So you are reading along in your Bible and you come to Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon in some Bibles). You read a little, and then do a double-take. Did I just read that in the Bible? A lot of people don’t know what do to with this seemingly out-of-place book. It’s pretty rare to hear a sermon series on it.
Given that, how can we glean any parenting implications for the Song of Songs? Let’s try to work some of this through so we can help our children see that none of God’s word is off limits and that it all is there for a purpose.
Some have said that Song of Songs is an analogy to our love relationship with God. From what I have read, this is not likely. It is what it appears to be: a love poem, one not unlike other love poems popular in Egypt at the same time.
You can watch a brief video put out by The Bible Project that discusses this in a little more depth and decide for yourself.
But we are here to discuss parenting applications. I think we can find some pretty important messages in this beautiful book of love poetry that we can share with our children. Here are just a few.
Love between a man and a woman is a beautiful thing to God.
God included a descriptive love poem in His Scriptures for a reason. We can assume that the expression of love between a married man and woman must be important to Him.
We know that God loves love. He is, after all, the embodiment of love (1 John 4:8). When we love one another we are expressing His very nature. We are made in God’s image.
Don’t be afraid to verbalize and demonstrate your love for your spouse in front of your children. It is His desire for you to do so.
God loves marriage.
In Song of Solomon, one thing is clear: the couple only has eyes for each other. The chapters contain repeated themes of separation, longing and reunification. They cannot be side-tracked from their commitment to their beloved. Their desire is for complete union.
This is God’s desire for us as well. The life-long commitment between a man and a woman is one way that humans reflect of the unity among the Trinity. When we marry for life, we get the privilege of experiencing a small taste of the unity among the Godhead and the unity among believers that is to come in heaven. God’s desire is for us to be one as He and Jesus are one (John 17:21).
God created us to be in relationship.
That longing that your teen has for a boyfriend or a girlfriend is a normal, God-given desire. But there is a time for everything. One of my favorite verses from this book is in chapter 8 verse 4:
“Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, not to awaken love until the time is right.”
You, as a parent, will have to make a prayerful decision regarding the age at which you allow your children to date. Once love awakens, it is hard to put it back to sleep. I would also have you consider this: would you put a toddler in the middle of a candy store, tell him not to touch anything and then walk away? Let’s prayerfully consider the temptations that face our adolescent children.
Physical attraction is normal.
The couple in Song of Solomon are clearly attracted to one another without shame or inhibition. There is no sense of secrecy or darkness in their attraction to one another because it is pure and rightly directed. God has created physical appetites within us but we need to train our eyes and appetites to reflect holiness and purity.
For parents of tweens and teens, this means talking about the real temptation of pornography and its growing accessibility in this digital age. We need to have regular dialogue with our children about the state of their soul in this area and offer help. Help may come in the form of limiting or restricting apps that prove too much of a temptation. Help may come in the form of regular accountability checks. Or help may include openly sharing some tips and techniques that you have learned along the way to keep your mind and eyes pure.
This also includes making sure our daughters know that men are visual creatures. Freedom in Christ does not include freedom to cause a brother or sister to stumble in their faith. How you work that out in your family, is prayerfully up to you.
Don’t let Song of Solomon trip you up. Use it as part of your parenting journey to help stimulate important discussions with your children about topics such as marriage, relationships, sexuality and pornography.
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