1 Kings 18:1 “After many days the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, ‘Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain upon the earth.’”
Have you ever pondered about rain? It’s such a common thing for us here in the northeastern United States that we can take it for granted much of the time, especially if we don’t make our living from farming. Rain is such a universal aspect of the human experience, that we might not give it much thought. But oh, how much we should!
Rain falls from the sky. Thus, it demonstrates to all the earthbound that we have nothing to do with it. We can’t control it. We can’t manufacture it. With our weather models and radar we can describe it and predict where it might fall, but that’s about all. We have no control over when it happens, where it happens, how much it happens, or when it will stop. As such, we are totally at its mercy. It dictates so much of our lives.
And if you don’t think so, what happens when rain doesn’t fall, especially for an extended period? Look at what’s happening in the western USA right now with all the disputes over the Colorado River. This river is the basis for much of the western states’ water supply, but its flow is totally dependent on water, either liquid or frozen, that drops from the sky. Without rain, crops can’t grow, and famines occur. Without rain, we couldn’t live. It’s as simple as that. Humans worldwide live at the mercy of the rain.
So where does the rain actually come from? Who or what controls it? Is someone or something responsible for both it and its fundamental nature of keeping living things alive? In ancient times people that it was “the gods,” like the god Baal spoken of throughout the Old Testament. Baal was known as a fertility god. It was thought that this god needed to be appeased so that man would have rain. And they would go to great lengths at this appeasement. Listen to the following account from the book of 1 Kings, as the idolatrous priests sought the end of a three-year drought: “They took (a) bull . . . and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, ‘O Baal, answer us!’ . . . And they limped around the altar that they had made . . . And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation (1 Kings 18:26-29).” Can you imagine this scene? Yet, in all their gyrations, no rain came.
What about in our modern, much more sophisticated time? We have the science of meteorology, and those trained in this discipline tell us all about the weather every time there’s a newscast. We can download a weather forecast anytime we want to with a weather app. Yet this is all a matter of forecasting. The scientists that provide the weather information have absolutely no control over what actually occurs. So who does? Anyone?
And so we turn to the words above from 1 Kings 18, words spoken by God to His prophet Elijah in a message that was to be relayed to a wicked, Baal-worshipping king: “I will send rain upon the earth.” God’s message to Ahab and to everyone else is that He’s in control of it. He determines when it begins, when it ends, and where and how much falls. It comes down from above, falling from the skies as a worldwide gift from heaven. As Paul and Barnabas proclaimed to the idol worshipping people of Lystra, “(God) 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).
God continually reaches out to us by speaking to us by the rain. He tells us of His power. Jesus spoke and calmed the sea. WE can be assured that not only do the wind and waves obey Him, but the rain does as well. It’s as God asked Job rhetorically, “Who has cleft a channel for the torrents of rain and a way for the thunderbolt, to bring rain on a land where no man is, on the desert in which there is no man, to satisfy the waste and desolate land, and to make the ground sprout with grass?” (Job 38:25-27). Of course, the answer to all these questions is God and God alone.
The rain speaks of God’s provision, for “the Lord our God . . . gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest” (Jeremiah 5:24). And wonderfully, the rain speaks to us of God’s grace, for didn’t Jesus proclaim to us, “(God) makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).
So again, have you ever thought much about the rain? As it falls time after time on the land around us, have you thought about it as a testimony of God’s awesome power, His wonderful provision, and His glorious grace? Are you thankful? Are you mindful? Is your mind lifted above the rain to the One from Whom every raindrop comes? The seraphim proclaimed in wonder in the temple, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3). May God help us, like them, to see God’s glory in all the creation that surrounds us, including when we see, hear, and feel the rain.
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