You water the ridges thereof abundantly: you settle the furrows thereof: you make it soft with showers…
I. NOTE THE WORK PREVIOUS TO THE SPRINGING.
1. The ploughing, God's preparing the soul by conviction. The law with its ten black horses drags the ploughshare of conviction up and down the soul till it is all furrowed over. And then comes —
2. The sowing of the good seed.
3. The harrowing, the praying over what has been sown; this must by no means be neglected. But —
4. There is a work beyond our power. "Thou visitest the earth and waterest it," says the psalmist. In vain are all our efforts unless God shall bless us with the rain of His Holy Spirit's influence. Three effects are spoken of. First, we are told He waters the ridges. As the ridges of the field become well saturated through and through with the abundant rain, so God sends His Holy Spirit till the whole Heart of man is moved and influenced by His divine operations. Next, it is added, "Thou settlest the furrows," by which some think it is meant that the furrows are drenched with water. Others think there is an allusion here to the beating down of the earth by heavy rain till the ridges become flat, and by the soaking of the water are settled into a more compact mass. Certain it is that the influences of God's Spirit have a humbling and settling effect upon a man. He was unsettled once like the earth that is dry and crumbly, and blown about and carried away with every wind of doctrine; but as the earth when soaked with wet is compacted and knit together, so the heart becomes solid and serious under the power of the Spirit. Yet again, it is added, "Thou makest it soft with showers." Man's heart is naturally hardened against the Gospel; like the Eastern soil, it is hard as iron if there be no gracious rain. How sweetly and effectively does the Spirit of God soften the man through and through.
II. DESCRIBE THE SPRINGING THEREOF. It is gradual. Remember the Lord's words, "First the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear." Some of our friends are greatly disturbed because they cannot see the full corn in the ear in themselves. They must learn to wait. What, then, is the springing up of piety in the heart? We think it is first seen in sincerely earnest desires after salvation. The man is not saved, in his own apprehension, but he longs to be. That which was once a matter of indifference is now a subject of intense concern. "The springing thereof " shows itself next in prayer. It is prayer now. Once it was the mocking of God with holy sounds unattended by the heart; but now, he really prays. There will also be manifest a hearty love for the means of grace, and the house of God. The Bible, long unread, which was thought to be of little more use than an old almanack, is now treated with great consideration. And then there comes faith in Jesus Christ; it may be small, but it is real.
III. THERE IS ONE WHO SEES THIS SPRINGING. Thou, Lord — Thou blessest the springing thereof. I wish that some of us had quicker eyes to see the beginning of grace in the souls of men; for want of this we let slip many opportunities of helping the weaklings.
IV. WHAT A MISERY IT WOULD BE, IF IT WERE POSSIBLE, TO HAVE THIS SPRINGING WITHOUT GOD'S BLESSING! "Thou blessest the springing thereof." Think of how the springing would have been without the blessing. Suppose we were to see a revival amongst us without God's blessing. It is my conviction that there are revivals which are riot of God at all, but are produced by excitement merely. If there be no blessing from the Lord, it will be all a delusion, a bubble blown up into the air for a moment, and then gone to nothing.
V. THE COMFORTING THOUGHT THAT GOD DOES BLESS "THE SPRINGING THEREOF." Let me tell you what that blessedness is; you have probably now a greater horror of sin than professors who have known the Lord for years; they might wish that they felt your tenderness of conscience. You have now a graver sense of duty, and a more solemn fear of the neglect of it than some who are further advanced. You have also a greater zeal than many; you are now doing your first works for God, and burning with your first love; nothing is too hot or too heavy for you; I pray that you may never decline, but always advance. Lessons:
1. Let older saints be very gentle and kind to young believers. God blesses the springing thereof — mind that you do the same. Do not throw cold water upon them.
2. Fulfil the duty of gratitude. If God blesses the springing thereof, we ought to be grateful for a little grace.
3. If God does so much for you now at "the springing," what will He not do in after days? Trust Him, then, always.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.