For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and returns not thither, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud…
I. THE ANALOGY OF NATURE TEACHES US THAT WHEN GOD CREATES A NEED IN HIS CREATURES, HE MAKES ARRANGEMENTS TO SUPPLY THAT NEED. "Bread to the eater." Our bodies are so constituted as to need food. He who has so made them, has also arranged that the food shall be supplied. What about the soul's needs? God has so created it that it needs a food which the "constitution and course of nature" cannot give. It looks beyond the natural, and craves for the supernatural. We long for knowledge of things spiritual; for guidance and comfort. in daily life; for a hope beyond the grave; for a sphere less trammelled by limitations and temptations. We feel, even the most careless, that sin is a burden which weakens and defiles and condemns. Has the great Architect and Designer made no provision for such wants as these? Yes. As it is in His workings in creation, so in the spiritual sphere: "So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth. God's Word he sent forth to give the knowledge of Himself. It tells of the living Bread which alone can satisfy the soul's need. It comes direct from God Himself. Written down by man, it is applied to the heart by God the Holy Spirit. Notice, therefore —
1. Its absolute truth. It is not a series of speculations, or philosophizings, or aspirations; guesses of good or wise men, which may or may not be perfectly accurate. It is the Word of truth.
2. Its binding authority. It is the Word of a King.
3. Its unchanging, faithfulness. It is ever reliable. Its promises, are always "yea and amen in. Christ Jesus." They are bank notes for which there is always a reserve of gold in the treasuries of heaven.
4. Its unutterable blessing. It tells of full comfort for the sorrowing; perfect rest for the weary; abiding peace for the distressed. Never grateful showers fell with greater refreshment on the parched and thirsty fields than the dew of God's Word on the weary and longing hearts of men. How important that we should receive that Word, obey its commands, rest on its promises, take heed to its warnings!
II. THE ANALOGY OF NATURE TEACHES US THAT WE MAY CO-OPERATE WITH GOD IN THE WORK OF ENLIGHTENING MANKIND. The harvest-fields supply not only bread to the eater, but "seed to the sower." The grain is not merely food — it is seed. Each contains the embryo of a plant. Placed in proper environment at the right time, that little life will cause movement amongst its surroundings, will weave a shoot, a blade, and an ear full of corn. Next year's harvest will not be gained by a direct creation of God, but by a due use of the grain of this. This in-gathering contains the promise and power of future crops; it not only will satisfy present needs, but it has an expansive, and extensive, and far-reaching possibility. So it is in the kingdom of grace.
1. The Christian's life should be extensive as well as intensive. He receives, not only that he may gain benefit, but that he may help others.
2. The effects of truth are germinant as well as satisfying.
3. The rule of work prevails in the spiritual as well as the natural harvest-fields. Because the grain is seed, the work of the husbandman becomes possible. If the life were not there, the labour of the year would be in vain. Because the grain is seed, the work of the husbandman is obligatory. It is God's rule that part of this harvest should be used for the next. It is God's command that man should co-operate in this great plan. It is also man's interest to do so. The produce of the ground is the fundamental and dominating source of wealth. So it is in spiritual things. Think of the possibilities of the Christian life. Think of the obligatory nature of Christian service. We may even speak of the analogy of our own interest.
(J. S. Shields, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: