“I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.”
Here in Song of Solomon 2:1-2, the speaker is the man, the king. He describes the testimony, as viewed by God and others, both of the inward man and of the outward man, both of himself and of his love, in the setting of “valleys” and “thorns.”
Valleys and thorns are viewed in the figurative sense of spiritual matters. In a figurative sense, the valleys in a Child of God’s journey represent the times of resistance, tests, trials, tribulations, etc. that he is called, or appointed by God, to enter into as a school of conforming. They are a test, or proof, of the Child of God’s true commitment to God; proving this to himself. God already knows, but the Child of God needs to see if he really is a possessor of Christ (Job 23:13-14; Deuteronomy 8:1-8).
These valleys have many faces and affect many areas of a Child of God’s life. They usually represent outward forces affecting God’s Children in areas such as family; church; provision of food, clothes, shelter; financial stability; etc. Valleys affect the outward physical life of His Children; but they have inward, as well as outward, effects.
Thorns, in a figurative sense, point to the curse God placed on the ground because of the sin of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:17-18). Thorns deal primarily with resistance, tests, trials, and tribulations inwardly in the Child of God. Speaking of the “old man,” or the “flesh,” where Paul said sin dwells (Romans 7:17-18). Paul said, “…the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Ephesians 4:22b).
Both Paul and James make it very plain (Romans 5:3-5; Hebrews 12:5-11; James 1:2-4), as also did Moses (Deuteronomy 8:1-5), that these produce patience; and when her perfect work is complete, she makes us “…perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:4). Also, those exercised thereby yield “…the peaceable fruit of righteousness…” (Hebrews 12:11); and reveal whether we will keep His Commandments or not. So they are designed for the good of the Children of God; but they are very difficult to endure.
However, in this devotion, King Solomon is revealing the beauty of himself and his Bride in the midst of the valley of trials and dealing with daily sin. Of course, this points to the beauty of Christ and of His Love, the Church.
Solomon said, “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.” In the physical, there is nothing more beautiful or intricate in its design than the rose. There is no other flower as beautiful and peaceful-looking as the lily of the valley. The emphasis in the beauty of the rose and the lily is in their location; in the contrast of their beauty to the world around them.
In the figurative and spiritual sense, the main thought is the beauty of the man and woman in times of test and trial. The attitude, actions, and attire of the husband and wife in the midst of the valley are their outward beauty. The questions arise, “How does he react under pressure?” “How does the wife appear in the midst of this wicked world of sin?”
Christ gives us a visual image, a beautiful picture, of true faith in the midst of trials and sin. In His teachings here in Song of Solomon 2:1-2, He is revealing the real position of Himself and His Bride in this world. The back drop reveals the beauty of the flower; as night reveals the beauty of the light. Therefore, without the valley and sin, the beauty of Christ and His Bride would not show as greatly.
Solomon then writes, “…so is my love among the daughters” (verse 2b). He is saying, Notice the difference of My Bride among all the other saved. Here Solomon (Christ) is making a distinction between His People:
“There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number.” (Song of Solomon 6:8)
My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.” (Song of Solomon 6:9)
The analogy is great, “As the lily among thorns”; that is, see the great difference. This is how Christ views the Church; those baptized into His Body by Spirit Baptism (1 Corinthians 12:13); those who have been regenerated (Born from Above by the Holy Spirit; John 3:3-8); those who have received the Spirit of Adoption, whereby they cry “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:14-16); those who are no longer servants of unrighteousness, but are now raised from dead in sins and trespasses to walk the new life in Christ (Romans 6:4-23); and are now the servants of righteousness with fruit unto holiness (Galatians 4:1-7).
These are placed in contrast to those without the new birth; just as Old Testament Israel is contrasted to the Church. Old Testament Israel knew God and they were saved; but they were strangers to the New Birth. The New Birth is found only in the New Testament (John 3:1-8). Or it can be said, the contrast between those who have revelation, but not regeneration; and those who have both revelation and regeneration.
When people have regeneration, they are raised to walk in Christ (Romans 6:4). They are free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). They are made a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17); given a new man, a new nature, with a will and power to serve God (Ephesians 4:22-24). They will walk as He walked; therefore, love is perfected in them (1 John 2:4-6; 3:11-24; 4:7-21).
When this happens, they become in beauty as the lily is among the thorns. Their words and deeds are of Christ. They walk in love, in the light, and circumspectly, full of the Spirit. They are full of praise and submission to God and to one another (Ephesians 5:1-21). Their beauty is the Garment of Salvation and the Robe of Righteousness. They are the abiding Place of God on earth, as they are part of His Body. (See Ephesians 3:21; 1 Peter 2:9; John 15:1-10.)
Therefore, their beauty is Christ Himself dwelling in them (Romans 8:8-16).
The questions arise, Reader, are you as a “lily among thorns”? Can all people see your beauty in Christ? Are you walking in the flesh or in the Spirit? (See Romans 8:1).
If you are walking by faith, then “The Faith,” the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley, even Christ, lives in you (Galatians 2:20). Then you will be different, “as the lily among thorns.”