Song of Solomon 2:16 My beloved is mine, and I am his; he pastures his flock among the lilies.
I belong to God and He belongs to me. It can not be out of possession, but out of desire. When I turn my heart completely towards God, it pleases Him. His heart is always towards me, He only waits for me to be willing to let His heart towards me to fuel my desire for intimacy with Him.
This passage seems so personal and intimate; yet I wasn’t sure about the lilies and the flock. My mind immediately went to passages about Jesus being the great Shepherd, like:
Hebrew 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
or passages referencing us as His flock like:
Luke 12:27-28 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!.
Looking at the Song of Solomon passage in light of those scriptures, it would be easy for me to say, “I am His sheep and He will care for me so I don’t have to worry.” That is intimate. That is the God I know, but curiosity got the better of me.
I initially did a quick Google search and the quick results said that lilies are poisonous to sheep. That didn’t sit right with what I know of God’s character, if it is true. I stopped searching Google and went to commentaries on the passage. I found two different takes in various commentaries of the passage.
One take on it is that the sheep will not eat lilies, but will eat everything around it. So the shepherd is surrounded with sweet, lovely pastures, while the sheep are able to have their food needs met. The shepherd is able to return home without all the dust and dirt clinging to his body from working all day because he has been surrounded by sweet fragrance all day. The other take was that the lilies represent faithful people that the shepherd abides with to refresh himself. God is looking for faithful people who will abide and be refreshed with Him.
I saw it as a recipe, one that God wants me to understand in my own life. He wants me to surround myself with environments that encourage me, because I am His. He wants me to have a the ability to let Him really be mine. When I am surrounded by things and people that bring me pleasure, that are sweet, and beautiful, it brings me into a place of intimacy with Him. I realize that when I stay in an encouraging environment, it makes me more joyful as I come into His presence. It is easier for me to encounter His presence because there will be less filth and stink I feel the need to remove before I can enter into His presence and enjoy Him.
God also wants me to be careful of who I spend my time with daily and certainly regularly. I need to be with people who are faithful to Him and who are loyal to me. I need people I can count on. I need to be around people who refresh me and nourish me; instead of just surrounding myself with people who pull from me, drain me, or are just neutral. I realize this when I look around in my life and see the true relationships I am in. When I am not being refreshed and nourished by relationships I am in, I have so much garbage to set at God’s feet before I am able to enjoy His presence.
I can certainly see times in my life where I have not pastured my flocks among the lilies. I struggle to spend time with Him. The lies of the enemy build up in my mind. When I do come to Him, it feels like heavy weights must be lifted before I can draw near. The high walls must be torn down before I can even recognize His voice. As much as I desire to enter in, the battle is real when I have not been in an environment that is nourishing to my spirit and soul.
I can tell the times where I do pasture my flock in the lilies. His presence is so much sweeter and so easy for me to enter into. I hear Him more clearly. The revelations are more powerful. When I come in ready, He always meets me with an intensity that matches my own desire. I am His, but I allow Him to become mine.