Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"On Fire": "My Darling Is Like a Lily Among Thorns." (SOS 2:2)

"Among the young women, my darling is like a lily among thorns!"---Song of Solomon 2:2(NCV)

So yesterday...

I unexpectedly received some tiger lily earrings in the mail and since y'all know that I'm big on signs and wonders (Daniel 4:2-3), I took it as being time to pen another Song of Solomon installment. However, before we get into it, let me share with you the symbols behind the different kinds of lilies:

LILY, Calla -Beauty

LILY, Day -Coquetry; Chinese Emblem for Mothers

LILY, Eucharis -Maiden Charms

LILY, Orange -Hatred

LILY, Tiger -Wealth; Pride

LILY, White -Virginity; Purity; Majesty; its Heavenly to Be with You

LILY, Yellow -I'm walking on Air; False and Gay

LILY-OF-THE-VALLEY -Sweetness; Tears of the Virgin Mary; Return to Happiness; Humility; You've Made My Life Complete

I'm sharing those for a couple of reasons. One reason is because it reminds me that while all flowers can be pleasing to the eye, that doesn't mean that they are necessarily the best for you. Take an orange lily, for example. If you've ever seen one before, they are quite beautiful, but a symbol of *hatred*? Who wants to walk around representing hatred and yet, there are some pretty attractive women who could stand to keep this in mind: "If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" (I John 4:20-NKJV) I have shared in the devotionals I write that one definition of hate is "unwilling". Is there currently someone in your life who you are *unwilling* to forgive (Matthew 6:14-15), make an amends to (Matthew 5:23-24) or reconcile with (2 Corinthians 5:12-21)?

Secondly, it shows that there are all kinds of ways to be a lily. Some may represent physical beauty. Others, may live a lifestyle of wealth. Perhaps you are a virgin or you're known for being really sweet or humble. Again, all flowers are aesthetically pleasing, but each has it's own "petal print" that makes it especially charming and unique (Psalm 33:15)---just like a woman.

OK, so now that we have that down, let's get into what the beloved said to the Shulamite woman. He said that she was a lily among the thorns. She was a *flower* among the thorns. On the surface, it might simply sound like a nice thing to say. Oh, but if you dig deeper, her beloved actually said a mouthful.

For one thing, a flower is blossom (or at least a plant that is in the stages of blooming) and when something blossoms, this means that it flourishes and develops. When something is flourishing, this means that it is thriving and prospering; that it is in its prime. One of my absolute favorite blessings (given by a human) in the Bible is found in I John 3:2(NKJV): "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers." There was something within the Shulamite woman's beloved that saw her as a symbol of prosperity and I choose to believe that a big part of that was connected to her *spiritual prosperity*.

Take it from me, it's a lot easier to get a tube of lipstick for your "outer shell" than to put forth the effort required to be a *spiritual success*. That said, what things are you doing as it relates to your life that will cause *your soul to prosper*? A man who is looking for a godly woman will notice someone who is blossoming, thriving and prospering in the spiritual and emotional depths of herself.

OK, and he did not just say that she was a lily, but a lily among thorns. When you think about the word "thorn", probably the first definition that comes to mind is "a sharp excrescence on a plant, especially a sharp-pointed aborted branch; spine; prickle". However, that is not really where the phrase "a thorn in my side" comes from. No, it comes from this definition: "something that wounds, annoys, or causes discomfort".

Looka here: I have been a man's thorn before and I also know *many women* who men consider to be thorns (even if the women choose to be in denial about it). No one wants to be around someone who is wounding them with their words (Proverbs 15:1 & 18:21, James 3:1-12). No one wants to be around someone who is annoying. When you're annoying, you're troublesome, bothersome, irritating and harmful. The woman that King Solomon once said that men would rather be in the wilderness to get away from (Proverbs 21:19)? Yeah, she's annoying (LOL). No one wants to be around someone who is the *cause* of discomfort. As a matter of fact, as disciples and/or believers (John 17), we are to "comfort and edify" (I Thessalonians 5:11), "comfort the fainthearted" (I Thessalonians 5:14) and "forgive *and comfort* offenders" (2 Corinthians 2:3-11). Of the men that you know, would they consider you to be a source of soothing, consoling, reassurance and cheer (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)? Or are you just the opposite of those things? OR are you extremely inconsistent when it comes to being a comforting individual? (A moody woman is an annoying one as well.)

And finally, I couldn't help but notice that her beloved used an exclamation point in this particular declaration. And yet, I get it, don't you? Shoot, I'm a woman and I know women who annoy me (LOL). This man was so excited to know that the one whom he loved was a source of spiritual prosperity and comfort in the midst of so many woman who are any and everything but!

Yeah. As we get more and more into this particular Book of the Bible, it would appear that nothing is quite as it seems. I'm becoming more intrigued with each verse.

This week, think about if you are spiritually blossoming---if you are a "lily" or a *thorn*.

If you don't like what you see, the good news is that God can always prune (John 15:4-5), right? Right.

Til next time...



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