April 10, 2011 – April 16, 2011
“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.” Song of Solomon 2:4.
Study Help: Education, 259–261; The Ministry of Healing, 356–362.
“His [Christ’s] is a love that fails not nor forsakes.” Education, 90.
1 LOVE IN ACTION
- Name some interesting truths which inspired poetry declares about love. Proverbs 10:12; 15:17.
- What are we to understand about the source, power, and result of love? I John 4:7–19; Proverbs 7:2.
Note: “By contemplation of God’s matchless love, we take upon us His nature. Christ was a representative before men and before angels, of the character of the God of heaven. He demonstrated the fact that when humanity depends wholly upon God, men may keep God’s commandments and live, and His law be as the apple of the eye.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 226.
- In view of this great love offered to us, what should be the cry of our soul? Song of Solomon 1:7; Psalms 42:1, 2; 63:1–4.
Note: “My soul cries out after the living God. My very being longs after Him. Oh, for to reflect His lovely image perfectly! Oh, for to be wholly consecrated to Him! Oh, how hard it is for dear self to die. We can rejoice in a whole Saviour; one who saves us from all sin. We can be shut in with God where we can daily say, ‘I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me’ [Galatians 2:20] ‘to will and to do of his good pleasure’ [Philippians 2:13].” Reflecting Christ, 350.
2 DELIGHTING IN GOD’S LOVE
- How does Inspiration describe the way our seasons of devotion should be? Song of Solomon 2:3, 4.
Note: “We need to appreciate more fully the meaning of the words: ‘I sat down under His shadow with great delight.’ Song of Solomon 2:3. These words do not bring to our minds the picture of hasty transit, but of quiet rest. There are many professing Christians who are anxious and depressed, many who are so full of busy activity that they cannot find time to rest quietly in the promises of God, who act as if they could not afford to have peace and quietness. To all such Christ’s invitation is: ‘Come unto Me, … and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 69.
“Many, even in their seasons of devotion, fail of receiving the blessing of real communion with God. They are in too great haste. With hurried steps they press through the circle of Christ’s loving presence, pausing perhaps a moment within the sacred precincts, but not waiting for counsel. They have no time to remain with the divine Teacher. With their burdens they return to their work. …
“Not a pause for a moment in His presence, but personal contact with Christ, to sit down in companionship with Him—this is our need. Happy will it be for the children of our homes and the students of our schools when parents and teachers shall learn in their own lives the precious experience pictured in these words from the Song of Songs [Song of Solomon 2:3, 4 quoted].” Education, 260, 261.
- What are we to find through our prayerful study of the Bible? Song of Solomon 4:15; John 4:10.
Note: “The word of God is ‘a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon’ (Song of Solomon 4:15). The heart that has once tasted the love of Christ, cries out continually for a deeper draft, and as you impart you will receive in richer and more abundant measure. Every revelation of God to the soul increases the capacity to know and to love. The continual cry of the heart is, ‘More of Thee,’ and ever the Spirit’s answer is, ‘Much more.’ ” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 20.
3 COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE
- How are we admonished against the dating and courtship practices which commonly prevail today? Proverbs 6:23–29; 5:1–13.
Note: “Courtship, as carried on in this age, is a scheme of deception and hypocrisy, with which the enemy of souls has far more to do than the Lord.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 105.
“The ideas of courtship have their foundation in erroneous ideas concerning marriage. They follow impulse and blind passion. The courtship is carried on in a spirit of flirtation. The parties frequently violate the rules of modesty and reserve, and are guilty of indiscretion, if they do not break the law of God. The high, noble, lofty design of God in the institution of marriage is not discerned; therefore the purest affections of the heart, the noblest traits of character, are not developed.
“Not one word should be spoken, not one action performed, that you would not be willing the holy angels should look upon and register in the books above.” Medical Ministry, 141.
- How does Inspiration reveal the beauty of God’s true plan for marriage? Proverbs 5:15–18; Song of Solomon 7:6.
Note: “Love is a precious gift, which we receive from Jesus. Pure and holy affection is not a feeling, but a principle. Those who are actuated by true love, are neither unreasonable nor blind.
“The divine love emanating from Christ never destroys human love, but includes it. By it human love is refined and purified, elevated and ennobled. Human love can never bear its precious fruit until it is united with the divine nature and trained to grow heavenward.
“True love is not a strong, fiery, impetuous passion. On the contrary, it is calm and deep in its nature. It looks beyond mere externals, and is attracted by qualities alone. It is wise and discriminating, and its devotion is real and abiding.” The Faith I Live By, 255.
4 ENDURING LOVE FOR OUR SPOUSE
- How does Scripture intertwine the Gospel message with God’s plan for marriage? Song of Solomon 2:16; 4:7; 6:3.
Note: “In both the Old and the New Testament the marriage relation is employed to represent the tender and sacred union that exists between Christ and His people, the redeemed ones whom He has purchased at the cost of Calvary. ‘Fear not,’ He says; ‘thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.’ ‘Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you.’ Isaiah 54:4, 5; Jeremiah 3:14.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 64.
- How are married couples to reflect Christ’s love in daily life? Song of Solomon 5:10, 16; Ephesians 5:22–33.
Note: “By having a knowledge of Christ—his words, his habits, and his lessons of instruction—we borrow the virtues of the character we have so closely studied, and become imbued with the spirit we have so much admired. Jesus becomes to us ‘the chiefest among ten thousand,’ the One ‘altogether lovely’ [Song of Solomon 5:10, 16].” The Review and Herald, March 15, 1887.
“Let each give love rather than exact it. Cultivate that which is noblest in yourselves, and be quick to recognize the good qualities in each other.” The Ministry of Healing, 361.
“Though difficulties, perplexities, and discouragements may arise, let neither husband nor wife harbor the thought that their union is a mistake or a disappointment. Determine to be all that it is possible to be to each other. Continue the early attentions. In every way encourage each other in fighting the battles of life. Study to advance the happiness of each other. Let there be mutual love, mutual forbearance. Then marriage, instead of being the end of love, will be as it were the very beginning of love. The warmth of true friendship, the love that binds heart to heart, is a foretaste of the joys of heaven.” Ibid., 360.
THE FAMILY CIRCLE
- Why should we be especially thankful if blessed with the privilege of having a family? Ecclesiastes 4:8–12.
Note: “That cannot be a happy home where love is not cultivated between husband and wife, between parents and children. If parents have been self-centered, and have trained their children in an atmosphere where love was not manifested in affectionate words and actions, then change the atmosphere of your home as quickly as possible. Let husbands love their wives, and let the wives see that they reverence their husbands. The plan of salvation was devised in order to transform the natural character, and fashion it after the divine image. When the grace of Christ is received in the heart, it will soften whatever is harsh, and subdue that which is coarse and unkind. Courtesy will be expressed in the affairs of home life.” The Signs of the Times, May 7, 1894.
“Hearts that are filled with the love of Christ can never get very far apart. Religion is love, and a Christian home is one where love reigns and finds expression in words and acts of thoughtful kindness and gentle courtesy.
“Our homes must be made a Bethel, our hearts a shrine. Wherever the love of God is cherished in the soul, there will be peace, there will be light and joy.
“Jesus wants to see happy marriages, happy firesides.” The Faith I Live By, 255.
Review and Thought Questions
1 What does love have to do with God?
2 Why do many fail to benefit much from Bible reading?
3 Why is such great suffering caused by lovesick romance today?
4 Name some ways to improve our marriages.
5 Describe God’s plan for the family circle.
Copyright © 2002 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.