Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. –Proverbs 25:11
Every autumn, the kids and I make our annual pilgrimage to pick pumpkins and apples. Sometimes it’s at a farm, sometimes a farm stand, sometimes a nursery, but almost always there is apple cider, apple crumble and baskets of apples.
Aren’t apples appealing? (pun intended) They are fragrant -- and no wonder since they are a member of the rose family of plants, along with pears, peaches, plums and cherries. They come in all shades of red, green and yellow. They have a nice shape too and fit nicely right in the palm of your hand, begging to be sampled.
And that whole "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" turns out to be true! Apples are good for you. A large-sized apple only has about 130 calories since 25 percent of an apple’s volume is air. They are fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free. Apples are an excellent source of fiber; one large apple contains 5 grams of fiber, including the soluble fiber pectin. And some studies have shown that consuming apples regularly may reduce your risk of cancer. This healthy fruit contains quercetin, procyanidins, and Vitamin C, which are all beneficial in the prevention of disease and cancer.
Apples even made it into the Bible. And no wonder since archeologists have found evidence that humans have been enjoying apples since 6500 BC! Right now, worldwide, more than 7,500 apple varieties have been identified. And since the Pilgrims planted the first American apple trees in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, more than 2,500 varieties have been grown in the United States – 100 of which are grown for commercial sale. And apple trees can be grown in cooler climates than other fruit trees because they bloom late in spring, minimizing the chance of frost damage.
Apples do seem like small demonstrations of God’s love for us. They are small, nutritious, hardy and versatile – you can have them raw, baked, fried, dried, sauced, juiced or made into pies. And they are fragrant and sweet. It’s no wonder they feature prominently in New Year’s celebrations in the Middle East. In both the Iranian New Year (Nowruz celebrated on the first day of Spring) and the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah, or the Feast of Trumpets, celebrated early in September) apples are symbols of the wish for a healthy and sweet new year.
Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love.
–Song of Songs 2:5
One of my favorite expressions from the Bible is ‘apple of my eye’ meaning something or someone that one cherishes above all others. It started out meaning pupil of the eye and is probably related to the expression ‘keeping an eye on.’ In two of the places the expression is used, it paints such a lovely picture of God’s tender love, provision and care for us:
For the Lord’s portion is his people,
Jacob his allotted inheritance.
In a desert land he found him,
in a barren and howling waste.
He shielded him and cared for him;
he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them aloft.
🍎 🍏 🍎 🍏 🍎 🍏
Show me the wonders of your great love,
you who save by your right hand
those who take refuge in you from their foes.
Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings.
The other verse where it appears is similar in that it expresses how much God wants to communicate with us and have a close relationship:
Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
There are plenty more apple verses. I’ll let you find them yourself. But don’t bother looking in Genesis at the Adam and Eve story. No, that forbidden fruit was not an apple! Well, actually it wasn't specifically named, so it could have been anything really.
As summer fades and autumn colors and smells fill the air, take a moment and consider our Great God who put all of this here just so He could delight in pleasing us. Indulge in some apple-picking good times, enjoying the bounty of the earth. Even the ubiquitous apple is a small, miraculous reminder of God’s love for you.