The now and not yet in Song of Songs

The now and not yet in Song of Songs

Song of Songs tells the story of a passionate relationship between a man and a woman. They long to be together. They dream of one another’s company and the future they might have together. In that context, the man comes to the woman’s house in chapter 2. She is living with her mother and he comes up to the boundary of their property (2:9). There were no glass windows back then, only lattice that marked the edge of the house. The man calls out to his love through the lattice, using a beautiful poem about the arrival of springtime to ask her to come away with him (2:10-14). He is asking her to do exactly what she wants to do!

Yet, somewhat surprisingly to us, she says no (2:16-17). It is not a “no, never” but more of a “no, the time is not yet right”. She does not agree to leave her mother’s house to leave with him out in the wilderness. Later on, she seeks him and finds him, bringing him back to her mother’s house (3:4). The passage that follows this goes on to describe their wedding.

What are we to do with this story today? It is full of useful application.

The now and not yet of human relationships

Our modern world does not have much time for waiting, especially when it comes to relationships. Tinder promises sex now if you want it. Many people move very quickly to a physical relationship or living together with no view of marriage. Song of Songs encourages waiting for the right time. The woman could talk to her man, she could discuss and plan, but she was not prepared to leave with him. She waited until the right time, when he came into her house and was married.

Waiting for the right time in romantic relationships is really difficult. Every engaged couple struggles with waiting for the wedding. People who love one another want everything now. But God has designed us so that sex belongs in the right boundary of marriage. Waiting is important for us.

The now and not yet of our relationship with Jesus

The woman could see and speak to her beloved through the lattice, but she could not yet be with him in Song of Songs chapter 2. That’s a great picture of our relationship with Jesus right now. We can speak to him in prayer and hear from him in his word. We can have a real relationship, knowing that we are loved and that he has died for us. We have all the richness of being one of God’s people right now.

Yet it is not the relationship in the full sense it will be one day. What we have now is good; what we will have then is so much better. One day we will be face to face with our Lord Jesus, knowing that our sins are no more. For now, we have to wait. We can appreciate our relationship with Jesus now and look forward to the consummation in the future.

Come, Lord Jesus!