"Oh get up, dear friend, my fair and beautiful lover- come to me! Come, my shy and modest dove- leave your seclusion, come out in the open. Let me see your face, let me hear your voice. For your voice is soothing and your face is ravishing."
"Then you must protect me from the foxes, foxes on the prowl. Foxes who would like nothing better than to get into our flowering garden." -Song of Solomon 2:13b-15 MSG
Intimacy. At times I find simply saying the word leaves me in an adolescent state, snickering at the very idea of it all. But doesn't that sort of ring true to the female side of intimacy- the timidity and bashfulness so many of us can find ourselves in? I can't begin to figure out why this is, because really, I think there are so many factors that bring so many of us to that place. I do, however, know that there is one common piece here that most of us, if we are honest, have known more intimately than we would want to admit.
There is an epidemic in our society, and I fear for the minds of the sweet young boys in my life who will inevitably be faced with it.
The reasons why pornography truly is a poison in our society are countless, and truly, that is not why I am here today. The heart of my husband is the reason why I am here today, and with regard to this subject I will fight to the bitter end for him.
There are countless ways that pornography, and the sexual ideals of our culture in general, affect intimacy. There is one very specific aspect that I want us to dig into a little bit today, and that is brought up in the above passage in Song of Solomon. Let me just paint a very vague picture of this passage for you. (You can also scroll all the way to the bottom to read it in the Amplified version.)
They have traveled to the mountainside, to the back where they are secluded and alone. (This could be representational of the intimate setting of a marriage relationship. Those spaces in your physical and emotional selves that are just for the two of you.) He is asking her to come out, knowing that she is timid, and show him her beauty. That she does not need to hide, for it is just the two of them, and he desires to delight in her. She responds by saying that "he must protect her". That there are foxes on the hunt to try to destroy their beautiful garden.
Ok, so I don't know about you but we don't live near the mountains, we (thankfully) have no foxes roaming around, and we definitely don't have a garden (even underneath the 4 feet of snow). People, open your hearts to this! Men, you cannot fully understand the vulnerability that is experienced in being asked to let down that veil and let you truly see. It is ugly scary. Please hear me when I say, that this is not because of any one thing you personally have done. This is the fragility of the woman's heart. She desires to be protected; to know that all is safe before she comes out from behind the rocks. And can I just let one fox out of the bag right now?
Your viewing of pornography is like the Daddy fox of the whole bunch.
The time spent adoring the ladies in your wife's Victoria's Secret catalog leaves a trail riddled with fox poo. (By the way ladies, really? Stop getting that catalog and any others sent to your house. If you love their stuff so much go online or to the mall. Please.)
If she, the woman you see with such love in your eyes, were to unveil herself and give you full access to the depths of her being, you wouldn't want anything to do with those nameless faces anyways. Because the beauty that God has placed in there, in that woman who, by someone else's standards may not be much to look at (ahem, check verses 3-4 of chapter 1- this lady wasn't apparently much to look at either), will allow you both to experience an intimacy that you will never be able to describe.
And let me be clear on something here: that intimacy-the tears streaming down your face kind when you experience a taste of eternity- is not because she is so special. She is a human just like you. This dynamic, this relationship, is a tangible example of how we are to approach and experience our God.
We cannot approach the throne of grace with a heart and mind full of filth. As Paul tells us, we are to renew our minds (Ro. 12:2), we are to set our minds on things above, the things of Christ (Col. 3:2) and intimacy with your spouse is not an exception to this! That secret place-where it's just the two of you and God- is holy ground. Do not come to it with dirty feet.
If I were to go about my day, fully aware of the sins being committed, with a heart unwilling to repent and turn away, there is absolutely no way that the King would unveil Himself to give me a glimpse of His heart when I went to Him. It just wouldn't happen. I would not value it- I would trample it underfoot and continue on in my sin. It is when I am willing to run, not walk, myself and my sin to the foot of the cross and unabashedly ask Him to change my course, that He will begin to lift the veil.
Husbands, it is when you are willing to believe, with your entire being, that intimacy with that woman is immeasurably more valuable and beautiful than any other momentary pleasure a nameless woman could give you, that she will come out... and let me tell you, she will radiate. The garden of your marriage, of your union in Christ, will reap an incredible harvest. And as fruit is made to, that harvest will travel out to your children, your grandchildren... in each moment of intimacy, you are building a very counter-cultural legacy that your children will long to follow.
So, my dear wives following on this prayer journey, today we pray against the foxes. We also pray that we would have the faith to come out from the rocks and allow that vulnerability to be filled with the intimacy of the Spirit by the protection of our men. They may need to run back to the cross, time and time again. We may need to allow the Spirit to heal our wounds. And in the end we must both delight in seeing the beauty in two broken people worshiping the creator in this secret place.
Lover of our souls,
How gracious you are to have given us a tangible way to work out this relationship with you. God, this is not a friendship or a work relationship-this is intimacy that we share. It is vulnerable and paved with broken pieces of our hearts, but Lord your beauty radiates through it all. I want to pray very specifically for the "garden" of our love. Lord, show him how to protect it. Give him the strength to call a fox a fox and take it captive. Father God, the enemy will continue to unleash these temptations on him as long as we are on this side of heaven, but I beg you, Lord, to grow him in his strength to fight. Let him be defeated no longer, but be willing to rise up against the enemies schemes! The world may say it is not possible to live outside of this temptation but I proclaim in your name, Jesus, that ANYTHING is possible with you. You did not design the intimacy of this marriage to be a place of fear or timidity, so I ask you to work these things out in us that we may find it to be one of the safest places. Give me the strength to love him freely and to be loved freely in return. Lord, in these secluded moments show us your heart. Show us your intimacy. Show us how deeply you love us. There are billions of people coming together daily, but Lord what you have given in the bonds of marriage is so far above what many of them experience, and I praise you for giving us such an incredible gift. Open our eyes to this reality, allowing us to cherish this gift like the most precious of jewels. Broaden our understanding of it's value that we would be like the man who buried the treasure and then spent all he had to buy the whole field! Our marriages are worth all that we have! So show us what needs to go; what needs to be left behind, so that we might grow in our intimacy with you by growing with each other. Thank you for your deep, holy love, Lord.
It is in the mighty name of Jesus Christ I pray these things.
If you so desire, as you soak in this word, enjoy this song. Let it bring joy to your heart that He is so beautiful. That your marriage is so beautiful. That your union is so beautiful.
Song of Solomon 2:14-15
[So I went with him, and when we were climbing the rocky steps up the hillside, my beloved shepherd said to me] O my dove, [while you are here] in the seclusion of the clefts in the solid rock, in the sheltered and secret place of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. [My heart was touched and I fervently sang to him my desire] Take for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards [of our love], for our vineyards are in blossom."