Commentary on "Love Stories"
Day 1: Sabbath Afternoon, March 17, 2012 - Introduction
Today's lesson, and the lesson for the week is titled Love Stories. The author begins by stating:
Love is, perhaps, the most readily recalled attribute of God. And, indeed, we cannot overestimate God’s love, nor exhaust the depth of it. But perhaps there is one aspect of His deep love that is not duly regarded; that is, God as a romantic.
The question must be asked, Is God a romantic? In subsequent days in this week's lesson, the author brings us to various scriptures that include examples of romantic love in the Bible, including the Song of Solomon. There are passages in Scripture that show God loving Israel as a lover (e.g., Ezekiel 16). Yet this language is to show Israel's unfaithfulness and God's faithfulness to his people. However, nowhere does the Bible state that God has a “romantic” type of love for his people. Saying that God is a romantic is lowering God to the level of mankind, making him an emotional and reactionary person. Romance is full of emotion. Often these emotions are shared with one another; one reacting to another's emotion. God's purpose is to present to himself a bride without spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:27); a righteous bride without blemish.
We know from the New Testament (four times in the book of Revelation) that the church and the New Jerusalem is to be the bride of Christ. Ephesians 5:22-33 is the most extensive treatment of Christ and his wife, the church in the Scripture.
22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Verse 32 is the key to the passage; Paul says this is a “profound” mystery that refers to Christ and the church. In this passage there is no hint of God being a romantic; it is strongly stated that God's bride is to be righteous and that is God's desire for her, but romance does not fit into this passage.
The lesson author continues by asking a question:
The question is, Why would the Lord include these kinds of love stories, stories of romance, in what is so much a history book? Does that tell us something about His own nature and how importantly He views romance? This week we’ll look at why these accounts are included and what we can learn from them.
As we proceed through the rest of the lessons, let's determine if we can answer the question of why these accounts are included and if God himself is a romantic.
Copyright 2012 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised March 17, 2012. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Casa Grande, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
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