Give ear, O you heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.…
The earth without rain cannot grow one tiny grass blade; when the clouds keep away the flowers hang down their heads, and shrivel and burn, and represent the very spirit of necessity and pain. We must have the black clouds; how welcome they are after a time of drought and scorching, when the earth is opening its mouth and asking for a draught of water! So God's doctrine is to be poured out upon thirsty souls, burnt and scorched lives, ruined and unproductive natures. The rain plash is a sweet music, a tender appeal, a liquid persuasion. The rain will accommodate itself to all forms and shapes, and it will impartially visit the poor man's little handful of garden and the great man's countless acres. Such is the Gospel of Christ: it is impartial, gentle, necessary; it finds the heart when the heart is scorched, and asks to heal its burning, and to make the barren land of the inner life beautiful with summer flowers. We cannot tell how the Word gets into the heart — how softly, how silently: it is there, and we knew it not; we expected it, and at the very time we were looking out for it, it was already there; it is the secret of the Lord, and it moves by a noble mystery of action, so that no line can be laid upon it, and no man may arbitrarily handle the wealth of gold. "As the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass." There shall be adaptation between the one and the other: if the herb is "tender" the rain must be "small." Do not thunder upon us with Thy great power; do not plead against us with all the winds of Thine eloquence, for who could stand against the storm? On the other hand, the tenderer the grass the better it can bear even the scudding shower and the heavy downpour. Great trees are torn, or wrenched from their roots, or are thrust down in contempt, but all the grass of the meadow is but the greener for the winds which have galloped over it, or the great rivers that have poured themselves upon the emerald bed. Jesus will bless the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peace loving; but as for those who in heathen vanity set themselves up against Him, He will dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. The Word does not always produce an instantaneous effect: the Word has sometimes to filter well down into the thought and into the heart and life; and the Word does not report itself in the mere quantity of the doctrine, but in the greenness of the young grass, in the beauty and fruitfulness of the tender herb: no statistical return shall be made of the number of discourses heard, or the number of chapters read, but the life shall be the more verdant in spring-like beauty, and the more splendid in all the colouring of summer.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.