“I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” (Song of Solomon 2:7).
Three times it had to be sung. Early in the romance, again close to the wedding date, and once more in their older years, the famed couple of the Song of Songs had to sing it. “I adjure you,” the song went, “that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” Thrice the lyrics drifted from the pen, from their mouths, and into the eyes and ears of every reader of the song. We must hear these lyrics today, for the song is true, and the theme is timeless.
The song has only grown in strength and power; its lyrics aren't truer today, but they feel truer. It is just the song we need today. In our cohabitating, porn-saturated, early romance culture, the song is a foreign lament. But it is still beautiful.
In the entire song romantic love is held out as a great power. The intensity of romantic love is such that it must have a warning label: don’t stir it up too early; wait until the proper time. The singer begs us to hear this warning. There is a time for romance. Don’t awaken the stallion unless the corral of married love has been built, lest the stallion become a monster, an untameable beast.
The desire for sexual touch is like a fire within. Put in the wild, it can burn and devour. It isn’t satisfied with an encounter here or there, pleasure here or there. It grows. It cannot be satiated outside the marital bond. Don’t wake it up before the time. Inside marriage, if awakened there, the romantic fires can burn, fueled by respect, tenderness, and mutual admiration. Time and traditions and memories together will cause the couple to burn romantically for one another.
This brand of romance will lead to intimacy. The ancient word was “know" — a knowledge of another human. Most people have never experienced this level of knowledge.
This brand of romance is a song leading to a closeness of relationship. Those who flitter about romantically will never know its melodies.
To awaken love before the time is to burn away at the glorious usefulness God has given to sex. When God gave sex to married couples, He gave them glue. He has made the married couple one, and romance is a way for that bond to grow.
Outside of marriage, sex debases to self-gratification. The song departs. The beauty is gone. We will try to depict it as glorious and beautiful and majestic, but the glory has departed. It has awoken outside the proper space.
The marriage bed is undefiled, Hebrews tell us, for it can contain the fire. There, the fire can warm and enliven, but outside it harms. It is strong. Do not awaken it before the time.