When Noah, his family and the assorted livestock that they’ve been living with, can eventually return to dry land we find a number of things. The first is that God wants to bless them. God invites them to return to the land so that they can be fruitful and increase, so that they can come back to God’s intention for them.
The second is that Noah is grateful. His response to what has happened is not, “Well I’m glad that’s over” (though I’m sure it must have been quite an ordeal) but to give thanks to God for God’s faithfulness and rescue. His thankfulness is genuine and he desires to express it so he builds an altar to the Lord and offers sacrifices to God in gratitude for what God has done.
Then God goes even further and gives an assurance that even when humanity repeats its desire to go its own way with all the harm and hurt that it brings, He will not look to end them as he did in the flood. God commits that, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” We might be familiar with the Rainbow being a sign of God’s promise but in fact whenever we celebrate harvest it is part of that same assurance, for it demonstrates God’s faithfulness in providing for people. It is part of the blessing that comes with God’s patience and forbearance.
As we celebrate harvest as a church it shouldn’t be a case of us going through the motions, it’s not a case of paying lip-service to a tradition, that is not really needed now that we have modern farming techniques and better scientific understanding. Harvest is something that is to call forth our genuine gratitude as it is a visible manifestation of God’s continuing desire to bless and rescue. It is part of God’s ongoing provision for us on earth which points to his promises that remain unchanged. Promises that include an act of rescue even greater than the one that Noah experienced –an act of rescue that allows us to be part of God’s family forever. Let’s not think of Harvest as just one of those things but demonstrate true gratitude to God (as Noah did) as we understand God’s concern for all aspects of who we are both physical and spiritual. Be thankful people this harvest.
Andy and Hannah
The first time that harvest gets a mention in the Bible is in Genesis chapter 8. It follows the account of the flood where God destroys all of humanity because of their wickedness, their committed desire to do what is wrong, ignore God and hurt others. Only Noah and his family survive as they are faithful to God and seek to live in right ways. We are told that Noah found favour with God and God acted to rescue him.