The Former and Latter Rains

Habakkuk 3:2

As I was preaching I heard a large clap of thunder.  Then I heard what I thought was a downpour of rain hitting the roof of the church.  No one else seemed to notice and so I immediately dismissed it as I continued to preach.  After the service as people were leaving the church I noticed that they were congregating in the lobby.  This was rather unusual.  I looked out to see what was taking place and realizing that they had been stopped because of the pouring rain.  Nobody wanted to venture out knowing they would be quickly soaked.

We rejoiced at the sight.  It seems that the West end of our island gets most of the rain.  It will be pouring rain at Stake Bay and on west, while we are merely getting a sprinkle – if even that.  We were happy to see the rain.  Our plants would be watered and our cisterns would be filled.  Now, one week later we had another gully washer!  My wife and I enjoyed the sight, sound and smell of the rain as we sat on the front porch of the mission home.

This brought to my mind a number of scriptures regarding the “former and latter” rains.  Deuteronomy 11:14; Jeremiah 5:24; Hosea 6:3; Joel 2:23; Zechariah 10:1 and James 5:7 are the only credible examples of this phrase in the Bible.   These verses have been interpreted in at least two different ways.  One interpretation assumes a literal meaning and the other a spiritual meaning of the expression.   

A careful examination of the Scriptures brings us to conclude that these verses are talking about literal rain – just like we had here in Cayman Brac, CI.  Even so, the very thought makes us long for a spiritual parallel.  Our hearts are thirsty for a spiritual drenching.  We long for a downpour of God’s presence in our services.  Our hearts ache to see our spirits which are parched and dry, be refreshed, revived, renewed by the rain of God moving down upon us,

Habakkuk the prophets says what I feel in my heart – Chapter 3:2

The KJV says, “O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.”

No matter what version of the Bible you prefer, the message is the same.  “God you have done great things for your people in the past.  We deserve judgment, but we plead for two things.  Give us mercy and Give us the spiritual blessings that you poured out on your people in the past.”

By Dr. Gayle Woods

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