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David Jeremiah - Rekindling the Fire


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Someone sent me a story about a young couple that was getting ready to be married, and they were going through pastoral counseling. And the pastor was trying to make sure that they were both on the same page spiritually and doctrinally. He was doing all right until he got to the subject of original sin, and the young man did not believe in original sin. And no matter what the pastor said, he couldn't convince him. But he thought it was incidental enough that he allowed them to go ahead and get married, and he didn't see him again for 20 years. Twenty years later, he saw them, and quite surprised to see they had three teenage children. And he asked the young man if they ever resolved their conflict over original sin. He said, "You know what"? He said, "After 20 years of marriage and 3 teenagers, I not only believe in original sin, I believe in demon possession".

This couple was having a standoff fight, you know what that is? Nobody would give any ground. He was right, she was right, there was no way, and they'd been going on for a long time. And finally, the young woman, she had an idea. She said, "I'll tell you what. We're probably never going to really, totally, honestly resolve this, but let's call a truce, and we'll do it this way. I'll say I'm wrong, and then you just come back and say that I'm right". He said, "Okay". She said, "I'm wrong," he said, "You're right". That's how it works. That's why it never goes anywhere. You know, it just starts all over again. And then there's the story of this man who had a heart condition. And he went to see his cardiologist, and his cardiologist told him that his situation was putting him in great jeopardy, that he needed to make major lifestyle changes. And that if he didn't, there wasn't anything medically he could do to help him. Being concerned for the couple, he actually, the doctor made an appointment with this man's wife, a private appointment to talk with her about her husband. She told her husband that the doctor had asked to see her, and so she went for the appointment.

And when she got into the office, the doctor said, "You know, your husband, he needs some major change in his life. And you're the key part of this. You need to make sure when he comes home from work, you have a nutritional meal on the table for this man. You need to help him with the stress. He needs some shoulder rubs and some back rubs. You need to put off of your agenda all the things you want to do for these next months and concentrate solely on your husband. Do you understand me"? And the appointment was over. The next week, her husband said, "You see the doctor"? She said, "Yes". "And what did he tell you"? She said, "The doctor said you're going to die". I don't think the Song of Solomon teaches us that, do you? I think we should just put that away. But anyway, thank you for your love of laughter.

And today, we're going to talk about "Rekindling the Fire" in marriage, from the Song of Solomon chapter 5, verse 9 through the 6th chapter and verse 10. Dorothy Rosby has written an article called "It's Living Together That Makes Marriage So Difficult". And she tells a story in this article about a woman who actually shot her husband because he had eaten her chocolate. And she wrote in the article, "I probably read about the incident with a Hershey bar in my hand. And at the time, I may have even thought that he had it coming to him. But now that I think about it, even I, a confirmed chocaholic, think shooting was extreme". But then she adds, "It's truly the little things that destroy relationships: margarine and chocolate, and nylons on the towel rack, and hair in the sink". She said, "I once heard about a couple who fought for more than 4 hours over 1 rubber band. He had it, and she wanted it. Part of the problem is that God made opposites attract. Savers marry spenders. Neatniks pair up with slobs. And early birds team up with night owls. And opposing idiosyncrasies come together in a marriage like a weather front".

Solomon has returned home late, and Shulamithe has punished him by refusing to let him into her room. After this incident happened, she had some second thoughts. And she changed her mind and realized that she had done the wrong thing, and so she went back to the door to let Solomon in. But alas, he had already gone, it was too late. And in a panic, she goes to the daughters of Jerusalem, who we've sort of identified as her friends, and she asks her girlfriends to help her find her husband. Now, the extended section that follows that we're going to look at today provides some very helpful insights about keeping the fires of romance burning in a marriage. And the principles of harmony and reconciliation are everywhere in this section. We're going to divide it up into two different zones, if you will.

