Pray: The latter rain is coming

Joel 2 23-24

The Verse of the Day for September 20, 2017, offers words from the Prophet Joel regarding rain:

Joel 2:23 (AMP)

Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord, your God; for He gives you the former or early rain in just measure and in righteousness, and He causes to come down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain, as before.

As a God of order and planning, the Almighty One never simply causes it to rain randomly, but He sends rain in due season.  God instructed the Children of Israel to walk in His precepts and follow His guidance.  They would then be fruitful, as God showered them with His blessings.  God expresses His desires for His children in terms of rain.

Deuteronomy 28:12 notes:

The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand.

The Bible reveals rain as the life source for an agricultural people whose lives depend 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. In addition to Joel, Jeremiah and Hosea also, speak of these seasons:

Jeremiah 5:24(NKJV):

They do not say in their heart,
“Let us now fear the Lord our God,
Who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season.
He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.”

Hosea 6:1-3(NKJV):

Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.

The same message is spoken in Acts 2, on the Day of Pentecost when Peter addresses the multitude in referring to Joel:

Acts 2:16-18(NKJV):

16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.
18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
And they shall prophesy.

To appreciate the promise of God who will send the latter rain when He pours out of His spirit upon all flesh, think of what happened the first time God opened the windows of heaven and “poured” out rain.  Genesis 7 gives the account of Noah and the ark when the heavens opened, and it rained for forty days and nights.  In the last days when God opens the windows of heaven to pour out of His spirit on all flesh, do you think the outpouring will be any less great than the first time God poured out? God predates Morton salt whose motto is “When it rains, it pours.”

Anyone who is spiritually observant can sense that a great outpouring of the Spirit of God is already taking place.  In a similar way, one can tell when a torrential downpour is about to occur.  The essence of what is taking place spiritually is seen in the lyrics to a popular ballad, “Soon It’s Gonna Rain”:

See how the wind begins to whisper.

See how the leaves go streaming by.

Smell how the velvet rain is falling

Out where the fields are warm and dry.

Soon it’s gonna rain, I can see it

Soon it’s gonna rain, I can tell

Soon it’s gonna rain, what are we gonna do?

To answer the question posed at the end of the song, here is my advice: “Pray and get ready for rain!” As Zechariah 10:1(NKJV): exhorts:

Ask the Lord for rain
In the time of the latter rain.
The Lord will make flashing clouds;
He will give them showers of rain,
Grass in the field for everyone.

Indeed, there is a parallel between the natural and the spiritual.  Conditions are favorable for a worldwide outpouring of God’s spirit.  The abundant latter rain precedes a correspondingly great harvest.  Jesus Christ reminded His disciples in Matthew 9:37-38:

 “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

As we enter into the great harvest, following the Latter Rain, we need to follow the exhortation of Jesus Christ and pray.

The Book of James also reminds us the importance of prayer in conjunction with the harvest.

James 5:7-8(NKJV):

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

James goes on to illustrate what can happen when a man of God prays:

James 5:17-18(NKJV):

17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

The Old Testament account reveals that after a three-and-half-year drought, Elijah heard the “sound of abundance of rain.”  He sent his servant to investigate, but he saw nothing in the sky.  Elijah told him to go check again seven times.  After the seventh time, the servant saw a cloud about the size of a man’s hand.

Shortly thereafter we note “that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain.”

God still answers prayer.  His desire is to bless more than ours is to ask.  Let us continue to pray for rain, the latter rain, an abundance of spiritual outpouring, which God promised to send before the abundant harvest which is already on the way.  “Pray, the Latter Rain is on the way!”

Alvin Slaughter sings of “The Latter Rain” spoken by the Prophet Joel:

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