Early and Latter Rains
“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 NLT).
The Bible has many themes on the Promise Land. God plants our promises across the wilderness at the foot of Zion, the place where He dwells. When we start our journey to our dreams, we usually start in a flesh-centered atmosphere (our strength, our resources, our abilities, our plans, etc.) but as we wander with God, we eventually learn to walk in a spirit-centered atmosphere (His strength, His resources, His abilities, His Ultimate Plan, etc.). Since all our promises from God are “yes” in the spiritual realm with Christ, we must learn to be controlled by the spirit, so the promises can be brought into the natural realm through our obedience (2 Corinthians 1.20). God gives us these promises because they draw us out of our selfishness and into a Christ-centered state, which is the only way we can accomplish God’s glorious plans in our lives (Psalm 85.5-7). As we start our journey to achieving our God-given dreams, the Holy Spirit will pour out His Spirit with the “early rain.” This rain breaks up the soil of our hearts and allows God’s seeds of promise to germinate. We obediently plant the seeds, working first in our flesh then embracing the work in the Spirit. And as we wait for the fruit of our obedience to ripen, we know that the Holy Spirit will pour out the “latter rain.” This rain ripens our small, bitter fruit with the sweetness and the fullness of the Lord. Without God’s Spirit raining down on our lives, our efforts could never bless others with the supernatural power of God that manifests in both this world and eternity. A Promise Land without the Living Water of the Holy Spirit is a wasteland of constant thirst and emptiness.
“She said, ‘Give me another gift. You have already given me land in the Negev; now please give me springs of water, too.’ So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs” (Joshua 15.9 NLT).