How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince’s daughter! (Song of Songs 7:1a NIV).
At first look, a person might wonder why God has included Song of Songs in the Bible at all! It is a very genuine thought. Why should such descriptions of physical beauty be described in such romantic, sexual and exciting language in the Bible? Isn’t it wrong?
The problem is not with God nor with the Bible but with us. We live in a sex-saturated world where through advertisements and the media we are constantly bombarded with sexual thoughts. So our thinking about sex has been corrupted by the devil to unimaginable extremes. That is the problem.
We need the help of the New Testament to understand the answers. In the Book of Titus it is written, “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure” (Titus 1:15a NIV). Though written in a different context, it can be applied to the area of physical intimacy and sex within marriage.
Remember that when God created Adam and Eve, “The man and his wife were both naked, they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:25 NIV). But it was sin that brought shame. So, God by including the Song of Songs and its description of physical beauty is trying to tell His children to restore the beauty and intimacy that is possible in marriage.
You also need to remember that the physical element in marriage is important. Though the Bible elsewhere talks about a wife’s enduring qualities (Proverbs 31:10–31, 1 Peter 3:3–5), in the Song of Songs God is showing that a husband and wife should learn to appreciate the physical features and beauty of each other. This is something that can keep romance, love and affection for each other alive even in tough times. Paul, talking about marriage pointed out that the body of the husband also belongs to the wife and vice versa (1 Corinthians 7:3–6). He talks here about fulfilling the sexual needs of each other within marriage.
Jesus underlined the fact that God established marriage and a man shall be united to his wife and they shall become one flesh (Matthew 19:4–6). One flesh talks of an intimate union. Such a union is best achieved and expressed by sexual intimacy within marriage. That is why Solomon talked about marriage in very clear sexual terms in Proverbs 5:18–19.
You also need to remember that the Bible speaks of your body as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19 and 20). So your body is not bad. Paul argued along these lines when He said that Christ loved the Church, His body. He said that husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies and wives must respect their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-33).
So coming back to the original question, it is to teach us the sanctity of marriage and the intimacy and beauty that God has commanded within it, that God included such exciting description of physical beauty in the Bible. Cherish God’s values of sex and guard your mind against corrupting it into the base level of lust; even within marriage!