Acts 17:11 Archives

"The Lily of the Valley", Us or Him?

In response to the questions, "What does it mean to refer to Christ as the "Lily of the Valley?" by Dean VanDruff.

The "Lily of the Valley" is popular in song, but not so much in Scripture. It is rarely mentioned, and a bit tricky to fit with modern usage.

The first of three Old Testament mentions is from the Song of Songs.

Song 2:1 (NIV) I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.

Unfortunately, in type it is wrong. The woman is the Lily, not the man. So the Lily--if you see the Song as being typological--is the Church rather than Christ.

Song 2:1,6-8,16 (NIV) I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys... O that his left hand were under my head, and that his right hand embraced me! I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the wild does: do not stir up or awaken love until it is ready! The voice of my beloved! Look, he comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills... My lover is mine and I am his; he browses among the lilies.

Song 5:2-6,6:2-3 (NIV) ...Listen! my beloved is knocking. "Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one; for my head is wet with dew, my locks with the drops of the night." I had put off my garment; how could I put it on again? I had bathed my feet; how could I soil them? My beloved thrust his hand into the opening, and my inmost being yearned for him. I arose to open to my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, upon the handles of the bolt. I opened to my beloved... My beloved has gone down to his garden, to the beds of spices, to pasture his flock in the gardens, and to gather lilies. I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine; he pastures his flock among the lilies.

Enough said about "Valleys" and "Lilies" in this context, eh? <blush>

The other place that "Lily" shows up is:

Hosea 14:4-7 (NIV) "I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily, he shall strike root like the forests of Lebanon.... They shall again live beneath my shadow, they shall flourish as a garden; they shall blossom like the vine, their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon."

Here again, the "lily" appears to refer to the object of God's love in the feminine sense. And we get similar imagery of "dew" and the like.

So here we have the problem. We are the "Lily of the Valley" as the "true Israel" (Rom 2:28-29) of God. The Lily is feminine--nearly all cultures "get this" and regard it thus. As a lily, one of the largest and most lovely of flowers in the land of promise, we are truly clothed with beauty and fragrance.

In the New Testament, Jesus uses the "lilies" to represent the simplicity, purity, and effortless glory of the saints.

Luke 12:27 (Wey) "Observe the lilies, how they grow. They neither labour nor spin. And yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was as beautifully dressed as one of these."

So what are we to make of the popular use? I think it is mistaken, a religious tradition of hymsters, to regard Jesus as the "Lily".

Or perhaps not. Our "liliness" if we have it--our beauty and fragrance--comes from Him or not at all (2Cr 2:14-16). And again... we are His body, and soon to be "one flesh" with Him in ways too intimate to imagine now. He has made a covenant with us in advance to this end. So, in a roundabout sense, the Lily is included in Him and reflects His glory.

Eph 5:30-32 (NIV) For we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church.

Thus to say "Lilly of the Valley" and "Bright Morning Star" is to depict the Bride and Jesus, or the figurative body of and actual body of Christ.

It is indeed a "profound mystery".

The "Lily of the Valley" is us, conformed into His image and like Him.

2Cor 2:14-15 (NIV) But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ...

Eph 5:25-27 (NIV) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

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