A Lesson from the Ground
Genesis 3:17
And to Adam he said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying…

"If my horse, if my ox, if my dog, do not do as I want them to do," says the angry man, "I make them," and then with his blood boiling hot he goes out into the fields and he can do nothing! The ground says, "If you want to do anything with me you must do it with hopeful patience; I am a school in which men learn the meaning of patient industry, patient hopefulness. I never answer the anger of a fool or the passion of a demented man. I rest." We cannot compel nature to keep pace with our impatience; man cannot hasten the wheel of the seasons; man cannot drive nature out of its calm and solemn movement; his own fields keep him at bay. He would like to get on faster, faster — it would please him to have three wheat harvests every year, it would delight him to have an orchard stripping on the first day of every month. He makes his dog go out when he likes — his own trees put out their branches without him and mock his fury. Nature says, "I must have my long holiday"; nature says, "I must have my long, long sleep." Without recreation and rest, man's life would not be solidly and productively developed; he may be lashed and scourged and overdriven and maddened, but broad, massive, enduring growth he never can realize unless he operates upon the law of steady slowness. Such is the great lesson of nature. We sometimes think we could improve the arrangements of Providence in this matter of the ground. A man standing in his wheat field is apt to feel that it would be an exceedingly admirable arrangement if he could have another crop of wheat within the year. He thinks it could be managed: he takes up the roots out of the earth and he says, "This will never do; why, I have lost my year herein — now I will command the ground to bring forth another crop," and this agricultural Canute, having waved his hand over the fields, is answered with silence. That must be your law of progress. There is the very great temptation to hasten to be rich. I see a man in yonder corner, not half so able as I am, never had half the education I have had, and by a lucky swing of the hand he makes ten thousand pounds, and I am labouring at my mill, or at my counter, or in my field, and am getting very little — and very slowly. I look in the other corner and see exactly such another man, and he, too, by a lucky twist of the hand, makes ten thousand a year; and I never make one, by long, patient, steady work. I know what I will do; I'll put off this old labourer's coat, and buy a new fine one, and go and join these men and do as they do, and I will have a hundred thousand pounds in a month, and horses and carriages and estates, and I will not go at this slow snail pace any longer — why should I? I go — and I fail, as I deserve to do. Society never could be built upon the action of such men as have now been described. They may be doing nothing dishonourable, they may be acting in a very proper way, there are no laws that have not exceptions attached to them — I broadly acknowledge the honourableness of many exceptions to this law of land like slowness of cultivation and growth, but the solid everlasting law of human life is labour, patience, expenditure, hopefulness, little to little, a step at a time, line upon line, and if you trifle with that law you will bring yourself into a state of intellectual unhealthiness, into a condition of moral exaggeration, and you will labour upon wrong principles, and reach, by rapid strides, unhappy conclusions.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

WEB: To Adam he said, "Because you have listened to your wife's voice, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground for your sake. In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.

A Curse, Yet a Blessing
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