First of all, we're going to talk about what a husband needs from his wife, and then we're going to talk about what a wife needs from her husband. Let's talk for just a moment about what a husband needs from his wife. This section that we're going to begin in the ninth verse of the fifth chapter is introduced with a question from the lips of the daughters of Jerusalem, or from the girlfriends of Shulamithe. The question makes us realize that these two passages aren't incidentally put together, but they're connected. In the ninth verse of the fifth chapter, we read these words, the daughters of Jerusalem speaking, "What is your beloved more than another beloved, O fairest among women? What is your beloved more than another beloved, that you so charge us"?

And you could almost hear them saying this. They're literally saying to Shulamithe, "Why should we go to all the trouble to help you find Solomon? What makes him so special that we should go out of our way to locate him"? And Shulamithe responds to their question by giving them a description of Solomon as she sees him. And in her answer, she uncovers some critical needs that only a wife can fulfill. First of all, we learn that a husband needs you to be his cheerleader and champion. In verses 9 through 15, we'll see this illustrated. It is interesting as you read the Old Testament, and if you read any literature that goes back to those times, you will find in many of the ancient Near-East writings ornate and detailed descriptions of the beauty of women at that time. We saw one recently in the fourth chapter of the Song of Solomon. But you almost never see any description of the male. But in our text today, we're going to see one. And in many ways, it is the only way that we would ever know anything at all about the way Solomon looks.

See, they didn't have cameras back in the Old Testament. And even though we have today some artist's renderings of the way they believed Bible personalities looked, we do not even know for sure what Jesus looked like. We do know he looks different than most of the portraits of him because when we read the Bible, we begin to learn about his outward appearance just a bit. When we're finished today, we're going to know a lot about Solomon. We'll know almost as much as if somebody handed us a picture. But it's going to be just a bit jaded because, you see, it's the picture of Solomon through the eyes of his wife. And let's hope, men, that we always look better there than we ever look anyplace else. In essence, this is the only way we would know about King Solomon. And as we learn about him, we learn some things that can help us.

First of all, what does your husband need you to be? He needs you to be his cheerleader and champion, and one of the ways you do that is to affirm his identity. Shulamithe begins in verse 10 answering the question of her girlfriends about why her Solomon was so special. She says, "My beloved is white and ruddy, and chief among ten thousand". The litany of compliments on the part of Shulamithe begins with a statement that seems to be self-contradictory. She says, "My husband is white and he's ruddy". Now, you can't be white and ruddy. Ruddy means reddish, a little darker complected, and she said he's white and he's ruddy. And you don't know how to translate that until you look up the word "white," and you discover that one of the meanings of the word "white" is the word "dazzling". So she's basically saying, "My husband is dazzling". And in case anyone would doubt what she means, she follows up the comment with this statement: he is chief among ten thousand. He's one in a million. He's unique and distinctive. And in her eyes, there's nobody like Solomon.

Now, when we're finished today, you're going to look around at your husband, and you're going to compare him to the descriptions, you're going to say, you know, "Give me a husband like that and I'll be affirming". But you have to understand something. The husband that God gave you is the husband you're to affirm. And every husband has beauty in the eyes of his wife, and every wife surely has beauty in the eyes of her husband. So affirm his identity. Then notice, secondly, she affirms his intelligence in verse 11. She says, "His head is like fine gold". And this is not an outward expression of his head because obviously he didn't have a gold head. But it is a statement designed to express and affirm the stateliness and the wisdom of her husband. Shulamithe considered her husband to be smart, and he was. He was, we know, the wisest man in the earth. And the Bible says there was never anybody wiser than him before him, and never anybody wiser after him.

So she didn't have any trouble affirming his intelligence. But ladies, however hard you have to work to do this, you have to find some way to affirm your husband's intelligence. Because there's not anything that I know of that will discourage a man than for his wife to make comments that demean his intellectual ability. And you can help him so much. You don't have to say things that are untrue, but you can do some research and find a few things that are true, and affirm them. Affirm his identity, his intelligence. And now, she's going to affirm his individuality, his uniqueness, his specialness. She enters into a full-length description of Solomon from head to toe. She actually makes specific comments about nine different parts of his body. And she obviously considers him to be the most handsome man on this earth.

