Title: "A Sermon on Proverbs 5" Author: Unknown
Silly Love Songs: Proverbs 5.15-19
You'd think that people would have had enough of silly love songs, I look around me and see it isn't so, some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs, and what's wrong with that I'd like to know, cause here I go again
Have you noticed the change happening at stores? Christmas is done, the decorations are coming down and as quickly they come down new decorations or at least new card selections are coming out. The card selectionsfor Valentines day, of course. Guys, we have only 41 shopping days left till valentines day, just to let you know it's on a Saturday this year, which actually is a pretty good thing, if you forget you've still got the whole day to get flowers, make dinner reservations, act like you knew that it was valentines day.
Actually, when you think about it the timing of valentines day couldn't be a whole lot better. The Super Bowl is done, March Madness has yet to begin, it's not a major hunting season, taxes are still about six weeks off, so we at least have a chance of not being distracted by a bunch of other stuff that could cause us to forget and bring huge levels of grief down upon us.
Even so, there are still only 41 days left and not just for the guys but for the gals as well and since there are only 41 days till this great day of love I thought it would be helpful for us to do a little bit of talking about romance this morning, about how to do it well, how to do the romance thing right. Talk about it to keep us from a Valentine's day disaster where you thought you were being romantic but instead you were just being a dolt, or in Charlie Brown language, a blockhead.
To avoid a Valentine's day disaster the best place to start is to learn from the world's greatest romantic. Definition of a romantic: Someone who says, I want to be with you more than I want to be with anyone else. Someone who does more than say I want to be with you more than I want to be with anyone else, he or she puts on a showthink about that one for a momentwhat would the show you'd love someone to make for you, take a moment and on your personal trainer write down three things that this kind of show would look like to youthis person puts on a show, makes it clear by the moves made that he would rather be with that one than with any other. For those of us who are married Romance carries this added bit to it, a true romantic in marriage says stuff and puts on the kind of show that says, I want to be with you and if I had to do it all over again, I'd say I do' with joy.' How good is that, how good does that sound, to get to valentines day and have the person you are going out with make it clear that she would rather be with you than anyone else, to have the person you are married to make it crystal clear that he is so thrilled with being married to you that if he had to do it all over again he would say I do with joy.
To avoid a Valentine's day disaster the best place to start is to learn from the world's greatest romantic. The world's greatest romanticGod. Now maybe we don't think of God this way, after all, we often think of romance as kind of a light weight thing, syrupy songs, maybe even a Hollywood kind of thing. But that's just not trueafter all, if romance is someone who says, I want to be with you, and I'm going to put on a show to make it clear just much I want to be with you, and the truth is if I had to marry you all over again, I'd do it with joy.
Check it out. The people of Israel come to Mt. Sinai where God is going to give the Ten Commandments. The whole Mt. Sinai thing is in fact a marriage ceremony, it is the time when God comes as the bridegroom to his bride, Israel. But before he gets her to the altar, he has spent this amazing time romancing her, he has put on a show to make it clear that he wants to be with her, that he wants to have her for his bride. Put on a show. He starts the show when nobody even knows the show has started, he's just getting things in place, he has Moses, scooped out of the Nile and brought into Pharaoh's house. Then Moses ends up in the desert and God puts on the show of a burning bush. And then the show growsthe Nile turned into blood, Frogs in Pharaoh's bed, the angel of death, parting the Red Sea In another context God says this to his bride, to Israel, But now, GOD's Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob, the One who got you started, Israel: Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you. I've called your name, You're mine. When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end--- Because I am your God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That's how much you mean to me! That's how much I love you! I'd sell the whole world to get you back, trade the creation for you. Isaiah 43.1-4 The Message God spends all this time before the wedding romancing his bride to be, putting on this great show, saying and doing.
Then comes the wedding. At Mt. Sinai a wedding takes place. God comes down on Mt. Sinai and there he waits for his bride, he speaks his words to her, talking to her about what it will mean to live in covenant with him. Moses recalls the ceremony in the book of Deuteronomy, God came down from Sinai, he dawned from Seir upon them; He radiated light from Mt. Paran, coming with 10,000 holy angels, And tongues of fire streaming from his right hand. Oh, how you love the people, all your holy ones palmed in your left hand. They sit at your feet, honoring your teaching. Dt. 33.2-4a The Message Slow this down for just a moment and don't let an amazing thing slide by. God, acting like a typical groom comes first to the wedding, comes to the front of the church in our picture or in Jewish tradition, he comes and stands under the huppa, the marriage canopy and there he waits for his bride to come. Absolutely stunning, the God of the universe comes and waits for his bride to come. He initiates, he establishes the covenant but then he waits for his bride to complete the transaction. It is a wonderful picture of the groom who has so romanced his bride, who is so full of love and grace that he doesn't force his bride into the covenant but trusts that he has wooed her so well that she can't stay away from the groom.
