Send the rain

Joel_2-23

From the Old Testament prophet Joel comes the Verse of the Day for September 20, 2016:

Joel 2:23 (Message Bible):

[The Trees Are Bearing Fruit Again] Fear not, Earth! Be glad and celebrate! God has done great things. Fear not, wild animals! The fields and meadows are greening up. The trees are bearing fruit again: a bumper crop of fig trees and vines! Children of Zion, celebrate! Be glad in your God. He’s giving you a teacher to train you how to live right— Teaching, like rain out of heaven, showers of words to refresh and nourish your soul, just as he used to do. And plenty of food for your body—silos full of grain, casks of wine and barrels of olive oil.

The New Living Translation offers this rendering:

Rejoice, you people of Jerusalem! Rejoice in the LORD your God! For the rain he sends demonstrates his faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come, as well as the rains of spring.

The time frame of the abundant rain that will be forthcoming and the subsequent abundant harvest has also been described as the former rain and the latter rain.

This passage in Joel reminds us of the importance of rain as a life source for an agricultural people whose lives are dependent upon crops.  In the Land of Israel God, indeed, sends rain in due season in two specific forms:  the former rain and latter rain.  In the Middle East, the former rain occurs in October or November, accompanying the planting of crops, while the latter rain occurs in the spring, around March or April, just before the harvest. Both of these seasons of rain the Prophets Jeremiah, Hosea, and Joel speak of:

Jeremiah 5:24(NLT):

They do not say from the heart,
‘Let us live in awe of the Lord our God,
for he gives us rain each spring and fall,
assuring us of a harvest when the time is right.

Hosea 6:1-3 (NLT):

“Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces;
now he will heal us.
He has injured us;
now he will bandage our wounds.
In just a short time he will restore us,
so that we may live in his presence.
Oh, that we might know the Lord!
Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
or the coming of rains in early spring.”

Amos also prophesies of abundance that shall cover the land, described in this way:

Amos 9:13 (NLT):

“The time will come,” says the LORD, “when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested. Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine

James 5: 7 (NLT) says:

Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen.

Some have described the forthcoming abundance to the Church as a series of banner years with bumper crops . . . a constant flow of supply shocks that overwhelm the Body of Christ with God’s goodness and graciousness, as souls are multiplied in magnitude in the Kingdom of God.

William McDowell offer this expression of our heart’s desire at this time: “Send the Rain”

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