He that goeth forth and weepeth - He that goes forth weeping - still an allusion to the farmer. He is seen moving slowly and sadly over the plowed ground, burdened with his task, an in tears.
Bearing precious seed - Margin, “seed-basket.” Literally, “bearing the drawing out of seed;” perhaps the seed as drawn out of his bag; or, as scattered or sown regularly in furrows, so that it seems to be drawn out in regular lines over the fields.
Shall doubtless come again - Shall come to this sown field again in the time of harvest. He will visit it with other feelings than those which he now has.
With rejoicing - Then his tears will be turned to joy. Then the rich harvest will wave before him. Then he will thrust in his sickle and reap. Then he will gather the golden grain, and the wain will groan under the burden, and the sheaves will be carried forth with songs of joy. He will be abundantly rewarded for all his toil; he will see the fruit of his labors; he will be filled with joy. The design of this illustration was, undoubtedly, to cheer the hearts of the exiles in their long and dangerous journey to their native land; it has, however, a wider and more universal application, as being suited to encourage all in their endeavors to secure their own salvation, and to do good in the world - for the effort is often attended with sacrifice, toil, and tears. The joy of heaven will be more than a compensation for all this. The following remarks by Dr. Thomson (Land and the Book, vol. i., pp. 118,119) will furnish an illustration of the meaning of this passage: “I never saw people sowing in tears exactly, but have often known them to do it in fear and distress sufficient to draw them from any eye. In seasons of great scarcity, the poor peasants part in sorrow with every measure of precious seed cast into the ground. It is like taking bread out of the mouths of their children; and in such times many bitter tears are actually shed over it. The distress is frequently so great that government is obliged to furnish seed, or none would be sown. Ibrahim Pasha did this more than once within my remembrance, copying the example, perhaps, of his great predecessor in Egypt when the seven years‘ famine was ended. The thoughts of this psalm may likewise have been suggested by the extreme danger which frequently attends the farmer in his plowing and sowing.
The calamity which fell upon the farmers of Job when the oxen were plowing, and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them away, and slew the servants with the edge of the sword Job 1:14-15, is often repeated in our day. To understand this, you must remember what I just told you about the situation of the arable lands in the open country; and here again we meet that verbal accuracy: the sower goes forth - that is, from the village. The people of Ibel and Khiem, in Merj ‛Aiyun for example, have their best grain-growing fields down in the ‛Ard Huleh six or eight miles from their homes, and just that much nearer the lawless border of the desert. When the country is disturbed, or the government weak, they cannot sow these lands except at the risk of their lives. Indeed, they always go forth in large companies, and completely armed, ready to drop the plow and seize the musket at a moment‘s warning; and yet, with all this care, many sad and fatal calamities overtake the people who must thus sow in tears.
And still another origin may be found for the thoughts of the psalm in the extreme difficulty of the work itself in many places. The soil is rocky, impracticable, overgrown with sharp thorns; and it costs much painful toil to break up and gather out the rocks, cut and burn the briers, and to subdue the stubborn soil, especially with their feeble oxen and insignificant plows. Join all these together, and the sentiment is very forcibly brought out, that he who labors hard, in cold and in rain, in fear and danger, in poverty and in want, casting his precious seed in the ground, will surely come again, at harvest-time, with rejoicing, and bearing his sheaves with him.”
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed - The metaphor seems to be this: A poor farmer has had a very bad harvest: a very scanty portion of grain and food has been gathered from the earth. The seed time is now come, and is very unpromising. Out of the famine a little seed has been saved to be sown, in hopes of another crop; but the badness of the present season almost precludes the entertainment of hope. But he must sow, or else despair and perish. He carries his all, his precious seed, with him in his seed basket; and with a sorrowful heart commits it to the furrow, watering it in effect with his tears, and earnestly imploring the blessing of God upon it. God hears; the season becomes mild; he beholds successively the blade, the ear, and the full corn in the ear. The appointed weeks of harvest come, and the grain is very productive. He fills his arms, his carriages, with the sheaves and shocks; and returns to his large expecting family in triumph, praising God for the wonders he has wrought. So shall it be with this handful of returning Israelites. They also are to be sown - scattered all over the land; the blessing of God shall be upon them, and their faith and numbers shall be abundantly increased. The return here referred to, Isaiah describes in very natural language: "And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the Lord out of all nations, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord," Isaiah 66:20.
The good seed may for a time lie unnoticed in a cold, selfish, worldly heart, giving no evidence that it has taken root; but afterward, as the Spirit of God breathes on the soul, the hidden seed springs up, and at last bears fruit to the glory of God. In our lifework we know not which shall prosper, this or that. This is not a question for us to settle. We are to do our work, and leave the results with God. “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand.” Ecclesiastes 11:6. God's great covenant declares that “while the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest ... shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22. In the confidence of this promise the husbandman tills and sows. Not less confidently are we in the spiritual sowing to labor, trusting His assurance, “So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth; it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11. “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:6. COL 65.1
The germination of the seed represents the beginning of spiritual life, and the development of the plant is a beautiful figure of Christian growth. As in nature, so in grace; there can be no life without growth. The plant must either grow or die. As its growth is silent and imperceptible, but continuous, so is the development of the Christian life. At every stage of development our life may be perfect; yet if God's purpose for us is fulfilled, there will be continual advancement. Sanctification is the work of a lifetime. As our opportunities multiply, our experience will enlarge, and our knowledge increase. We shall become strong to bear responsibility, and our maturity will be in proportion to our privileges. COL 65.2Read in context »
The world have received the idea from the attitude of the church that God's people are indeed a joyless people, that the service of Christ is unattractive, that the blessing of God is bestowed at severe cost to the receivers. By dwelling upon our trials, and making much of difficulties, we misrepresent God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent; for the path to heaven is made unattractive by the gloom that gathers about the soul of the believer, and many turn in disappointment from the service of Christ. But are those who thus present Christ believers? No, for believers rely upon the divine promise, and the Holy Spirit is a comforter as well as a reprover. TM 175.1
The Christian must build all the foundation if he would build a strong, symmetrical character, if he would be well balanced in his religious experience. It is in this way that the man will be prepared to meet the demands of truth and righteousness as they are represented in the Bible; for he will be sustained and energized by the Holy Spirit of God. He who is a true Christian combines great tenderness of feeling with great firmness of purpose, with unswerving fidelity to God; he will in no case become the betrayer of sacred trusts. He who is endowed with the Holy Spirit has great capacities of heart and intellect, with strength of will and purpose that is unconquerable. TM 176.1
*****Read in context »
“When thou makest a dinner or a supper,” Christ said, “call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee; for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:12-14. 6T 305.1
In these words Christ draws a contrast between the self-seeking practices of the world and the unselfish ministry of which He has given an example in His own life. For such ministry He offers no reward of worldly gain or recognition. “Thou shalt be recompensed,” He says, “at the resurrection of the just.” Then the results of every life will be made manifest, and everyone will reap that which he has sown. 6T 305.2Read in context »
When a minister has presented the gospel message from the pulpit, his work is only begun. There is personal work for him to do. He should visit the people in their homes, talking and praying with them in earnestness and humility. There are families who will never be reached by the truths of God's word unless the stewards of His grace enter their homes and point them to the higher way. But the hearts of those who do this work must throb in unison with the heart of Christ. GW 187.1
Much is comprehended in the command, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that My house may be filled.” [Luke 14:23.] Let ministers teach the truth in families, drawing close to those for whom they labor; and as they thus co-operate with God, He will clothe them with spiritual power. Christ will guide them in their work, giving them words to speak that will sink deep into the hearts of the listeners. GW 187.2Read in context »