My Beloved is mine, and I am His. He feeds among the lilies.
Song of Songs 2:16
To embrace the Beloved’s call to come away with Him is to learn to dwell in a place of distinction: Among the lilies.
The Shulamite could relate to the word picture of the Beloved’s personal description of Himself in the beginning of chapter 2 when He said: “I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys.” (SS 2:1)
The rose (crocus) on the plains of Sharon brought beauty to the desert, and the Shoshannim (lily) that blossomed in the fertile vales spread bright cheer and joy where depth had been carved.
In the natural, Mother Nature provided this beauty for anyone who chose to indulge their senses. The sight and fragrance, even the soft touch of roses and lilies, beautified the barren and the low places. Who isn’t captured – if only for a moment – by such ministry to one’s natural senses of sight, smell and touch?
But this Beloved of hers had a way of getting beneath the surface and speaking straight to her heart. He would describe Himself – and oh, He was all those wonderful things! That’s why she loved Him. Then in the next breath He would make of her a holy comparison: “Like a lily among the thorns, so is my darling among the maidens.” (vs. 2)
Oh, that really helped with not wanting to stick out like a sore thumb. It was one thing to begin privately embracing her Beloved as a Person, beyond the basic blessings of care and provision. It was quite another thing to be singled out as a love associate of His, like those Shoshannim that He loved to graze among.
Shoshannim in Hebrew is lily and trumpet, and carries with it the meaning those that shall be changed.*
With brief glance, we readers on the New Covenant side of the Shulamite’s story can skate right past a remark such as the one she uttered in Songs 2:16. By now, though, I hope you are discovering the ‘more’ that is treasured within this beautiful Song of Songs.
Let’s recall that the becoming Bride made three confessions of love and we’ve only just arrived in the narrative at her first confession of love: “My Beloved is mine, and I am his. He feeds among the lilies.” I encourage you to reacquaint yourself with her first confession for she is a mirror for our own hearts.
How the heart’s mind can flip flop –
“Ok, this. Wait a minute – what about that?”
“Yes, absolutely. But hey, that’s a good point.”
“I just need to let go. What?? No, not that!”
“I love lilies, they’re so beautiful. Lily white? Yeah, right.”
“A lily among thorns, how special I must be to Him. And how arrogant does that make me sound?”
“I want to be the voice of a trumpet! Um…on second thought, no, I don’t think so.”
“I want relationship with You. But…it feels better having relationship with what I can see.”
“You are all I need. But I do need…and I need…and I need…”
“You are so worthy, Lord. I’m glad You’re mine. Aaaannnd, I’m (let me thiiiink about it) Yours.”
“There. I said it and I’m committed. It’s all taken care of. Over and done. God is good, all the time. Until now! So why did You let this happen?!”
In this phase of the Bride’s first confession of love, for every Shulamite (all who are in Christ, the True Vine), some variation of this internal dialogue takes place whether we really want it to or not. It’s a malady in the body of Christ: Think and re-think. State, then second-guess. Speak the truth, then shut it down faster than you can say ‘Amen!’
For every Shulamite who battles doubt and hesitation in the face of this following after Him, the best recourse is another confession – of truth: “I believe. Help my unbelief (weakness of faith).” Mark 9:24
How the Beloved loves to hear that admission. It’s why he delights to feed among the lilies. They are those who have chosen to believe, in spite of their at times weak faith – honestly acknowledged – that He is able to effect in them the change that He began and will bring it to completion. Philippians 1:6
They have also been learning to dwell in the place of distinction, these Shoshannim. They have answered His beckoning call. They have passed this way before where the Shulamite now finds herself. They are in her proximity, for she knows where the Beloved likes to hang out – among the lilies.
They know how good and pleasant it is to dwell with their fellow lilies. Whether they are aware of it or not, they are being clothed with and emitting a fragrance that lets others know they have been with Jesus (Acts 4:13), the Lily of the Valley himself. They are learning it is Him who brings distinction to their lives, and they welcome it.
They are growing in a manner different than how they once lived – led by their indecisive heart.
“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.”
Luke 12:27 NASB
No wonder He delights to tend and pasture His flock among the lilies. They resemble Him.
~ Gracefully Free
*Hitchcock’s Bible Names Dictionary
Shammahs Field LLC/Shammah Ministries is the biblical counseling, life coaching, and spiritual growth ministry entrusted to Wayne & Nancy Bentz. You can learn more about the resources they have to offer at shammahsfield.com and nancybentz.com.