Songs Of Solomon Summary

The book of Song of Solomon is a large love poem filled with smaller poems of different kinds. Solomon is the author and he wrote it sometime during his reign 970-930 B.C. It is a story of a bridegroom who is in love with his bride. Key personalities are King Solomon, the Shulammite girl, and friends.

The story greatly emphasizes the sanctity of marriage and that it is designed, blessed and consecrated in the eyes of the Lord. The purpose of “Song of Songs”, as it is also called, is a picture of God’s love for His people. Although there is explicit sexual content, it is a book in which we can learn the depths of God’s authentic love for us and what should be in the sacredness of marriage.

•    In chapters 1-3, Solomon writes of the courtship and engagement of the Beloved (Solomon) and the Lover (Shulammite girl), “My beloved responded and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along”(2:10).

•    Chapters 3-4, we read of the marriage ceremony of the bride to the bridegroom, “Go forth, O daughters of Zion, and gaze on King Solomon with the crown with which his mother has crowned him on the day of his wedding” (3:11).

•    Chapters 5-8, are the relationship between the husband and wife and the power of their love, “Many waters cannot quench love, nor will rivers overflow it; if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, it would be utterly despised” (8:7).

The Candy Cane

The candy cane has long been a Christmas tradition and was said to have been the creation of a fine Christian candy maker in Indiana. Its sweet peppermint taste has been enjoyed by young and old for years.

The candy maker started with pure white candy to symbolize Jesus’ innocence (Heb 4:15) and the holiness of the sinless son of God (1 John 1:7).

The white also shows the virgin birth of Jesus: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son…” (Matt 1:23).

He made the candy hard because the church is built on solid rock and God’s promises are a firm foundation (Matt 16:18, 1Thess 5:24), and that Jesus is like a “rock”, strong and dependable. (Psalm 31:3).

Next the candy maker made the candy in the shape of a ‘J’ for the name of Jesus who came to earth as our Savior (Matt 1:21, Acts 4:12). When the candy was turned upside down, it is the shape of the Good Shepherd’s staff (John 10:11). “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep”.

Finally he stained the candy with red stripes. The color red symbolizes God’s love that sent Jesus to give His life for us on the cross (John 3:16).

The large red stripe is for the blood Jesus shed for our sins on the cross (Eph 1:7). “In him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” The smaller stripes remind of Jesus’ suffering and our redemptive healing (John 19: 1-30).

So this Christmas when you and your family hang candy canes on your tree remember that they’re not just candy canes. Instead they are a symbol of the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Why Do We Pray In Jesus Name?

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:13-14).
The Bible says, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:13-14). God wants to answer your prayers, but he also wants you to ask in Jesus’ name.
What is so special about Jesus’ name? Honestly, for a long time, I had no idea. I’d hear everybody end prayers with, “In Jesus’ name. Amen.” I thought maybe it was a signal that the prayer was about to end, like a spiritual sign-off — “10-4, good buddy” — or the way the great 20th Century news anchor Walter Cronkite would end all his broadcasts by saying, “And that’s the way it is.”
Some people think “in Jesus’ name” is kind of a mystical password that gets you access to God: “Here are all my requests. By the way — codeword: ‘In Jesus’ name.’”
What in the world does it mean to pray “in Jesus’ name”?
I heard a story once that illustrates it well. A pastor friend took his young son and about 14 of his son’s friends to a birthday party at the carnival, where he bought a roll of tickets. He stood at the entrance of every ride, and as the kids came by — his son and the 14 friends — he gave each of them a ticket. At some point during the day, he looked up and realized there was a little boy that he’d never seen in his life with his hand out, asking for a ticket. He asked him, “Are you with my son’s party?” No. “Why should I give you a ticket?” The young boy turned and pointed to the man’s son and said, “Your son said you’d give me one.” So, the man gave him one.
Here’s the point: I don’t have any right to get answered prayers from God. I owe him a lot, but he doesn’t owe me anything. But when I come and ask God for requests, I don’t ask on my own merit. I come on the merit of Christ. I just say, “Father, I’m coming to you because your Son said so. I’m coming because of what Jesus Christ has already done for me on the cross. He’s promised that I can ask in his name, so that’s what I’m doing right now.”
I don’t think it’s necessary to say “in Jesus’ name” at the end of every prayer if you’ve got the right attitude, but I think it’s a good idea. Why? Because it reminds you why you have the right to pray — because Jesus is your mediator and has made a way for God to hear and answer your prayers.

