I will be as the dew to Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.…
s: — We think of God as being the dew in connection with the influences of His Spirit. These influences of the Spirit descend in consequence of the. work of Christ.
I. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE DIVINE DEW AND ITS RESULTS.
1. It is a gentle influence, but has great results. The dew is never anything but gentle. It does not seem a force at all. And yet it is an arrangement by which some of the greatest effects in nature are produced. To those whose backslidings have been healed, and from whom God's anger has been turned away, there is no storm influence, there is only the influence of the dew. God is gentleness itself, and His Spirit falls on our life with no violent action, yet accompanied with the greatest results.
2. It is a silent influence, but has visible results. If plants were always in the glare of the sun they would soon wither and die. But at nightfall, after the heat of the day, the dews noiselessly descend. Every blade of grass has its own drop of dew. There has been no sound of anything going on, and yet when morning comes the effects are plainly visible. Drooping plants have revived; nature comes forth refreshed. The Divine workings cannot be traced, but the fruits of the Spirit are manifest.
3. It is a Divine influence, and yet its results are entirely human. The dew is a pure ethereal influence. It is not like the fogs or pestilential vapours from swamps, which rise only a little from earth. It is the dew of heaven. And yet it has an affinity to all forms of vegetable life on the earth. So the influences of the Spirit come from above, from a source high above us; and yet they have an affinity to us. There is that which is foreign to us, namely, sin. To that the Spirit has no affinity. As dew, He mingles with and brings out all that is truly human.
II. THE RESULTS BY THEMSELVES AND IN THEIR MUTUAL CONNECTION. It requires three things to set forth the excellence of the Christian life. The lily, the cedar, and the olive-tree are brought together to give us, in their combination, a conception of what our life should be under the clews of the Spirit.
1. The results of rapid growth, and yet solidity. "He shall grow as the lily, and cast forth His roots as Lebanon." There must be solidity as well as rapidity of growth. The cedar is especially deep rooted in the soil. We strike our roots down when we wrestle with God in prayer, when we read God's Word so as to take firm hold of it, and when, in temptation, we steadfastly adhere to principle.
2. The results are breadth of growth and fertility. "His branches shall spread," etc. It belongs to the idea of a perfect tree that while it grows upward it grows all round, and at the same time. The cedar especially is widespreading. And so while we have heavenly aspiration we are always to be broadening in our human views and sympathies. But trees that grow to breadth do not grow so much to fatness. So one tree does not suffice to complete the idea. The olive is superior to the cedar in one respect — in fruitfulness. It spends its strength, not on spreading but on fruit-bearing. So we are to combine the cedar and the olive, and, while keeping up our breadth, we are to increase in the rich elements of our life.
3. There results a variety of beauty. There is the beauty of the lily, and also of the olive-tree. There is always a dignity and stateliness about the lily. Whatever belongs to us, whether it be more of the lily or of the olive, will be brought out under the dews of the Spirit. The results are healthfulness, and pleasantness of influence.
(R. Finlayson, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.