“As the apple tree among the trees of the 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.” (Song of Solomon 2:3)
In the beautiful, mysterious Song of Solomon, the language of love is both physical and verbal, two elements of any good marriage, and both of which are best judged by intimacy and sincerity. A good example of the latter is this verse. The bride here compares her lover to an apple tree. It may not be profound, but it’s definitely descriptive and as it turns out, most accurate. I have just a few thoughts on these common, homespun words of this young bride, applying them (as so often done) to our relationship the Jesus Christ, our heavenly Bridegroom.
To this young woman, her invitation to sit and fellowship with her Beloved was comparable to resting in the shade of huge apple tree on a hot, summer day. And mark it well, this girl knew what it was to toil in the heat of the day, suffering multiple sunburns (1:6). To have a luxurious apple tree to shade her from the hot rays of the sun was, to quote her, delightful! This is a reminder of how sweet it is, after toiling in the heat of the day, to be able to take advantage of the refreshing shade of the presence of God and the promises of His Word. Sometimes we may even need to cool off from some heated encounter with someone.
Best of all, though, I’m reminded that a shadow is cast by something or someone coming between the sun and us, and this in turn reminds me that between me and the heat of Divine wrath, and the scorching Light on my own sinfulness, is my Redeemer/Lover, Jesus Christ. His bruised, bleeding Body stands between me and the blinding heat of God, shading me from its Holy rays. Bless the Lord, O, my soul!
Then the bride goes on to extol the fruit that falls to her from this beloved Apple Tree. It’s “sweet to my taste,” she says. It may not be to others, but it is to her. The Psalmist says, “How sweet are thy words to my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psl. 119:103). Time spent with Christ and His Word are a matter of personal taste. There will always be those who choose onions and garlic when there’s sweet manna to be had (Num. 11). And they’re usually not hard to spot.
This Bride was so in love with her Bridegroom that He was everything to her—both food and shelter. The shadow of His love and the sweet apples of His fellowship were dearer to her than all the glory of His banqueting table. All she had to do was take the time to sit quietly in His shadow and let Him feed her. Are you and I willing to do that? If so, we’ll be the ones with the “great delight”!
As the old song says, “Don’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me [Him]”