Summer Fruit

Summer Fruit

by Bob Burridge ©2018

At the time of the writing of this lesson another Summer was coming. Lawns will be growing, and we’ll spend more time mowing. With schools closed, families will be getting in some vacation time and doing some traveling. We’ll put away the heavy coats, and dress for the warmer weather. The beaches will be filled with people enjoying the warm water. And summer fruits will fill the trees in the groves.

It’s amazing how many Bible verses refer to “Summer fruit”.
In the Old Testament Hebrew text it’s just one word, “qa-yitz” (קיץ). Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Bible shows that this word occurs 20 times (just about the same number of times as translated in the English Standard Version).
– It’s translated as “summer fruit” 9 times.
– 10 times it’s just translated as “summer”, but in most cases it’s speaking of the crops being produced or gathered.
– In one verse it’s translated as “summer house” because it’s being contrasted with “winter house”.

The Summer Fruit is evidence of God’s provisions and blessing.
That’s the season that produces much of our nourishing foods. In 2 Samuel 16:1-2 Mephibosheth (Saul’s grandson) sent gifts for King David. They included, “a couple of donkeys saddled, bearing two hundred loaves of bread, a hundred bunches of raisins, a hundred of summer fruits, and a skin of wine.” The servant bringing the gifts explained what they were for, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride on, the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine for those who faint in the wilderness to drink.”

There was also a negative side to the Summer Fruit references in the Bible.
With the last gathering of the summer fruit, the winter season closed in when the crop production stopped.

On the Jewish calendar Summer is the end of the year. The new year starts with Rosh HaShana (ראש השנה) which usually occurs in September on our calendar.

The last gathering was often a symbol of an end to the blessings, God’s coming judgment. It illustrated that this special care for his rebellious nation would soon to come to an end. For example, Amos 8:1-2 says, “This is what the Lord GOD showed me: behold, a basket of summer fruit. And he said, ‘Amos, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘A basket of summer fruit.’ Then the LORD said to me, ‘The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass by them.’ ”

In the New Testament Jesus said in Matthew 24:32 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.” He was using this seasonal sign to illustrate the soon final end of the Jewish form of God’s Kingdom. There will be signs that their “summer”, their last season, had come. After that, apostate Israel will face God’s judgment within the span of the next generation (verse 34). Jerusalem fell to Rome and their Temple was destroyed in 70 AD, about one generation later.

The summer fruit is also used to illustrate some positive biblical principles.
Summer is the time to gather in the fruit it produces. It’s a time to be busy with caring for and gathering the crops.
Proverbs 10:5, “He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.”
Proverbs 30:25, “the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer;”
Jeremiah 40:12, “then all the Judeans returned from all the places to which they had been driven and came to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah. And they gathered wine and summer fruits in great abundance.”

In the larger picture of God’s plan, we are now in the summer of God’s Kingdom as it grows here on Earth.
This church age is a time of gathering up the blessings God’s bringing forth all around us in his Kingdom.
We shouldn’t be like the lazy son in Proverbs 10:5 who shamefully sleeps away the time of harvest.

On the more material side, we should enjoy the beauty of creation as the grass and flowers grow. Yes, it’s a time to mow the fast growing grass, but that leaves the beautiful green lawns we should appreciate. When we see the trees and grass all green again we should think about our Creator’s glory and power.

It’s a good time to point out God’s wonders and promises to those who don’t yet know the gospel. It could be just simple comments we make in day-to-day conversations about God’s blessings and salvation. We could invite people to worship with us in church or at Bible studies. This is how we do our part in gathering in those Jesus died to redeem. The crop is ripe, and we’re the ones God sends out with his message.

It’s also a good time to encourage other believers as we vacation, and get together to enjoy the good weather. People often tell about movies they’ve gone to see, a baseball game they watched, cute things the kids say and do, so it’s a perfect time to reflect on the beauties around us that show God’s handiwork, or to tell about something you read in the Bible, heard in a sermon or at a Bible study. We can build one another up with prayer and the promises from God’s word, and by being good and caring spiritual brothers and sisters in the Lord.

We live in a time of great possibilities.
Never have we had God’s word as available as it is today. Printed copies are inexpensive and available in many places locally and to order on-line. Digital copies are available for free for our computers, laptops, tablets, and cell phones.

Never have we been able to communicate as fast with so many people to promote God’s truth and glory. Facebook can be more than pictures of pets, food, vacation pictures, and cute kids and grand-kids. It can be a way of posting meaningful Bible verses, bits of godly wisdom, thanking God for certain blessings, or passing on helpful articles and videos about God’s truth and the hope he gives us.

What will this Summer bring in our lives this year?
What plans are we making to make this Summer a truly good one, a fruitful one for the Lord? What will the Summer leave us with when it’s over?

That verse from Proverbs 10:5 is worth repeating here, “He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.”

Note: Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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