Be patient therefore, brothers, to the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth…
The true Christian idea of waiting upon God patiently implies self-restraint, trust in God, and the exertion of superior elements of manhood. Patient waiting upon God where it exists is not only founded in intelligence, and in that faith which is the handmaid of intelligence, but it is a state of submission and sweet relinquishment of one's own urgent and importunate feelings. It is the yielding up of everything into the hands of God, with confidence that the Judge of all cannot but do justly, and that in His own time and way He will fulfil the desires of our hearts, if they be right; or, if they be wrong, He will meet our wants with things ether than those which we seek. Consider now the text: "Be patient, therefore," etc. Here is the measure of the waiting. It is to continue clean through till the Lord appears; till the enigma is solved; till the mystery is cleared. "Behold the husbandman waiteth," &c. There could be no more admirable analogue than this of husbandry; for there is in it the most obvious union of persistent natural laws with human activity, which bears the same relation to natural laws that the rider does to the horse. It is the horse that performs; it is the rider that steers and guides him. Natural laws, of themselves, are brute forces, wandering wide, and doing little. It is not until great natural laws, if I may say so, are inspired by human volition and human intelligence, that they become productive of good — that they know how to converge and co-operate so as to multiply blessings upon the earth. Without natural laws man is utterly helpless. Without men natural laws are largely useless. Man, knowing how to use those great physical, permanent laws, directs them to certain purposes. This combination it is that makes fruitfulness in our fields. Human strength makes natural laws productive. What are cities but the insignia of thought applied to brute and dead material? What are gardens, vineyards, orchards, grain-fields, railroads, canals, tunnels, bridges, highways, but the union of Divine natural law and human intelligence? Without the one and the other they were impossible. Human society itself is a vast museum and exhibition-hall, as it were, showing what man's nature has been able to do when it has worked upon the Divine law. See what husbandry does every year. We prepare the soil. We do not make it. It is remedy at our hand. For generations God's mills have been grinding; the glacier and the rock have come together; the subtle water, made solid by cold, and moving per force, has ground and ground; and behold, the soil that has in it the results of the workings of cycles of centuries. Man finds it ready waiting for him. It is waiting for man as much as man is waiting for it. It is only when by his skill the plough opens the furrow, and he sows intelligently, studying the seasons, the markets, and the pressing necessities of men about him; it is only when, waiting patiently through months if it be fields of grain, or if it be orchards and vineyards through years, that he begins to find remuneration. Farmers wait, and wait patiently, and wait confidently; and their waiting is from no laggard's indolence. It is from a consciousness that they have done that which, co-operating with natural law, will produce the desired results. God's stamp is upon natural law, and it is warranted to cut, and not to fail. The farmer waits in intelligence; the sluggard waits in laziness. The farmer thrives; the sluggard degenerates. The farmer has abundance; the sluggard suffers cold in winter, and want the year round. Men who refuse to do anything in God's vineyard oftentimes pretend to honour God's sovereignty by waiting upon God; but who would think that he was honouring nature's sovereignty by waiting on it thus? There be those who say it is presumptuous for man to put forth his hand and touch God's work. They are afraid of interfering with the sphere of Divine authority and Divine sovereignty. It is their own spiritual indolence that leads them to wait, for no one of them that owns a ship sails that ship as he does his soul. No one of them that has a farm manages that farm in husbandry as he does his soul in spiritual things. He must know how to work who is to know how to wait. He must experience fatigue who is to appreciate the blessing of rest. He must have enterprise who is to understand the great charm of patient waiting upon God. Look, then, at the sphere in which this virtue of waiting is to operate. Bearing in mind the nature of that waiting which brings a blessing, we shall see that there is a sphere for it in our lives fully as great as there was in the eyes of those of old, though we are differently placed from what they were. We shall see, also, that one of the most common traits of a true piety is that of patient waiting. As in all the emergencies of secular life we are called to wait patiently, so we are in all the emergencies of religious life.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.