Talk It Over
Practice this week mindfully saying “in Jesus’ name” during your prayers. What difference do you see it making in your prayers?
How might your prayers change if you stay aware that you come to the Father on the merit of Christ?

Step Six in Crisis: Humbly Confess Your Sin to God

We have sinned and done wrong. We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations. We have refused to listen to your servants the prophets, who spoke on your authority to our kings and princes and ancestors and to all the people of the land” (Daniel 9:5-6 NLT).
In the last few days we’ve looked at how to pray during a crisis. Daniel shows us six key principles during his prayer in Daniel 9. The first five of these principles are:
Let God speak to us before we speak to him.
Focus our attention on God and seek him.
Express our desires with passion.
Demonstrate our seriousness.
Thank God for his love and promises.
Finally, we need to humbly confess our sin.
God won’t listen to prideful complaining, but he will listen to humble confessing. God responds to humility.
God already knows every foolish thing you’ve ever done in your life, but he still wants you to confess your sin.
How does God respond when you humbly admit you blew it? He responds with forgiveness, mercy, and grace.
Confessing simply means agreeing with God about your sin. You tell God he is right. What you did was sin. You don’t make excuses. You don’t call it a mistake. You admit that you were wrong.
Get specific with your confession like Daniel did in Daniel 9:5-6:“We have sinned and done wrong. We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations. We have refused to listen to your servants the prophets, who spoke on your authority to our kings and princes and ancestors and to all the people of the land” (NLT).
Daniel didn’t end here either. His confession went on for another 10 verses as he painstakingly described his sin.
He agreed with God that the Israelites had:
Brought disgrace and shame on themselves.
Been unfaithful to God.
Paid no attention to what the Lord had told them.
Been oblivious to God’s warnings.
That’s specific.
Daniel’s prayer helps us understand how our unconfessed sin creates distance between God and us — and it’s a powerful reminder of how God answers our prayers as we agree with him about our sin. Always remember, God is for us, not against us.

Talk It Over
Why do we often struggle to be honest with God about our sin?
How have you seen others undermine their faith by refusing to admit their sin?
If you haven’t done this already today, how can you make time to talk to God and confess your sins to him?

Summary Of Ecclesiastes

The book of Ecclesiastes contains Proverbs, maxims, sayings, and is largely an autobiographical story. Solomon wrote it late in his life, approximately 935 B.C. He had become aware of the mistakes that he made throughout his life and began to document them. The purpose of Ecclesiastes is to spare future generations the suffering and misery of seeking after foolish, meaningless, materialistic emptiness, and to offer wisdom by discovering truth in seeking after God.

It appears that Solomon once again, wants to teach the reader wisdom, “I set my mind to seek and explore bywisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with” (1:13).

•    Chapter 1-2, deal with Solomon’s personal experiences throughout his life. He describes that everything he sought was selfish pleasure and meant nothing eternally. Generally, he speaks concerning the meaning of life, “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after the wind.” (1:14). Solomon, the man whom God gave the most wisdom; sought after, researched, and tried everything in an attempt to find lasting happiness, and came to this conclusion: “All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after the wind and there was no profit under the sun.” (2:10-11).

•    In chapters 3-5, Solomon gives common explanations and observations. One in particular is 5:15, “As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return…”, speaking of everyone who dies takes nothing with him; possessions, in the end, are ultimately useless. As tough as it is, our sinful nature naturally gravitates toward materialism.

•    Chapters 6-8, Solomon gives advice for having a meaningful life, “Consider the work of God, for who is able to straighten what He has bent?” (7:13).

