Rain From a Merciful God (1 October)

The land that you are about to enter is a land of mountains and valleys, a land watered by rain. The Lord your God takes care of this land and watches over it throughout the year. "So then, obey the commands that I have given you today; love the Lord your God and serve him with all your heart. If you do, he will send rain on your land when it is needed, in the autumn and in the spring, so that there will be grain, wine, and olive oil for you, and grass for your livestock. You will have all the food you want. Do not let yourselves be led away from the Lord to worship and serve other gods. If you do, the Lord will become angry with you. He will hold back the rain, and your ground will become too dry for crops to grow. Then you will soon die there, even though it is a good land that he is giving you.
Deuteronomy 11:11-17

This is the time of year when religious people in the land begin to ask God for a rainy winter. It is not a matter of politics, not a matter of where we pray or what denomination we belong to. We all turn to God for rain.

Actually, prayer for rain can be a confusing subject. The passage quoted does not tell us to ask for rain. It only says that the amount of rain we get depends on our obedience to God's commands. However, there is one place where God did instruct the people to ask him for rain in its season. "Ask the Lord for rain in the spring of the year. It is the Lord who sends rain clouds and showers, making the fields green for everyone." (Zechariah 10:1)

When the rain does come, it is a reminder of God's merciful character. Jesus commanded us to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil." (Matthew 5:44-45).

So, while our obedience or disobedience can cause there to be more or less rain, God remains always a God of mercy. He loves the land, and we can ask him to send rain to water it. But when the rain comes, it does not tell us whether we are good or bad people. In fact, we do not ask for rain (or any other blessing) because we deserve it. We ask only because he has told us to and because he is merciful.


© 2012 United Bible Societies - Palestinian Bible Society, Bible Society in Israel, and Arab Israeli Bible Society. All rights reserved.