Drinking Songs

Guess What Day New Year’s Day is…

Well, it’s January 1.  That means it is another first day’s shot at reading through the Bible in a year (maybe less).  I’ve seen many blogs on reading schedule choices (Here’s a great blog with many choices).  I decided to go simple this year.  My bible has 1042 pages in it from Genesis 1.1 to revelation22.21.  Divided out over 365 days that comes to 2.85 pages.  I know that I will have less regularity over the weekends than I wish I would, so I upped it to 4 pages.  4 pages a day and you can read the entire Bible in a year even if you only read on weekdays (yes, I know smarty-pants-with-the-calculator-app, that’s only 1040 pages, but my Bible has 3 blank pages between the New Testament and the New Testament).

Todays reading covered Creation, the fall of man into sin, and ended with the birth of Noah.

First Songs and Implications for Drunkenness

In reading today I was struck by the first two songs recorded in the Bible.  One sung by Adam, one sung by a man seven generations removed from Adam through his son Cain, Lamech.

Adam sings in Genesis 2.23.  Sin has not yet corrupted man’s thoughts or desires. So what do we find in song on the lips of this sinless Adam?  A Hymn? No.  A song of praise? Yes.  About God?  No.  About his wife.

“This at last is bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called Woman,

because she was taken out of Man.”

Though the song is not sexual, it does have sexual undertones.  Eve has been brought to Adam to be the perfect receptor of his love.  She alone perfectly completes him. Together they are the perfect culmination of creation.  Immediately following the song, they are spoken of as being wed fast together and becoming one flesh.  The chapter ends by stating that they were both naked and were not ashamed.

The implications about God’s goodness are profound.  Our father in heaven delights in the physical love between a husband and wife.  The only two places in Scripture where God endorses drunkenness and indulgence both refer to the physical love between a husband and wife. In Proverbs 5.19 the young man is instructed to be intoxicated with love for his wife.  In Song of Solomon 5.1 both the husband and the wife are encouraged, even cheered on, to be drunk with love for each other.

As with so many other good gifts from God, the greater the gift the greater the potential we have for destroying it with our sin.

The second song ever recorded in Scripture for us also, at first glance, does not seem to have any sexual implications, however on deeper reading we see the foundation laid in the destruction of God’s design.

In Genesis 5.23 we read a song Lamech sang to his wives.

“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;

you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say:

I have killed a man for wounding me,

a young man for striking me.

If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold,

then Lamech’s is seventy.”

Lamech sings praises to violence.  He is pleased with himself for killing a young man who had offended him.  He puts himself in the place of God as Judge, and Executioner of this young man and as Defender of himself and his own actions.  Lamech is drunk on violence and satisfying his own cravings without one care about anyone in his path or in his wake

Where does sex enter into this song?  In Geneses 5.19 we are told, “And Lamech took two wives. The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.”  Lamech had done violence to God’s design and to other humans before he ever killed that young man.  Lamech had decided that God’s design and plan for marriage was not for him.

Many point to Scripture, especially the Old Testament, as proof that polygamy was acceptable to God at least at one point.  But you cannot find a description of polygamy in the Bible where a happy family life or happy ending is described.

When the union, which God went to such lengths to create and bless and grant incomparable delight for us, is broken – whether through adultery, or pornography, or emotional affairs, or neglect – violence has occurred.  Without repentance and repair and reconciliation, violence will continue.  Perhaps through bitterness or resentment.  Maybe through harsh words or avoidance.  Maybe even through abuse or further destruction.

Learning the Lyrics and Draining the Dregs

As husbands and wives we can be both encouraged and warned though these songs.  The warning is striking – sexual sins, all sexual sins, always overflow and harm far more people than you thought they would.  But there is a place where God designed for you to be not only naked and unashamed with someone, but where you are encouraged to be intoxicated and drunk on one another.

Those “drunk” passages come centuries after sin entered the world.  That kind of love between husband and wife is possible even in the midst of a fallen world, even in the aftermath of grievous sin against each other.  There is hope, because there is forgiveness, because we have a Savior who did not get drunk on love but got drunk on God’s wrath so that we could drink from God’s cup of blessing and find forgiveness and restoration and hope for all of our relationships.  After all we are called now the bride of Christ and the union between husband and wife was intended from the beginning to be a picture of the union between us and Jesus Christ.

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  -Ephesians 5.28-32

For my married friends – May 2014 be a year of wonderful repair and restoration and wonton drunkenness between you and you spouse.

For my unmarried friends – in the words of the most interesting man in the world, “Stay thirsty, my friends.”