Last week, I examined two atrocious abuses of sexually explicit Bible texts. I concluded with two observations from Prov 5:18: You ought to rejoice in your spouse, and you ought to rejoice in your spouse. This week I’ll unpack the first observation.
Let your fountain be blessed,
And rejoice in the wife of your youth (Prov 5:18, ESV)
God’s plan is for joy. It’s not for well-contained respectability. It’s not for safely restricted teenagers. It’s not for secretly confused husbands and wives. Pastor Paul Browne of New Life Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Williamsport, PA spoke at length of this joy, from Solomon’s other famous love poem, at my wedding:
The Song of Solomon appropriately celebrates the only kind of intoxication that the Bible advises, which is that we should be drunk on the love of our wives and husbands, but it celebrates that intoxication with a clear-eyed, morning-after sobriety. It doesn’t present the unimproved, unexamined, sophomoric, sickly sweet cotton candy goo of immature infatuation…
Marriage is the covenanted giving of two selves, man and woman, one to another, as long as they both shall live. This is an unreserved giving and receiving of self that involves body and soul, an exhaustive mutual indwelling, a complete interpenetration of persons, a relationship involving a simultaneous oneness and twoness that doesn’t erase individual identity, but sharpens it.
It is a fact that the Song of Solomon very much emphasizes the physical, bodily aspect of this mutual giving. In Song 2:16, “he grazes among the lilies” refers to kissing or the other intimacies of physical lovemaking in the Song…
So not only do the bride and groom anxiously await the time they can give themselves physically in God-blessed physical sexuality, but she envisions it lasting until “the day breathes, and the shadows flee away.” Here is the Word of God commending to us all-night making love in unbroken romantic tryst until the morning. And, of course, the bride in the Song of Solomon knows the possibility because she again likens her lover to a gazelle or a stag: sure-footed, agile, virile, potent, living life in 4-wheel drive…
The wonder of it is that this is lovemaking that takes place in a garden setting, a paradise that is untainted by guilt. When the shadows flee away, and the day comes, there are no regrets, there’s no sorrow, there is no fear of the light exposing wrongdoing, because God blesses this lovemaking in the permanently covenanted setting of marriage.
God intends such intoxicating delight for every married couple, but it’s only possible when we do it according to the way of wisdom. God’s plan is for joy.
 Excerpt from Browne’s sermon delivered at my wedding on September 18, 2004.