HE SENDS HIS RAIN
ON THE JUST
Elwin R. Roach
The title of this article is totally contrary to man's nature. His social, political, and religious makeup has always been--an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. That is, "Do me good, and I'll do you good. But do me evil, and you will rue the day."
All across the spectrum of man's ways the same has been true. For the most part he is good. We will find people everywhere who are quick to bless others, especially to render aid to those who have suffered great misfortune and tragedy. But if you cross him, watch out. There will be hell to pay, or at best, you will become nonexistent. You'll be shunned, ignored, forgotten, annihilated from their life, while consciously or unconsciously looking forward to your demise. There are, of course, various degrees to how far this goes, but it is a standard with which man has been born and puts into practice day after day. It is a formidable foe residing in everyone, even in those of Christ. Do you think otherwise? If so, let us consider some words of Jesus, and see if we are missing the mark or not:
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]. For if you love [only] those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that? And if you greet only your brothers [wishing them God's blessing and peace], what more [than others] are you doing? Do not even the Gentiles [who do not know the Lord] do that? You, therefore, will be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:44-48 (Amplified).
To illustrate this point, whether it is with someone else's child or your own, it is not joyful to be with one that is sick. We abhor it when they are sniffling, sneezing, hacking, coughing, and burning up with fever. It can be worse if they have the runs from both ends--diarrhea and vomiting--that develops into those dreadful dry heaves. Even when the child is not your own, rather than quarantining him behind a padlocked door for him to fend for himself, everything possible is done to make the poor thing comfortable, you will do whatever is necessary to restore him back to health. And you will do this while knowing full-well that you can be infected with the same bane from hell.
Another example is that if one of our children is deaf, has been afflicted with blindness or has an incurable disease, such as spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, epilepsy, ad infinitum, good parents never forsake that child. If anything, more attention is given to the afflicted ones rather than less. So why are we so quick to forsake our brothers and sisters, or anyone else for that matter, when they are overcome with spiritual weaknesses and diseases? Spiritual infirmities are as real and prevalent in people as physical or psychological ones, and they are in dire need of refreshing, healing, life-giving Rain, which symbolically is the Word of God, such as that which we read about in the book of Isaiah:
"For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall My word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye [rain] shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off." Isaiah 55:10-13.
This is what happens to people when we pour rain, the Word of God, upon their lives, so let us be bastions of understanding, of peace, of comfort, of healing, of nourishment, of strength, of righteousness. Like our Father, let us shine the light of His Son upon them to warm their weary hearts and rain His Word upon their infirmities. Most of them hate their diseases more than we do; but they cannot heal themselves, and many of us can't help them either; for we are apt to find fault because of their weakness and really don't want to be around them. So rather than ministering health to them, we condemn them for being sick. Such are many of the Christian health institutes and hospitals (churches) around the world; but it should not be this way.
Let us shine the loving Son rays of our Lord upon their chilled hearts, and let us send the rain of His blessings upon their parched lives that the long-sown seeds therein can sprout and grow to a bountiful harvest of joy of the Lord in their lives. Let us minister life and not death.
Harsh seasons have frozen many childlike hearts, having hardened their innocent minds and crippled their walk. One we know that comes to mind trusts no one except those he can shape into his own image and likeness. Therefore, he has few friends. Other than his wife who bows to his tyrannical fits of rage and rule, loneliness plagues his life. He is a very sick man. Having been raised in a very religiously strict family, he has been spiritually afflicted since childhood. There is an intense fever consuming his soul. Although a little man in stature and social standards, a huge, stand-off, self-serving ego is his persona.
He tells demeaning lies about those he considers his enemies, and has indirectly cost one very close to us his 30 year-old business plus more than twenty-five thousand dollars. Moreover, during the ten or so years I have known this man, he has never at any time said one word to me unless I spoke first, such as, by saying "Hello L....." He would curtly say hello in return as he hurried on. His gait was always swift, almost in a run, everywhere he went. A very troubled man in such torment whose ill spirit spills onto everyone around him.
