The Dew of Heaven
James Smith, 1861
"I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon." Hosea 14:5
God's promises — feed the faith, support the minds, and stimulate the prayers of God's people. And the prayers of the Lord's people, have often obtained promises, as well as the fulfillment of them. It was when Israel had wandered long and far, that the Lord sent his prophet to invite and exhort them to return, directing them how to approach him, and obtain the choicest blessings from him; and when they prayed, deplored their wanderings, and sought his face — he promised them the richest and choicest blessings. He not only promised what he would do for them — but what he would be to them, even the greatest blessing. "I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon."
The Figure."I will be to Israel like a refreshing DEW from heaven." As the rain only fell twice in the year — the land was dependent on the dew, which was constant and very copious, one of the greatest natural blessings. Israel was now like the thirsty soil, or the withered exhausted plants, and the Lord says, "I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven."
The Lord's dealings with us in a way of grace — are well represented by this figure.
Notice the dew's descent. How silently it falls, without the least noise. Just so, the Lord in working conviction, or imparting consolation, does so secretly and silently, none but the saved sinner, are aware of the work, or experience the effects. How slowly it comes down. You go out in the evening, and all is dry, you remain out for a time and you scarcely perceive a change — but at length every plant is covered, and the grass is wet. Just so, divine communications are at times made so slowly, that the mind perceives them not, it takes a considerable time to produce a thorough conviction of our lost state by nature, and longer still to bring the soul to confidence in Christ, or joy in God. In some cases the whole work is so secret, so silent, and so slow — that it is almost imperceptible. The dew falls invisibly, and so does grace into the heart often.
It is very gentle — it never broke the tenderest plant, or bruised the most delicate flower. And as gentle are the Lord's dealings with us — often the feeblest desire is encouraged, the weakest faith is strengthened, and the slightest movement of the soul toward God is accepted. He never breaks the bruised reed, nor will he quench the smoking flax.
Once more, the dew falls in the twilight or in the dark night. Just so, in the dark night of nature, or in the twilight of spiritual knowledge, when we see nothing clearly or distinctly, God communicates his grace, and diffuses the light of his truth, which shines more and more unto the perfect day.
Consider the dew's effects.
The dew softens the hard soil, that the feeble plant may force its way through, to enjoy the sunlight, and be fanned by the breeze. Just so, the grace that God gives, softens the hard heart, that the seeds of truth may spring up, and exhibit those virtues which are to the praise and glory of God.
The dew quickens the exhausted plants, and puts new life into the leaves and flowers. Just so, grace quickens all the plants of righteousness within us, and causes our faith and hope, our love and courage — to revive and grow.
The dew refreshes exhausted nature, bathing the weary herbage, and painting it with new beauty and glory. Just so, the Lord in his divine manifestations — refreshes our souls, revives all our graces, brightens our evidences; filling us with joy, peace, and pleasure.
The dew fructifies and makes the earth fruitful, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater. Just so, when the Lord sheds abroad his love in our hearts — we become fruitful in every good word and work. Our souls are impressible, truth roots in them, and the seeds of righteousness spring up and bear fruit.
Mark the peculiarities of the dew.
The dew is FREE, no one can produce or purchase dew. Just so the grace of God, and all his gracious communications. Nor does the dew fall more freely on the earth, than does the grace of God on us at the first. Though free, it may be expected, and so may grace, for God has provided it, and promised it, and is prepared to impart it.
The dew is NECESSARY, we see not how creation could do without it — but however necessary the dew may be to the earth — grace is much more necessary to the soul. Without it, there would be no spiritual life at first; so without it, faith would droop and die, prayer would cease, and everything spiritual in the soul would expire.
The dew is the fruit of a clear, calm, quiet sky; we do
not expect it in seasons of storm and tempest. Just so, grace comes to us,
because God is at peace with us. The cross of Jesus attracted the
curse, removed sin which was the cause of it, and made peace with God for
us. The whole storm of divine wrath fell on him, was endured by him, and was
exhausted by him. The cross acted as a curse conductor — it cleared
the Heavens, and now the gentle, reviving, refreshing dew of God's blessing,
descends on our poor dry, barren, and languishing souls, making them
fruitful and happy. Grace descends upon us, because God is pacified with us
The Results Predicted."He will blossom like the lily." The growth of the lily is quick. Just so, when much grace is given — we grow rapidly in knowledge and spirituality.
"He shall blossom like the lily." The growth of the lily is beautiful. Just so, we grow in grace, and become graceful and ornamental. The growth of the lily is to the honor of God's bounty, which provides for and supplies nature's wants, so is our growth to the praise of the glory of his grace.
The blossom of the lily is very beautiful and fragrant, and when it blossoms — it exhibits its colors, shows its fair proportions, and emits its lovely fragrance. Just so, under the influence of God's grace, we exhibit all Christian virtues, manifest a likeness to the Lord Jesus Christ, and breathe the sweet perfume of love, pity, and praise.
"It will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon." These majestic cedars which crowned its top, and which struck their roots so deep into its rocky soil, that they could defy the power of the terrific storms which swept over them, to uproot them. Just so, the believer in Jesus, as the result of God's being to him as the dew — roots his faith in God's word, faithfulness, and power — and becomes established, strengthened, and settled. His love roots itself in God as revealed in Christ, in the holiness of the divine character, and witnesses to his adoption and heirship. Hope roots in Christ as entered into the holiest, and in the promise of a glorious Heaven, and thus the soul deriving much spiritual nourishment — becomes fixed and steady.
The Promise. "I will be", "they shall be." Thus God's promises generally run. There is majesty in every line, and authority stamped on every letter. He promises like a God whose will is law, whose resources are boundless, and whose purpose cannot be frustrated. "I will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from heaven. Israel will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars in Lebanon." This was the proof that God had heard and healed them. It was an evidence that he loved them freely. It was to show that his anger was turned away from them. O blessed promise, may we be able to claim it, plead it, and expect the fulfillment of it in our own souls!
Holy Lord God, be as the dew unto my soul — soften, refresh, revive, and fructify me! Let me grow as the lily, grow in grace, and in the knowledge of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let me blossom as the lily, exhibiting all the graces and virtues of the Christian character, to your honor and glory! O let me be rooted and grounded in love, rooted in Christ Jesus, that I may stand all the storms of time, and enjoy a glorious eternity! Lord Jesus, come down on my soul, as the rain on the mown grass, and as the showers that water the earth — so shall I grow up into you, and bring forth fruits to your praise!