And the bride does come, she hears the words of the marriage covenant and in Exodus 19 she speaks her vows, a promise to live by the marriage covenant, The people were unanimous in their response: Everything God says, we will do. Moses took the people's answer back to God. Exodus 19.8 The Message
God not only says that he loves his bride, he puts on a show of it. He shows it before the marriage, he shows it at the marriage ceremony and in the years to come he puts on show after show that lets it be known that he loves his bride. He feeds his bride, fights for his bride, weeps when his bride is unfaithful, calls his bride back to himself and finally he sends his Son to die so that a new covenant can be begun, a new marriage contract that will mean, well a bit more of the words that tell about this relationship, Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the churcha love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. Ephesians 5.25-27 The Message Putting on a show, everything he does Christ does to bring out the best in his bride, to make her dazzling, radiant.
God is the great romantic, he is a God who romances his bride, who says I want to be with you and if I had to do it all over again, I'd says I do' with joy.'
God is the great romantic, he leads the way in romance, as we head for valentines day, indeed as we simply do life he is the one we look to for how to do romance right. Seeing in him what true romance is all about, that it is not only about saying the right words, whispering the sweet nothings into someone's ear, but that romance is about putting on a show, a show that says I want to be with you and no one else. And for those of us who are married a show that says those spectacular words, I want to be with you and if I had to do it all over again, I'd say I do' with joy.' When it comes to this level of romance God gives more than his example for us to follow. He gives us a recipes for romance, in fact, one of his recipes for romance fills an entire book in the Old Testament, it's called the Song of Songs. The word song is just a common Hebrew word for any happy melodybut even that's an important thing to catch, this Song that celebrates the wonders of human love, romantic love, is sung to a happy melody, that in itself tells us something, that it is perhaps more like a silly love song, than a serious tune, it speaks of a romp not a straight-laced, seriousness. But there is more, the expression the Song of Songs means the greatest of songs, in other words it is a song of greatest quality and it celebrates a most wonderful thing. God's recipe for romance isn't a quiet, let's be shy, this is something we ought not talk about kind of deal, it is called the greatest of Songs. In that way this love song of God reflects so many love songs that we still sing today, our love songs are some of the most moving, most powerful songs we sing, they touch our hearts and call to us. God's song and the love songs we sing have a lot of things in common. Good thing to remember.
God has this recipe for romance. A recipe that it's important for us to discover and pursue, not just because valentines day is coming, but because we live in a day when building strong and lasting relationships is a tough thing. Tough because we expect so much more of our relationships than people used to expect. We expect our marriages to provide excellent companionship, a safe place to be loved and cared for, a place where we can be can be refreshed, a place where we can give expression to the physical desires that God has given us. And we expect all of these things in the context of a culture that sharply raises our expectations in all of these areas. You walk the mall and whether it is the pictures in Victoria's Secret or Ambercrombieyou get the sense that the bar for the physical relationship is being raised pretty highyour physical relationship is supposed to get a score of 10, if not better. You go to the movies and on the screen comes Robert Redford, still a heart throb in spite of his age. And he says his lines and the women melt and wonder, why can't my husband be more like him? Well, the answer isbecause Redford's line were written by five different people, memorized to say at just the right time, he was saying them to someone he doesn't have any issues with, the whole thing is a set-up, but it makes us wonder why our relationship level can't be like that in the best romantic movie. Quick asideRedford isn't marriedif he's such the perfect catch, one has to wonder why, could it be that off camera the lines are all the great?
We need God's example and God's recipe for romance because we live in a time of high expectations, in the face of those expectations we have to know what true romance looks like. Now, while God has an entire book on romance, he also has a shorthand version. The version comes from the mouth of a father who is teaching his son the ways of wisdom. While the romance in this picture is decidedly from a guys perspective, it can be pretty helpful for all of us on the romance path if we just net it out a bit. Here's a dad to son insight on romance, 15Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. 16Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? 17Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. 18May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19A loving doe, a graceful deermay her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. Proverbs 5.15-19 NIV Romance: at the beginning of romance is seeing the other person, treating the other person as being someone of extreme value. The dad says to his son, 15Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. 16Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Proverbs 5.15-16 NIV In a land where water is scarce, where 70% of the land is desert, having a cistern of water is a very valuable thing. On a hot day to be able to get a drink of water, to be able to refresh yourself is a very valuable deal. A cistern is of great value. But of even greater value is to have a fountain, a spring. This dad says to his son, like a cistern, like a spring, a fountain in a dry weary land is your wife to you. In other words, she is of great value, she needs to be treated as a person of great value.
