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Apples Of Gold

Scripture: Proverbs 25:11-13; Text: "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." (Proverbs 25:11)

It is the objective of this sermon to cultivate a greater appreciation for the Bible. While there are a variety of lessons which can be gained through a comprehensive study of this passage and text; I believe that none could be more important than to help us hold in high esteem the word of God. The scriptures are divinely inspired and in my opinion are addressed in the text before us. Their blessings and benefits can be understood as we look deeper into the passage.

At this point in the beginning of our study let me acknowledge that there has been considerable controversy over the use of the apple here. Some scholars do not believe that the apple is intended and have suggested such fruits as the citron, apricot and quince. The apricot was said to have been abundant in that area and the quince is considered because its fragrance was highly esteemed and was considered sacred to pagan worshipers.

I am often amazed that so many refuse to take the scriptures as they are and believe what they say. Even though some desire to make changes and inject their own meaning, I am content to take this text as it is written. In my estimation the fruit is not nearly as important as the lessons to be gained from this message. Therefore I am going to use the fruit as it is given and endeavor to glean what I can from the passage.

The scripture has reference to words that are fitly spoken. We can be sure that God encourages fitting and appropriate words that are filled with wisdom. We have all experienced the destruction and injury of ill chosen or angry words. So important are proper words that God has often addressed the subject in the pages of the Bible. Listen to Proverbs 14:3, "In the mouth of the foolish" is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them." Solomon also wrote, "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger" (Proverbs 15:1). God not only makes a comparison between good and evil words, but He also encourages us to use good speech. Through Job God said, "How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove?" (Job 6:25). In the New Testament we are admonished to "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man" (Colossians 4:6). Then through Titus 2:8 God encouraged "Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you." Through these scriptures and many others like them we understand the value of words fitly spoken. Indeed words spoken at the proper time and place are as beautiful as apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Now if the words of mere mortals may be described in such a way, how much more does this text apply to the word of God. His ways, thought and words are far superior to those of men (Isaiah 55:8-9). Therefore I believe that the Bible may be depicted as words fitly spoken and described as apples of gold in pictures of silver. I shall endeavor now to consider the Bible in the light of this text. May the blessings of God enable us to understand this application and rejoice in the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.

First of all we must consider the qualities of the apple. In Palestine the apple trees often grew to a large size and were sometimes planted in orchards. The fruit was enjoyed by the peoples of Palestine and Syria. Even though some consider their fruit to be inferior to that of America and Europe, it nonetheless possessed a sweet aroma and was delicious to the taste. Since the Bible is depicted by the apple, we must recognize that we are to value the scriptures because of their sweetness. The apple is a sweet fruit and if the Bible is like the apple, then it too possesses qualities of sweetness.

In what way are we to regard the Bible as having sweetness? No doubt it is intended that we understand this applies to the soul and not to the mouth. Saints of all ages have been blessed to taste the sweetness of God's word. Jeremiah said, "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts" (Jeremiah 15:16). In a vision Ezekiel saw himself eating a roll which represented God's word. God said, "... Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness" (Ezekiel 3:3). Many a sinner has feasted upon the truths of the Bible and to their soul it was sweet. When Abraham was required to offer his son of promise Isaac, what sweeter message could his soul have feasted upon than the words "... Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me" (Genesis 22:12). What sweeter words could the adulterous woman have received than when Jesus said, " ... Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more" (John 8:11). Think how sweet the words of the father were to the prodigal son when he said, "... Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet ... For this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found" (Luke 15:22 & 24). Yet the message of the Heavenly Father's love and gracious provision has even greater sweetness to the soul that is burdened with sin. There is also sweetness in the words of Jesus to the thief on the cross and many dying saints have rejoiced in the words "... verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). Throughout the ages, unnumbered saints have feasted upon the spiritual food of the word of God and found sweetness in its teachings. During our lives we have often rejoiced in the message of God's amazing grace and been blessed by the teachings concerning Christ our Lord and Saviour. Therefore, "As the apple tree among the trees of the word, so is my beloved (Jesus) 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).

The second observation that I shall make is with regard to the color of the apples. They were not the ordinary red for they are described as apples of gold. Perhaps the significance of their color is its relation to the metal - gold. It is one of the most precious metals known to man. This connection should convey to us the value and worth of the scriptures. In fact I can safely proclaim that the Bible is more precious than gold. I am not alone in this conviction for long ago David voiced similar feelings saying, "The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver" (Psalm 119:72). In response you may ask, "What is so valuable about God's word?" The answer is simple, it imparts by products which cannot be attained by any amount of wealth. Through the word of God peace is found for the troubled soul. Herein are words of peace from our Saviour, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). Without such words many would still be troubled, torn up inside and full of fears. Because of the messages of salvation peace is felt within and you simply cannot put a price on that.

