Summary: Just as many of the people today in the Middle East and Central Asia, currently in the grip of one of the worst droughts in recent history, are desperate for rain, so the church needs to see its desperate need for a fresh rainfall from God.
WE NEED RAIN
DEUTERONOMY 28:1-15, 23-24
Introduction: A few years ago much of the United States went through a severe dry spell. It was so dry that it had become an Internet joke. During that drought someone published this request online: “Please pray for rain: "It’s so dry in Tennessee that the Baptists are starting to baptize by sprinkling; the Methodists are using wet-wipes; the Presbyterians are giving out rain-checks; and the Catholics are praying for the wine to turn back into water.” In the 1930’s severe drought brought what was known as the Dust Bowl, or the Dirty Thirties, called the worst natural disaster in recorded history. It lasted a tortuous decade, from 1930 to 1939 and destroyed farms and lives throughout Canada, the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, and parts of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas. Some of the severest dust storms reached the eastern coast and blanketed eastern cities such as Chicago and New York in “black snow”. The drought began in 1930 and progressed throughout the decade. During 1932 there were an estimated 14 severe dust storms. A year later there were 38 major storms and 100 million acres had been lost. As millions of acres of farmland became useless, hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes. It was truly one of our nation’s greatest tragedies. The Bible speaks of spiritual drought that can cause far greater devastation than “Black Sunday”; a drought of the outpouring of God’s power and blessing. Just as many of the people today in the Middle East and Central Asia, currently in the grip of one of the worst droughts in recent history, are desperate for rain, so the church needs to see its desperate need for a fresh rainfall from God.
I. The Need for a Fresh Downpour of Rain from God.
A. Haggai 1:6, 9-11 “"You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes... You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?" says the Lord of hosts. "Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house. Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands."
B. Often the condition of our hearts is such that we are not aware of our need at the very time it is the greatest! For to have a fresh outpouring of God’s power and blessing we must see and admit that we have a need.
C. We need rain when we have become spiritual deserts, when worship becomes form without substance, when our secular lives have precedence over our spiritual lives, when we find ourselves losing battles against temptations, we doubt that we will see the outpouring of His Spirit again, and when we have lost the joy we once had in our Christian lives.
D. Psalm 85:6 “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?
E. Hosea 6:3 "Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth."
II. The Downpour of Rain from God We Need.
A. What we need is a downpour of revival. Revival is that supreme and gracious work of God in which He visits His own people, restoring them and outpouring the fresh rain of the fulness of His blessing.
B. No one present could tell exactly what happened to the Moravians on Wednesday morning, the 13th of August, 1727 at the specially called Communion service. The glory of the Lord came upon them so powerfully that they hardly knew if they had been on earth or in heaven. Count Nicholas Zinzendorf, the young leader of that community, gave this account many years later: ’We needed to come to the Communion with a sense of the loving nearness of the Saviour. This was the great comfort which has made this day a generation ago to be a festival, because on this day twenty¬-seven years ago the Congregation of Herrnhut, assembled for communion (at the Berthelsdorf church) were all dissatisfied with themselves. They had quit judging each other because they had become convinced, each one, of his lack of worth in the sight of God and each felt himself at this Communion to be in view of the noble countenance of the Saviour. ...’This firm confidence changed them in a single moment into a happy people which they are to this day, and into their happiness they have since led many thousands of others through the memory and help which the heavenly grace once given to themselves, so many thousand times confirmed to them since then’ (Greenfield 1927:15).- Geoff Waugh, Fire Fell: Revival Visitations. Brisbane: Renewal.