When you treat her as a person of great value not only will she be getting what she deserves, she will also become the valuable person you are telling her she is. Don Quixote takes a woman who has been called horrible things all of her life, she believes herself to be worthless, hopeless, on the bottom of the world. But Quixote sees something else, he sees her as a noble lady and he tells her that over and over again, he tells her she is a person of worth, a person who deserves to be treated as a noble lady and somewhere along the way she begins to believe him and she becomes a noble lady. Here's the idea, when we are people of romance, we see the best in the other. Rodney Clapp in his article, What Hollywood doesn't know about Romantic Love writes, I see not how ordinary or how worthless she is, but how extraordinary and priceless she really is. This, of course, accords with the Christian faith. To God, no woman or man is worthless or ordinary. The lover sees through the beloved's flaws to the image of God. The lover is not blind to pigeon toes and ill manners but, caught up in love, discerns the true creature, the one who, when perfected in heaven, "you would be strongly tempted to worship." It is this truest and deepest self of the personthe person as created and potentially redeemed by God. Compare this seeing and this valuing with these words from Proverbs 30.21Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up: 22a servant who becomes king, a fool who is full of food, 23an unloved woman who is married. Proverbs 30.21-23 The earth trembles.
Romance, true romance comes when we value the other person, see the best in them. Romance true romance comes when we rejoice in the other person and we keep rejoicing in her, in him as the years go by. Rejoice in the wife of your youth, says the dad to his son. Rejoice: cheer, delight, celebrate, exultyou get the idea. Interesting things about this word rejoice it is used very often of rejoicing in God, rejoicing in his good gifts, rejoicing in who he is, it is in fact often used in the context of great worship celebrations. Gives us some sense for what God is expecting. How do you rejoice in the person that God has given you? How do you rejoice in your own soul? Recalling this person God has given you, recalling the things that made you first love and desire this person, bringing to mind the things that make her, make him someone who today brings a smile to your lips. This kind of internal rehearsal comes out in your day to day living, in your romancing. How do you rejoice out loud? How do you rejoice so others hear that rejoicing, including the one you are rejoicing over? To delight, exalt, cheer, is not something we keep to ourselves.
Romance, a recipe for romance. Value the other person, see the best in them, rejoice over the other person and May her breasts satisfy you always or as another translation puts it May her bosom always charm thee. In other words, Romance is also about the physical, the wonderful, joyful, fun, playful intertwining of two people. The wonderful, joyful, fun, playful intertwining that as the years go by these two keep building, enjoying, discovering. The wonderful joyful, playful intertwining that changes over the years because God has set things up so that for the first 2-3 years of marriage he gives us an extra shot of sex drive that begins to wane and change so that what made for wonderful and joyful and fun before may no longer make for it today and so there is a maturing and changing of how one enjoys the wife and husband of your youth. The wonderful, joyful intertwining that sometimes has stress to it because there are differences of desirejust like there are differences of desire in all parts of people who do life together, one person like the heat at 74 degrees, the other at 64 degrees, one likes a clean house, the other doesn't care all that much, all kinds of differences in desires, but a couple that keeps romance alive, physical romance alive learns to manage the differences and so the joyful intertwining becomes even more joyful for they have learned to grow closer by working through differences of desire.
Romance, a recipe for romance. Value the other person, see the best in them, rejoice over the other person, keep alive the joyful, playful, intertwining and be captivated by her love. Captivated, mesmerized, ravished by her love. Captivated, also used of a person who is intoxicated, stumbling from being drunk. Captivated: be drunk with her love. Watch for, have your eyes open for the way this person loves you and get drunk on the fact that he loves you this way, that she loves you this way. Don't ignore the small things done, mark them down, remember them, celebrate them. Don't ignore the things that have been done for years now, that you've simply come to expect, don't ignore the new things, the new efforts, have your radar up even for those things that don't speak your language of love. Don't ignore the big things, the huge surprises, replay them over and over again in your mind. See these things, celebrate these things, get drunk on these things.
Romance. A God of romance who gives us his example, who gives us his recipe. Value the other person, rejoice over the other person, keep alive the joyful, playful intertwining, and get drunk on love.
You'd think that people would have had enough of silly love songs, I look around me and see it isn't so, some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs, and what's wrong with that I'd like to know, cause here I go again Love doesn't come in a minute, sometimes it doesn't come at all, I only know that when I'm in it, it isn't silly, love isn't silly at all. Love isn't silly at all. How can I tell you about my loved one?