Blending Work and Family (Song of Songs 2) - God’s Word for Work, Online Video Bible Study

Small Group Study / Produced by TOW Project

Note: Access to this video is limited to subscribers. If you would like to use this video, subscribe below to obtain free access. You'll receive the password in your email in a few minutes. Otherwise, read the transcript below.

Subscribe for password, tips on leading your group, and updates about God's Word for Work Bible Study.

* indicates required

SEE THE FULL LIST OF VIDEO SESSIONS AT GODSWORDFORWORK.ORG

Blending Work and Family (Song of Songs 2)

Agenda

1. Leader gathers the group in an online meeting.

2. Leader shares screen and audio.

3. Leader plays video. The video includes:

  • Introduction to God's Word for Work
  • Opening prayer
  • Bible reading: Song of Songs 2
  • 1 minute for quiet reflection
  • Excerpts from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary: Passion, Family and Work

4. Leader pauses the video and the group discusses the readings.

5. Leader resumes the video with the closing prayer.

Opening Prayer

God, we invite you to speak to us through the Bible today. Show us what your word means for our work. Amen.

Bible reading: Song of Songs 2

I am the rose of Sharon,
And the lily of the valleys.

Like a lily among thorns,
So is my love among the daughters.

Like an apple tree among the trees of the woods,
So is my beloved among the sons.
I sat down in his shade with great delight,
And his fruit was sweet to my taste.

He brought me to the banqueting house,
And his banner over me was love.
Sustain me with cakes of raisins,
Refresh me with apples,
For I am lovesick.

His left hand is under my head,
And his right hand embraces me.
I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the does of the field,
Do not stir up nor awaken love
Until it pleases.

The voice of my beloved!
Behold, he comes
Leaping upon the mountains,
Skipping upon the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Behold, he stands behind our wall;
He is looking through the windows,
Gazing through the lattice.

My beloved spoke, and said to me:
“Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away.
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
And the vines with the tender grapes
Give a good smell.
Rise up, my love, my fair one,
And come away!

“O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
In the secret places of the cliff,
Let me see your face,
Let me hear your voice;
For your voice is sweet,
And your face is lovely.”

Catch us the foxes,
The little foxes that spoil the vines,
For our vines have tender grapes.

My beloved is mine, and I am his.
He feeds his flock among the lilies.

Until the day breaks
And the shadows flee away,
Turn, my beloved,
And be like a gazelle
Or a young stag
Upon the mountains of Bether.

Excerpts from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary: Passion, Family and Work

The Song of Songs, also known as the Song of Solomon, is love poetry. Yet it is also a profound depiction of the meaning, value and beauty of work. 

In the ancient world all poetry was sung, and Song of Songs is, in fact, the lyrics to a song collection. It sings of lovers who court, then marry, and then work together. The text is frankly sexual, and Christian preachers have tended to avoid it for this reason. But sex is intimately connected to work. Upon their marriage, the lovers create a household, the primary unit of economic activity in the ancient world. Without sex, it could not be populated with workers (i.e. children). Moreover, intimacy between spouses serves as a glue that holds the household together through the stresses of life and work. 

In Song of Songs, the whole of life is integrated. Imagery in the love poetry is drawn from Israel’s agricultural work. The woman’s body is a garden. The man’s cheeks are like beds of spices. Together they chase away foxes that would spoil their harvest. The Song expresses our hope — and God’s design — that work be woven into the tapestry of our relationships. 

Many workplaces provide childcare, time away for family needs, and medical insurance for workers’ families. But these considerations are not available everywhere, and many programs have been cut by employers. It remains to be seen whether the recent trend towards working from home will improve or complicate matters for families.

Families could not function without the unpaid work of maintaining the household, raising children, caring for aged and incapacitated family members, and sustaining social relationships. And yet, when the work of supporting the family occurs outside the home, money sometimes becomes the measure of work’s worth, rather than overall contribution to the household. Song of Songs should increase our appreciation for all types of work: paid and unpaid.

The Song gives us an ideal picture of balance for which we can strive. Work should be an act of love. Work is an essential element of family life. Yet work must always serve — and never crowd out — the most fundamental element of a marriage: love.

Group Discussion

  • How does what you heard apply to your work?

Closing Prayer

God, thank you for being present with us today. Please stay with us in our work, wherever we go. Amen.