bad.
  6, Regarding war, the government has the duty to defend its people. A Christian can serve as a soldier with a clear conscience.
  7, The form of government is only a matter of historical development (1 Peter 2:13-14).
  8, The care of the church has not been committed to the civil government. The government is based on force; the church is based on the testimony of the true gospel.
  9, The church must likewise refrain from dabbling in government matters, which will cause her to neglect her true calling, cause confusion, and harm the real cause of Christ (John 18:36; Galatians 6:10)
  10, In matters where both church and state each have a legitimate interest, there can be some cooperation (marriage, education).

Certain other matters (miracles, prophecies, prayer, the end of life, and chance or fate) fall under this doctrine as well, but don’t need to be taken up here.

Christ leads us to appreciate his creation, and his compassionate love for us. This draws us to love him more, to rely on him for salvation and for all our blessings, and to long for the day when we will be with him forever in paradise.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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