I will be as the dew to Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.…
This is a gracious promise to a penitent and returning people. Dew is of the greatest value to all who are engaged in agricultural pursuits. It assuages the fierce drought of the season. With its nightly baptism it invigorates the languid vegetation, and renews greenness and growth over the whole landscape. Give some analogies between the descent of the dew upon the ground and the gracious comings and manifestations of God to His people.
I. THE DEW FALLS VERY QUIETLY AND GENTLY. On the tempestuous night there is none. It is distilled beneath serene heavens. Its crystal drops are formed under the wing of silence and in the bosom of the night. So God does not usually come to bless and revive His people amid agitations and excitements, in the stress of life, in the hurry of affairs, in the crash of startling events. Times of recruiting and replenishment will probably be times of silence. Elijah heard the "still small voice." There are times in the Church's history when God comes graciously near amid agitations and alarms. But such comings of God have hitherto been exceptional. God's gracious work has gone on in sublime quietness. Many a true religious revival has been accomplished in much quietness, without any tremendous agonies or sublime raptures, without swift alternations of hope and fear — just by a growing sense of the nearness and importance of Divine things. God is waiting for the opening of your heart in the hour of quietness, that He may distil over all its affections the sweet baptism of His grace.
II. THE DEW FALLS VERY COPIOUSLY. In the land of Israel much more abundantly than it ever does in this country. Travellers tell us that after a still night, when the dew has been falling, they find their baggage and their tents dripping as though it had been heavy rain during the night. God's grace to a Church in a time of spiritual quickening is very copious and full. God's dealings are with the whole soul of a man. A man can find this engagement of his whole nature only in religion. The copiousness of Divine influence is seen not only in this wholeness of effect upon the individual, but also in its diffusion over the whole Christian community. God's dew does not come in streams; it is distilled from all the air. It lies clear and cool on every growing thing. And God's grace in like manner comes to many hearts. It runs from heart to heart by the chain of sympathy.
III. THE DEW IS VERY REFRESHING. It makes dying nature live. The husbandman looks despondingly over his fields, and fears for the safety of his growing corn. But then begins the silent, copious baptism of the dew. And the farmer can think with hope of the coming harvest day. When God comes in fulfilment of the promise of the text, there is a recovery of sinking strength, a rekindling of dying graces, a returning to first love, a doing of first Works. To those who are so visited there is a newness of religion every day.
IV. THE DEW IS FERTILISING. This silent, copious, refreshing agent works fruitfulness nut of all growing things. They are thus aided in the accomplishment of the very end of their existence. And God's final end with His people is that the plants of His right hand's planting may become fruitful. Our Divine Master speaks much and very solemnly on this subject of fruitfulness. And Christian fruitfulness is a manifold and various thing. It is not all of one kind. Let each "planted" soul rejoice to feel rooted in Him! And then let each grow freely according to His will — not fearing, but gladly daring to branch and blossom and fructify according to the law of individual life. Lily, olive, corn, vine, cedar, all are growing in God's garden; and there is room and dew for them all.
V. There is yet another analogy IN THE NEARNESS TO US IN BOTH CASES OF THE REVIVING INFLUENCE. God does not fetch the dew from stars or from fountains in the skies. He condenses and distils it out of the atmosphere. A little change in temperature does it all. This reminds us how we are surrounded by a very atmosphere of grace, which holds all precious things in readiness to be dropt upon us when God shall command it so. May God give us His Holy Spirit to work so on our hearts that we shall become quickly and largely receptive of the unsearchable riches of Christ.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.