If no rain had yet fallen by this day in ancient Israel, a day of fasting and prayer was called in order to petition the Creator to send rain. This rainy season is what the Bible refers to as the latter rain.
“And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil. And I will send grass in your fields for your livestock, that you may eat and be filled.” (Deuteronomy 11:13-15)
Obviously both rainy seasons were very important to the land for the production of grain, wine and oil. These rains were considered a sign of heavenly blessing and favor. If the latter rains didn’t appear by a certain time, men began to consider that there was no rain because there was a spiritual problem. If their obedience brought the rain, their disobedience prevented it from coming. This is important to us, because James 5:7-8 says:
“Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
Just as those people in the land of Israel needed the latter rain to permit the land to bring forth it’s fruit, you and I need the latter rain in our lives, so that Godly fruit will be produced. That is, in fact, what is expected of us. We can and should commit ourselves to walking in obedience to His Word but, in the end, we desperately need His Spirit to fall upon us like rain so the fruit we produce is full and mature.
All of our efforts to keep His instructions in our own power will fall short. Just as there is no substitute for a rain shower falling on a summer garden, there is no substitute for the Spirit of God falling upon His people. What would take a lifetime for us to do in our own strength, the Creator, by His Spirit, can do in an instant. If we aren’t producing the fruit that’s expected of us, – if it’s not full, if it’s not mature – then perhaps it’s an indication of a spiritual deficiency in our lives. Maybe it’s time for us to petition Heaven for our Father to reveal to use the reason and that He might that latter rain. It could be that, if we’re not seeing that rain in our lives, He’s patiently waiting for some of us farmers to establish our hearts.