The Dew;

or, The Lord's blessing upon His people, and they a blessing to others.

"I will be as the dew unto Israel." - Hosea 14:5.

J. R.

Christian Friend vol. 19, 1892, p. 230.

How great is the contrast between the crashing thunder-storm and the gentle dew! The former has its place and does its useful work; but how much sweeter it is to think of the quietness of the latter! As the lightnings flash, the thunders roll, and all nature quivers, the soul is solemnly impressed with the power and majesty of God. But as we walk in the early summer morning, feeling the freshness and smelling the fragrance which are the result of the dew, the mind turns to dwell upon the goodness of God, and His unfailing compassions.

The prophet of God stood upon mount Horeb in the day of his deep depression. (1 Kings 19.) A great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks. The bosom of the earth heaved under the power of the hand of God. The flames of consuming fire burst forth and ravaged the face of nature. The wind, the earthquake, and the fire were all in deep consonance with the spirit of the prophet, for he dwelt upon the sins of the people, his own heartless rejection at their hand, and he looked for the judgment of God. And now he beheld the signs of Jehovah's power to vindicate His own cause and to assert His own majesty. Yet there was a deeper lesson for this beloved man of God to learn. These were the servants of Jehovah's might, but He Himself was not in them. Rending, upheaving, and devouring can never set forth the nature of God; they never can express the thoughts of His heart. Judgment He must perform, though it be His strange work; yet behind it all He says, "I know the thoughts that I think toward you … thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." (Jer. 29:11.) The end, which is ever before God, is the blessing of His people in peace and love, the expression of His own nature.

After the fire there was a still, small voice, which caused the prophet to wrap his face in his mantle. The storm clears the atmosphere, as one may speak, so that the voice of God, in the stillness and sweetness of peace and love, may be distinctly heard.

Turning to the prophecy of Hosea, who does not tremble before the devouring judgments of God? "Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them." God knows how to care for His own glory, how to assert His own majesty, and how to bring His people to the sense of the solemn fact that it is with Him they have to do.

Yet is He the God of peace. The agents of His power do His bidding, and that which is contrary to His own nature and to the blessing of His people is destroyed, but to the end that we may rest for ever in all that He is in infinite love, and that He may rest in the joy of His own beloved ones. So we hear the still small voice in Hosea 14. The very One who has said, "I will be unto them as a lion," now says, "I will be as the dew unto Israel." He has His people before Him in a true condition of soul, repentant and dependent on His mercy, and all His love can flow forth in its freeness and fulness.

The moral principles exhibited in this belong to us as well as to Israel. In the history of our souls we can look back to the moment when we trembled before the judgments of God. We needed to learn what sin is in the sight of God. The law of the fiery mountain of Sinai impressed upon our souls the majesty of the God against whom we had sinned, and there seemed no escape from perdition. But oh, what was it to us to learn that the violence of the storm we dreaded had spent itself on the holy head of Him from whose lips we heard the still small voice of the love of God! "Come unto Me," said He, "all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The majesty of God has been vindicated, His holiness maintained, His nature declared, in the cross of Calvary, and all His love flows forth. The very One who has glorified Him with respect to sin is the very One who leads us into the affections of the Father's heart, that there we may rest for ever in the circle of His own joys.

"A woman in the city, which was a sinner" (Luke 7:37), may, in part, illustrate it for us. It may be that in spirit she had stood beneath the fiery mount, and had trembled as she heard John recalling the people to a sense of their responsibility toward God, a responsibility in which they had so deeply failed. Unlike the children of the market-place (v. 32), she wept abundantly. Yet the resting-place for her poor broken heart was found in the grace of the person of Jesus. Her whole soul was melted at His feet, and poured its fulness upon them, as she bathed and kissed and anointed them.

The proud Pharisee might discuss in his cold heart who and what this preacher might be; to her thirsty soul His very presence in infinite grace was as the dew of heaven. And the sweetness and fragrance, as the result of the dew, turned back to Himself, as the refreshment of His own heart in the midst of a cold, heartless world, which could excuse its neglect of Him by the plea that such grace comported not with the holiness of God.

Mary of Bethany may further illustrate it for us. (Luke 10.) She chose the good part which should not be taken away from her. What was this good part? Surely it was the company of her blessed Lord. Her poor sister might be careful and troubled about many things; to her the presence of Jesus was everything. She sat at His feet and heard His word. She could appreciate the blessedness of which He had spoken when privately to His disciples He said, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see." (v. 23.) The delight of the Father's heart was before her, and He, by His blessed communications, was leading her to that heart which He so perfectly knew, and in the love of which He ever rested. Moses might publish the name of Jehovah, but here was the Revealer of the Father; he might ascribe greatness to God, but here was the Unfolder of His love. Surely His doctrine dropped as the rain, His speech distilled as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass. (Deut. 32:2.)

