And at our gates are pleasant fruits,
All manner, new and old,
Which I have laid up for you, my beloved.
Song of Songs 7:13 NKJV
As we see life through the eyes of this beautiful bride, we find she welcomes her Husband, the Shepherd King, with pleasant fruit at the gate - both old fruit and new, laid up for her beloved. What a ripe (I couldn’t resist) image this paints.
As they live their life together, and they labor in the fields and gardens before them, she offers fruit to the Lover of her soul. And right there at the gate.
There was a day when her garden was locked. (Song 4:12)
There was a day when the door of her chamber was closed to Him and He bid her open. (Song 5:2)
Today He is welcomed with pleasant fruit, both new and old.
What does this offering of fruit say? How does she welcome the Lord as He returns - or perhaps as they return together. I like that image. She has prepared for their return, and then joined Him in His labor. When they return together, He is welcomed. Notice it is fruit she has laid up for Him. She isn’t scrambling to find something to offer her Lover. She does not have to stir up her devotion in order to draw Him to her worship service. She has an overflow of fruit.
Let’s unpack a bit.
Whats fruit does she offer her beloved?
Let’s start with Isaiah’s prophecy. In Isaiah 5 we read that the Lord planted a vineyard and expected fruit—grapes—and returned to find nothing but wild grapes. He says in explanation:
For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, an outcry! - Isaiah 5:7 ESV
Two forms of fruit that please the Lord are justice and righteousness.
We, on our own, will never walk in either, but through the blood of Jesus and the outpouring of His Spirit, He has given a heart that beats for justice, He has given us an appetite for righteousness.
Paul tells us of the fruit of the Spirit—love characterized by joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control—fulfilling the Lord’s desire for a people who walk in justice and righteousness. (Galatians 5:22-23)
It’s intrigues me—this call for justice and righteousness—justice would be an outward display of goodness while righteousness would imply an adherence to that which is right in oneself. So in this simple two-fold call, He looks for inner holiness and outward demonstration of love.
He was disappointed with Israel’s fruit offerings. He called them wild grapes. But the fruit the maiden lays up for Him is pleasant.
Another aspect of fruit borne in the life of a believer is the fruit of our lips.
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. - Hebrews 13:15 ESV
I’ve heard someone say they didn’t understand how people can walk into church of a Sunday morning and vault right into full praise and worship mode. This person didn’t get how anyone could immediately be caught up in the presence of the Lord.
And yet the writer to the Hebrews makes it plain that we are exhorted to continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to our God - the fruit of our lips acknowledging His name. If our mouth is constantly offering up praise, we will have an abundance to offer at the gate.
It’s Psalm 100 that tells us:
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! - Psalm 100:4 ESV
Praise and Thanksgiving are in fact the gateway to His presence.
Finally, one more area of fruitfulness in the believer is in those we have brought with us to follow the Shepherd King. Like Philip to Nathanael—there are those to whom we say “I have found the Messiah, come and worship Him with me.”
What offerings of pleasant fruits have you laid up for the Lord? What have you left at the gate of your dwelling to greet Him as He comes?
Shine where you’re screwed in.