First of all, she talks about his hair. Verse 11, "His locks are wavy, and black as a raven". His hair is black and wavy. And apparently, Solomon's hair was curly, wavy, curly, and it was very long. It had hung in wavelets, as you will, over his shoulders. Worn long and black as a raven. Interestingly enough, we already learned that Shulamithe's hair was black as well. And that is not uncommon in Israel. You often find the people of Israel with black hair. And this helps explain his hair being full of the dew of the night when he comes home to Shulamithe late. We remember that one of the things that indicated what time he got back home was that the Bible says his hair was full of the dew of the night, which falls in Palestine later on beyond the evening time. And so, here's Solomon with this long, curly hair, and he comes home late, and his hair is all wet. It's full of the dew of the night. Shulamithe goes on now to talk about his eyes, his eyes are brilliant and winsome.

Verse 12, "His eyes are like doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set". And the best I can explain this is Shulamithe pictures the dark irises of Solomon's eyes surrounded by the white of his eyes, and she looks at that and she says it's like a dove bathing in milk. And she sees his eyes as so perfect, and she says they're fitly set in his head like diamonds. Are you getting the picture? Then she talks about his cheeks, and she says his cheeks are bearded and fragrant. Verse 13, "His cheeks are like a bed of spices, banks of scented herbs". And the words "banks of scented herbs" are words translated to grow hair. Solomon had a beard, and the cologne or perfume was in his beard, making it sweet-smelling. And then she talks about his lips, and she said his lips are bright and red, "His lips are lilies, dripping liquid myrrh".

His lips are red, not white. They're sweet, not bitter. And as in the earlier references to the lips of Shulamithe, this is probably not only a reference to his lips and their formation, but also to the words that may have come from his lips. And then she says his arms are bronzed and strong. Notice verse 14, "His hands are rods of gold set with beryl". And the word translated "hands" here could be used to describe any part of the arm. And it is most likely a description of the strong and well-proportioned arms of Solomon. He had guns. He had some strength. And the color of gold describes his skin tone, or perhaps his tan. Now, just review for a moment what this woman sees in her man. And you're beginning to see she considers him to be the most unusual specimen of humanity her eyes have ever fallen upon.

Next, she says his torso is built and chiseled. Verse 14 says, "His body is carved ivory inlaid with sapphires". Solomon not only had guns, he had a six-pack. Men, how would you like to have a body that is described as carved ivory? I must confess to you no one has ever said that to me. And that is exactly how Shulamithe thought of Solomon. In our day, he would have been a regular at some local fitness center. And Delitzsch, the Old Testament commentator who writes about these Old Testament books, has an interesting thought here. He says "Inlaid with sapphires means nothing else than the blanching blue veins under his white skin". Have you ever seen a guy who's really buffed up, and he got real strong muscles, and you can literally see the veins in his muscle and under his skin? That's what she's saying. And she's not through. She said his legs are big and powerful. "His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of fine gold".

This description of Solomon's legs was intended to reflect strength, and muscular and athletic contouring of the thighs and of the calves. And the bases of fine gold refers to his feet. The pillars of his legs are down on bases of gold, so she's saying Solomon has strong legs and good feet. And then she speaks of his face in verse 15, "His countenance is like Lebanon, excellent as the cedars". One author says that it is impossible to describe a mere man in terms of the majesty of Lebanon. But we cannot forget that in Shulamithe's eyes, her lover is beyond comparison. She's reaching for anything she can find to describe the way she feels about him. And finally, his mouth is beautiful and sweet. And this is more of a description, again, of Solomon's words than of his actual mouth. We might better say his words are sweet.

Eugene Peterson, who's given to us the Message, which is the paraphrase of all of the Bible, he paraphrases that verse this way. He says, "His words are kisses, and his kisses are words". And then, as if she might have forgotten something that she should have said, Shulamithe sums it all up in verse 16 when she says, "Yes, he is altogether lovely". Now remember, she's just answering a question her girlfriends asked her. And she goes off into this soliloquy. They ask her the wrong question, "Why is Solomon so different than anyone else? Why is your beloved beyond any other beloved"? In other words, "Why should we take our time and go find Solomon"? You want to know? Here it comes in this long speech from Shulamithe about Solomon. She knew she needed to be his cheerleader and his champion. And even though she's not saying these words to Solomon, Solomon will hear them. And she's describing in glowing terms the one she loves.

Positive affirmation of human characteristics are very important to the continuation of a strong and solid marriage. We've learned through this whole series that our words are so critical. And we need to go out of our way, women, to affirm our husbands. Nothing is more important to your husband than to know that you respect him, and that you hold him in honor. Your husband also needs you to be his companion and complement, your champion and cheerleader, your companion and complement. And we learn next in this text that Solomon and Shulamithe are not just two people who have mutual admiration for one another. They're not just people who have a great relationship physically, but they are friends, and they are lovers. And how majestically this is brought out in our text. Sure, it's no secret to you that I love the Bible and I love the study of the Bible. And one of the reasons I love it is because the Bible is so full of surprises.

And here in the book of the Song of Solomon, there are two expressions that are meant for us to notice if we will do our homework. And the first one is found in the 16th verse of the 5th chapter, where Shulamithe is saying, "This is my beloved". Now, what's the next phrase, "This is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem"! She is saying to her girlfriends, "Solomon is more than just my husband. Solomon's my friend". And later on in verse 3 of chapter 6, once again, she is speaking, but she reverses this around so that it affirms the other side of the equation. She says, "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine". First of all, she says to Solomon, of him, "This is my beloved," and then she says of herself, "I am his beloved. We are each other's beloveds. And we are friends". What a great statement. Are you friends? You say, "Good night, Pastor, we're married". I'm going to ask you the question again, are you friends?

I've known couples that were married, and they weren't friends. Oh, they had no intention of getting divorced. They did all of the important things of a marriage, but given the opportunity to spend time with somebody else as opposed to their own wife or husband, she wasn't in the top five, he wasn't in the top five. Let me ask you this question. If you could spend time with anybody that you know in the whole world, who would you like to spend time with? I'll be honest, I'd rather spend time with Donna than anybody. I don't want you to feel upset about that, it's just true. If I had my choice, I'd rather be with her than anybody else. What a great thing to be friends with your partner. This has nothing to do with sex, it has nothing to do with any of the other things, it's just what a privilege to be able to walk through life together as intimate friends with one another, and to share things that you never share, to understand things that nobody else understands.

And when you have a relationship like that in your marriage, it is beyond just the outwardness of the marriage, it is all the unspoken things, all of the intuitions that you have. It's being able to answer questions before they're asked, to anticipate things that have never been expressed. And that is such a beautiful part of being married. And one of the things that is joyous for us is that our marriage has endured now these years and all of the history that we have known together. And I've known Donna for the vast majority of my life now. We've been married over 40 years, and we got married in our late teens, early 20s. So I've been with her twice as long as I have been by myself. And we have all this history together. And when we travel, and when we serve, we remember people, and people come up to see us that call out a memory from some memory in our life 20 years ago.

And I tell you, the treasured memories of a married couple who stays focused on the Lord and on each other is one of the greatest gifts you will ever have. It's worth fighting for. You may be in a position right now where you think, "Man, I don't know if", oh, it's worth fighting for. You may not think so now, but down the road, you will look back and say, "Oh, I'm so glad we persevered, and we got over that tough place, and our marriage is still together". Here's a great summary statement I read this week of this particular section. "Because Solomon was the king, Shulamithe had to share him in some ways with the daughters of Jerusalem. But as a lover, he was hers alone. Shulamithe meant that all the other things that she had enumerated about him, though they were important, were of less significance to her than that he was her lover. And this suggests that, in any successful marriage, there is genuine friendship as well as romance.

