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Sermon – 2/15/04
Song of Solomon 4:7 -
Valentine's Day

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Valentine's Day

You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you” (Song of Solomon 4:7)

What a beautiful Scripture – “You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you” (Song of Solomon 4:7).  This very different and lovely Bible book presents the image of King Solomon and his love for a shepherdess, a “Shulamite” girl.  Modern “critics” of the Bible teach that Solomon did not write this book, stating that it was from a group of songs, compiled much later.  1 Kings 4:32-33 reveals that Solomon actually did write 1,005 songs and this book mentions places and circumstances that ceased to exist after his time.  He likely IS the author, writing this book in 965 BC, but you have to wonder how a man with a harem of at least 140 (Song of Solomon 6:8) could love this Shulamite so much?  He later made a lot of mistakes and many of them involved marriages that were politically motivated – It may be this was the only one he ever truly loved.

The teaching about this obscure, but beautiful book, sometimes called “The Song of Songs” (Shir Hashirim),” is that it is God’s love letter to those who trust in Him.  The parable in the “Song” directly depicts the nation Israel, God’s intended, as seen in places like Hosea 2:19-20, where we read, “…I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.”  Marriage is shown to be parabolic of Christ and His church in such places as Ephesians 5:23-25.  The Song of Solomon reveals God’s direct intention as to His beloved, Israel, and it is a prophesy of the church that was to come.  Both concepts are true.  The “intended” of God IS Israel, and IS the church.  Both groups together are God’s beloved; His people, His Shulamite, His love.

The Lord appeals to us in what can be called “romantic” terms, indicating that He has an intense love for every one of us.  Some teach that real love is not found in the emotions at all, but instead the various Scriptural words translated “love” are “verbs,” action words that are expressed in what is done for others; not what is felt about them.  Such an idea is suggested by the old English word “charity,” often used for “love” in the King James version of the Bible.  If the Song of Solomon is a glimpse of how God “feels” about His people, then we should rejoice, for not only has He done wonders for us, but He truly LOVES us, in a way that anyone who hungers for relationship can understand.

There were two or three men in the Early Church (before 300 AD) who may be the “Saint Valentine” that was the cause of all the “Valentine’s Day” cards and gifts that are exchanged during February of each year, in much of the Western world.  It is a time for many to express love for another with similar fervor to what is found in Song of Solomon 1:15, where Solomon calls out to the Shulamite, “Behold, you are fair, my love! Behold you are fair…”  She calls back to him, “Behold, you are handsome, my beloved!...” (Song of Solomon 1:16).  Those are the thoughts of many, and the Lord intends that our need for such feelings will help us to understand His thoughts of love toward you and me.

The one most likely to be the “Valentine” who was called a “saint” by the Church, was a pastor in the church at Rome.  The Emperor Claudius was having a tough time getting soldiers to join the Roman legions and he believed it was because men did not want to leave their loved ones.  Claudius therefore made a management decision and cancelled all marriages and engagements.  Valentine, along with another pastor named Marius, and others, secretly performed marriages for Christian couples.  Valentine was caught and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off.  The Prefect may have liked marriage himself, but he would have also realized that Claudius was a dangerous man to disobey.  Valentine was martyred on the 14th day of February, probably in the year 270 AD.

Notice that when the Apostle Paul wrote to churches in various cities of the Roman Empire, he called ALL believers “saints” (as for instance in Colossians 1:2).  The word “Church” (Ecclesia) simply meant “called out ones” from a Greek phrase referring to free citizens of Greek city-states who were sometimes “called-out” to vote on various matters.  A “saint” (hagios) was someone who was “set aside,” (made “holy”) for God’s purposes in this world.  God loves marriage and Valentine was a good man who died doing God’s will for the “called-out ones” in a very dangerous time.  He was a “saint” because he trusted in the Lord and responded to His call.

God invented marriage.  I have come to believe that Adam and Eve were literal people, created by God to usher the human race into this world.  You may or may not believe that.  Some feel that Adam and Eve were “representative” people, presenting the true nature of creation in symbolic form.  Either way; whether you find them to be literal or symbolic, Genesis presents the reality that God created people and God created marriage.  The love of a man and woman for one another is a beautiful gift of God, and it is reflective of the love that Christ had for the church, in dying for you and me. 

My wife asked me to write a sermon about love on Valentine’s Day, and later mentioned it again.  Her comment the second time: “You never know when it’s the last time you will be able to say, ‘I love you.’”  She knows how that feels.  My wife’s husband was Bob Douglass, who also was my best friend.  Bob, as mentioned in other sermons, had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and it was five years ago this week that he was suddenly no longer able to stand or walk.  Shortly after, he went home to be with the Lord.

You never know how much time you may have to say that kind word, act with gentleness, put your arm around a loved one, or help someone God has placed on your heart.  Some religious people are offended by the thought of sending a Valentine’s card, stating that “Valentine’s Day” was at the same time as a pagan “special day” in the Roman Empire.  It WAS at the same time, and if it offends you, don’t send it.  But do reach out before long with an email or perhaps a phone call.  God has called us to love, and it is our most important need in life, not only for you and me, but also for those who have been or will be carefully placed into your life by a loving God.  Touch them with His love – soon!

In Song of Solomon 1:6, we see that the Shulamite girl did not think highly of herself and her brothers did not care for her.  And yet, from Solomon’s perspective she was beautiful.  The people of God are beautiful to our Lord.  He says, “You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you” (Song of Solomon 4:7).  To Him, we are beautiful indeed.

It’s time to look at our brethren, see God in them – and TRUST in the Lord.

Father, let me be someone who loves, in action and in my heart.  Enable me to trust in You and share Your love.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

Tel: (562) 688-5559
PO Box 92131
Long Beach, CA 90809-2131
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)


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