Pastor Nelson has ministered to his congregation at Denton Bible Church in Denton, Texas since the late 1970s. His talk today will continue to address the important aspects of godly dating and how a good early foundation in a relationship is critical to a lasting marriage. Let's listen now to the remainder of Pastor Nelson's lesson here on Family Talk.
Tommy Nelson: Fellas, how does Jesus Christ love your girl to be? Ephesians 5, "He has washed her by the washing of water with the word to present to himself, the church and all her glory. Having no spot nor wrinkle nor any such thing. There is no spot so nasty that He cannot get it out." See, also, Paul the murderer, David the adulterer, Mary Magdalene the prostitute, Zacchaeus the tax collector. He can forgive anything and there is no wrinkle. That's something that's hidden. There are some things in your life that only you and God, an offended person and you're mate to be will know. And if you forgive like God forgives, there's no wrinkle, there's no hidden thing that you can't forgive.
You talk and you cry. And fellas if you've got a girl that in some of these girls have been hurt so deeply and when a man puts his hands out, they're going to instinctively go back in a steep place. When she tells you of how she has been hurt, of what she's been through, many of them of immorality they have been through. Let me tell you, you're going to want to take that girl and hold her so close to you, you're going to love her so deeply that your thought is going to be, "Sweetie, you are never going to be hurt again. You're with a man that's going to treat you with such kindness and such dignity and such love and with such gentleness."
And in the same way, girls, you're going to look at him and say, "You're going to find all of your needs satisfied in me. You will never ever get defiled again." So you talk. You know what the next way you're going to find out about your mate? Is the inevitability of time. You're going to stumble on to things. I remember, I'm not a really good pathfinder. I get lost easily. My wife is Daniel Boone. She never gets lost. I kid you not. On one occasion we were driving around and I was in a place and I said, "Where are we?" And Teresa went, "There's our backyard, right there." Honest. She can find her way anywhere. I can't find my place no place.
When we were dating early on, I and my dear sweet wife to be, my dear precious dove, I would go to speak in the Metroplex area. And whenever I would get kind of lost, I would do the obvious thing you would do to find your way around. I would look for a water tower with the high school mascot on it. And I knew if it was a fighting farmer or if it was a Grand Prairie, whatever where I was. Okay, smart guy.
And one time I got mixed up and I went, I said, "I don't know where we are" and went in. And I said to the 7-11 guys, I said, "Where am I? Is this Lewisville?" He said, "No, you're in Irving." I went ... and I went out and I said, "Teresa, we're in Irving, we're going to be late." I thought that was so funny. And she looks at me with these eyes and she ain't laughing. And I found out some things about my wife and I found out little things that still today I discover about her. My wife is of the gene of species what is called pakus ratum.
She saves everything. We have boxes of hair from the shower. I ain't kidding. Does she, not really. But that's the way she is. Me, I love to clean house. I take a trashcan bag and I clean like Sherman did Atlanta all right, everything's gone. I've thrown away paychecks, I've thrown away bills, everything. She don't think that's funny. Can you imagine? And she, and I sometimes do this. You're going to inevitably learn things. People there's a mutual commitment by both of them to resolve problems.
Now let me tell you what this text means. The worst thing you can get in those days, was a fox in your vineyard because he would get in there and he would eat the blossom and the blossom would never fall off, you'd never get bud, you'd never get a grape. It would never come to maturity because something would eat it. Sometimes in your relationship, it'll get nipped. And the reason it'll get nipped is by little foxes that never let your relationship mature. Two major things that eat you up, unresolved conflict. You've got to learn how to fight clean. Every couple conflicts, but you've got to learn how to fight clean and if you don't, it's going to nip your relationship. Let me tell you what you do this. Imagine, you play tennis, you're at the baseline, you're on volley with the person, boom, boom, and it hits boom, and the guy don't hit it back. And it goes, boom, boom, boom hits the fence. You do it again boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.
If you keep hitting and they don't hit it back, you just quit playing. Now that's what happens if you get an uncommunicable male. I know the way you are guys, that she starts having problems and you just get the channel changer. "Yeah, go ahead." If you don't talk, she gets frustrated and she doesn't want to play anymore. And you just can't talk, you got to look at her. And some of you guys are rotten listeners, I know because I'm one of you. Women like facial contact, men just need data. Just give me the data. One time my wife grabbed me, she said, "Listen with your face." When your wife talks, you listen. She knows the answer, but that's okay. You just listen.
And fellows, you have to do this in courtship. You're going to have conflicts, when she's hurt, you stop everything. And incidentally in pre-marital and marital problems this is what's called cancer. This is not a little problem. Whenever a woman comes and says, "I'm trying to talk to my husband, he won't listen." That's the most terrifying that a woman gets. She doesn't need a perfect man, but she needs a guy that is perfectible. And fellows if you're one of these guys, it's never wrong, and you're never going to listen and you think it's going to assert certain male pride by dominating this woman. And then that's the head of your house to do it, you can forget that.
