The winter proved to be devastating for some of our plants because the frost was rather damaging this year. Even though we used frost protective covering, the hibiscus trees and various ground coverings that produced flowers were destroyed. Although I have used well point water twice a week, the lawns have been struggling to turn green and the some of the flower beds continue to look all dried up.
Every day for the past two weeks, the weather app said there was a 5-30% chance of 1-5 millimeters of rain … but it never came! The good news is that it rained today … on the first day of September … on the first day of spring. These first rains will help the shrubs and flowers and grass and trees to return to their former glory. I started working on a project in the back yard this morning. This afternoon, it was cold and the skies were grey with some areas blackish … and suddenly I felt a huge drop of water on my head … then there were more and soon it was raining. A blessing from God! The first rain!
At times God withholds rain because obedience is required. We see this in Deuteronomy:
Dt 11:13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul—14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.
Failure to obey would result in God withholding the rains. This would affect the crops and in turn the economy would be affected!
In the Song of Songs, we find that landscape changes dramatically after the rains.
SS 2:11 See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.
12 Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.
After the rains the flowers appear, the birds sing and fruit appears on the trees coupled to the fragrance of blossoms.
Jeremiah addresses the result of disobedience:
Jer 3:2 “Look up to the barren heights and see. Is there any place where you have not been ravished? By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers, sat like a nomad in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, and no spring rains have fallen. Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute; you refuse to blush with shame. 4 Have you not just called to me: ‘My Father, my friend from my youth, 5 will you always be angry? Will your wrath continue forever?’ This is how you talk, but you do all the evil you can.”
The people of God prostituted themselves with idols and so called gods … and God prevented rain from falling and blessing the
Hosea calls the people back to obedience and faithfulness:
Hos 6:3 Let us acknowledge the LORD, let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.
Return to God in truth and He will bless the land.
Although the following passage refers to the definite return of Jesus and when He returns He will judge, it tells us that we need to be patient for Jesus’ return just like the farmer who exercises patience as he waits for the rains.
Jas 5:7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
Beyond the literal meaning of rain as precipitation, there is great symbolic significance to the autumn rains in the Bible. Just as rain refreshes dry soil, God refreshes the souls of His people with His Holy Spirit. We saw this when the Israelites were wandering in the desert without food and they cried out to God:
Ex 16:4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you.”
He did and the people had sufficient to eat.
Ex 16:31 The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.
Where this was physical food (manna), the Psalmist likens God’s Word to be like honey:
Ps 19:10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.
Ps 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
By the Holy Spirit, God rains His heavenly manna (His Word) into our hearts. It has taste that satisfies and it is plentiful … for as we read the Bible and apply it with the help of the Holy Spirit, our souls are nourished and our appetites desire and hunger and thirst for more … and the eager soul is satisfied over and over and over again.
Dear God, thank You for giving us heavenly manna for the soul. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for inspiring the prophets and apostles to pen the Scriptures. Thank You that Your Word is truth, is trustworthy and is always reliable to meet my every need. Cause me to hunger for Your Word daily. Fill me with life-giving nourishment daily. Amen.