And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, said the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth;…
The language of this text is poetical and highly figurative, but quite easy of comprehension. Jezreel, the seed of God, is the name used by this prophet to designate the people of God. We have, then, a picture of the whole process by which God answers His people when they pray, "Give us this day our daily bread." The passage is not only beautiful, but suggestive. Its range is very wide. It leads all along the chain of effect and cause, from man through nature up to God. Beginning at the lower extremity, we find ourselves first in the wide and busy domain of political economy, with its two branches of production and distribution. Stepping upwards, we reach the sphere of natural science, and the highest raises us to the lofty regions of theology. We begin, however, with the highest link.
1. However many links may seem to intervene in nature's chain, if followed up, it always leads to God at last. If the harvest came by some process of evolution, whence came the process of evolution? We may carry back the chain of second causes as far as we may, we shall always find the farthest link fastened to the throne of the Omnipotent.
2. It is God that hears, not only at the extremity of the chain, but through it all, between each separate link, however long it may be. Not only is God the First Cause, He is in all intermediate causes too. We speak of "laws," laws of nature. But who made the laws? And who enforces the laws? There must be power to do this. Where is it? What a remarkable thing is the regular proportion between what is produced and what is needed for consumption in a given year. The whole thing is left to individual choice, there must therefore be some power at work to preserve the necessary equilibrium. There is the law of supply and demand to regulate this. But this law, like all other laws, implies a lawgiver. It implies a power above ourselves.
3. Food is produced where population is scanty, it is wanted mainly where population is dense. Whately says, "Man's foresight often gets the credit for what is due to God's wisdom." All the foresight of man would fail for a work so stupendous as this. Many have the idea that the farmer is more dependent on the Divine power than the artisan and the manufacturer. It is a mistake. The chain along which we derive our manufactured goods from the Giver of all good may be longer than the other, but God is just as surely at the upper end of it, and in each intermediate link. No machine can produce power. All the force which is used in all our factories is ultimately traceable to the sun. It was the sun which, millions of years ago, poured its rays on the luxurious vegetation of the carboniferous era, and filled it full of a latent force, which, after the leaves and stems and roots containing it had been pressed and hardened and blackened underground, should be avail able to those who, in future ages, should dig it up as coal, and use it to heat their houses and drive their engines. Our manufactures as our agriculture are of God, and of Him only.
(J. Monro Gibson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth;