You have multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before you according to the joy in harvest…
To some minds, and to all of us, perhaps, in some moods, autumn brings gloom, harvest sadness; but to others autumn brings rest — harvest, joy.
(1) There is a joy in the harvest of agriculture.
(2) In the harvest of commerce. Such is the often honest joy of the man who, after years of industry or enterprise, feels that he has realised a fortune, abundant in its provision for himself and his dear ones.
(3) In the harvest of literature. As when, after the toils of intellectual endeavour, the mind is at home amongst "the fairy tales of science, and the long results of time."(4) There is a harvest of love, when parents rejoice over the maturity of filial affection; when friends approach the completeness of intelligent and sympathetic communion.
(5) In the harvest of religion. In personal experience it is a glad. some thing to reach the autumn of faith, resignation, peace, after the earlier seasons of doubt, murmur, tumult. In Christian activities it is wondrous happiness to reap the results of sorrowing, anxious sowing in enlightened, comforted, and converted souls.
I. WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF THE JOY IN HARVEST? Is not the cause of joy the same in all these instances? For there is —
1. Joyful retrospect.
2. Joyful anticipation.
II. WHAT IS THE MEASURE OF THE JOY IN HARVEST? Do not two things regulate the measure of the joy that any feel, in any harvest?
1. The amount of its cost. The wheat field on which the farmer has expended most will be the one whose yield will the most interest him. So is it in every kind of harvesting, and so especially in what are distinctively the harvests of religion. In our own personal experience we value most in reaping that which has cost us most. The creed that we have fought out against doubts and difficulties, is inestimably more precious to us than that which has been handed down and adopted as a matter of course. The character which is pure after battle with impurity, sacrificial after contact with selfishness, peaceful after provocations to revenge and anger, is of far greater moral worth than that which has been seldom or feebly assailed. In our work for others, those results on which we have spent most time and thought and prayer are dearest to us. Harvest is valuable according to —
2. Its intrinsic value. In our English harvest homes there is rejoicing because of the intrinsic value of the wheat that is reaped and garnered. This is so because of —
(1) Its necessariness. So ever the most joyful harvest will be the obtaining the greatest necessary. What is that! Is it mere wheat, or wealth, or learning, or even human love? No, a thousand times, no, for a man can be without food, or gold, or earthly knowledge, or human love, and yet live. "A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." Religion is the greatest necessary. Christ is the Bread of Life. A harvest is of worth according to —
(2) Its sufficiency. The results of an abundant corn harvest last on until, and even past, another harvest tide. Through successive seasons its bounties are being enjoyed. Because thus the permanence of the result of harvest is one measure of its value, the harvest of knowledge is worth far more than the harvest of gain, and that of religion most of all. Its ingatherings are "treasures in heaven, which neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal."Two conclusions arise —
1. We ought to have some of "the joy in harvest" now. With souls it is not in every respect as with the soil For in them some sowing and reaping, dropping in of seed, and quickening of germ, springing of one blade of promise, and reaping of another harvest of result, go on contemporaneously.
2. We must have joy or sorrow in harvest by and by. There will be unmistakable, unavoidable harvest with us all soon. "The harvest is the end of the world; the reapers are the angels." In solemn expectation of that harvest let us remember —
(1) We shall reap what we sow.
(2) We shall reap more than we sow. What an unparalleled, almost infinite, contrast between the grain carried from the field in harvest, to that which had been deposited there in the seed time.
(3) We shall reap as we sow. "He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; but he that soweth bountifully shall reap bountifully." Be careless in sowing, and you will be ashamed in reaping.
(U. R. Thomas, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.