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Delighting in the Apple Tree

by on December 2, 2013

I am convinced that delighting in the Lord Jesus, as the Father delights in Him, is key to progressing in God’s things, to maturing to where God wants each of us to be, and in having victory over sin in our lives in its various forms. If our primary source of delight is Him, why would we look for satisfaction elsewhere? For example, you see it as one of the shining beacons of the Psalms, starting in the first Psalm, that the delight of the blessed man is in the law of the LORD – he loves it. He can’t get enough of it – meditating on it day and night. Delight drives him to it. And what I want to think about briefly in this post is of rooted in this idea of delight.

What I specifically want to look at is the apple tree in the Song of Solomon.


As an apple tree among the trees of the forest,

so is my beloved among the young men.

With great delight I sat in his shadow,

and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

He brought me to the banqueting house,

and his banner over me was love.

Sustain me with raisins;

refresh me with apples,

for I am sick with love.

Song of Solomon 2:3-5.


We are all aware, I’m sure, of the relationship that is portrayed in the Song of Solomon – that love and intimacy described between the bride and her bridegroom. And in the picture painted we see glimpses of the relationship of the Lord Jesus as Bridegroom, and His bride (the redeemed), that He will be joined to eternally. So we pay attention in the Song of Solomon to how the Bridegroom feels about the bride, because it tells us something of how the Lord Jesus feels about the redeemed – it is a book cherished by many because of that. And, likewise, we pay attention when the bride speaks of her love for the bridegroom, because we should see our love for the Lord Jesus mirrored there – and perhaps that is a challenge to us.

The bride says of Him, He is like an apple tree, among the trees of the forest.

There is something unique about Him, standing out from all others. You’ll remember elsewhere in the song, she says that he is distinguished among ten thousand. So what distinguishes the apple tree from the other trees of the forest?

  • The first is the simple point that it is a wonder that He would be found at all among the trees of the forest. The trees of the forest of course speak of other young men, and perhaps more widely of the whole human race. That our true bridegroom, the only Son of God, would become a man, and be found living among us, as an apple tree among the trees of the forest, is a remarkable thing.
  • The apple tree she is speaking about is likely to be the citron tree, which is evergreen – its canopy doesn’t fail, its shadow is always cast, providing protection. So this is the second reason why it stands out from the trees of the forest. And here is this word, delight. She sits down there in His shadow with great delight. You remember elsewhere when the word shadow is used in the Old Testament, it is about being concealed, safe, protected. You see it in the Psalms, where the Psalmist declares, “How precious is your unfailing love, O God! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings”. That unfailing love is seen in the shadow cast by the evergreen – always there, always overshadowing us. And elsewhere the Psalmist praises God saying, “I sing in the shadow of your wings”. Do you delight to find yourself in His shadow? His unfailing love and protection overshadows us every day – do you sing in His shadow in appreciation of it? There may also be an aspect of this to do with our quiet times as well – though in one sense His shadow is always over us, we can consciously seek it out to delight in Him in our quiet times. I sat under your shadow with great delight – there is a sense there of lingering, of not rushing away from our quiet times with the Lord Jesus.
  • Maybe the most unique thing about Him, as He stands in contrast to the trees of the forest is His fruit. You notice there is no fruit spoken about from the other trees. But she says, His fruit was sweet to my taste. This is really where the delight comes in for us – when we taste and see that He is good. So we have had the thought of sitting in His shadow, just enjoying His presence – but we go beyond that now to taste the fruit that comes from the Lord Jesus. It is speaking about His characters and His accomplished work, and our enjoyment of His character and work – His perfect righteousness, and absolute balance of grace and truth, His gentleness, His unparalleled wisdom. The fruit of the Spirit as expressed and embodied in the life of the Lord Jesus. And how that character is worked out in the giving of Himself to redeem us for God. Is it sweet to you? Do you find yourself wanting to go back to Him for more? You know, our palate changes depending on our eating habits. If His fruit isn’t sweet to you, perhaps you (perhaps I) have been consuming the wrong things. But the more time we spend enjoying aspects of His character and work, the sweeter His fruit becomes to us. Notice what the bride says in verse 5 – the apples refresh her. If we are not with Him, enjoying His character and work, and how they have enriched our lives, we will grow tired in our lives of service. What is it that refreshes us? I sat under His shadow with great delight and His fruit was sweet to my taste. If we are not consciously doing that, enjoying that, delighting in that, we won’t be refreshed in our service for God.


I want look at another aspect, here, and it is moving from the words of the bride to the words of the Bridegroom this time:

Oh may your breasts be like clusters of the vine,

and the scent of your breath like apples,

and your mouth like the best wine.

Song of Solomon 7:8


Of course, I want to just mention the scent of her breath. Of apples, because of what she has been eating – she has been feasting on the fruit that refreshes her, that is sweet to her taste. And the bridegroom can tell – it’s obvious that she has been doing that, he can smell apples on her breath.

Can others tell that we have been with the Lord Jesus, delighting to sit in His shadow, refreshed by the fruit that He bears? Is the scent of His fruit on our breath, as it were, in our speech, in our actions? Can people see His character in us? More importantly, can the bridegroom Himself, the Lord Jesus, see His character developing in us, see that we have been feasting on His fruit? It brings Him joy to see it.

The last mention of the apple tree in Song of Songs is chapter 8:5:

Under the apple tree I awakened you.

There is some confusion here as to who is speaking. The context suggests it is the bridegroom, but the text doesn’t make it clear. But it makes sense for it to be the bridegroom, because he says, “under the apple tree I awakened you”. The literal translation is, “under the apple tree I began to woo you”. We have found love with God under the apple tree, under the person of Jesus Christ, and if we lose our love for Him, this is where we will find it again, it is there that we are wooed – under the apple tree, under the unique tree that stands out from the other trees of the forest, that always casts its protective shadow over us, that provides for us fruit that is sweet to our taste. Let’s consciously seek out His shadow and delight in those things.


I want to finish with a poem, Jesus Christ the apple tree (author unknown), which is very beautiful in the light of the consideration of Song of Songs:


The tree of life my soul hath seen,

Laden with fruit, and always green;

The trees of nature fruitless be,

Compar’d with Christ the Appletree.

This beauty doth all things excel,

By faith I know, but ne’er can tell

The glory which I now can see,

In Jesus Christ the Appletree.



For happiness I long have sought,

And pleasure dearly I have bought;

I miss’d of all; but now I see

‘Tis found in Christ the Appletree.

I’m weary’d with my former toil—

Here I will sit and rest awhile,

Under the shadow I will be,

Of Jesus Christ the Appletree.

With great delight I’ll make my stay,

There’s none shall fright my soul away;
Among the sons of men I see

There’s none like Christ the Appletree.

I’ll sit and eat this fruit divine,

It cheers my heart like spirit’al wine;

And now this fruit is sweet to me,

That grows on Christ the Appletree.

This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,

It keeps my faltering faith alive;

Which makes my soul in haste to be

With Jesus Christ the Appletree.

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