Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When you be come into the land which I give to you…
It is easy to see the significance of this rite to the Israelites. God was to be associated with everything. No phase of duty or of enjoyment; no enterprise — social, commercial, or aggressive; no festivities to celebrate triumphs over enemies, to mark national progress or prestige, or to rejoice over the reward of industry, but God was to be acknowledged, honoured, and worshipped, His blessing sought, His goodness remembered, His theocratic rule over them extolled. We have had to unlearn much that the Jew taught his posterity, and the world through them; we have outgrown much that was as sacred to the Israelitish nation as the presence of God Himself; the world has had to recast and remould its creeds of the relation of the Divine Father to His human children; but we have not outgrown either the propriety or the necessity of associating God with the government of the world and with the supply of humanity's needs.
I. THE BOUNTIFUL KINDNESS OF GOD IN SUPPLYING THE WANTS OF HIS CREATURES, Smatterings of science have a tendency to divorce God from the providential supply of the world's wants. We too commonly think of our daily supplies as the results of physical laws. We say the earth yieldeth her increase; Nature supplieth those things that are necessary for man's sustenance; light and heat, warmth and moisture are the great factors in the world's bounty. Let us grant all that, but who is behind it? To me the supply of the world's daily bread is a standing proof — not only of a self-existent and ever active Deity, but of a Divine Fatherhood — ever thinking, ever acting, ever providing for the wants of all His children.
II. THE NECESSARY CONNECTION BETWEEN THE DIVINE BENEVOLENCE AND HUMAN EFFORT. Whatever the Divine rule, whatever the Divine love that broods over this poor earth, making it to yield its fruits in abundance, the world without man would be a vast howling wilderness. It is God plus man that enriches the earth and makes it to bring forth abundantly. And thus it is that toil becomes dignified, that the sweat of labour is God's crown of approval upon the human brow. Every man who is putting God's gifts into such conditions that they become greater gifts; every man who is preparing the soil for the seed and the seed for the soil; every man who by any kind of industry is helping God to fulfil His purposes in making the earth provide for the wants of man, is a servant of God, however low and however humble the man may be. To be idle is to be outside the purpose and economy of God; to be lazy is to be out of harmony with the laws of the universe
III. THE INEVITABLE RELATION BETWEEN THE SEED-TIME AND THE HARVEST. The man who wanted a harvest of wheat knew that to effect such a result he must sow wheat. It is God's law that it should be so. Every harvest is the evolution of some past seed time. Human life and human destiny are evolved, not by chance, not by miracle, not by the Divine caprice, but by the law of cause and effect, of precedent and consequent. Your present is the outcome of some past; all the good that you enjoy is the harvest of your own or other's sowing; your future will be the consequent of this present. Human conduct is the factor of human. destiny; the sowing of time determines the harvest of eternity.
(W. J. Hocking.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:
WEB: "Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, 'When you have come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap its the harvest, then you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest: