A Devotion for 25 September 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
1 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. 2 My doctrine 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: 3 Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. 4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. 5 They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation. 6 Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee? Deuteronomy 32:1-6
There is no likelihood of rain falling on the earth during the Adamic period up to the Great Deluge. Before the flood, vegetation was watered by a heavy dew that arose during the hours of darkness: “4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, 5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. 6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.” Gen 2:4-6 (KJV)
There has become a corrupted meaning of the sign God gave Noah of the His covenant never to destroy the earth with water again by those who abhor even the mention of the Holy Bible or of God’s only Begotten Son, Jesus. The promise behind the Rainbow has not changed but still possesses only that magnanimous meaning the Lord gave it when He proclaimed it. That promise of the Lord came as a beautiful sunrise following the most profound storm the earth had ever witnessed. The seven colors of the Rainbow stand as testimonials to the seven days of Creation – and when those seven colors are combined, they render the combined colors to reflect pure white – the color of the Light of God.
God sends rain upon the earth as a blessing and not a curse as were the first drops to fall. At the outset of the Flood. There is greater significance to the early and latter rains than simply those raindrops that nourish our fields and cause seed to germinate. These are rains of spiritual blessings that fall in due seasons as water upon parched ground. Imagine the superlative benefits to the soul of those spiritual raindrops comprised of the Water of Life that fall from Heaven upon His people who hear and believe, “17 Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” Acts 14:17 (KJV)
The seasonal spiritual rains of God seasonal those drops of rain that dampen our fields at springtime and harvest. Like the earthly rain that falls from the canopy of the sky, so do the spiritual blessings of God originate at the highest points of Heaven and descend in sparing droplets or in cascading torrents as God deems efficacious according to His will and purpose.
Physical rain makes the earth grow soft and tender to either receive the seed of grain or else to germinate that already planted within her mantle. In the same manner, the rains of God soften the hardened heart and germinate the seeds of faith planted there by the preaching of the Gospel. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 (KJV)
Following the Flood, the dews and damps of the world that then was were changed by the detrimental influences of sin so that these were now reserved to the special solitude of the garden and the grasslands of the fields and mountains, but not sufficient to keep alive the vegetation necessary for life. Periodic rains now fall to preserve that vegetation. In the same way, man’s fellowship with God was personal, close and constant in Eden. But when sin entered into the equation which the Lord our God would not countenance, that fellowship was broken to a point that a mighty act of love and compassion would be required to amend the breach. That came in the Ark of Noah as a precursor of that ultimate and mighty Ark of Christ which was to come. The rains of the earth are followed by the warmth and reviving rays of the sun that bathe the earth in the continuing replenishment of resources for life. The initial act of the sprinkling of spiritual rain are followed by the warming love and fellowship of the Holy Ghost in growing our faith and our hearts in our Redeemer.
There are some arid lands and people upon whom the rains do not fall in sufficient quantity to grow life. We have many dark reaches of the world in which no preaching of the Word is heard. The predestinate will of God has held the rains back from those whose hearts and soils have not been prepared for the nurture of seed. In fact, the spiritual Seed of the Word of God has yet to be planted in those places and hearts. The Church itself must propagate that seed. Unfortunately, in churches in America and many places abroad, the seed that is planted is mixed with those of brier and thorns and not the Seed of Heaven.
“23 Then shall he give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures.” Isaiah 30:23 (KJV)
It is a blessing to know that wherever the rains of God fall, they fall equally on all who are privileged to have planted seed, but also on those who thirst without the gates of His Kingdom. “9 Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. 10 Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof. 11 Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness. 12 They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side. 13 The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.” Psalms 65:8-13 (KJV)
The Rain of God comes down in irresistible measure. Who can stop the rain from falling, or the Rain of God descending on hardened hearts? The heart of the sinner is changed by the Rain of God and receptive to life eternal by the inner working (beneath the sod) of the Holy Ghost drawing the sprouting faith to the Light of the World.
It may be a mystery to us that God does not send the rains equally to all. “7 And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.” Amos 4:6-7 (KJV) We forget that it is not our role to be responsible for the germination and growth of the Seed planted, but the role of the Holy Ghost to nurture, germinate and water the soil to make the growth possible. We are disappointed when we sow and observe no growth in our planting, but we have done our duty as sowers and that is sufficient. Of course, the sower prepares the ground and weeds the soil, but the Water of Life comes from on High beyond the reach of the sowers but often at the behest of their prayers:
“17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. 19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”James 5:17-20 (KJV)
It is a great tragedy of spiritual dimension when the sowers fail to plant ahead of the rains which come in faith and trust. Just remember our Lord’s counsel:
“43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matt 5:43-48 (KJV)