‘Ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new.’
There is in these words a promise as to the fulness of the Divine gifts which has a far wider range and nobler application than to the harvests and granaries of old Palestine.
We may take the text in that aspect:—
I. As containing God’s pledge that these outward gifts shall come in unbroken continuity.—It may be good that we should have to trust Him even when the storehouse is empty; it may be good for us to know something of want; but that discipline comes seldom, and is never carried very far. God’s machinery for distribution is perfect, and its very perfection, with the constancy of the resulting blessings, robs Him of His praise and hinders our gratitude. By assiduity He loses admiration.
II. May we not apply the same thought of the unbroken continuity of God’s gifts to the higher region of our spiritual experience?—His supplies of wisdom, love, joy, peace, power, to our souls, are always enough and more than enough for our wants. He means that there should be no parentheses of famine in our Christian life. The source is full to overflowing, and there are no limits to the supply. The only limit is our capacity, which, again, is largely determined by our desire.
III. We may also see in this text the prescription of a duty as well as the announcement of a promise.—There is direction given here as to our manner of receiving God’s gifts, as well as large assurance as to His manner of bestowing them. All through our lives wisdom and faith say, ‘Bring forth the old because of the new.’ Accept cheerfully the law of constant change under which God has set us. Welcome the new, treasure the old, and in both see the purpose of that loving Father Who, Himself unchanged, changeth all things, ‘fulfils Himself in many ways lest one good custom should corrupt the world.’
(1) ‘May we not apply this thought to our spiritual experiences? God’s supplies of wisdom, love, joy, peace, and power are always more than our actual needs. If ever we seem devoid of grace, mercy, and peace, it is our fault, not His. It is not God’s wish that there should be these breaks of famine in our lives. He is always giving, pouring forth His own self for us to take; our barns might always be filled with plenty, and our presses burst out with new wine; and if we are on short allowance, it is ourselves that are to blame.’
(2) ‘The spirit and heart of this promise remain, though the outward form may have passed away. To use the phrasing of another, it was a picturesque way of saying that the harvest should be more than enough for the people’s wants. All through the winter, and the spring, and the ripening summer, their granaries would yield supplies.’