Liberty is also highly valued and sought by many. Prisoners who are locked away for years will often become so desperate that they will risk their lives in efforts to escape. On the other hand many unsung heroes have given life or limb for the preservation of freedom for those they love. Yet none are so free as those who have liberty in the soul. One person may be free to travel anywhere and yet be a prisoner to sins, while another may be cast into a dungeon and yet enjoy a sense of freedom in the soul. Such freedom is often the result of the gospel message which reveals our liberty in Christ. Jesus said, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). He added, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36). Free indeed, what price tag could accurately depict its worth? No wonder David said, "Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold" (Psalm 119:127).

The third fact we need to recognize is that the golden apples are set in the surroundings of silver - apples of gold in pictures of silver. The scene portrays fruit depicted by precious metals which are not only valuable but also enduring. I believe that these enduring metals are intended to remind us of the enduring qualities of the word of God. In fact, the truth of God is more enduring and lasting than earthly wealth. Most of us are aware that riches have a way of disappearing. During the history of mankind many have like Job watched their wealth vanish suddenly (Job 1:13-19). Solomon asked, "Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven" (Prov. 23:5).

While all material substance is constantly decaying, the word of God remains unaffected by time. There is nothing about the Bible that will ever be affected by the passing of years. Its moral standards and precious promises remain unaltered though centuries have passed since they were inspired of God. The Bible has withstood all those who have endeavored to destroy it. They are long gone and yet it remains with us. Almost 3000 years ago the Holy Scriptures blessed the life of David and about 2000 years ago the messages of the coming of a Saviour gave hope to many in despair. Those blessed messages remain with us today and continue to bless and enrich lives. Not only has the word of God been around for a long, long time, but it is going to remain forever. Remember that Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35).

The fourth and final observation that I shall make is with regard to the beauty of this picturesque description of God's word. Think of it and allow a mental picture to form in your mind. Allow the words to paint this beautiful scene of apples of gold surrounded by silver. In my mind it communicates a scene of simple yet profound beauty. This beautiful description of words fitly spoken reminds me of the beauty of the Holy scriptures. While this beauty cannot be seen by the eye, it often fills the mind as the scriptures communicate to us the beauty of God and His gracious working. We are indeed blessed to read the Bible and rejoice in its proclamation. Jesus said, "But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear and have not heard them" (Matthew 13:17). Think of Enoch who walked with God but was never blessed to read the beautiful words of scripture and Noah who faithfully obeyed God and yet had no written word. What about the host of people today who live in remote and isolated parts of the world and have never been blessed to read the record of the birth of Jesus or rejoice in the wonder of His resurrection. These and others have never seen the beauty of that which God has prepared for us who are saved by grace.

There are glorious things that God has prepared for us and our human eyes cannot see them (1 Corinthians 1:9). So much of it is communicated to us by the teachings of scripture as the Holy Spirit opens them to our understanding. In the Bible I have witnessed the creation of the world, I have walked upon the mountain with Abraham and heard the voice of God and I have been with the children of Israel as they passed through the Red Sea on dry ground. In the pages of scripture we are blessed to witness the wonderful birth of Jesus by the virgin Mary and to weep at the foot of the cross. With the disciples we watched Him ascend into glory and even today anxiously await His return. He promises that when He returns we shall be carried to heaven and so beautiful is that place that we often long to go home. So much I do not yet understand, but that which I have been blessed to see is indeed beautiful to my soul. "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple" (Psalm 27:4).

Having set forth these various views with regard to the Bible, I hope that God has used this message to touch your heart. I pray that God will cause us all to have a greater appreciation for His word and possess a stronger desire to read it. May you be blessed to discover its sweetness in your soul. Perhaps you have not valued it as you should, nor rejoiced in its durability. God bless you to grasp a greater perception of its beauty as you read and ponder the words fitly spoken by God.

Patrick Henry was quoted as having said, "The Bible is worth all other books which have ever been printed." I certainly concur and hope that my life and ministry shall ever reflect highest regards for the Bible as God's Holy Word.

Let us learn its teachings and live in obedience to its commands, that we may glorify God. He gave it for our good and for His glory and both are achieved if we avail ourselves of the many opportunities to study the Bible. Search carefully and prayerfully its sacred pages and perhaps you will join me in this vivid description; It is Apples of gold in pictures of silver - words fitly spoken by the inspiration of God.

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This page last updated on June 7, 2014