For Shulamithe and Solomon, in addition to their intimate expressions of affection, there was also the desire simply to be together. Each of them had their own friends, yet their most important friendship was the friendship they had with each other". I covet that for all of us here. What a wonderful joy to have a friendship that lasts throughout your whole life with the one you love. Now, this section started with a question. Remember what the question was? "Why should we care about Solomon, and why is he different than any other beloved"? I think that through her long speech, Shulamithe has convinced her girlfriends that Solomon was worth hunting for. And so, now that they're convinced, they come up with another question, which introduces the sixth chapter.

Notice, "Where has your beloved gone, O fairest among women? And where has your beloved turned aside, that we may seek him with you"? It appears that Shulamithe has convinced her girlfriends that Solomon's worth hunting for, and now they want to know where to look. And her answer reveals a great deal about her understanding of her husband. She was pretty sure where he was. He's gone to one of his favorite places, where he feels a sense of great peace. He's confused perhaps about what happened, maybe disappointed in himself, maybe still a little bit upset with her. But he finds solace in this place. And interestingly enough, he knew where it was, and so did she. "He has gone to his gardens," she says. And according to Ecclesiastes, Solomon was a great naturalist.

When I studied the book of Ecclesiastes, I uncovered this truth in the fifth verse of the second chapter. Here, we read Solomon saying, "I have made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them". There's more about this in the Proverbs and in Ecclesiastes, but Solomon was a naturalist. He loved being in the gardens that he had planted. "Shulamithe, where shall we find your husband"? "Well, I'm not sure where he is, but I would guess he's probably in his garden". If that happened to you, ladies, do you know where your husband would be? Working on his car? Fishing? Hunting? Playing golf? Do you know the passion of his life? Do you know where he goes to gather his thoughts? Shulamithe did. She was not only his wife and his lover, she was his friend, and she knew him. And the Bible tells us, men, that we are to take that seriously. We're to live with our wives, what does the Scripture say? According to what? Knowledge. We're to know our wives. This turns it around on the other side, but we're to know our wives.

Somebody said, "Get a notebook and take notes on her. Get to know her. You will refer to it often". I don't know that you need to do that physically, but you need a notebook up here. You know some things that you will never do again, do you not, men? Amen? Amen. Can I tell you one of the things I did that I wish I'd never done? Several years ago, when I was still running before my knees started to give me grief, I was trying to get Donna involved in running with me. And we were doing a little bit of it, mostly fast walking, but running. So, it was her birthday. And I bought her a really expensive pair of running shoes. And it was not appreciated, I will tell you. I regretted that for many, many weeks. It became a joke between us. It wasn't a very romantic gift. We learn by the things we do that we wish we hadn't done, but we learn because we have a desire to know this one that we've committed our life to. If you really love somebody, you want to know everything about them. Intimacy is the total revelation of one's self to another. And only in a marriage is that possible.

Well, that's what a husband needs from his wife. And I don't have very much time to talk about what a wife needs from her husband only because we have talked a lot about that, and there's a great deal of repetition here, but let's go through the rest of this. There's some important points that we need to make. Much of what Solomon says to Shulamithe in the next few verses sounds familiar to us. He has made a speech to her recorded in chapter 4 that is almost exactly, word for word, for what we're going to read now. And I thought about that this week, and I came up with this thought, gals. You should not expect a man to actually come up with something original every time. If you get one good speech out of him, you should be thankful, and you should give him permission to repeat it often, making a little addition and correction here and there. But we're not given to long, original speeches, most of us. However, there are some phrases that Solomon uses that we haven't seen before, and they illustrate the priority of time and talk. In verses 4 through 7, we are reading now Solomon's words, "O my love," he says, "you are beautiful as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, awesome as an army with banners"!

