There shall be an handful of corn in the earth on the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon…
In the kingdom of nature it is not seldom seen that the greatest results proceed from apparently the most insignificant beginnings. The oak, the pride and glory of the forest, grows from a small acorn. The mighty river, which gradually expands its bosom towards the sea, and incessantly pours into it the tribute of its many waters, springs from an insignificant rivulet. The philosopher, the orator, the hero, each enters life at first as a "naked, helpless, weeping child." Now, concerning the Gospel, note —
I. ITS INSIGNIFICANT COMMENCEMENT. A handful of corn, and that sown, of all places, on the top of the mountains. How this sets forth the unlikelihood of success according to all human judgment.
II. THE GLORIOUS CONSUMMATION THE GOSPEL IS DESTINED TO ATTAIN. This metaphorical representation conveys to us the idea of fertility; a fertility so great, that from a handful of corn, and that sown on the most barren spot, the top of a mountain, should issue a crop so strong and thick that it would shake and wave in the wind like the woods of Lebanon, while in the City of Zion the inhabitants would become numerous as the blades of grass in a field which the Lord hath blessed. It is thus beautifully intimated that in proportion to the smallness of its beginning shall be the greatness of the final increase of the Gospel. In various parts of Holy Writ we have abundant testimony to this fact. The metaphorical representation of the psalmist suggests also that the diffusion of the Gospel in the latter day will be characterized by great and extraordinary rapidity "They of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth." Grass is, in Eastern countries, remarkably speedy in its growth; so will it be with the triumphs which the Gospel is destined universally to accomplish. This metaphorical announcement intimates further that the propagation of the Gospel shall be productive of happiness and joy to the world. "The fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon." Just such a change as, in the physical world, is made when the sterile mountain top is converted into the garden of the Lord, will be that which shall be made in the moral world by the agency of the Gospel, when it shall be felt in its legitimate power.
III. THE MANNER IN WHICH IT HAS ALREADY BEEN FULFILLED IS FITTED TO STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH IN THE DIVINE ORIGIN OF THE GOSPEL.
IV. This prophecy furnishes us also with an ENCOURAGEMENT TO PERSEVERE IN OUR EXERTIONS FOR THE UNIVERSAL PROPAGATION OF THE GOSPEL. Although it may be with us a "day of small things" — although the means we employ may be feeble and small, and the obstacles we have to encounter be numerous and formidable, yet let us not give way to unbelieving doubts or fears.
Parallel VersesKJV: There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth.