Monday, February 28, 2011

Let it rain!

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Deuteronomy 11:1-17

TO CHEW ON: "And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil." Dueteronomy 11:13-14

Moses paints a picture of rain-blessed hills, valleys, and fields producing grain, olives, and grapes as a consequence of obeying and serving God. The patter of all that rain sent me on a little hunt through the Bible to see what else it says about rain. Here are some of my discoveries:

1. In numerous places Bible writers acknowledge rain as God's idea and creation (e.g. Amos 5:8).

2. It is usually viewed as a blessing (Psalm 65:10) which falls on us whether or not we are deserving (Matthew 5:45; Acts 14:17).

3. But God also uses rain as a judgment.
  • Sometimes the judgment is too much rain as at the flood, where all humanity but Noah and his family were destroyed (Genesis 7:12, 23).
  • More often the judgment is too little rain, as in the case of a three-year famine when Ahab was king (1 Kings 18:1).   

4. Thus it's no surprise that various Bible writers warn that living a life that displeases God will lead to a lack of rain. That's what Solomon  did in his temple dedication prayer in 2 Chronicles 6:26-27. And that's also what Moses does in today's Deuteronomy reading.  "Love God, serve Him with all your heart, and He will bless you with an open heaven," he says. "Or turn away from Him to other gods, and the heavens will be shut."

In fact, God's open heaven in regard to rain isn't limited to physical rain. Isaiah 55:10-11 likens the effectiveness of God's Word freely spread to the effectiveness of rain. Just as rain accomplishes its purpose when it waters the earth, growing our crops and nourishing our bodies, so God's word accomplishes the nourishing of spirits wherever it goes.

And Joel, after predicting a time when people will see "the former and latter rains," culminates his prophecy with the description of God pouring out His Spirit on all flesh (Joel 2:23, 28).

I want to be under that open heaven. I say, let it rain!

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for rain. Help me to take seriously the admonition to live for You with all that is in me. I want to live under Your open heaven. Amen.

MORE: "Healing Rain" - Michael W. Smith

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