Down Nature's Paths


"Thy Riches"

FOUR months ago I attended a gathering of friends at their home place about thirty miles from Nashville. The first of June was the prime of spring and early summer, and the country reminded me of Moses' description of "the plain of Jordan." Writing nostalgically from the hot desert sheepwalks of the Sinai Peninsula, he recorded the picture of the land of his ancestors in terms he may often have heard his mother quote from her father Levi, who, spending his last days in the treeless pasturelands of Goshen, would recount to his posterity the tales of his youth in Canaan.

From the rim of the Jordan Valley Levi's great-great-uncle Lot had looked out over "all the plain of Jordan." Our English word "plain" here misses the flavor of the word Moses actually used. He said "circle"—"all the circle of Jordan." From sky to sky stretched out the mountains and hills that edged the valley, and over them and the lush lower lands were the green forests and the rolling vineyards and grainfields of that blessed region. "And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, .. . even as the garden of the Lord." Genesis 13:10.

More than forty years later Moses wrote again, with quivering heartache, of that loved and longed for land he was to see only afar: "The land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven: a land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year." Deuteronomy 11:11, 21.

I thought of those pastoral pearls from Moses' pen when on a brilliant June day I, like Lot, lifted up my eyes and beheld "all the circle" of a middle Tennessee landscape and found it like "the garden of the Lord." Everywhere, everywhere a wealth of greenness, from majestic oaks, maples, and hackberries to the crowding wild shrubbery and honeysuckled banks of the roads! Patterned between were splashes of color from ripening wheat fields, fallows purpled with vetch, or rocky hillsides in the muted magenta pink of carpets of rockcross. Roadside banks wore ruby necklaces of the bending bunches of sumac berries.

"0 Lord, how manifold are Thy works! In wisdom hast Thou made them all: the earth is full of Thy riches." Psalm 104:24. So is it today, if we look about us. The son of my hostess, noting my delight in all I was seeing, told me of the joy his mother and he took in the wild flowers. One day it had been necessary for them to search the wilder land beyond the fields for straying cattle. "We had to walk out anyway," he said, "so we thought we might as well make it as pleasant as possible." So they began to count how many flowering plants they could see. By the time they found the cows, they had also found a few more than thirty kinds of wild flowers. Becoming excited over the search, they continued it through the day and by nightfall had doubled their morning count. God's riches spread out for our happiness, health, and benefit!

That was last June, and God's riches have multiplied in this harvest time. Where there was then one tree, there are now many pounds of rosy fruit. Where there was one color on the hills, the country now fairly blazes with flame colors, with the dark green of the unchanging cedars for contrast. Where last June more birds were singing than we took time to count, now greater multitudes are passing through to their winter resorts. God's riches do not decrease; they multiply into a harvest, whether it be His riches in the natural world or His great and precious promises.