The Right Season

The Fellowship  |  August 29, 2019

bear fruit, closeup of a pomegranate on tree

“‘I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.’” — Leviticus 26:4

Prayer in Judaism is defined as “the work of the heart,” which profoundly changes the nature of prayer from one of entreating God to an act that transforms who we are – not what God does. Our devotions are focused on different facets of prayer and what lessons we can learn about the power of our prayers. For more inspirational teachings about prayer, download our complimentary study.

Ask anybody, and most will agree that if they won the lottery tonight, their lives would be a whole lot better. For some people that may be true, but certainly not for all, and studies suggest that winning the lottery would not make most of us any happier in the long run than we are right now. Even more shocking are the numerous stories about lottery winners whose lives were destroyed as a result of their big win.

For all who pray to win the lottery, after reading Jack Whittaker’s story, we might just thank God for that unanswered prayer.

Whittaker won the $315 million Powerball jackpot in 2002; at the time, it was the largest jackpot ever won by a single ticket. Yet, in the ensuing years, Whittaker was plagued with a series of misfortunes and tragedies. He was robbed on numerous occasions and faced numerous legal problems.

But nothing compared to the personal tragedies that shook his family. In 2007, Jack’s granddaughter died of a drug overdose, and then his daughter was found dead in 2009 under similar circumstances. At the time of his granddaughter’s death, Whittaker told reporters that he wished he had never won the lottery. Later on he told reporters that he wished he had torn up the winning ticket.

The lesson is clear — blessings can only be enjoyed when we are ready to receive them. Too much at the wrong time could lead to the opposite of what we desired in the first place.

In chapter 26 of Leviticus, we read a list of blessings that would be bestowed upon Israel as they were obedient in following God. Among the blessings we read: I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.”

Now, when it comes to the Bible, there is not one extra word or extra letter. So we must ask, why does Scripture specify “rain in its season”? Couldn’t it have been simply stated, “I will give you rain, and the ground will yield its crops . . .”?

To those who know about agriculture, the answer is obvious. Certainly a lack of rain in the seasons when rain is most needed will have adverse effects on crops. But it is also true that too much rain in the wrong season can also harm the corps. The ideal conditions for the best crops would be to have the right amount of rain in the right season.

It works the same way with our blessings. We need the right amount at the right time in order to thrive. Too little might hurt us, but so will too much in the wrong season. You might be going through a dry season right now, but that may be the ideal situation to yield your maximum benefits. So when we pray, we should pray that our blessings come in abundance— but only in the right way and in the right season.

Discover more about the Jewish perspective of prayer in our complimentary Bible study, Prayer: The Work of the Heart.