Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the Lord have created it.
I found this metaphor to be absolutely wonderful! That is no surprise since God is the one who spoke it.
God, the engine that powers nature and plant growth, is also the engine that powers salvation and righteousness. He uses the metaphor of plant growth to help us understand that salvation and righteousness come from himnot from our own efforts. God the Holy Spirit plants the seed, God rains down righteousness and salvation from the heavens, and God causes the earth to open allowing righteousness and salvation to sprout.
My pastor preached this past Sunday (June 11, 2006) on the topic of justification. His text was Romans 8:31. Read the sermon notes for an outstanding concise explanation of justification. What a wonderful and gracious God we serve!