“Leaning into the lilies”

Luke 12:22-32: “And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for (Do not worry about) your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.

The life is more than meat (food) and the body is more than raiment (clothing) .

Consider (Ponder) the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which have neither storehouse, nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?

And which of you with taking thought (by worrying) can add to his stature one cubit?

If ye then be not able to do that which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?

Consider the lilies how they grow; they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed (clothed) as one of these.

If God then so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

And seek ye not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be of doubtful (anxious) mind.

For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth you have need of these things.

But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things will be added unto you.

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” 

This is one of those getting back to basic teachings, you know Jesus gave us so many examples here of the things we see everyday just by looking outside, we see all of the birds,, ever busy, especially this time of the year, building their nests, raising their babies, teaching them all that they need to survive, and part of that is searching daily for their food that God supplies them with, and as Jesus said they don’t store it up but it is always there.

And the beautiful flowers, shrubs, trees, all of of creation, so beautiful, yet so different and complex, each creation strikingly beautiful in form and fragrance, I personally love the fact that even rose petals when separated are all shaped as hearts, and every leaf bears the veins that we can even see in our skin, and nothing in human fashion, even with the wealthiest budget, such as Solomon possessed can never create a covering for us as gorgeous as God created for the flowers, and yet they do absolutely nothing to achieve this, just grow and be what they are created to be.

That is what he is driving home to us with this passage, it is not as much about want, as it is about worry and trust, two states of being that are polar opposites.

We all worry, we all struggle, and sometimes we all feel helpless, alone, even when we may not be alone, we feel wounded, hurt, and unsure of the future or if even we have a future.

And for many, especially with all the turmoil of societal unrest, financial collapse, and Covid fear and isolation over the past few years has taken its toll on all of us, in one form or another, adults, children, black, white, all races, if your human you have felt one aspect for it or another.

That’s what Jesus wanted us to be reassured of with this passage, we can not change anything by thinking about it, by rolling it over and over in our minds, by staying up all night wrestling with what the future holds.

It only steals our peace, and God gives us peace, even in the middle of these things, he will give us peace, he assured us in this passage that he will take care of his children, period.

No maybe, no command to “pray harder and hope for the best”, simply HE WILL, that is why he posed the question asking us, could make ourselves taller simply by thinking about it, worrying about it, No, we can’t.

He then asks us if we can’t do that then why worry about anything else? He assured us to fear not, because he knows every single thing we face and he will never let us down.

The lilies are used very often in scripture, they represent purity, love and peace and they teach us that the way to counteract worry, despair, and hopelessness is by resting “among the lilies”.

Seeking the presence of God each and every time your mind is attacked by negative emotions, and dreads, and the good ol’ doubts that the enemy sends in hope of causing you to lose faith for what you are believing for and to ultimately attempt to make you lose your faith in God.

One of my favorite passages that I have used in many a post, that describes that spiritual place that Christ calls us to when we have had about all of this world that we can take, when we feel like we can’t even lift our heads or go one step farther, he knows, he really does  know, he understands and that is why he gives us these promises.

Song of Solomon 2:1-2: “I AM  the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among the thorns, so is my love among the daughters.”

That is the Lord, the I AM that is and will forever be, these are not just words, or a mortal making this promise, this is God, the Almighty, King of the universe, and King Eternal, and Creator of absolutely everything that is making this promise,

What he is saying in this passage is that He is the beauty, the sweet smelling fragrance that we will find on the toughest mountain we have to climb or in the lowest valley we find ourselves in because in this world his love and caring is for us as a lily among the thorns, the one beautiful constant that will never change.

He knows the pain of this world is as those thorns, he was here, he walked earth as a human, experiencing all the things we do, tested on all points, but remaining completely sinless, he was tortured and crucified, and he understands those thorns of this life that seem to forever be piercing and puncturing, remember what he told us from John 16:33: ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

When the Bible uses the term “might”, that “ye might’, it means that you can and you will if you accept the promise that he is speaking, he will not force anything on us, but if we want it it is there simply for the asking. There is no question of whether or not he will give us what is offered, it is just a question of whether or not we might accept it . So what he is saying that in him you can have peace, if you choose that peace in him.

“As the apple tree among the trees of wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love, Stay (sustain) me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick with love. His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.” Song of Solomon 2:3-6 

Think of relaxing on a hot summer day being completely sheltered, hidden away from the scorching heat of the sun, resting yourself under the shade of a beautiful fruit laden apple tree, your senses bathed in the overwhelming fragrance of fresh apples, the sweetest fruit being that peace found there. Isaiah 4:6:”And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow (shade) in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and a covert (shelter) from the storm and from rain.”

The banqueting house, a place of abundance anything you could want or desire, a spiritual feast, as you think of scriptures such as, Revelation 19:9:”Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb ” and Psalm 23:5:”Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies”

Exodus 17:15: “And Moses  built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-Nissi (The Lord is my banner).  God’s banner of love over us love,  it his battle cry, the protection and love, and care he has for us, his banner is over us as he gave his life for us because of that love, remember, ” For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

Being “fed”, comforted with the spiritual things, nourishing our souls, Proverbs 25:11: ” A word fitting spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” God’s word at the right time more precious than gold and the finest silver.

As his “left” hand gently holds up our weary heads, comforting us until we regain strength, Psalm 3:3: ” But thou. O Lord, art a shield for (around) me; and the lifter up of mine head (the one who lifts up my head).

All the while being held safe and protected by the “right” hand of God that does surround us, Isaiah 41:10: “Fear thou not; For I AM with thee: be not dismayed; for I AM thy God;  I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”  The reassurance that would be echoed when he spoke “Fear not, little flock…”

So today, if your heart is heavy, and believe me, I understand, take a lesson from the lilies and lean into the everlasting arms that are there for you, seek his presence through prayer, worship, and praise, and sometimes all we can do is cry, he hears your words through every tear, lean into those lilies and trust just as they do and let him feed you with peace and goodness, his mercy and grace and I promise from your heart that sorrow, worry and sadness will be erased.

Song of Solomon 6:3: “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth (feeds his flock) among the lilies.”

Blessing and peace to you & yours till next time! Thank you so much for reading and I pray that you are encouraged in some way.

Φλογιζω NBJ 2021/ Rev. Nina Brown Johnson

If you have a moment heck this out, one of the most beautiful songs ever written.