Patches of our usually lush and green lawn around Woodland’s campus are becoming bare. The ground beneath our trees makes you think the Autumn has arrived. Except it is still hot. Our nation is in the worst drought since 1956 according to government meteorologists. Corn is shriveled and turning brown in the fields where there is no irrigation. In some parts of the nation they are under irrigation bans due to the drought.
The Scriptures point out that sometimes a drought can be the result of sin. “He changes rivers into deserts, and springs of water into salty wastelands, because of the wickedness of those who live there.” (Psalm 107:33-34, NLT) Indeed a drought can be a warning of God’s displeasure and not just a meteorological cycle. So how should we respond during a time of crisis?
First, a drought is an opportunity for prayer. “If the skies are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and if they pray toward this Temple and acknowledge your name and turn from their sins because you have punished them, then hear from heaven and forgive the sins of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them to follow the right path, and send rain on your land that you have given to your people as their special possession.” (1 Kings 8:35-36, NLT) Droughts are occasions for us to examine our hearts, repent of any sin and seek the Lord’s presence. Oh, that God would not only send us rain but shower his holy presence upon us until we are soaking wet in Him!
Droughts are occasions for us to bring relief to others. “The believers decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone giving as much as they could.” (Acts 11:29, NLT) I’ve stood in fields and knelt by barns with farmers to pray during times of heat and drought in south Georgia. One dear brother when everyone else’s crops were withering from the heat and drought would bring in a harvest that was more than enough for that year. Another’s cows would bear twins. How? Because there is a God who delights in those who glorify his name. There was a common characteristic among these hardworking and honest farmers that I was privileged to worship with and learn from. They were generous! Their families helped one another. They shared! It was obvious that God was taking care of them in the drought. How else to explain their harvests when the fields of those who cursed their misfortune were drying up.
Droughts are tests of our faith. “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even thought the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the cattle die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as sure footed as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18, NLT) As passionate followers and lovers of Christ we will never surrender to a spirit of despair. Our God Reigns!
Psalm 107 continues in verse 35, “But he also turns deserts into pools of water, the dry land into springs of water. He brings the hungry to settle there and to build their cities. They sow their fields, plant their vineyards, and harvest their bumper crops. How he blesses them! They raise large families there, and their herds of livestock increase!”
Uncertainty is a common word in the news these days. Is it possible that we are hearing from heaven? I think so. Natural phenomena can often be explained scientifically. However, nature is God’s other book!
Sin is subtle. John Owen believed that the danger of sin was it’s quiet subtle way of not disturbing us until it bore fruit in our lives.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, lists nine ways sin deceives us. (I paraphrased them for brevity.)
- Sin convinces us if we do not sin outwardly we are okay, forgetting God judges the intents and thoughts of our heart.
- Sin causes us to lose hope so we might as well keep on sinning.
- Sin tells us it doesn’t matter whether we are holy or not.
- Sin makes us angry at God if he prohibits anything.
- Sin leads us to think that God’s law is unreasonable.
- Sin makes us think highly of ourselves.
- Sin makes us think that God’s law keeps us from becoming all that we could be.
- Sin makes righteousness look drab.
- Sin causes us to discount the consequences of willful disobedience.
Don’t be afraid of the devil or any evil. Fear God only. But be very wary of sin. Are you thirsty for God’s presence? If not, why not?
If you want to hear from God then don’t just pray, but read the Bible prayerfully, meditate upon what you read, understand it, be a generous person and practice the spiritual disciplines or holy habits and you will be amazed as the rain of his presence begins to descend upon you. It’s an old saying but the Bible will keep you from sin and sin will keep you from the Bible. The Bible has a lot to say about droughts and what to do when they come.
I’m thirsty! How about you?