18 There are three things which are too wonderful for me, Yes, four which I do not understand: 19 The way of an eagle in the air, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the midst of the sea, And the way of a man with a maid.
Today is St. Valentine’s Day, the day our culture celebrates the affection of lovers for one another. We have been considering the lessons that young men teach us as the people of God. Their strength is a glory, a glory that should manifest itself not only in their physical feats but their spiritual development. But there is perhaps no truth more evidently known about young men than that they begin to develop a rather keen interest in young women.
Solomon reminds us today that this desire is good. After all, it was God who first designed man and woman to be together. He said the man was not complete when alone; He put the man to sleep and pulled a rib from his side; He crafted and shaped the woman; He presented her to the man. God designed the affection that lovers have one for another.
So perfect was the design, that Scripture records the first words spoken by Adam in the Garden, words spoken when this new creature was first brought before him. And these weren’t just run of the mill words. No, they were astonished words, glorious words, affectionate words. The first words of mankind, after all, were poetry:
This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh,
She shall be called woman
Because she was taken out of man.
The first couple was designed by God and praised by man. And every couple since has been His handiwork as well. Solomon reminds us that though riches and wealth come from one’s fathers, a good wife is a gift from God Himself.
Evolutionary culture would have us believe that the attraction of a man and woman for one another is a mere matter of biology. We are mere animals and the sight of certain things arouses us. But as Solomon meditates upon God’s gift of love, and the gift of lovers, he confesses that it is all mystery – not biology.
There are three things which are too wonderful for me, Yes, four which I do not understand: The way of an eagle in the air, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the midst of the sea, And the way of a man with a maid.
How is it that a man otherwise taciturn and sullen, suddenly awakens and becomes sociable and amiable? How is it that a man directionless and purposeless, suddenly develops a clear and distinct vision? How is it that a man intent and disciplined, suddenly forgets himself, finds it difficult to focus, and is distracted from his work? And how is it that any man convinces a maid to love him and covenant with him?
All these things, Solomon confesses, are a mystery – but not because they are so petty and foolish, rather because they are so glorious and resplendent. We all shake our heads at some fool who wastes his substance at the gambling table. Sin is a mystery. But this is not the type of mystery that confronts us when considering the way of a man with a maid – no this is a mystery of God’s making. A marvel like eagles in the air, serpents on a rock, ships in the sea.
So, young men, God himself gave you the desire to be with a woman. Desiring to earn the hand of a woman is a good and noble thing. But a woman whose hand is worth having, is a woman who makes you earn it – so be purposeful, be intent, be honorable – and treat all the women in your life with respect until God in His grace and kindness gives you one specific woman upon whom to shower your affections.
And older men, let us not forget the ardor with which we pursued the woman by our side. Let us remember that she is a gift of God – and let us continue to pursue her to the glory of God and the beautification of our bride.
Reminded that we often despise the gifts of God, that we often seek His gifts in unlawful ways, that we often fail to thank Him for the gifts that He has given, let us kneel and confess our sin to Him.