April 30, 2014
READ: Song of Solomon 8:1-14
Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right (v.4).
I recently officiated the marriage of a young couple. After the ceremony, the bridal party headed out for some photos prior to the reception. My wife and I were invited to the bride’s home for some fellowship and snacks on the family’s garden patio. Suddenly, the mother of the bride emerged from the house with tears in her eyes. She held up her daughter’s purity ring and with a choked up voice and tender smile, uttered, “She left this on the kitchen counter.” The decision of the young woman to wear a purity ring had been an outward sign that she had vowed to remain sexually pure until marriage. Now, the ring was no longer needed.
In the poetry of the Song of Solomon, we find the godly virtue of maintaining one’s virginity prior to marriage. In the final chapter, the “young woman” declared her longing for her husband’s embrace (vv.1-3) and then turned to her friends and said, “Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right” (v.4). This was the third time she presented this purity principle (2:7, 3:5). But she wasn’t done, for in 8:8-9 she described the need for a young girl’s virginity to be defended, stating, “If she is a virgin . . . we will protect her” (v.9).
The Song of Solomon is not at all prudish. In fact it clearly celebrates the joy and ecstasies of sexual intimacy. But the joy of sex is seen in the context of a man and his bride who are deeply in love (4:9, 8:6,13-14).
The apostle Paul later gave us inspired instruction from God regarding staying pure before marriage. He wrote, “God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin” and “live in holiness and honour—not in lustful passion” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).
Yes, there’s a right time to say “I do” to sexual intimacy. It’s after saying “I do” at the altar. —Tom Felten
Nehemiah 5:1-19 ‹365-day plan
Read 1 Thessalonians 4:8 and see how God views sex before marriage. Read Ephesians 5:3-9 to see additional sexual-purity instruction from Paul.
Why does God want you to stay sexually pure before marriage? What are some ways you can strengthen your resolve not to commit sexual sin?