Under the Apple Tree
'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. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.'
Song of Solomon 2:3 - 4
What a wonderful image we have written for us here in these words. Lovers sitting under the shade of an apple tree. There is nothing sweeter to the soul than to be in the company of the One whom our soul loves.
Not only does our Beloved provide the company, He also provides the shade and the fruit that is sweet to our taste. He provides the shade from the wrath of God. We are protected because we are accepted in the Beloved.
God hates sin and sin must be punished. Christ bore the punishment due to us for our sins. He is the propitiation for our sins. When I think of a covering I think of the blood upon the mercy seat. God looks down from above and instead of viewing the broken tables of the law, He sees the covering of the blood.
Our Beloved also provides shelter from the storms of this life. We must however abide in Him.
It is our duty and delight to reach up and partake of the ripe fruit. Many a heavy heart has been lifted by looking away from problems and trials and looking upward to the One who alone can solve all our difficulties and who alone can meet all our needs.
Great joy is felt in our souls when we know that all our sins are forgiven. We are to lay aside every weight and the sin which does so easily beset us and we are to run with patience the race set before us looking unto Jesus the Author and the Finisher of our faith.
Has He started a work in your life? Shall He not therefore finish it!
God's forgiveness is greater than our sin.
Christians in Romania are mocked and nicknamed by the heathen as 'Repenters!' Many however count it an honour! Repentance is a duty that must be performed by all Christians on a regular basis.
Where there is sin and the conviction of it, then it must be repented of. Otherwise sin will lie at our door. It is only when we have repented that we can claim with confidence God's forgiveness. It is not only a turning away from sin, but a determination not to return to it. A determination towards newness of life. A determination to honour God.
A turning from sin and a turning to God. Shunning sin and embracing Jesus.
Having enjoyed His company, shelter, forgiveness, fruit and blessings under the apple tree, He then leads us to His banqueting house.
When I think of a banqueting house I immediately think of royalty. What a privilege it is for sinners to sit at the King's table! Most of us would gladly settle for the crumbs which fall from the Master's table. The King of King's however would have us sit with Him at His feast.
Do you feel worthy of taking your position at the King's table today?
I read this morning the story of the Prodigal son. He returned to the one whom he had sinned against and sought forgiveness and pardon. Such was the father’s love for his wayward son, that he met him long before he reached home. He fell on his neck, kissed him, told his servants to give him the best robe, out a ring on his hand and if that were not enough, he ordered a feast in his honour!
The Prodigal deserved punishment. He deserved to be abandoned by his family. He deserved to be left to rot in the wilderness. I am sure that many will feel like that today. We know that we have done wrong. We know that we have sinned against our Father.
We deserve to be punished. We deserve to be forsaken of God. We do not deserve any favour.
Our Heavenly Father however looks upon us in love. He sees in us the reflection of His own Beloved Son. He sees that the punishment that we so readily deserve has already been met on Calvary. He cannot and will not punish the same sin twice. He sees that another took our place.
Each day He bids us to come into His banqueting house to feed our needy souls. His Word is our meat and drink. We will never be short of the finest of the wheat. If we hunger it is because of our own foolishness and laziness. The Bible has all we need and more. Each morsel is served in love.
How often have we been lifted up from the depths by 'unseen hands' to feast on manna from Heaven?
His Word bids us to come to the feast. To open our mouths wide and He shall fill it. Be not afraid dear brother or sister. The invitation is sent to you not from me but by the Hand of the King Himself.
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea come, buy wine and milk without price. Wherefore do you spend money for that which is not bread? And your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
Finally my beloved friend when you have eaten your fill and your soul has been satisfied to the limit. When you can truly say, ‘my cup runneth over.’ Then my friend look up and read the banner above you. It's written in His own fair hand and says simply, 'I LOVE YOU!'