Thought for the Month

"He gives rain for the earth and water for the fields." (Job 5:10 NLT)

The British weather is one of commonest topics of conversation for those of us so fortunate as to live here. Rain or precipitation is also one reason to check the weather forecast on the apps which are so useful for everyday life. Will I need a coat and if so which one is best for rain is a question we ask ourselves. Usually we feel we have too much rain but rain is necessary for reservoirs of water for homes and business as well as for the fields and market gardens. Drought can be a problem too as in 1921 until 25 June there had been 100 days without rain. Flooding seems to be coming more commonplace as those who live near the rivers Severn and Avon and their tributaries can attest from rain that falls in the west and Wales. It takes days to reach places like Evesham, Ironbridge, Shrewsbury, Tewkesbury and Worcester and other towns in the west of England. Floods in other parts like in June 2019 severely affected the cauliflower crops. At times it has been dry when we expected wet and vice versa.

Rainy conditions is not just a British issue. The apostle Paul on arriving in Malta found conditions cold and rainy on arriving so much so that the locals lit a fire for him and the other passengers finally to make land on that Mediterranean island. (Acts 28:2)

Rain was associated with God’s favour. God promised rain in due season but this was conditional on Israel keeping His laws and statutes and certainly not indulging in idol worship. (Lev.26:1‑4)

At other times such as with Deborah and Barak, God used heavy rain to foil the chariots and warriors of the King of Canaan’s army led by Sisera. (Judg.5:4) This was not the only act of nature that God has used and even may use to bring about a certain outcome. It is "overflowing rain" and "great hailstones" which are used to overcome the foes that come against Israel in what is called "Armageddon" in Revelation. (Ezek.38:22)

Disfavour with God led to a lack of rain. This occurred in the days of Elimelech, the husband of Naomi. There was a drought in Israel which led to a famine because of crop failure and problems maintaining their herds. He chose to move his family to Moab. This did not turn out well because the account tells of his death and the death of his sons after which Naomi heard that the famine in Israel had ended and returned to the land of promise with her daughter‑in‑law Ruth.

Evil king Ahab and his Sidonian queen Jezebel did more to provoke God’s anger than any of the kings of Israel. Therefore "Elijah...prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months." (James 5:17 NKJV) Actually there was no dew either because of the altar to Baal and the Asherah pole Ahab built. In this Christian era (Gospel age) this drought was pictured by the spiritual drought in the Dark Ages before the Reformation.

Rain symbolises truth. This is borne out by Deut.32:2 in which the heavenly Father teaches "My doctrine (teaching) shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass." This is an understanding of Psalm 68:9 that there would be a time of "plentiful rain." This has been experienced at this end of the Christian era following the gradual emergence from the Dark Ages to a time of printing, translating and study, aided by mass education.

Hosea (6:3) and Joel (2:23) spoke of former and latter rains. In Israel rain fell in the autumn and spring and their agriculture depended upon this rain for cereal crops as well as fruit, vegetables and drinking water. Hosea of the ten‑tribe kingdom of Israel prophesied at a time when that kingdom was about to fall and Joel about twenty years later in the kingdom of Judah. Both spoke of the restoration of rain. Nowadays we see Israel doing better in terms of food and water which is a sign that favour is beginning to return