Friday, May 30, 2014

God's country? .......................... Parables 124

Is Alberta really “God’s country?” After driving through parts of Saskatchewan, I can understand why some farmers might think so, at least this year. Saskatchewan crops are either too short to combine or have already been turned under. Dugouts and sloughs are dry. Dust storms are common. But here, at least from Edmonton to Lloydminster, the grain fields look good.

There is a negative side to abundant rain. Washouts and flooding have ruined farm land and took their mucky toll on homes and other buildings. My husband probably isn’t the only one who couldn’t work several days this month because it rained too much.

Before the rains came, we prayed for rain and it came. Others did the same and it didn’t come. Some are praying for it to stop. While many people never think of God’s sovereignty in the weather, others are angry with His decisions. A thoughtful few may wonder how He decides where to send the rain and when to withhold it.

The Bible says that God sends rain on “both the just and the unjust.” In other words, He does not single out those who are anti-God and hit them with adverse weather. We all have adverse circumstances. Good weather, and answers to pleas for good weather, do not necessarily mean that God is smiling on us. Neither do disastrous climatic conditions indicate His wrath, although they could.

One thing that weather does do is bring out a response. And it is the responses that tell the tale. The “unjust,” those who live in sin and unbelief, do not generally see God sovereignly reigning or raining. They think weather is just weather and all of life is chance. Sometimes, when things don’t go the desired way, the unjust will blame “God,” getting satisfaction from venting their frustration, and justifying it by making the problem the fault of a God they don’t normally pay any attention to.

As for the “just,” without the mercies of God, there wouldn’t be any. Ecclesiastes 7:20 says that there is not a just person on earth. Romans 3 echos with “There is none that is righteous, no, not one!”

So how then can it “rain on the just?” Because the position of being considered “just” in the eyes of God is an imputed thing, something God gives without anyone earning or deserving it. This action of God is called “justification.” It occurs when God takes our sin from us and puts it on Christ. Then He takes the righteousness of Christ and puts it on us, declaring us just.

Not everyone experiences this. Romans 4 says, “Blessed is the man who is without sin, blessed is the man to whom God has imputed righteousness.”

What does this have to do with rain? Well, it is to these who have been justified through faith that God promises to take care of. He will provide all their needs: food to eat, clothes to wear, and faith to respond to whatever the weather with trust in their loving heavenly Father.

The best kind of rain is the reign of God in the human heart. Then, whether we experience floods or drought, we will not shake our fists in the air but give thinks, knowing that he is in control and that he will take care of all our needs.

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