•    In chapters 9-12, Solomon writes a conclusion that clears up the entire book, everyone will eventually die and all the deeds of man are vanity (useless) without God; our obedience must be to Him. “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.” (12:13).

Step Five in Crisis: Thank God for His Love and Promises

O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands” (Daniel 9:4).

You can’t do anything more important than pray during a crisis. As we’ve been learning, Daniel 9 gives us a great pattern for prayer as you walk through life’s toughest times.

We’ve already learned to:

Let God speak to us before we speak to him.
Focus our attention on God and seek him.
Express our desires with passion.
Demonstrate our seriousness.
We also must thank God for his love and promises.

Daniel describes this in Daniel 9:4b: “O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands” (NLT).

This may be the last thing you want to do during a crisis. You may be angry with God and frustrated at him. But that’s why you need to do this. You need a perspective change.

A few verses later, we read this: “The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him” (Daniel 9:9 NLT).

We should be grateful that God is faithful even when we’re not. God keeps his promises every time.

And God will continue keeping them in your crisis. He won’t abandon you. Show God you realize that. Let him know you trust him.

It’s an important part of a prayer that God will always answer during a crisis.

Talk It Over

Why is it hard to thank God during a crisis?
How can gratitude change your perspective during a crisis?
What are some things you can be thankful for during a crisis?

Step Four in Crisis: Show God You’re Serious Through Prayer

As I prayed, I fasted and wore rough sackcloth, and I sprinkled myself with ashes” (Daniel 9:3).

Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9 provides us with a great model for how to pray during a crisis. In the last few devotions, we’ve learned from this passage to:

Let God speak to us before we speak to him.
Focus our attention on God and seek him.
Express our desires with emotions.
Fourth, the kind of prayer God answers during a crisis is one where we demonstrate our seriousness. You need to signal to God that you mean business about your need. It isn’t just a whim or a casual thought. You need to let God see how important it is to you.

Daniel described three different ways he signaled his seriousness to God. “To show my sadness, I fasted, put on rough cloth, and sat in ashes” (Daniel 9:3b NCV).

We’re going to focus on the first thing he did: He fasted from food. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that people have employed for centuries.

Jesus said some miracles could only happen through prayer and fasting, not by prayer alone. Why? Fasting tells God you’re serious about your prayer.

Moses fasted before he received the Ten Commandments. The Israelites fasted before they went into many of their major battles. Daniel fasted in order to receive guidance from God. Nehemiah fasted before he began a major building project. Jesus fasted in victory over temptation.

When you have a crisis, you need to show God you mean business. Fasting is an effective way to do this.

Talk It Over

How does fasting show God you’re serious about your prayers?
Fasting doesn’t have to be related to food. It’s about removing other things from your life so you can focus on prayer. What other things might you consider fasting from?
How can you make fasting a consistent (or more consistent) part of your spiritual life?

Step Three in Crisis: Pour Your Heart Out to God

I poured out my heart, baring my soul to God” (Daniel 9:3).

Over the last few devotionals, we’ve been looking at how Daniel prayed during a time of crisis in his life and the life of Israel. His pattern shows us how we can pray in a way that God answers us.

So far we’ve learned that we must:

  • Let God speak to us before we speak to him.
  • Focus our attention on God and seek him.

Then, we must express our desires with passion.

Too many of our prayers are simply cut-and-dried. We speak without really thinking about what we’re saying. We have the words memorized. There’s no passion or authenticity.

The truth is, God cares more about the passionate sincerity of your prayers than the words you use. The right words and the wrong emotions won’t work with your spouse. It won’t work with God either.

Human beings are made in the image of God. He shows emotions. He gets angry. He gets sad. He gets happy.

God doesn’t just love you. God loves you passionately — emotionally.

Daniel described his passionate prayer in Daniel 9:3: I prayed earnestly to the Lord God, pleading with him.

The word “pleading” in Hebrew means to “ask with emotions.” It’s a serious seeking. It’s searching with all your heart. It’s begging.

