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A Graceful Doe

Sexuality is one of the major themes in the book of Proverbs, and the goal of Proverbs 5:15-19 is to persuade us that sexual satisfaction is best found within marriage. Throughout these verses, sexuality is pictured as thirst-quenching water. Solomon gives us a series of pictures that intensify this main idea: in verse 15, we start with water from a cistern, a rain-catcher. This gives us the idea of a private store of water, as opposed to rain that just falls anywhere. Right away, though, we move to the idea of a well that is fed by underground streams of moving water that will never grow stale. Verse 16 shifts the image to springs and streams, which are not only abundant sources, but God-given ones, as opposed to man-made. Finally in verse 18, we see a wife described as a fountain, a bubbling spring overflowing with sweet water. The fundamental message is that God has provided intoxicatingly wonderful water for your sexual thirst through His provision of a spouse.

As we look at verses 15-17, we see Solomon addressing issues of access and authority. The married man (or woman) has access to sexual satisfaction via their own spouse. Verse 16 asks a rhetorical question about what kind of access: is the water of sexual satisfaction public or private? Solomon doesn’t appeal to the law, but to practical wisdom: when you’re thirsty, is the street a good place to lick up drinking water from? Only a fool would say yes. Verse 17 then states it outright: these waters are for you alone. This is sexual authority in marriage, which, as 1 Cor. 7:4 tells us, extends both to husband and the wife. You belong to each other, and to no one else.

After explaining to his son about authority and access, Solomon then prays God’s blessing down on his son’s sex life, asking that his fountain be able to satisfy his thirst. The five intended results of that blessing take up verses 18-19. These qualities mark what goes on in a God-blessed bedroom:

First, sexual appreciation: rejoice in the wife of your youth. Specifically, rejoice that she provides the water for your sexual thirst. The right response to God’s provision is to get up and dance in appreciation of your spouse’s sexuality! Question: Does your relationship with your spouse include this joyful appreciation?

Second, sexual affection: a loving deer. What is being highlighted is the attention show by the lover. Solomon compares the intensities of desire to a buck in springtime, and asks God to enable the wife to meet her spouse’s needs with her lovemaking. Question: are you delighting your spouse by showing sexual affection?

Third, sexual attraction: when Solomon mentions “a graceful doe”, he is calling attention to those features and qualities which make something attractive. Cultivating and appreciating physical beauty is a key part of satisfaction in marriage. Not caring about physical attraction is a recipe for dissatisfaction. Question: are you making efforts to embody this attractiveness for your spouse?

Fourth, sexual availability: Let her breasts fill you up with delight at all times. Whenever the thirst arises, may your wife’s (or husband’s) body slake that thirst. One of the most common sources of dissatisfaction in marriage is a lack of availability, but God calls those of us who are married to lay down our lives for each other’s delight. Question: Are you available to your spouse?

Fifth, sexual abandon: be intoxicated always with her love. Solomon uses a slightly naughty word here: it’s like he knew that sexual inhibitions could be a major source of dissatisfaction in marriage, and so he pushes the boundaries. When sex becomes rote and mechanical, you’ve lost something in marriage that God thinks is important. Question: do you love your spouse with abandon?

God’s plan for satisfying our sexual thirst is for sexuality to be expressed in a one man, one woman union where each person has access to and exclusive authority over the body of the other. When the blessing of God is invoked on this kind of union, He encourages and enables sexual appreciation, affection, attraction, availability, and abandon. When these qualities are present, husband and wife can’t even imagine a reason why they would try to drink from a puddle out in the street when they have a fountain of sweet water to drink from at home.

Posted on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 by CJ Bowen