Revelations from the Word

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Learn from the lilies of the fields

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"So why do you worry about clothing? Consider [katamanthano] the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" (Matthew 6:28-30).

The Greek verb katamanthano means 'to observe', 'to examine well', 'to learn', 'to be instructed' as a disciple does near to his master. So Jesus asked His disciples to learn from the lilies and from Solomon. The lily is a plant that grows from a bulb whose perfumed flower is composed of 3 petals and 3 sepals coloured white, yellow and red. It symbolises Israel whose unfaithfulness God forgives and to whom He demonstrates His everlasting love (Hosea 14:5). At the time of the construction of the Temple (1 Kings 7), Solomon had a portico made at the entrance to the Temple, composed of two columns whose capitals where decorated with lilies. The flower of the lily became a popular image on crests and the symbol of the royal family in France.

In the Song of Songs, the lily represents the Shulamite woman who is the image of the Bride of Christ as Solomon is a picture of the husband, Jesus Christ. The name 'Shulamite' [שולמית] is the feminine form of the name 'Solomon' [שלמה] and means in Hebrew 'the perfect one' or 'the peaceful one'. The Shulamite woman says, "I am a lily of the valley" (Song of Songs 2:1) and Solomon replies, "As a lily in the midst of thorns, so is my beloved among the young women" (Song of Songs 2:2). It is thus that Jesus Christ sees His beautiful wife in the world, a magnificent lily, which gives off the fragrance of Christ in the midst of thorns. In fact, the Church, the Body of Christ, is a magnificent flower, which is often maltreated by her enemies as well as by those who do not understand her. But it follows that her Husband puts over her His banner of love (Song of Songs 2:4).

Jesus says that the lily does not have to worry about how it will be clothed for God will take care of it. He also says that the lily will be better clothed than was Solomon in all his glory. In reality the Bride will be more magnificently clothed than Jesus Christ, Himself, for her magnificent garments are woven by the righteous works that the saints will have accomplished (Revelation 19:8). In fact Jesus said to His disciples that they would accomplish greater works than those that He, Himself, accomplished (John 14:12). That is why Jesus told us not to worry about how the Bride will be clothed but to seek the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) in order to accomplish His works of righteousness for they alone will produce the royal garment of the Bride.