Thus has the Lord GOD showed to me: and behold a basket of summer fruit.…
: — As God set before Amos a basket of summer fruit, as a sign or parable concerning Israel; so, at harvest-tide God sets before us a basket of summer fruit, to teach us lessons to our soul's health.
1. In preparing the earth for a harvest crop, and our lives for a crop of holiness, we must expect hard labour, and often sorrow. Whether we cultivate the fields or our souls, we must do it in the sweat of our face, with hard labour. Both the ground and our nature need cultivation, and that implies labour, and frequently sorrow. After the great fire of London, a flower called the Golden Rocket appeared, and beautified places wasted by the flame, though it had never been seen in that district before. The seeds were lying in the ground, but it needed the fire to make them live and grow. Some times we need the fire of affliction to bring out the good in us. It is God's love, not anger, which sends the fire. Our life needs clearing, purging, that it may bring forth new and better fruit. Some of us can only be saved "as by fire."
2. We must plough deep. The man who wants a good crop will not just scratch the surface of the earth, he will drive in the ploughshare deep. So we must drive down the ploughshare of self-examination, we must break up the hard ground of pride and self-righteousness, where no good thing can grow.
3. There must be sowing of seed. What we sow we reap. Our good deeds and our evil deeds bear their fruit here. Your words, your acts, your thoughts are seed; you may cast them forth carelessly, but like seed thoughtlessly dropped in the ground, they will grow, and if it be bad seed, you will be terrified at your harvest. Remember this, — You may not have sown bad seed, but if you have sown nothing for God, you will reap nothing from God. If you have no loving fellowship with God here, you will have none hereafter. Neglect of duty is a great sin. If we neglect our souls they degenerate, our spiritual natures grow weak. Let us learn to thank God, not only for bread which strengthens man's heart, but also for the better bread of holy teaching which the harvest provides, bread to strengthen man's soul.
(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me: and behold a basket of summer fruit.