Men that go to crosses to die for those they love, that's the way you love your wife. And you turn and you listen to her. And when she says, "I got a problem," you get out your pen and say, "Yes," and you write it down and you take good notes. And ladies the same way when he's hurt, then you listen. And fellas, you don't give a logical response. "Well, dear, A is B and B is C, A is C, so therefore." It won't work. And she will get you. She will deliver.
Here's another case. All right, you got the apathetic person, now you got this one. Boom, boom and they go to the net, all right. No, we're going to volley. We're going to volley. We're going to exchange and talk. Don't go to the net and hit it back. And this is the guy that she talks and the guy explodes. "Well, I'll tell you why that, let me tell you something." Or the girl goes off. "You's like my daddy." That's cancer. That's not a problem. That's cancer. You got to deal with that because that ain't funny in marriage, and you're not going to tolerate it in marriage. And don't think that you're going to enjoy life because you tolerate this insensitive human being so that you can go ahead and bind them in marriage. Now you've got a real problem because it's hopeless.
So, you can have foxes in your vineyards, whenever God lets you discover your little dove and you can't reconcile problems. You want another way, now listen to this. There's one commentator that feels, this is the major interpretation of the verse. All through the Song of Solomon, the woman refers to her body as a vineyard. In chapter one, she said, I haven't taken care of my vineyard. When they get married, the husband is going to call the sexuality of his wife a well and a spring and her sexuality a vineyard that he will now gather his fruits. It's a delightful thing. At the end of the book, she's going to take her body and tithe her best to her husband. Here the same motif is used, the vineyard. Do you know what one noted Hebrew scholar thinks this means, that he says, this is the logical response to a dove coming out. And a couple of getting to know each other, that every couple struggles with premarital sexual tendencies. As Howard Hendricks said at the seminary, "If you don't lust young man, you got another problem. We all struggle."
If you don't deal with the foxes that get into your premarital relationship, your vineyard will not come to fruition. Let me tell you, if I was an atheist and I was dealing with pure conjecture on what I've seen in couples. If I was an atheist, I'd tell you three things, never borrow money excessively. I've never seen a peaceful person that is heavily in debt. Secondly, never be unforgiving. I've never met an unforgiving person who is happy, ever in my life. Thirdly, never get into premarital sex. If I was an atheist, I'd say don't do it. It's the worst thing you can do for your future marriage unless there is the stopping, repentance and incidentally in all of this stuff we're talking about, it's a standard that none of us completely fulfilled. And that's the wonderful thing about the redeeming grace of God and the infilling of the holy spirit and the word of God and forgiveness.
God can Joel restore the years the locust has eaten. So I want to stop right there. Mary Magdalene, Zacchaeus, no matter how bad you've gotten, Paul, David, God can redeem you and He can make you weep on His feet and dry His feet with your hair. So deep is his love. So we're looking at a standard and I hope it brings conviction, but don't think that you are unimprovable because all of us need improvement.
But to you that are getting into relationships. You watch the foxes fellows and ladies that can get in to that vineyard. When you get married and go to your honeymoon, you don't want to just have a honeymoon that's business as usual. You want to turn around guys and see that woman and go, some. And her mother stand up and her come down and you want to go to your honeymoon and be excited. I kid you not. I took my wife. I got married in Harleton, Texas. We honeymooned 60 miles away at the Whitehouse Motel in Tyler, big bucks.
And as we were going there, she's going to kill me sharing this. As we're going there, she's just so excited, we're on our honeymoon, we're heading off to our honeymoon. All right. And my wife and I stayed pure. We had to chase the foxes off. I loved her. I wanted her. But we chased the foxes off and we let our vineyard grow. And as we approached Tyler, she was talking, I'm going 50. I'm going 60, 70, she ain't talking so much. Pretty soon she's over by the door, I'm going 90. Yeah, it's an exciting time and you know what? You go to your honeymoon and then you kneel by your bed with that woman and there before God, the two of you consecrate your union to God and ask God to bless it.
When I taught this and Denton Bible years ago, I had to stop because then I could watch and the girls in our congregation, their eyes would fill up with tears and you could see them saying, "I wish I'd have known then, what God says." I want you to know, Joel, Book of Joel. God can restore what the locust has eaten. And He, I don't care how you've been to this point. You can start something new and God can bless it. We have couples in our church with such a wonderful union and they've worked through some tough stuff, but I'm here to tell you, Jesus makes water from wine. He doesn't just create; He recreates and He waits to serve the best wine until last. So you'd be encouraged. I don't care how tough it's been. God can make it new.
Watch this. Fellas, you treat a girl like this and I conclude with how that girl should feel. Verse 16, "I am my beloved's and he is mine." My beloved is mine. I am his, this girl has trust. Mary Magdalene wept on Christ because he that is forgiven much loves much. When your mate knows you guys and loves you, you're going to love her so deeply. This woman says, I trust him. I belong to him. He knows me cold. Listen. Every once in a while at my house, I get to messing up as a husband, you know what my wife goes? She goes, "preach on Song of Solomon man."
And you know it's so wonderful to love her because she knows me cold. She is not under the illusion of anything. Verse 16, not only trust. Look at this guys. The woman says he pastures his flock among the lilies. She sees herself like a sheep laid down in green pastures. This guy cares for her. That's how the woman feels. He's so gentle with me. I buried a guy years ago, an admiral for the surgeon general of the United States, 80 plus years old, married 60 years. Put in that casket, his wife walked over by him with tears in her eyes and she touched his head and she said, of Jerry Savelle, her dear husband, Ruth said "60 year and he never hurt me."
You know what she could have said. He pastures his flock among the lilies. He took care of me. Look at this, verse 17. What else changes. "Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away," that means in Hebrew, all night long, "the shadows flee away in the morning time when the darkness dissipates and the coolness of the day comes." Genesis says, God walked with Adam in the cool of the day meaning the morning. "Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away, turn my beloved and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of Bether." She calls this young stag to mount the mountains of Bether all night long. Now, what is that? There is no topographical map in the Bible that shows you the hills of Bether. The word Bether in Hebrew means the hills of separation. Now, what does this mean? Young stud climb upon the twin hills all night long. I don't know. I'll give you a hint on the honeymoon. She calls it her heel of frankincense and her mountain of myrrh.
At the end of the book, she calls for him to be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spice. It's talking about the breast of the woman. This is not reproductivity. This is the delight of sex. We're talking about the breast of the woman. She wants this man all night long. You know now why this book ain't taught? How would you like to be one of them little old preacher is just tighter than a snare drum. "We don't really, father we thank you for ..."
No, you see what grows ladies? What grows is her trust, her admiration and her passion. Now look at how she goes on. In verse one, "On my bed night after night, I sought him whom my soul loves. I sought him, but didn't find him. I must arise and go about in the city and the streets and squares and seeking whom my soul loves. I sought him, but didn't find him and the watchman who make the rounds to the city found me. And I said, have you seen him whom my soul loves? Scarcely have I left him, when I found him whom my soul loves and I held onto him and would not let him go until I brought him into the house of her who conceived me." Her mother. Why? Because she wants her mother's consent to marry him. She says, I ain't going to wait no longer. I asked my wife, I said, "Give me a help with this thing. This looks like a panicky woman that wants this guy." I said, "What does it mean?" She said, "That's a panicky woman that wants that guy."
And I said, "How is that?" She said, "If you were a girl, you wouldn't worry." She said, "You guys can break up relationships, get on the phone and start another one. We want to get married, we want to be wife's, we want to have children, but we can't start relationships. And we get kind of nervous." This woman wants him emotionally. And she wants him physically. Now don't look at the rest of the text. What do you think it's going to say, do you think the next text will say, "And Solomon rose up and said, 'foul woman, licentious woman, how dare you speak of your breast?'" Do you know what Solomon says? Let's just wait next week. And we'll just ... Verse five. "I adjure you, oh, daughters of Jerusalem by the gazelles or by the hinds of the field." And you see it now for the second time, "Don't arouse her awaken love until it pleases." Not yet. He says, "Sweetie, that's okay. That's normal. That's right. But it's not now. Just wait."
She was passionate in dating. She's passionate in courtship. And we're going to close this. Fellas, who takes the lead? The guy does. Ladies, there is nothing more frustrating than married to a man who will not lead. Gloria Steinem said "We women have finally become the men we always wanted to marry." This guy takes control. I'm done. Do you all see from the Word of God what courtship is?
Father in heaven, thank you for this delightful group of men and women. And we are not what we should be, but by your grace, we are not what we were. And I pray that as we yield to the spirit of God, to the character of our father, to the example of our Lord, to the truthfulness of the word, to the admonition of the body of Christ and the pulpit that you might make us what we ought to and raise up in our day, light and salt and a standard of what ought to be. I pray for any that have hurt themselves. Thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you that you make water into wine. You are the God of recreation. Bless your holy name.
Dr. James Dobson: Well, I do hope you enjoyed and were encouraged by Pastor Nelson's words on developing good communication and intimacy with your spouse. I'm Dr. James Dobson. And if you weren't able to join us yesterday for part one, head on over to our broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org. While you're there, check out any of our other resources on parenting, marriage, or creating a Christian legacy. All of this can be found at drjamesdobson.org. In fact, our entire archives are available there. And we'd been at this a long time and those programs are all available. After you visit our website, jump on over to our Facebook page and get involved in the conversations going on there about today's broadcast. Simply go to facebook.com/drjamesdobsonsfamilytalk.
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