I said all that to say this. Would you leave such a broken man to his own wiles and dreadful demeanor? Would you want terrible things to befall him? Or at least, would you be delighted if bad things became his portion? Would there be a bit of glee in your heart if one like this suffered a little pain and humiliation? Would you pray for heaps of burning coals of fire to be poured upon his head? No doubt, some would be like the wife that responded to her pastor who knew the true meaning of this metaphor of coals of fire being heaped upon one's head. After the pastor asked if she had ever tried heaping coals of fire on her husband's head, she said that she had not; but she tried throwing boiling water on him once.
There is a spirit of war across the nation, around the world, and in the souls of humanists and saints alike. And to my amazement, I found myself warring against the spirit of peace in my own soul. I didn't want peace. I wanted war. I did not want my enemy to be blessed. I wanted my enemy to suffer. I wanted my enemy to be slammed to the ground by my "loving" God. Ha! What a dichotomy that would be. Even so, I delighted in the thought of the husband and wife who caused my family and me a little discomfort to suffer the retribution they deserved. Yet, as much as I battled against the spirit of peace, peace won! I could not continue in the spirit of wanting them to suffer. I found myself interceding for them, praying to God that He would bless them; that they would know the joy of His presence, His love, His peace, His awesome majesty . So rather than calling upon a just God who hates evil and an unequal balance, I cried out to Him for mercy, mercy to those who persecuted me and my family. In opposition to my initial drive and desires, I truly wanted them to be blessed, and then I understood what the apostle was saying:
"Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called... so you will be blessed" 1 Peter 3:9. And as soon as I did so-I was blessed. At that moment, I inherited that which was laying in store for me. The spirit of heaviness lifted. I was freed from every vestige of anger. The dark spirit of aggression and war fled in the overpowering light peace.
Let us read the verse again, and as the Amplified Bible has it, "...Never return evil for evil or insult for insult [avoid scolding, berating, and any kind of abuse], but on the contrary, give a blessing [pray for one another's well-being, contentment, and protection]; for you have been called for this very purpose, that you might inherit a blessing [from God that brings well-being, happiness, and protection]."
It has been said that "The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him your friend." Along with those words of wisdom, Proverbs 15:1 tells us that a soft answer turns away wrath: but harsh words stir up more anger. I am sure we all have lived long enough to have learned this to be so.
Of course, there are occasions when soft words and blessings have had no effect, such as with Israel of old. It was then that they were dealt with differently. When they turned a deaf ear to God, He sent pestilence, drought, war, and even captivity upon them. Since His soft word went without heed, an iron rod was His tool of necessity.
Notwithstanding, let us continue our thought of soft answers rather than rendering evil for evil. As for myself, regardless of who a man once was or the evil he had done against me, my family, and friends, when he came to be in Christ and Christ in him, there was no way for this person who God brought into my life to continue being my enemy. What a marvelous way to destroy an enemy by ministering life to him and not death. Deliver him from sickness by which his soul has been afflicted. That is not man's way; but it is our way.
Dear ones, if we can't run with the footmen in the minor things of life, if we cannot bear to run with our friends who have a limp, or if we have a limp, how do we expect to keep up with the horsemen when the time comes? Or in the words of the prophet: If you have run with the footmen and they have wearied thee, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, wherein you trusted wearied you, then how will you do in the flooding of the Jordan? Jeremiah 12:5.
So often, we refuse to take the high road in Christ by choosing the low road of our own human emotions --"Do me good, and I'll do you good. Do me evil, and you will rue the day." But let us love our enemies, bless them that curse us. Don't we know that they are part of the whole for which Jesus died and will ultimately draw back to Himself? So let us start the process today, and although evil may seem to have the upper hand, in Him we can not only do it, we will do it and want to do it. Ah, but there is still that grain of human sand that wars against the spirit of peace. That small grain does not want to heal our evil enemies. We want to crush them along with ever trace of evil they proudly possess.
But please, let us know this; on the larger scale evil exists in the world for a purpose, and not many have a clue that God even creates it. As it is written: "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things." Isaiah 45:7.
