Hosea 10.1-3,7-8,12; Psalm 104; Matthew 10.1-7
Rain is often taken as an image of the bounty of God: ‘showers of blessing’ as an old Protestant hymn describes it. Agricultural societies knew the difference between rainy years and years of drought [cf I Kings 17.1]; other prophets looked at rain as a metaphor for the Word of God coming down from heaven to human hearts. [Isaiah 55.10-11] Drought seemed the sign of God’s displeasure; rain, and the consequent luxurious growth, the sign of God’s favour.
Jesus reminded his listeners that ‘the rain falls on honest and dishonest men alike’
[Matthew 5.45], one of many efforts to broaden perspectives and help people recognise that there is no easy correspondence between misfortune and God’s judgement. [cf Luke 13.1-5; John 9.1-3] Nonetheless it is spiritually healthy to acknowledge God as the source of wealth and prosperity, to recognise that lives filled with blessings are most of all opportunities to share with others. [cf Ecclesiastes 11.1] If we think we are well off because of our abilities and industry our pride may well be setting us up for a fall! [Proverbs 16.18]