“Let my teaching drop as the rain, My speech distill as the dew, as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass” (Deut. 32:2).
As Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, 5782 dawned, it seemed prophetic that a heavy cleansing rain moved through the region, followed by a persistent, gentle shower – a cleansing picture of sorts. In this week’s Torah portion of Haazinu, “give ear,” the Torah is compared to rain. Rain is generally understood to be a blessing of the Lord associated with His demonstration of common grace in creation. Yet, the Torah – the instruction of the covenant Lord – is joined to the special revelation of covenant to the children of Abraham (Gal. 3:29).
What do we learn from Deuteronomy 32:2?
Rain has been known to spoil many a plan. How many of us can relate to planning an outing on a day off, only to have rain, which had not been forecast, suddenly enter the timeline of the day? Rain is necessary, but it can also be devastating in many ways.
On days when we have plans, dry weather is usually preferable. Still, even on those dry days we are eating the fruit of rain. We need it. When we eat, or admire creation, we appreciate the rain, that often causes annoyance, differently, in its fruit. The fresh produce; or the beauty of flowers, trees, and flowing streams. This fruit, however, takes time to be realized.
The Lord is telling us in Deuteronomy 32:2, to take hold of His teaching, His Word, with rain in mind. As noted above, rain can be inconvenient. If we are honest, faith, and the requisite time needed to study or devotionally read the Word of God can also be inconvenient. So we are told to take hold of it, like the rain.
יַעֲרֹף כַּמָּטָר לִקְחִי, “My teaching shall trickle as the rain.”
The word translated as “teaching” or “doctrine,” depending on translation, לֶקַח/leh’-kakh, means to take hold of something received, in hand or mind, in this case, rain. I’ve translated “drop,” עָרַף/aw-raf’, as trickle in order to illustrate what seems to be the meaning behind this verse.
On a recent long day hike I run out of water. While there were plenty of ponds on that section of the trail, even when filtered, pond water does not always taste that great. I knew there were several good running streams on the trail ahead, so I decided to wait. They were a bit further, well, a lot further than I remembered. Thirsty, I needed water. I decided the next pond would work. Thankfully, as I continued on the trail I heard a trickle of water in the woods; which fed a small stream further down in the valley. The water was clean, cool, and, well, water; but it was also a trickle. So I positioned my water bottle for the fill up. It took time, and while I drank one bottle, I filled a second bottle for the trail until the next water source. The trickle took a lot more time to fill my bottle than a rushing stream; but it gave me comfort, health, and renewed life for the journey ahead.
Bible study takes time, and might seem like a trickle. The fruit of study, like that of rain becomes apparent with the passage of time – a trickle of water filled the liters I needed, and the fruit of the trickle was readily apparent.
Study of His Word, and the fruit it produces will become apparent over time as life circumstances press in, and the well of encouragement, promise, and His faithfulness fills a thirsty soul seeking comfort, and refuge. So take hold of His rain, even a trickle can change your life.
Be well. Shalom.