Come you, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day…
These words, as they stand, are the call of boon companions to new revelry. They are part of the prophet's picture of a corrupt age when the men of influence and position had thrown away their sense of duty, and had given themselves over, as aristocracies and plutocracies are ever tempted to do, to mere luxury and good living. Base and foolish as they are on such lips, it is possible to lift them from the mud, and take them as the utterance of a lofty and calm hope which will not be disappointed, and of a firm and lowly resolve which may ennoble life. Like a great many other sayings, they may fit the mouth either of a sot or a saint.
I. THIS EXPECTATION IF DIRECTED TO ANY OUTWARD THINGS, IS AN ILLUSION AND A DREAM. It is base and foolish to be forecasting our pleasures, the true temper is to be forecasting our work. But, leaving that consideration, let us notice how useless such anticipation, and how mad such confidence, as that expressed in the text is, if directed to anything short of God. We are so constituted as that we grow into a persuasion that what has been will be, and yet we can give no sufficient reason to ourselves why we expect it. "The uniformity of the course of nature" is the corner-stone, not only of physical science, but, in a more homely form, of the wisdom which grows with experience. We all believe that the sun will rise to-morrow because it rose to-day, and for all the yesterdays. But there was a to-day which had no yesterday, and there will be a to-day which will have no to-morrow. The sun will rise for the last time. The uniformity had a beginning and will have an end. So, even as an axiom of thought, the anticipation that things will continue as they have been because they have been, seems to rest on an insufficient basis. How much more so, as to our own little lives and their surroundings! We shall be nearest the truth if we take due account, as we do so to-day, of the undoubted fact that the only thing certain about to-morrow is that it will not be as this day.
II. BUT YET THERE IS A POSSIBILITY OF SO USING THE WORDS AS TO MAKE THEM THE UTTERANCE OF A SOBER CERTAINTY WHICH WILL NOT BE PUT TO SHAME. We may send out our hope like Noah's dove, not to hover restlessly over a heaving ocean of change, but to light on firm, solid certainty, and fold its wearied wings there. Forecasting is ever close by foreboding, hope is interwoven with fear, the golden threads of the weft crossing the dark ones of the warp, and the whole texture gleaming bright or glooming black according to the angle at which it is seen. So is it always until we turn our hope away from earth to God, and fall the future with the light of His presence and the certainty of His truth. We have an unchanging and an inexhaustible God, and He is the true guarantee of the future for us. The more we accustom ourselves to think of Him as shaping all that is contingent and changeful in the nearest and in the remotest to-morrow, and as being Himself the immutable portion of our souls, the calmer will be our outlook into the darkness, and the more bright will be the clear light of certainty which burns for us in it.
III. LOOKED AT IN ANOTHER ASPECT, THESE WORDS MAY BE TAKEN AS THE VOW OF A FIRM AND LOWLY RESOLVE. There is a future which we can but very slightly influence, and the less we look at that the better every way. But there is also a future which we can mould as we wish — the future of our own characters, the only future which is really ours at all. In that region, it is eminently true that "to-morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant. The law of continuity shapes our moral and spiritual characters. The awful power of habit solidifies actions into customs, and prolongs the reverberation of every note, once sounded, along the vaulted roof of the chamber where we live. To-day is the child of yesterday and the parent of to-morrow. That solemn certainty of the continuance and increase of moral and spiritual characteristics works in both good and bad, but with a difference. To secure its full blessing in the gradual development of the germs of good there must be constant effort and tenacious resolution. As we grow in years, we shall grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, until the day comes when we shall exchange earth for heaven. That will be the sublimest application of this text, when, dying, we can calmly be sure that though to-day be on this side and to-morrow on the other bank of the black river, there will be no break in the continuity, but only an infinite growth in our life, and heaven's to-morrow shall be as earth's to-day and much more abundant.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.