“I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and with mildew and with hail, yet you did not turn to me, declares the Lord.” Haggai 2:17
How destructive is hail to standing crops, beating down the precious grain upon the ground! How grateful ought we to be when the corn is spared such a terrible ruin! Let us offer thanksgiving to the Lord. Even more to be dreaded are those mysterious destroyers—smut, bunt, rust, and mildew. These turn the corn into a mass of soot, or render it putrid, or dry up the grain, and all in a manner so beyond all human control that the farmer is compelled to cry, “This is the finger of God.”
Innumerable minute fungi cause the mischief, and were it not for the goodness of God, the rider on the black horse would soon scatter famine over the land. Infinite mercy spares the food of men, but in view of the active agents which are ready to destroy the harvest, right wisely are we taught to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” The curse is abroad. We have constant need of the blessing. When blight and mildew come they are chastisements from heaven, and men must learn to heed the rod, and him that has appointed it.
Spiritually, mildew is no uncommon evil. When our work is most promising, this blight appears. We hoped for many conversions, and lo! a general apathy, an abounding worldliness, or a cruel hardness of heart! There may be no open sin in those for whom we are laboring, but there is a deficiency of sincerity and decision sadly disappointing our desires.
From this, we learn our dependence on the Lord, and the need of prayer that no blight may fall on our work. Spiritual pride or laziness will soon bring the dreadful evil upon us, and only the Lord of the harvest can remove it. Mildew may even attack our own hearts, and shrivel our prayers and religious exercises. May it please the great Cultivator to avert such a serious calamity. Shine, blessed Sun of Righteousness, and drive the blights away.
Adapted from Morning and Evening.