Let me just help you understand that a little bit before we move forward. Solomon describes his wife as Tirzah and lovely as Jerusalem. Tirzah was a very simple, kind of an agricultural city that ultimately became one of the capitals of the divided kingdom. Jerusalem was where the palace was, where the king resided. And what Solomon is saying is so rich in imagery. And he's saying, even though no cities could be more different than each other, what Solomon is saying is that his wife's beauty is as simple and innocent and fresh as the little agricultural city of Tirzah, and it is so majestic and elegant that it's like the city of Jerusalem. She has a unique and unspoiled beauty, and yet her beauty is also very majestic. All I can say is good speech, Solomon. In the last part of verse 4, King Solomon says that his wife is as awesome as an army of banners. And it's such an important thing to him that he repeats it again in verse 10. Now, only someone like Solomon could fully understand the intent of these words.

You see, Solomon was a military man, not just a naturalist. He was a man for all seasons. He was a great military leader. And on many occasions, he had witnessed the army marching forward behind the banners of the nation. And the intent here is that such a sight to Solomon was overwhelming. It was intoxicating, it was intimidating. And he is saying that Shulamithe's beauty exercised the same kind of influence over him that he felt when he stood in that royal, regal procession behind the banners of the nation. And as a side note, it was the power of women to so influence the king that caused his ultimate failure. He was mesmerized by the women of foreign nations. He married them. He ultimately began to worship their pagan gods. And God said, "That's enough". You get to the end of Solomon's life, he was in his 50s. And for all intents and purposes, he had sinned away his opportunity to lead. Solomon had a weakness for women.

We can say that if a man has 700 wives, 300 concubines, you'd say he has got a weakness for women. But at this particular stage in his life, his weakness is only for one woman. It's for the woman Shulamithe. He illustrates the importance of a wife needing our time and our talk, and he expresses his love for Shulamithe. And then your wife needs tenderness and touch. In the eighth through the tenth verse of the sixth chapter, we read some interesting words. In fact, these words are arresting if you study this book. Listen to these words. "There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and virgins without number. My dove, my perfect one, the only one of her mother, the favorite of the one who bore her. The daughters saw her and called her blessed, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her".

Now, first of all, what is Solomon saying? Solomon's tenderness toward his wife is borne out now in the comparison that he makes to all of the other women who resided in or near the palace. He says that Shulamithe is the favorite of her mother, she is loved by all the daughters of Jerusalem, and her beauty is so awesome that even the other women in the palace call her blessed and praise her. When we first read the statement about the 60 queens and the 80 concubines, we're caught off-guard. Didn't we understand that Solomon's relationship with Shulamithe was at the very early part of his reign, before he had sought after many wives and disobeyed the Lord? How can we understand this comment? First of all, we must realize that this is very different from the description of Solomon in his later life.

1 Kings chapter 11 and verse 3 says that Solomon had 700 wives and princesses, and 300 concubines at the end of his life. Surely what is said here isn't even close. But there must be some explanation because we do believe that Solomon is in love with Shulamithe. And at this point in time, he has not become what we would today call a polygamist. He is a one-woman man, and yet we have this description. And finally, if you dig deeper, you'll discover what was going on. What happened was that when Solomon came to the throne, there were women who were attached to the palace. When Solomon's father David died, many members of his harem survived him. And one example is the woman in the Bible we know as Abishag, about whom you can read in the book of 1 Kings. We actually have the record of one of these women.

So, I believe the women of the court who are mentioned by Solomon are the acknowledged beauties of the palace. The mention of the word "virgins" is another indication that the verse should not be understood as Solomon's personal harem. He's talking here about the fact that he walks out into his kingdom, there are a lot of women. You could just imagine that in the palace of Israel, there'd be a lot of beautiful women hanging around. I'd hesitate to call them groupies, but they were just hanging around the palace, part of the aristocratic majestic system of the day. All that Solomon is saying is, "When I look out at all these women, and I look into the eyes of my Shulamithe, she's more beautiful to me than all of them". His final words concerning his wife are found in verse 10, "Who is she who looks forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, awesome as an army with banners"?

