Are there any among the idols of the nations that can cause rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Are You not He, O LORD our God?
Therefore we will wait for You,
Since You have made all these. (Jeremiah 14:22)
We’ve all heard versions of the prayer that goes, “Lord, help me to be patient, and please hurry up about it.” In my life the lesson on being patient has been probably the hardest one to learn. In fact, I must confess that I have not learned the lesson very well, and have constantly to relearn it. If I were to put my finger on the problem it would have to land on the truths brought out in the verse above.
Jeremiah knew a lot about having to wait. During his ministry he had to preach for God to a people who had set themselves against the truth. His words often seemed to bounce off the surface of the ears of his listeners. Moreover, he had to contend with false prophets who would tell the eager hearers what they wanted to hear; the bad times were coming to an end; the Babylonians would be beaten back; God would come to the rescue of Israel. These were not the messages that Jeremiah was given to proclaim.
Given that Jeremiah had an unpopular message to preach, he had to be a man of patience to continue, day in, day out, to be a herald of, this verse gets to the heart of why we can wait on the Lord, giving over to Him our propensity to rush things or to see matters change overnight.
The prophet poses two questions about the way the world works.
In the first he asks about the idols of the heathen nations. Can any of them cause rain? That is, are any of the false gods powerful enough to effect the the weather, especially in that all-important matter of rainfall and showers? The obvious answer is No!
The second question is directed to God: Is not the answer to such fundamental questions as who provides the rain showers that the Lord is responsible? What does this mean? It means that God is very much active in providing rain for the plants and for man. He is the Maker of the world (and its weather patterns) and He can be approached to affect what He has made.
Therefore (and this is the main lesson), when we go to Him in prayer and petition Him for something, and we have to wait for it, we should be content to wait, knowing that we have been heard. “Since You have made all these,” You Lord should not be constantly prodded as it were, by our impatience. Rather we (not to say “I”) ought to be content now to wait, and in that spirit, waiting is worship!
Paul Martin Henebury is a native of Manchester, England and a graduate of London Theological Seminary and Tyndale Theological Seminary (MDiv, PhD). He has been a Church-planter, pastor and a professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics. He was also editor of the Conservative Theological Journal (suggesting its new name, Journal of Dispensational Theology, prior to leaving that post). He is now the President of Telos School of Theology.