May 30, 2011

Tuesday after Rogation Sunday

Lectionary

Morning - Ps. 80, Dt. 11:10-17, Mt. 6:24
Evening - Ps. 65, 67, 1 Kings 8:22-30, Jas. 4:8

Commentary

Egypt was dependent upon the Nile for water. Having very little rainfall, the land was watered by an annual flood. Attempts were made to create resevoirs and canals to catch and direct the water after the flood receded, but this required much physical labour. The method used required people to stand knee-deep in irrigation ditches for hours, directing the water by building mud dams with their feet. Obviously this was difficult and unsanitary work.

By contrast the Promised Land was watered by rains. There were a few natural lakes, such as Galilee, but the rains came with fairly dependable regularity, saving the residents the unhealthy work of building canals and ditches. This is the point made in our reading for this morning. Canaan "drinketh water of the rain of heaven (Dt. 11:10). It is a land cared for (watered) by God. Therefore the Hebrews entering Canaan are not to think they made the land fruitful by their own labours, or that the idols of the Canaanite tribes send the rains and give the increase.

It doesn't take much thought to see the application of this to our prayers for a fruitful season. We are recognising that it is not we who created the soil or cause the rain, and we are beseeching Him to mercifully send the sunshine and the rain so the earth may yield her fruit and we may live in plenty. But there is a warning in this passage, too. There is to be no turning aside (11:16) meaning to leave the ways of God and take up the ways of ungodliness. Nor are they to worship the gods of the Gentiles (11:16). If they do, the Lord's wrath will be kindled against them like a wildfire, and the rains will cease and the people will perish (11:17).

Applied to the Church today, the passage shows that turning away from God brings judgment upon us. The Spirit of God witholds His blessing, and spiritual drought becomes a nightmarish reality.

No comments:

Post a Comment