That’s a prayer God will listen to an answer.

I love this paraphrase of Daniel 9:3: “I poured out my heart, baring my soul to God” (The Message).

Perhaps you need to pray like that for your family. You need to pour your heart out and bare your soul to God on their behalf. Maybe you need to do that about your marriage or your finances.

All of us need to do that about the world around us. It should break our hearts when we see the devastation of war, famine, and evil in our world. We shouldn’t gossip about it. We shouldn’t tweet about it.

We need to pour our hearts out to God about it.

Talk It Over

  • When you pray, what stirs your deepest passion?
  • Why do we resort to rote, rehearsed prayers so often?
  • How can you bring more passion to your prayers?

Step Two in Crisis: Focus and Seek God

I love those who love me, and those who seek me will find me” (Proverbs 8:17).

We’ve all had times of crisis that test everything in life, including our trust in God. Daniel gives us a great blueprint for prayer during these difficult times.

We can find six important principles for this in Daniel 9. In the last devotional, we looked at the first of those principles — we let God speak to us before we speak to him.

The second step to praying in a way God will answer during a time of crisis is to focus our attention on God and seek him.

Daniel did this in Daniel 9:3a: “I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him” (ESV).

This is basic relationship advice that works beyond your relationship with God. You’ll improve any relationship in your life if you physically turn yourself toward the other person and focus on them when they talk to you. Whenever my wife talks with me, I turn my face toward her. I’ve been married for more than 40 years. I can tell you this pays great dividends in our relationship. She loves it because she knows she has my undivided attention.

Turning your face toward someone shows attention. You can do with this God, too. Physically, look up at the sky. If you can, go outside and look into the heavens as you pray.

Physically turning toward God is the first step in truly focusing on him and seeking him, which is vitally important during a crisis (and every other moment of our lives).

In Amos 5:4b, God says, “Seek me and live. You’re not really living unless you’re truly seeking God.

We’re often in crisis because we’ve stopped seeking the Lord in certain aspects of our lives. To get out of the crisis in life, we have to do things differently.

You’re guaranteed success by God when you seek him. He tells us, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me will find me” (Proverbs 8:17)

Talk It Over

  • How focused would you say you are when it comes to seeking God in every area of your life? Take some time to reflect and decide. What are things you can do to be more consistent and faithful?
  • Where do you find yourself frequently distracted when you pray?
  • Where are you most able to focus fully on God when you pray?

Step One in Crisis: Listen and Let God Speak First

It was the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, the son of Ahasuerus, who became king of the Babylonians. During the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the Lord, as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years” (Daniel 9:1-2).

We will all face a time of crisis in life. In fact, we’ll likely endure many. You’ll have deaths in your family, job losses, and relational problems that will, at times, become crushing blows.

Prayer will be key.

We can learn much from Daniel and his prayer life. As an old man when the time came closer for the Israelites to return to their homeland, Daniel knew his people were not ready — the Israelites still did not have a right relationship with God. This grieved Daniel, so he prayed.

His prayer in Daniel 9 provides six important pieces about how to pray in a way that God answers during a crisis. We’ll look at each these six parts during the next few devotionals.

First, you let God speak to you before you speak to him.

You need to hear the voice of God. He will always make the first move in your life. He never expects you to do something he doesn’t do first. The Bible says we love God because he first loved us. We serve him because he first served us.

God initiates; we respond.

So how do you listen to God? You read the Bible. We talk to God because he first talked with us through his Word.

Daniel did this. The Bible says, “It was the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, the son of Ahasuerus, who became king of the Babylonians. During the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the Lord, as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years” (Daniel 9:1-2 NLT).

You will never pray effectively until you study the Scriptures and listen to the Lord. The more you know the Bible, the more effective your prayers will be”?

Talk It Over

God will always make the first move in your life. When have you seen God take the initiative in your life?
What makes it difficult for you to consistently listen to the Lord as you study his Word?
The time to learn how to pray during a crisis is before the crisis begins. Why do you think that is important?

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