His Shadow and His Fruit

"I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste." (Song 2:3.) What a place of perfect satisfaction is this! It is somewhat akin to what we find in Psalm 91:1: "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." In each there is the shadow - the cool, shady retreat of the soul in the presence of the Lord; only in the second it is rather the reward of the one who dwelleth in the secret place. He proves the shadow of the Almighty. How true of the Messiah!

Here, however, there is no thought of reward or compensation. The soul is not in quest of anything; it is in the "region of satisfied desire." It can sit down, not indeed to weep by the streams of Babylon, songless, crushed, and desolate, but to rest in the enjoyment and to feel the reciprocation of love. Silence there may be, for love is never clamorous. Elders can fall down and worship in the repose of God's well-known presence; they are not overwhelmed by, but absorbed in, the realised apprehension of their object of worship.

And so, too, here the soul, or the Bride, sits down with great delight. She can well afford to be quiet; it is communion, undisturbed and undistracted. The heart is tranquil; spiritual delight is peacefully enjoyed; all is happy.

"His fruit," she adds, "is sweet to my taste." Yes, "His fruit," for she receives from Him; she has no self-consciousness. There is no legal effort to work up a condition of suitability. The very fact of being where she is - under His shadow - implies her suitability. How could there be "great delight" otherwise? That were impossible. There would be fear and distrust, and none of that "perfect love" which casteth out fear. But "His shadow" and "His fruit" are quite enough to produce "great delight" and "sweetness" of taste. The soul is not only at home, but in its precious atmosphere as well.

Oh, what grace to such as we that, here and now, while on our pilgrim way, we should know in spirit a little of this deep, calm, blessed communion with our absent Lord, who none the less casts His shadow o'er us, and that His heart and ours should consciously reciprocate the sweet sense of a love which is all of Himself, but which has also been shed abroad in our hearts by the Spirit who dwelleth in us! It is as wonderful as it is blessed. Oh, how such love lifts us out of ourselves! how it brightens our sky and fills our lips with heavenly praise, the praise of communion! May His shadow be evermore our retreat and His fruit our sweetness. J. W. S.