“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when the plowman shall overtake the reaper
and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed;
the mountains shall drip sweet wine,
and all the hills shall flow with it.
I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel,
and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine,
and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.
I will plant them on their land,
and they shall never again be uprooted
out of the land that I have given them,”
says the Lord your God. Amos 9:13-15
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you save, O Lord.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light. Psalm 36:5-9 ESV
Paul Bunyan, a giant woodsman and hero, moved to the Rocky Mountain Country of the United States many years ago. When he saw how good the soil was he planted a kernel of corn, and it sprouted five minutes later! It grew so fast that his friend, Ole the Big Swede, started to climb it so that he could cut off the top and make it branch out. But the cornstalk grew so fast that Ole was soon out of sight, and when he tried to slide down, the cornstalk grew faster than he could slide. Paul Bunyan and his friends tried to saw and cut the cornstalk down, but the saw was jerked out of their hands, and after they made one cut with an ax the mark of the cut grew up with the cornstalk before they could make the second cut! Paul Bunyan finally choked the cornstalk by bending one of the iron shoes of his blue ox, Babe, around the stalk, and it finally stopped growing. After the cornstalk was chopped down, it took three hours for it to fall, and when it hit the ground it caused cyclones as far away as the Mississippi Valley.
Paul Bunyan stories are tall tales. The Bible reading from Amos sounds a little bit like a tall tale, too, doesn’t it? It gives a picture of a wonderful time in the future when God blesses his people. The harvest will be so incredible that the reapers will still be at work bringing in the crop when it’s time to plant a new one in the spring! They will still be smashing the grapes to make wine when it’s time to plant new grapes, and there will be so much wine that the mountains and hills will drip and flow with sweet wine! This is a picture of God’s coming kingdom, a picture of having much more than enough of every good thing from the fields and farms. Amos talked about rebuilding the cities that would soon be ruined in battle, and about all the people living safely on their own land again.
Jesus came to bring God’s heavenly kingdom to us. He died for us to make us part of God’s people, and he gives us his blessings of love and forgiveness every day. There’s more than enough love to go around and to share with others. We look forward to the day when Jesus brings us to his heavenly kingdom, a kingdom that will last forever. The picture of amazing harvests and safe homes and cities is one way the Bible pictures God’s kingdom of heaven. We don’t completely know what it will be like, but we know it will be more wonderful than we could ever imagine.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to bring us into your kingdom, and for the promise of all the blessings it has for us, now and forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
McCormick, Dell J. Paul Bunyan Swings His Axe Caldwell, Idaho: The Caxton Printers, Ltd., 1936.