"My beloved is like a dove hiding in the cracks of the rock, in the secret places of the cliff. Show me your face, and let me hear your voice. Your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. Catch the foxes for us—the little foxes that ruin the vineyards while they are in blossom."---Song of Solomon 2:14-15(NCV)
When I read these verses, do you know the first thing that came to my mind? This Scripture right here: "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." (Psalm 91:1-NKJV) Do you know why? It's because the praises of the Shulamite woman's beloved and the resolve that King David was inspired (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to share have something in common: secret places.
Although most people think of the word "secret" from the angle of something that is "done, made, or conducted without the knowledge of others", I personally discern (Proverbs 2) that this is speaking more from this place: "kept from the knowledge of any but the initiated or privileged". R&B singer Mya used to sing a while back entitled "The Best of Me" and I always liked the hook: "Oh no I won't let you get the best of me. Even though deep inside something's dying to see. How you flow out them clothes then you put it on me. Feelings coming so strong, I know that it's wrong. I can't let you get the best of me." And what do I like so much about it? I dig that she knew her body was *the best* of her (or at least a part of the best-LOL).
Can you imagine if the Church spent less time talking about how fornication and adultery can send you to hell (more specifically, the Word, which is Adonai [John 1:1] says that it's a sin, a work of the flesh, that people who do it will be judged and those who participate in those activities will not inherit the kingdom of God and they will be judged---2 Corinthians 12:20-21, Galatians 5:19-20, Ephesians 5:3-4, Hebrews 13:4, I Corinthians 6:9-10) and instead stated to people that the reason why you should wait until marriage before engaging in sexual activity (of any form) is because you should save *the best of you* for the one who is *in covenant* (Malachi 2:14) with you?
Your best is your "most excellent". Your best is your "most advantageous". Your best is your "most virtuous". When God designed you, he intended for your body to be honored as being one of the absolute best parts of you and that a man would need to make a commitment of marriage in order to partake of it. So yes, in figuring out "how far is too far" while you're dating, consider your best assets (literally-LOL) and who needs to be kissing and touching on them: some dude or *the one*.
Therefore, I totally adore the fact that the Shulamite's beloved acknowledged the fact that there were some things about her that only the initiated and privileged needed to *ever* know about.
It doesn't stop there, though...
As I've been in my own "husband school classes", one of the things that my male friends (and family members) have been "on repeat" about for quite some time now is the fact that they are tone-sensitive and voice-activated. My Baba used to say "Shellie, men are not conditioned to argue. We are conditioned to fight and so when a woman is doing all of that yelling and hollering, a part of the reason why we walk off is because we're confused: we see a woman but we hear a man and we don't know what to do with that." I've repeated that to several men in my world and they all nodded in deep agreement and yet, do you know how many women are just like that? There's nothing sweet about their voice (or the words that come out of it) at all. For whatever the reason, a lot of us believe that if our bodies are bangin' or our faces are cute or we've got, um, "skills" than how we speak to men can (and should) be overlooked. However, the Word speaks fondly of sweetness...on more than one occasion:
"The wise in heart will be called prudent, and sweetness of the lips increases learning."---Proverbs 16:21(NKJV)
"Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones."---Proverbs 16:24(NKJV)
"Oil and perfume rejoice the heart; so does the sweetness of a friend’s counsel that comes from the heart."---Proverbs 27:9(Message)
When you're sweet, you're "pleasing to the ear". When you're sweet, you're "delicate". When you're sweet, you're "smooth" and "precise". You have mastered the ability to "properly execute" things. Sweetness does not consist of arguing, nagging or contention. It doesn't whine or scream or threatened (or throw up ultimatums left and right). There are so many things that we act like are "cultural" or so "back in the day" and yet, if we still applied them to now, our lives would be a lot...fuller. Yes, there is something very sentimental, endearing and purposeful about a man saying that his woman's voice is pleasing to his ears (as opposed to so many men who would like nothing more than for his wife to shut up). When someone is "pleasing to the ears" this means that the individual listening to them enjoys it. You want to be the kind of woman whose husband enjoys engaging her and the word "sweet" shows us how we can make that happen.
It doesn't stop there, though. He also said that her face was lovely.
Isn't it fascinating that when a lot of us read Philippians 4:8 (you know, the Scripture that tells us what to think about), that we often put it in the context of biblical matters? And yet, the Word doesn't specify. It simply provides us with a list of adjectives that our spirits should be focusing on. Well, one of those is the word "lovely". I personally know some married men who are so captivated by their wives that they do think about them, one way or another, all day long. And the thing about being lovely is that it goes far beyond being the physical aesthetics. The very definition of lovely is "having a beauty that appeals to the heart or mind as well as to the eye, as a person or a face". Another definition is "delightful". Another one is "highly pleasing". And still another is "of a great moral or spiritual beauty".
Yeah, what is it that Proverbs 31:30(NKJV) tells us: "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." Unfortunately, a lot of women would rather be complimented than praised. They would rather be told how attractive their vessel is than be honored for their great moral and spiritual integrity. A big part of the reason why I respect how the Message Version of I Corinthians 6:16 is translated is because it reminds us that sex is a physical and spiritual matter (and not necessarily in that order): "There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact." When we make it a point and priority to be with a disciple (John 8:31-32), with someone who strives to live his life as a part of the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), this means that he sees past the surface; it means that he's enlightened (Psalm 18:28) on the spiritual side of who we are.
So many wives are in severely disturbing relationships now because they didn't choose from a spiritual place, neither did their partner and that's extremely dangerous because something that we all have to remember is that Satan was once Lucifer and Lucifer was defined, *by God*, as being "perfect in beauty" (Ezekiel 28:12). Therefore, Satan as *the Liar* (John 8:44), is a master at optical illusions. He's all for you picking someone based on how they look only to realize that their looks are all that they really have to offer...and that there's something very dark and cryptic lying deeply beneath the surface.
And so yes, when her beloved said that her face was lovely, he was saying that her beauty appealed to both his heart and his mind. This causes me to believe that in a truly intimate and spiritual relationship, being lovely should be far more of a priority than being beautiful.
OK, and the foxes that are mentioned at the end of the verse? Well, I'll just say this: there's something to be said for a woman who uses sound judgment (John 7:24). A fox is not just an animal. It's also defined as a crafty and cunning individual and a false prophet (Matthew 7:15). A woman who knows how to "catch people in their craftiness" (not a paranoid or stalking woman, but someone who really does hear from the Lord about the character of certain individuals) can spare someone a lot of...foolishness. They don't call wives "lifesavers" for nothin'.
Amazing how the Shulamite's beloved was saying so much in just a few words, isn't it?
Be sweet. Be lovely.
Men love that.