13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul— 14 then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. 15 I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.
This chapter in the NIV (New International Version) has the title Love and Obey the Lord while in the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) it has the title Rewards for Obedience. Not all versions have titles and all titles are additions just as verse numbers are, but like verse numbers are added to aid in understanding what you are reading. As our verses today show the title Rewards for Obedience is fitting, but has a serious problem.
One has to be careful to avoid thinking and saying, ‘I am a believer or disciple so I will become rich or that I may be considered great or in order to receive a reward.’ Instead, “[W]hatsoever ye do, do from love” (Rashi). God is making the same statement here as He did not simply state faithfully obey the commands I am giving you, but made sure to add love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul before any rewards are mentioned or thought of.
Rewards do come, but they are the consequence of loving the Lord your God and serving Him with all your heart and with all your soul. Note in the promised land, Canaan is a mountainous country unlike Egypt. While Egypt could use irrigation for its crops, this was not possible in Canaan where they depended on rain, rain from heaven, for its crops. That this is so was made clear in the preceding verses.
10 The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden. 11 But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. 12 It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.
Farmers far and wide in our own country depend on rain for their crops. Many use the Farmer’s Almanac to determine the best time for planting and harvesting, hoping for rain as the almanac ‘provides long-range weather predictions for both the U.S. and Canada, informative and quirky articles, tips, and valuable calendars, and information on everything from the best days to garden’ (Wikipedia). Nonetheless, while using the Farmer’s Almanac, many or most farmers pray for rain when it is needed and for no rain during days of harvest.
Rain can come in many forms for those who are not farmers. I used to drive some of my co-workers crazy because I was always celebrating being at work on Monday morning. When asked why, I would always reply, “Because I have a job!” I have experienced periods of unemployment in my life, thankfully all brief, but I know people who periods of unemployment were extensive for one reason or another. They too rejoiced when rain came in the form of employment.
What happens when a farmer starts taking the rain for granted or we start taking our jobs for granted? It can easily result in turning away from God with dire consequences as the following verses tell us.
16 Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them. 17 Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you.
It’s Monday and I hope you have a Great Week with a new perspective on Mondays as well!