Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that gives rain, both the former and the latter, in his season…
I. THE REGULAR RETURN OF HARVEST IS AN OBVIOUS PROOF OF THE EXISTENCE AND PROVIDENCE OF GOD. The fruits of the earth, so necessary to the support of animal life, depend on causes beyond the reach of human power. The whole management of the natural world is in hands superior to ours, in the hands of an invisible, almighty Being.
II. THE TIME OF HARVEST NATURALLY CALLS US TO PIOUS MEDITATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
1. The seasons are so ordered, as to remind us of the shortness of human foresight. From past experience we expect a harvest in its appointed weeks, and rarely is our expectation frustrated. But the event is not always adjusted to the measure of our hopes. It often falls short, and often exceeds them. The management of the seasons, however, is in unerring hands. Rational beings, in the care of infinite wisdom and goodness are always safe, while they proceed in the line of their duty, and never ought they to indulge anxiety. With Him who governs futurity, they may calmly trust all events.
2. Our dependence is apparent, as in many other things, so especially in the return of harvest. If God sends His blessing, none can revoke it. If He withhold His smiles, our toil is fruitless.
3. Scripture speaks of harvest as a season of gratitude and joy.
4. Harvest teaches diligence and frugality.
(1) God supplies our wants, not by an immediate providence, but by succeeding our prudent labours.
(2) Those precious fruits of the earth which are dealt out only at certain seasons, and which by no art or industry of man can at other seasons be obtained, should be applied to honest and virtuous purposes; not wastefully consumed in criminal indulgences.
5. Harvest inculcates benevolence. Religion consists in an imitation of God's moral character, especially of His diffusive and disinterested goodness.
6. Harvest reminds us of the shortness of life, and calls us to the diligent improvement of our time. Food and raiment are needful for the body; seek them you may; but rather seek the kingdom of God, and these things will be added.
7. Harvest should be a season of self-examination. We are God's husbandry. Much has He done for us. What could He have done more? Have we answered His cost? The field, which bringeth forth herbs, meet for Him by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God. But that which beareth thorns and briars, is nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned.
8. Harvest reminds us of our obligation to faith and patience. We have a kind of natural faith, which, standing on the ground of past experience, looks forward with expectation of a future harvest. Let Christians, enlightened by revelation, look beyond this world to things unseen; and, relying on the promise, truth, and grace of God, anticipate the blessings of the heavenly state.
(J. Lathrop, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.