Summary: A sermon talking about spiritual experiences that are more comparable to dew than downpours. Dew falls silently, saturates and penetrates, satisifies completely, and is just as valid as a spritual downpour.
Do the Dew (of Heaven!)
(Note to pastors, here is a link for a "Dew" commercial where the thrust is that you can’t do life without your dew. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlKVbt8K7kY)
Ho 14:4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.
Ho 14:5 I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.
A parishioner who passed away came to me often for counseling, and his complaint went along these lines:
"Pastor I backslid a few years ago, but now I have come back to the Lord, and I just don’t feel the Lord like I used to."
That lack of "feeling," produced anxiety about his salvation, and doubts about whether or not God had accepted him back. I guess if you read the story of the prodigal son enough, and the party he got when he got back home, and if you read where it says the angels rejoice when a backslider returns (Lk 15:20), you can come away with the idea that when a person repents they should "feel," like a party is going on in heaven about them.
Today I want to talk to you about a salvation experience that is not marked by spiritual downpours of joy, but by the dew of heaven saturating and penetrating your soul and your walk with God. So this is how we will proceed this morning. First I will show water as a symbol of God’s work. Secondly I will show how dew is shown to be a blessing from God. Finally I will show the characteristics of dew, how they relate to a real and genuine work of God in our heart.
The text we have chosen for today is especially poignant for this discussion. God says in connection to the healing of backsliding, that He will be as the dew, and not as a thunderstorm.
First, quickly, I want to show a few scriptures that demonstrate water to be an emblem of the Holy Spirit, and spiritual cleansing.
Water used as an illustration of a cleansing agent:
Eph 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word...
Water used as an illustration of a cleansing agent, and of the Holy Spirit:
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Water used as an illustration of the Holy Spirit:
Joh 7:37 ¶ In the last day, that great [day] of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
Joh 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Joh 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet [given]; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
This last text we have cited is an interesting one because it suggests that there should be some feelings involved in the salvation experience because of the use of the word, "rivers." How could someone have rivers flowing out of your innermost being and you not feel it? If you think that way you have divorced the text from its intended meaning. The meaning is not that you will feel something, but that God will give a super over abundance of the Holy Spirit, Jesus never says anything about what you may or may not feel.
If you judge your salvation by your feelings, you will be saved one day and lost the next. It doesn’t work that way. Take for example marriage, if you don’t feel love today that doesn’t mean your marriage covenant is null and void. Salvation is the same thing, it is a covenant, not a feeling.
So we have talked about water as emblematic of cleansing and the Holy Spirit, now lets talk about one specific form of water, and that is dew.
In our text in Hosea, God says He will be as the dew to Israel, and more especially to backslidden Israel when they have returned to Him.
Dew is used in the scriptures as an example of the blessing of God. Isaac prophetically pronounced a blessing over Jacob that included dew:
Ge 27:27 And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son [is] as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed:
Ge 27:28 Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: