Nature’s seasons correspond to the seasons of human life, the child verdant with the sap of spring, the young passionate with summer’s fire, the mature crimson and golden with beauty and wisdom, and the elderly chilled by winter’s breath.
Isaiah’s image is of autumn, perhaps the most beautiful time of year, and the most beautiful time of life. The wasps retreat, the serpents recede, the bear finds her den, the heat abates, the fruits and grain ripen, the harvest comes, and nature robes herself in elegant crimson and gold.
But Isaiah’s words bespeak an autumnal warning.
To the springtime child, autumn is inconceivable. The summery youth thinks the blazing sun will never set. But both the blossoming child and the passionate youth should know that autumn surely comes, and after that, the winter chill.
Those in autumn must know that, despite the beauty around them, the splendor of gold and crimson must inevitably fade to brown and grey, and that any clap of thunder, any lightning flash, any sudden wind, or even a gentle raindrop can snap the leaf and cast it downward, suddenly, and with no remedy.
Isaiah’s contemporary, Jeremiah, saw Israel in her autumn, and mourned for her,
“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”
How thankful we should be that grace is always in season.
" O God, save thy springtime child, thy summery youth, for autumn surely comes. Save thy autumn soul, and save even thine own whose brow is kissed by winter’s chilly frost."