Jeremiah 14:22—“Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause ruin? Or can the heavens give showers? Art not thou he, O Lord our God? Therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.”
THE BLESSING OF GOD
The summer lies before us. Planting is done. Now there is the growth until finally the fruit of the field is ready for the harvest. There is that which is very beautiful in the summer. How clearly is it seen that where there is life, there also is seen development and growth. And during the summer, as we behold all of creation about us, we are reminded again how much the child of God is dependent upon his God for all things.
Young people, what do you need? What do you seek? Where do you look for that which you believe you need?
Jeremiah reminds of the Gentiles who sought for rain. Rain they needed for their farms. Their communities were so very dependent upon that rain. Without rain there would be no crops—and consequently starvation and death. Now, of course, these Gentiles wanted more than rain. They, too, wanted homes, clothing and prosperity. When Jeremiah mentions only rain in this passage, he does so in a way that obviously refers to more than rain. Rain was the basic necessity for the Gentiles upon which depended their entire wellbeing. In seeking rain, they sought also the physical advantages which would accrue because of that rain.
The Gentiles wanted rain for themselves. Their concern was wholly material and earthly. Whatever rain they received, therefore, served further to condemn them before the just law of God.
You, young people, also need rain. If you live on a farm, you are aware of the great need of rain. Without it, there would be no sense in planting the corn. Farmers, more than anyone else, are conscious of the skies and approaching clouds. But, when I say that you also are in need of rain, I would refer to all of your needs. You need many things. Young people themselves will be quick in reminding one another of their needs: new cars, closets filled with clothing, the best of jobs, etc. But I do not speak now of all these things. You, and each of us, are in need of certain basic things on the earth. Jesus, in teaching us how to pray, declares, “Give us this day our daily bread”. We have need of daily bread: food to eat, clothing to wear, shelter—for today. We must not have our hearts set upon abundance. We ought to be content with little. Of these basic needs the prophet speaks when he mentions rain.
But from where must these things be received? The Gentiles in the days of the prophet looked to their vanities: Baal, Dagon, Molech and others. Often they turned to creation itself and viewed it as gods: the sun, moon or stars. The Gentiles expected of these to receive their needs. They had, then, their rain-dances before their idols; they offered their sacrifices, even human sacrifices, to please their gods. But these were all vanity, that is, a vapor or breathe which might appear substantial, but is nothing. A vapor cannot be touched or used. A very picturesque description of the heathen idols which are nothing.
Today we would laugh at these Gentiles who would place such trust in idols. What stupid creatures those were! Ah, we would not be so foolish. But, are we not also inclined to place our trust in vanities? There is today the vanity of science. What can science not do! It can bring comfort and pleasure through inventions as the radio and television, the auto, time-saving devices. It can relieve much of the suffering and dread of sickness. It has invented means of preventing serious illnesses which were once fatal. It can reduce the ill effect of diseases not yet fully conquered. It can provide for our physical needs by inventing new ways to supply food and increase its amount; it can even attempt to bring the needed rain to raise these crops by seeding the clouds to bring down the showers. Young people, what value do you place upon this vanity called science? To what degree do you look to it to provide what you think you need?
Or, as young people, are you rather confident in your own strength? Do you boast in your “muscle” or wisdom or learning? Do you believe that with what you have, you ought to be able to make for yourself a comfortable place on the earth? But this too is vanity.
Jeremiah sees Him Who alone is not vanity. Jehovah made all things. And He Who made them also upholds them all by His almighty power. God directs these according to His sovereign purpose and to the glory of His own name. This He accomplishes by working together all things for the good of His people through Jesus Christ.
Shall not this infinite God supply us with that which we need? He has promised us all blessings for Christ’s sake. We did not earn His favor. We merited not His promise. But for Jesus’ sake, all things are ours. It is then not surprising that the child of God turns to that only Source of all blessing. This God causes rain and gives showers.
Therefore also young people wait upon Him. This does not mean that they can be lazy. One might be tempted to say that since God supplies what we need, therefore we can sit back and do nothing. Why not simply wait for God to supply us in our need? But this is neither the teaching of Scripture nor the attitude of the faithful Christian.
To wait upon God is first a recognition of His sovereignty. So often do we confess that God is the Sovereign God. Can there be a more beautiful truth? He is the eternal Ruler over all. Nothing is outside of His government or control. Consequently, we wait upon Him—conscious of the fact that He is able to accomplish what He has promised.
To wait upon Him means also that we believe that He does all things well. Eternal wisdom is in God so that He works all things in the best possible way to the highest end: His own glory. That same wisdom also works for our good. We wait upon Him because we believe that this is true. We look to Him to do for us that which is best.
Therefore, waiting upon Him implies spiritual content. So often we can be dissatisfied with our portion on the earth. We have not enough possessions; “it” does not rain when we might desire; we become sick when we would desire health. But one who is waiting upon God is one also who is spiritually satisfied. Whether God supplies us with much or with little; whether with war or peace; whether with health or sickness—we learn therewith to be content. Has not our God made all things? Does He not uphold all things? Will He not then provide for us that which is right? We need not depend upon or look unto earthly vanities. Our great God supplies.
We confront another summer. Many things can happen, many things which might not be pleasing for our flesh either. But need we fear? Should unrest fill our hearts? Must we doubt His promise? Look at the sky; behold the clouds moving overhead. Soon a drop of rain falls; then another and another. God sends that rain, each drop to its appointed place. He promised to bless us in all things for Jesus’ sake—and He is able to provide that which He has promised.