Summer Has Ended
“The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved” (Jeremiah 8:20).
“Autumn leaves are now falling, red and yellow and brown. Autumn leaves are now falling, see them tumbling down.” School children in Wisconsin used to sing this song about this time of year. The change of seasons cannot be missed in that part of the country. The falling leaves are a sure sign that summer has ended.
Those who cried out the words that Jeremiah here records had also seen the sure signs of the end of summer—and it frightened them.
They weren’t worrying about the coming of freezing temperatures and drifting snow. Their dread centered on the judgment of the Lord God.
They had thought they did not need him. They had grown confident in their own ability to face what life would throw at them. Besides, they had strong allies. But now destruction was rolling toward them on horseback. Vicious enemies had overrun their cities. Now those people call out: “Why are we sitting here? Gather together! Let us flee to the fortified cities and perish there! For the LORD our God has doomed us to perish…” (Jeremiah 8:14)
More than one person and more than one nation has decided that the Holy One in Heaven can be relegated to the sidelines. His warnings go unheeded. His invitations go unanswered. He is ignored. It will not be left that way. Those people will be doomed.
Punishment inflicted by a fierce enemy has often been the response that the Lord chooses. Destruction, decimation, and death surge over those who reject him.
So it was with ancient Israel. It was painful to watch. We read the cry from the lips of Jeremiah, “Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people” (Jeremiah 9:1).
But what good does that do? Tears for the fallen come too late. Hope applies only to the living. Thank God, some did survive. It is they who lament, “The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.” The cry of desperation begs for an answer. They have learned one lesson. They are helpless and hopeless without the Lord God.
Another lesson must be taught them. The God of Israel is the hope of the hopeless. He will not reject those who call to him for help.
All mankind needs to learn these lessons. The entire human race is facing the swift march of time. An entire lifetime may seem to pass as quickly as a child’s summer vacation. Tragic are those who look back at the summer of their life and must lament, “and we are not saved.”
Jeremiah learned the lessons. He calls out: “Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise” (Jeremiah 17:14).
It is a lesson we all need to learn—before our summer ends.
Holy, Triune God, the swift passing of the seasons testify to us that our days are numbered and our time is short. We have no time to look for another Savior because there is only one. You have shown him to us. His name is Jesus. In his name we call to you for healing of spirit and rescue of life. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military