“Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God,for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before.” (Joel 2:23)
This comes at a time when God’s people are being oppressed by enemies from the literal North and have been, not coincidentally, far from God and have turned from his ways to practice what the surrounding unbelieving culture does. God calls for his people to return to him with all their hearts, to call everyone together, and pray for God to spare them from the oppressor threatening to destroy them as a people.
It is in prophetic response to the expected obedience to this word that he tells us ahead of the time the answer to the prayer we’ve been commanded to pray: he will drive out the oppressor, restore their fruitfulness and feed them until they are satisfied of their hunger–and bring the rains in season. It appears in Israel there are two rainy seasons during which crops can be grown. Rain is water, and water is life, especially in the dessert. It means the crops can grow and that means food on the table and that means your family won’t starve.
God we know cares about our spiritual growth and the state of our souls. We can trust he means to deliver us from the power of the spiritual oppressor and make his people spiritually fruitful and and maturing in him. But at the time this was written, his people needed literal deliverance and literal rain–and he gave them.
Let’s not kid ourselves–God didn’t promise us a billion dollars in the bank, a swimming pool in the yard, and a red mustang convertible in the drive. Actually, he promised us it’d be hard and sometimes even painful in this life. But he will meet our physical needs and give us our literal daily bread as well as feeding our souls daily of his life-giving spirit.
This was, however, a conditional promise, dependent on us turning from the ways of the culture around us, follow God with our whole hearts, and humbly ask Daddy for his help, not obnoxiously demand and claim our “due inheritance.”