He pastures his flock among the lilies. ~ Song of Songs 2:16

Earlier in the Song our Maiden asked the Shepherd King where He pastured His flock, and He gave her some specific instructions.

Today, she has learned something specific about Him, and I think you are going to love it.

Let’s talk about the lily. The lily points to purity and beauty.

Jesus speaks of this purity in the Sermon on the Mount when he compares the lilies of the field to Solomon.

Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. ~ Matthew 6:28-29

His first instruction about where He feeds his sheep had to do with finding community, basically follow the sheep prints down the trail to where my shepherd helpers keep the flocks and hang with them there.

We saw at the beginning of Chapter 2 that she was realizing her own purity before the Lord. Her self-perception has shifted from dark but lovely, to I am a lily of the valley.

O Church, you need to hear this. Because of the blood of Christ, and His work in you, you are no longer the dark but lovely maiden; you are the lily of the valley, the rose of Sharon in His eyes. Your passion for Him translates to true purity. Your hunger and thirst for righteousness leads you to a deep mercy and a completely satisfied pure heart. [Tweet This]

So where does He feed His flock? Among the lilies. Notice we have moved from a lily to lilies. You are His passion-flower, but there are others. There are other pure lilies in the field, and passion for Him draws them together, where they feed at His wonderful table.

Sometimes that feeding is in His chamber; some times it is in the presence of your enemies.

The idea here is that those who love Him will grow in their passion and purity as they band together.

You say, how will I find those of like passion?

Let your passion show, and it will draw others.

Let your passion show!

Ben NelsonSee you again soon.

Ben

Many Waters - SoS header

For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers have already appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,

And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
The fig tree has ripened its figs,

And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. ~ Song of Songs 2:11-13

I owe you two more signs of life – The figs and vine blossoms.

We have been looking at season change now for a few weeks here on the SoS Saturday blog, and I hope it is doing you some good, I know it is helping me.

Today we start with the fig. I learned what I am about to share from  preacher and author Winkie Pratney in a sermon I had on cassette tape (that’s a audio medium about the size of an iPod which held between 45 minutes to 2 hours of audio only info) which I just about wore out, I listened to it so often. It was his sermon, “True or False Conversion,” or at least I think that was the name of the sermon.

In it he related the fact that as a child growing up in Australia, they had a fig tree in his yard, and what was unique about a fig tree was that the fruit shows up before the leaves. There would be fruit on the branches and as the fruit matured the leaves would come to protect the figs from the heat of the sun.

This opened my eyes to that story when Jesus cursed the fig tree. You remember? It was during His last week in ministry after the triumphal entry during His commute between Bethany where He was staying and Jerusalem where He was headed to turn over some tables. He came upon a fig tree with leaves. Though it was not yet fig season, He cursed the fig tree because it had no fruit.

I always wondered why curse a fig tree that does not have fruit out of season. Well, here’s the thing – it had leaves which were an indication that fruit was there. It had all the trappings of fruit, but could not satisfy.

Here is why this is so damnable.  As a fruit tree in His garden, to walk around with the trappings of fruit – with the air of spiritual life – and bear no fruit is the height of hypocrisy.

If you have no fruit in your life (and I don’t really care how you measure it, fruit of the spirit, or fruit of followers – whatever) and yet carry an air of spiritual life, you are in a very (VERY) precarious place.

Way better to own your fruit poverty, and pursue Him for the solution, than to look like you are doing great and it all be a sham.

Lord, today I need You to bring fruit to my vines, and help me to be honest with those around me, and moreover with myself about where I am.

Dang – I have gone too long already – well – one more week for signs of life. I know today was more of an anti-life sign blog. I do hope your tracking with me though.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

See you next week

Ben

Many Waters

For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers have already appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
The fig tree has ripened its figs,
And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. ~ Song of Songs 2:11-13

We have been camped here for a couple weeks looking at the season change described here in the Song. Last week we looked at some signs of life, signs that the seasons in life were changing.

In the Song winter is turning to spring. It’s interesting because if I suggest to you a spiritual winter, you might think cold and dead, and many Christians do go through a cold dead winter. However in our Song we actually see that our maiden has been snuggled in by the fireplace, so to speak, in a calm and intimate place. She has definitely been in the “comfort zone.” The Lord is calling her out of the comfort zone and into ministry now that spring has sprung.

Turtledoves - Photo Credit Wikidedia

So back to the signs of life.

Turtledoves singing:

The Turtledove is a migratory bird, and one of the last such to show up on the scene. Once this dove is cooing from the trees it is full on spring. The turtledove is traditionally a lovebird, faithful to one mate, and it's low mournful cry can be heard when it arrives from the south.

The turtledove played a part in the sacrificial system and in fact Jesus’ earthly parents offered a pair of turtledoves at His birth. Jeremiah speaks of the turtledove in much the same way as Solomon does here, as a sign of the season change.

There is however a reference to the turtledove that I love in Psalm 74, a Psalm of Asaph.

This Psalm is a cry to the Lord to return and rescue Israel. It starts out like this:

O God, why hast Thou rejected us forever?
Why does Thine anger smoke against the sheep of Thy pasture?
Remember Thy congregation, which Thou hast purchased of old,
Which Thou hast redeemed to be the tribe of Thine inheritance;
And this Mount Zion, where Thou hast dwelt. ~ Psalm 74:1-2

Sounds like winter to me. Asaph cries out to the Lord later in the Psalm:

Do not deliver the soul of Thy turtledove to the wild beast;
Do not forget the life of Thine afflicted forever.
Consider the covenant; ~ Psalm 74:19-20

This winter for national Israel is clearly not the cozy winter by the fire of the Lord hearth.

Our maiden experienced a safe warm winter by the fire, yet there are times (and she will face these times too) when it just feels like God has turned us over and left us for dead.

I love the references in this Psalm, I love how Asaph calls out to the Lord, and how he refers to God’s people.

We are:

The Sheep of His pasture
His Congregation
That He purchased
That He redeemed
His inheritance
His dwelling place
His turtledove

And finally – Consider the covenant.

Remember, Lord your great and precious promises to me.

Do you hear the singing of the turtledove today as you move through the seasons of life? Are you in a soul winter?

Remind the Lord  - call upon His name.

He made you, then purchased you, then redeemed you. If that does not demonstrate your great value, you’re missing it. You are the Lord’s turtledove, His lovebird, the apple of His eye.

I got a little rambly this morning, forgive me.

Come back next week, and we will finish these signs of life.

BenBut for now – cry out to the Lord, He is listening.

See you soon.

Ben