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Greg Brothers is an Adventist pastor in Oregon.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Showers of blessing

If you’re not careful, you’re going to leave this week’s Sabbath School lesson thinking that the land of Palestine has two rainy seasons – not one.

It would be a shame if you did, because that’s bad meteorology.

And worse theology.

To be sure, the “early rains” generally kick off the growing season sometime in September or October – just like they do in California. And the “latter rains” generally end the growing season sometime in March or April – again, just like California.

But these are not two separate rainy seasons; no, they are just the beginning and end of one rainy season. In His promise of the “early” and “latter” rains, in other words, God did not say He would turn on the precipitation . . . then turn it off . . . then turn it back on again.

No, God promised one, single, extended rainy season – a rainy season that would start soon enough to give those crops a good start (i.e. the “early” rain), and continue long enough for them to ripen (i.e. the “latter” rain) . . .

Just the same as He promised His church.

At Pentecost, remember, God poured out His Spirit on the church; He gave it a good start, and things started to grow as a result.

But God didn't turn His back on the church after Pentecost; God's Spirit is not a neon sign that alternately blinks on, then blinks off, only to blink on again!

No, God has promised to keep pouring out His Spirit for as long as we need it, right up to the end of time.

That’s the promise of the latter rain. It’s not the promise that God will “turn on the faucet” after a long spiritual drought. No, it’s the promise that God will continue to bless His people, without stint or fail, from beginning to end, in whatever measure we need.

When it comes to the latter rain, in other words, the question is not when it starts -- it's been raining, after all, for almost 2,000 years!

No, the question to ask is how it could rain so long . . .

Yet we've still managed to stay so dry.

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