Once again, if I could appeal to Eugene Petersen's paraphrase of this particular passage, he says it this way, listen to this. "Has anyone ever seen anything like this, dawn-fresh, moon-lovely, sun-radiant, ravishing as the night sky with its galaxies of stars"? Now, that one's worth trying. "Honey, you are dawn-fresh, moon-lovely, sun-radiant. And you are so ravishing, you're ravishing as the night sky with its galaxies of stars". Title of today's message is "Rekindling the Fires of Marriage". Solomon and Shulamithe have been our teachers, and we are indebted to them once again for what they have shared. And each of us must do what we can in our marriages to keep the fires of romance burning. And if they have started to die out, to rekindle them, how do you rekindle a marriage that has lost its zip and its fire? How do you fix a marriage that seems to have grown cold? What do you do? You do what the Word of God tells you to do. First of all, the Bible says, "Husbands, love your wives". "Well, I don't feel like it". It doesn't say anything about that, it just says, "Husbands, love your wives".

You say, "How can you love somebody if you don't feel like loving them"? "Husbands, love your wives". That's not an option, that is a matter of obedience. And here's what I discovered. If you love your wife as you should love your wife, ultimately the feelings will return. Psychologists tell us that we cannot command our feelings, and I believe that's true. But we can command our will. And we can love our wives. You say, "Well, how do you love someone if you don't feel like loving them"? All right, let me appeal again to the book of Revelation. Go back and do the first work. Say that with me, "Go back and do the first works". What is that? Go back and do what you were doing before you let this thing grow cold. Go back and treat her as the princess that she is, and go back and do the things that you once did to express to her the love that you had in your heart. And at the first, you may not feel like it, but if you do it in obedience, God will give you the grace to do it. And in the process of doing it, you will discover again that lost sense that you longed to have back.

If you wait till your feelings are right, the gap will grow until it will be unrecoverable. But take the admonition. And is that not what Shulamithe and Solomon did? They had a bad night, and it turned out not to be a good thing at all. He's gone away. And Shulamithe could have sat in her own little room there, and saying, "I didn't do anything wrong. I'm not the one that came home late. He came home late, not me. It's not my fault. And he's got to make it right". But that wasn't what she did. When she realized that she had done something she shouldn't have done, she took the initiative to go find Solomon. Isn't it interesting that when she found him, he was willing to be found? And his expression to her is like hers to him. Marriage is not something that just automatically happens because we say some words in front of a preacher at an altar. Marriage is just not living happily ever after. That's from a fantasy world. Marriage is hard work, can I get a witness?

Marriage is hard work. But it is work that is worth doing, with huge rewards not only for now, but for the future, and for the generations to come. I am so glad that I've lived long enough for my grown children to see that their mom and dad are still great friends and love each other deeply. That is a lesson you teach your kids that you can't communicate in words. It's a lifestyle lesson. And I covet that for all of us, no matter where we are. You say, "Well, Pastor, this is the problem with a series like this. I'm already past messing up, and I lost it, and", here's the beauty of God. God says to you, "Wherever you are, I'll take you from where you are to where you need to go".

Satan will try to get you to live in all the past mistakes and failures. Don't go there. That's not God's business, that's the devil's business. I was telling my wife on the way home, we were a bit tired, I said, "You know what? I made a discovery. As we get older, we have to teach our mind to tell our body what to do more than we used to". You can't let your body be in control. You have to, you know, how many of you know that as you get a little bit older, the thought of getting up to go exercise is very, very uncomfortable? Not very fun at all. But you have to win that war.

The reason why a lot of people let themselves fall apart is they lose that war. Your mind has to be in control of your body. You know what? I think that's scriptural. I really do, I think Paul said something about that in the New Testament. And when it comes to our marriages, we have to use the same strategy. We know what we should do. Why don't we do it? Because we let our feelings and our emotions and our body take control. And God wants to be on the throne in our heart and in our mind so that he can lead us to victory. And if we will yield to him, that's exactly what he will do. But this is no place for wimps. This is not a walk in the park. This is discipline and determination and desire, filled with the Holy Spirit to have a relationship with your spouse that not only brings joy to your heart, but honors the God you serve. And if you will make that your goal, I will stand here and tell you God will meet you right where you are, and he will take you where you want to go.
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