Again we see her in John 12. She had passed through the night of darkest sorrow which is recorded in John 11. But the light broke through the dark clouds, the light of a morn beyond the shadows of death, a resurrection-morn, and His own presence was more to her than the most copious dew of heaven. She had seen His tears in the depth of her grief, she had heard the deep groan of His spirit, the holy vessel of divine thoughts and feelings in the midst of death and all its sorrow, and He had manifested before her His own glory as the Son of God, the One who had in Himself the power of life, beyond all the power of death. It was the fragrance, resulting from all He was to her, that refreshed His own soul in that solemn hour. His death was decided upon by His enemies, He was not understood by His disciples, but Mary before them all took the very precious ointment and poured it on Him. The whole house was filled with its odour, but it was for Him that the spikenard sent forth the smell thereof. (Cant. 1:12.)

Beloved reader, let us now consider it. Amid all the religiousness of our day, and with it, alas! the cold inattention to Christ, have we found our home at His feet? Attracted by the infinite grace of His person, do we love to be in His presence, finding that He is as the dew to our souls? Have we permitted Him to lead us by His blessed communications, made good to us in the power of the Holy Ghost, to the very depths of the Father's heart? Have even our dark nights of sorrow been the occasion for the further unfolding of all that He is, so that under the dark shadows have been found the sweet droppings of His love? May the Lord grant us to abide with Him, that we may prove in fullest measure the blessedness of His presence; that he Himself is indeed as the dew to us!

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"And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men." (Micah 5:7.)

This shall be true in the day when Jehovah shall be as the dew to Israel. The blessing which He confers upon them in the sweetness and power of His own presence with them, will flow forth in a similar way to the nations. It is not that they will be the source of it, they shall be "as a dew from the Lord." But it will flow forth in grace, without awaiting the call for it from the nations - "that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men."

How frequently, with those around us, are we like Elijah, for the storm is in full consonance with our angry spirit. Then even we ourselves would thunder if we could. Even a James and a John would desire to command fire to come down from heaven. (Luke 9.) Assuredly in such moments we know not what manner of spirit we are of. It is not that God is indifferent to sin, but He has His own time and way of judging it, and we may often have to wait. We may, alas! have to mark those who cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which we have learned, and to avoid them. Other similar things may be our painful duty in seeking to maintain the holiness which becomes God's house. But we must never forget that God is "the God of peace." If we separate from evil, it is that we may have the enjoyment of His presence in all its abundant blessedness; and as we have that enjoyment we shall surely be the means of refreshment and blessing, of like character, to others.

How sweet to think of the dew as a figure of the refreshment we may be to others! It is not conspicuous; it does not call attention to itself; but it is there, and its presence is known by the effect produced. In dwelling upon the figure the mind is recalled to some who have been known, who were neither great preachers, nor eloquent teachers, nor conspicuous workers, but it was impossible to be in their presence without feeling the sweetness and fragrance of the very presence of Christ. Why was this? Because without thinking of the effect upon others their own souls were in the enjoyment of His presence who is as the dew to His own.

May not Philemon of Colosse have been such an one? Of his preaching, teaching, or work we know nothing; but Paul, in his exquisite letter to him, said, "We have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother." Phil. 7. How sweet is this! How ashamed we are before it! Alas, we can criticize our brethren, we can find fault, we can shew that things are not as they should be, while our souls are as dry as Gideon's fleece upon the wet threshing-floor. But oh, that God of His grace would grant us to be steeped in the precious dew of His own presence, that we may in turn be as a dew from the Lord to others; that while there be no slackness in the public work of the Lord we may be as those who refresh the bowels of the saints!

And let us mark how independent is the character of grace. The rain and dew tarry not for man, nor wait for the sons of men. God acts spontaneously from His own heart in bestowing His gracious blessing, and those who drink into His grace act as from Him without waiting first to see signs of worthiness. We are often ready to exclaim, "If our brethren loved us a little more - !" or, "If we could only see some return for our love - !" Ah, that is not it. If only we were a little more in the sense of God's infinite love and grace to us, we should be more as a dew from Him to others, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.

May He grant it for His name's sake! J. L.