Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
In Bible imagery, rain is usually a blessing. There is "the latter rain" which comes at just the right time to ripen a thirsty crop for harvest. But think of a farmer worried about his crop in Israel long ago. Early rain was a blessing that made the seed sprout. The barley matured to a certain place in plant growth that seemed to promise a rich harvest this year; but now the growth is stunted. Drought came at just the wrong time. An enormous crop that never matures for harvest is an agricultural disaster. The farmer doesn't have modern irrigation; he is dependent on rain from heaven.
You can imagine the distress in the family, the earnest prayers going up day by day for the Lord to send the long-awaited "latter rain." It must come from Him!
In the Bible, this describes the condition of the Lord's church in the last days. The enormity in the size of acreage that the farmer has planted in barley is not good news unless the crop gets that most precious latter rain at the right time. Diligent labor is effort wasted if it doesn't result in a harvest of mature grain ripe for the sickle.
Jesus teaches that "the harvest is the end of the age" (Matt. 13:39). But there are two harvests--character develops in two kinds of people: those ready to meet the Lord at His return; and those whose rebellion against Him has also matured (Rev. 14:16-20).
A "sickle" is used in both harvests, one by Jesus coming in glory, the other by some other "angel" whose "sharp sickle" reaps a harvest cast into the "great winepress of the wrath of God." There must be two kinds of "latter rain."
Time to be alert! No time to sleep!
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 3, 2005.
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