20th September 2013

The Autumn Rains 

“For he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness”
Joel 2:23 (NIV UK)

Not everywhere in the world has pronounced seasons. In Israel the year could be divided by the weather patterns of autumn (fall in North America), winter, spring and summer.

In Joel 2 the prophet is discussing in physical terms how God “relents from sending calamity” because “he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love”, and his desire is “to have pity and leave behind a blessing” (2:13-14). A repentant acceptance of God’s grace is the only way forward for the nation, Joel explains. Otherwise ahead is “a day of darkness and gloom” when “the joy of mankind is withered away” (2:2, 1:12).

Joel describes this salvation as being like the autumn rains that precede the “open pastures” “becoming green” and the trees bearing abundant fruit (2:22). The spiritual parallels are clear for us. Joel himself explains that, just as the autumn rains pour down on the earth, so God will pour out his “Spirit on all people” and thus “there will be deliverance” (2:28, 32).

Joel 2:23 is one of those biblical verses where there is a question about translation. Some of the Qumran scrolls suggest it can also be translated “for he has given you the teacher of righteousness”. The surrounding context supports the “autumn rains” more. Either way, however, it works. Jesus is the teacher of righteousness through whom God’s grace is poured out on humanity. It is through Jesus and his sacrifice that all generations are forgiven: as God says through Joel, “their bloodguilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon” (3:21). His grace is like “the autumn rains in righteousness”.

At times we don’t appreciate the wet days of autumn. Perhaps, next time the autumn rains beat on our window or we are caught in that sudden downpour, we could think of showers of blessing! Just as God sends “abundant showers” (2:23), “how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” (Romans 5:15)

Thank you, great Father, for the abundance of grace that we have received in Christ Jesus and for the outpouring of your Spirit. In Jesus’ name.

Study by James Henderson


bible2About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.  This coming week James is speaking at our Autumn Harvest Festivals in Paignton and Bridlington.  You are welcome to attend any of our Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Email:  admin@daybyday.org.uk

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