Frankly, evil gives God occasions to reveal Himself to us so that we may know Him in a greater way. It also gives us the opportunity to be like Him by exercising His holy attributes. The existence of evil in the world gives us the wherewithal to manifest His inexhaustible love, His mercy, and gentleness, His compassion, forgiveness, forbearance, and meekness. When we do such, we are revealing our Father's Sonshine. We are like Him, in that, He makes His Son to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends His rain on the just and on the unjust, and is kind to the unthankful and to the evil. Matthew 5:45 & Luke 6:35. Surely, it is clear that there is a purpose for evil in the world. Although atrociously unpleasant, it ultimately works for the good and blessings to mankind.
In addition to all this, we have other testimonies in scripture that evil is one of God's ministers for good. It is revealed time and again that God uses evil for the accomplishment of His plans. Case in point, when Judges 9:23 is read in context, we see that Abimelech by committing a most atrocious crime had obtained the rulership of Israel, and this was for the purpose of punishing him. God sent an evil spirit between him and the men of Schechem, and the judgment resulted with the punishment of all the guilty parties. The same thought is in 1 Samuel 16:14. "The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him." This evil spirit came neither from the devil nor from the dark shadows of hell, but from the Lord to do his bidding. Note also 1 Kings 22:23 where the Lord uses a lying spirit in order to deceive Ahab that ended in his destruction. You see, evil can serve as justice, as God's judgment upon evil people.
There are times when we are not ministers of mercy. We are sent as chastening rods, as ministers of correction, as firebrands. This was Paul on at least two occasions which was by the Spirit of the Lord. "Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme." 1 Timothy 1:20, and 1 Corinthians 5:5 when a young man was handed over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
No soft words were whispered to these three. They didn't hear Paul entreating them with soothing thoughts, like, "Don't worry men, you are big boys now. You don't have to answer to anyone. Moreover, Jesus died for your sin, even if you could call it sin. Actually, He dealt with sin on the cross by destroying it all together. So relax and be free. Have some fun. You only live once, so make the best of it in any way you see fit. Don't worry about any sort of judgment; for Jesus said that He did not come to judge but to save."
There are times when words are spoken as gentle blessings of rain that transform lives, our lives and the lives of others; but there are times when they come as hail weighing a talent or more. Depending on to whom it is sent and for what reasons will determine the form of His word, whether soft or hard.
May the Spirit of the living God lay His finger of inspiration upon what is being expressed today, that we may be able to see that in all these things, good and evil, the hand of God is made known. Babylon was a wicked kingdom, but hear what the Lord says about its evil king: "Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations." Jeremiah 25:9.
God was not wringing his hands and in conference with heavenly advisors on what could be done with this ruthless king and the other nations that were hell-bent on destroying everything good. But rather, God calls Nebuchadnezzar His servant. Not only that, in Isaiah 45:1, Cyrus, the king of Persia, is called His anointed.
Can we not see what God was saying? For one, evil things, evil nations, and evil people, like Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus are instruments in His hand to do His bidding. It matters not that proud men think that they are in control of their own destinies as well as that of the nations they supposedly rule over. God calls the shots. Men purpose while He disposes, as we see in Proverbs 19:21. So why in the world do most religions teach and believe that everything is in the hands of men that presumably have free-will to do as they please? Don't they know the simple basics of life and spiritual matters--that it is God who rules and not men? To be reminded: "This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men." Daniel 4:17.
Now that we know God's intent is for all living to know that the He rules over all the kingdoms of men, and it is by the decree of the watchers along with the demand [judicial decision or mandate] of His holy ones, let us rest in knowing what it is to which we are called. Not only this, let us also know His emphatic rule over all men and their kingdoms comes in various ways through His watchers and holy ones; namely, in either soft words or hard; by the right hand, the left hand, or both. But be sure to know that whether it is one or the other, or it is by both--He rules now and will continue to rule. Today it is mostly via soft mercy, peace, kindness, and gentleness--but tomorrow it could be with the evil rod of correction and severe judgment. Sadly, very few know that He has anything to do with individual lives, or especially the affairs of the world.
Even so, let this word today be as from one of the watchers who has decreed it to be so, and this is while the holy ones make their judicial mandate to bring it to pass for every eye to see...
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