We here in California have enjoyed a wonderful December-January rain pattern not seen in these parts for 20 years. Our snowpack locally and in the Sierras up north is, at this point, way above normal for this time of year. While rain may be routine where you live, it's quite a treat out here in the Southwest!
This kind of weather reminds me of my childhood years in northwest Iowa. It seemed all of us farmers spent most of our spring and summer months praying for rain. No meal began without entreating the Lord to water our corn, alfalfa, soybean and oat crops.
The advent of rain was particularly important, as we were what is called 'dry farmers'. Having no irrigation system, we depended solely on the rain God would send to the land. Many years were good, some were not. Israeli farmers in biblical times knew this reality and never took a cloud for granted, either. As we've enjoyed showers in the last two months, I'm reminded of what rain teaches us about our God. I'm sure this list could be much longer, as the Word speaks about the subject often.
Our God is creative - As the creator, he brought about the amazing system of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. The best mankind has done with water is collect and direct it. No small task, but only God can make the stuff and deliver it around the globe. The prophet Jeremiah says it well when he declares, "Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain? Or can the heavens give showers? Are you not he, O LORD our God? We set our hope on you, for you do all these things." [14:22]
Our God is kind - In his sermon on the Mount, Jesus declares, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." [Mt. 5:45]. Paul picks up on this generosity in his address to potential believers in Lystra. "In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness." [Acts 14:17]. Even though many refuse to believe he even exists, our Lord God blesses them with bounty anyway. Such is his kindness toward all.
Our God is sovereign - While it may seem that rain comes and goes through the forces of nature (which God created, of course), the Bible shows him as a sovereign Lord over the advent of atmospheric moisture. The Flood is one early example, for sure. And then there is God's word to Solomon upon the dedication of the Temple. "I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." [2 Chron. 7:12b-14]. This warning/promise to Israel leaves no doubt as to who controls the weather. It also leads to our next observation.
Our God is the righteous and only judge - It is evident by God's word that withholding of rain was a judgment meted out by him to discipline his people, Israel. Jeremiah speaks the same truth to Israel again during a future turning away from following the LORD. Using the imagery of harlotry, he declares, "You have polluted the land with your vile whoredom. Therefore, the showers have been withheld, and the spring rain has not come . . . " [3:2c-3a]. While not every flood or natural disaster is a judgment upon mankind, God can and does have the right to utilize such occurrences to establish and/or reinforce his righteousness in the world.
Our God is faithful - The prophet Joel pictures the situation for Israel as they return to the Lord and repent of their waywardness. "Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before." [2:23]. What God says he will do, he does. This feature of our God is more precious to me as I grow older. I can look back over 74 years of his faithfulness in my life. He never falters on his promises and has revealed to Rolane and me his creativity, kindness, sovereignty, righteousness and faithfulness throughout our almost 50 years of marriage.
The next time it rains where you live, join us in celebrating our amazing God.
Photo by Iva Rajović on Unsplash