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Yesterday at FBC we began a new sermon series entitled “True Romance.” It’s an exposition of the Song of Solomon.

To be honest, I felt a mix of excitement and trepidation as Sunday morning drew near. I kept wondering, Why on earth did you choose this book? Do you know how many things could go wrong?

  • Struggling couples could be discouraged.
  • Discontent singles could grow bitter.
  • Those sensitive about physical intimacy could be offended.
  • Debates about interpretation could go on for days.
  • In an effort to be light or to be serious, you could say something inappropriate.
  • And then there are the children in the service!

In the end, the Lord assured me that I should preach the book for precisely these reasons and I should trust that, like the rest of the Bible, Song of Solomon is His word. He promised it would not return void (Isaiah 55:10-11). Besides, if there’s ever a place where newborn and older Christians need their minds renewed it’s probably in the area of romantic intimacy–a key area of discipleship that receives far too little healthy attention.

So, I tried to be sensitive to various situations and needs in the congregation. I tried to “pitch it” in a way that a 12 year old could listen without being embarrassed and without asking mom and dad embarrassing questions later. Along the way, I felt the Lord helping us and I had a lot of fun preaching.

Afterwards, a number of people kindly gave thanks and encouragement. There were a number of comments about being excited for this series. The Lord helped this insecure preacher through the comments of His people, who listened and engaged with genuine humility and earnestness.

Of all the comments that encouraged me, there was one for which I am especially grateful. One mom, attempting to disciple her 9-year old daughter by keeping her in the service, wrote me a lovely email. She wrote, in part, that her daughter:

has been stirred and while not fully grasping actively listening the whole time to a sermon or being able to work through some of the more advanced Biblical concepts and higher levels of vocabulary, she has been determined to walk away with an idea of what the sermon was all about and trying to discuss it later or at least ask questions.  The Lord has blessed her efforts and our discussions of the value of listening and taking away something are payed off today and she has finally hit a milestone she was truly proud of with her listening.  I want to share with you her bullet points in her youth bulletin.

Then she attached the bulletin for us to see:

This 9-year old caught nearly all of the major points and some sub-points and one-liners throughout the sermon. Here’s what she wrote:

  • Do not awaken love ’til it desires.
  • Pleasure is delighting in the other person
  • Do not fall in love with someone you do not love
  • Care about more than their body
  • Accept yourself before you give yourself
  • More desperate, more wild
  • Use gifts to show you love each other
  • Give creative compliments
  • Love and romance are not toys
  • The phrase “I love you” can awaken love
  • We need the Gospel if we are teenagers and we have awakened love before it is ready
  • Stop awakening love if you already have
  • If you don’t awaken love before you are ready you will have a better life.

This morning a I’m praising the Lord for the clarity and power of His word. I pray it continues to bear fruit in this beautiful little girl’s life and in the lives of all the saints of God! I’m encouraged to trust God’s word more deeply!

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13 thoughts on ““Song of Solomon” and 9 Year Olds”

  1. Pam Micca says:

    I am attempting to identify how I can send a request to Thabiti Anyabwile regarding the possibility of him reviewing my new book, Come into His Fullness, Becoming a Whole Brain Believer. A return response with a direct email would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Pam M.

  2. Sounds like good stuff, a wise pastoral use of Song of Solomon.

  3. Peter Bamikole says:

    So dope.
    A while ago you wrote about being an expository listener; I’m still practicing it and this little girl is showing me how it’s done on paper. God bless her soul! (and her mom’s)

  4. Jeramie Rinne says:

    Thank you Thabiti! I’m far more intimidated by the thought of preaching Song of Solomon than I am by the prospect of expositing Revelation or Leviticus. Thank you for reminding us that all Scripture is God breathed and useful.

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Thabiti Anyabwile

Thabiti Anyabwile is a pastor for Anacostia River Church in southeast Washington, DC and a council member of The Gospel Coalition.

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