They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;
The Bible is always telling Christian people to go forwards — to grow — to become wiser and stronger, better and better day by day; that they ought to become better and better, because they can, if they choose, improve. This text tells us so; it says that we shall bring forth more fruit in our old age. Now, what does all this mean? It means that the life of our souls is in some respects like the life of a plant; and therefore, that as plants grow, so our souls are to grow. Why do you plant anything, but in order that it may grow, and become larger, strong, bear flower and fruit? Be sure God has planted us in His garden, Christ's Church, for no other reason. Why has God given us senses, eyes, and ears, and understanding? That by them we may feed our souls with things which we see and hear — things which are going on in the world round us. But is this enough? Consider, again, God's example which He has given us — a tree. If you keep stripping all the leaves off a tree as fast as they grow, what becomes of it? It dies, because without leaves it cannot get nourishment from the air, and the rain, and the sunlight. Again, if you shut up a tree, where it can get neither rain, air, not light, what happens? The tree certainly dies, though it may be planted in the very richest soil, and have the very strongest roots: and why? — because it can get no food from the sky above. So with our souls. We must be fed, and strengthened, and satisfied, with the grace of God from above — with the Spirit of God. Consider how the Bible speaks of God's Spirit as the breath of God; showing us that as without the airs of heaven the tree would become stunted and cankered, so our souls will without the fresh purifying breath of God's Spirit. Again, God's Spirit is often spoken of in Scripture as dew and rain. His grace, or favour, we read, is as dew on the grass; and again, that God shall come unto us as the rain, as the former and latter rain upon the earth; and again, speaking of the outpourings of God's Spirit on His Church, the psalmist says (Psalm 72:6); and to show us that as the tree puts forth buds and leaves, and tender wood, when it drinks in the dew and rains, so our hearts will become tender, and bud out into good thoughts and wise resolves, when God's Spirit fills them with His grace.
(C. Kingsley, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;