Let It Rain
We received so much rain yesterday that there was a lake at the end of my street. The amount of water was so large that at one point I thought I spotted a submarine surfacing from the deep....well....ok that may be a stretch but we really had an extreme amount of rain. Right now my grass is as lush and green as I can ever remember. In contrast, I can barely remember that my front lawn was a huge dust bowl just a few short months ago. You could probably say that when my lawn was that dry and barren it was “thirsty”.
Have you ever been so thirsty that your life depended on what happened next? I remember when I was in boot camp that a guy in our unit became so dehydrated that his muscles locked up. If you would have seen him, you would have thought that he was physically handicapped in some capacity. His level of dehydration was at a very severe level. I had learned in a nutrition class just months prior that the next level of dehydration would have caused kidney failure and possible death. So, when I saw him I am sure my face said it all, because my drill sergeant gave me this look that said, “Don't let the guys know that he is this bad off.”
I promise to finish my story but let me talk to you first about being thirsty. What are you thirsty for? What is it that you dream about, plan for, and think about when things get quiet?What really motivates you? What causes you to get stressed or angry when it doesn't go your way? You could say that the answers to these questions revel our thirst.
We are currently in the book of Hosea on Sunday mornings. The other morning I was reading Hosea 10:12 Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
In this part of the book of Hosea, God has been telling Israel that they are about to reap what they have been sowing. He has basically said, “Because you have sown idolatry you will reap the destruction that idolatry brings.” But, near the end of chapter 10, God pauses from his indictment on His people to offer hope. If they will sow righteousness, then they will reap steadfast love. It seems simple. But the entire book of Hosea is a living example through the prophet that God's people are incapable of sowing anything but rebellion.
So that we better understand Hosea, I want to make sure that we have the same definition of idolatry as the Bible. Idolatry does include worshiping physical thing instead of God. But, it also includes preferring anything over God. Ouch that hurts! If you would rather do anything or experience anything over God, that's idolatry. Since it is August, let's pick on football. During this season every year people pour so much time, attention and resources into the sport of football. Woop! Woop! How about that fantasy football? I wonder if they are equally motivated to seek and know Jesus. Don't be so quick to point fingers. We could say the same about Netflix, Facebook, food, exercise, and a crazy long list of other things. According to the Bible our hearts are virtual idol factories. We will make an idol out of anything.
So who can sow righteousness instead of rebellion and idolatry?
Look at the words of Romans chapter 3.
9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good, not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
This is Paul quoting Old Testament passages about Israel's inability to sow righteousness. Did you notice that he also included the rest of the world as well? In Paul's worldview you were either a Jew or a Greek. He is saying everyone is included in what I am about to say. He is talking about me and you. So, here are some good questions. How are you trying to “get right”? How are you trying to save you life? Where are you getting the “water” that feeds your soul?
Look at what God says in Jeremiah chapter 2.
12 Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord,
13 for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.
Where am I trying to get “water” that I think would feed my soul? ….Is it Work? Money? Family? Achievement? Sports? Leisure? What fountain are you drinking from?
Listen to David as he tells about drinking from the “Fountain of Living Water” in Psalm 63.
1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6 when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
I promised to finish my story from boot-camp. The soldier in my unit did make a full recovery. We were way out in the middle of no-where. So, they had to fly him to a nearby hospital in a helicopter. It was that critical. But, they healed him with massive amounts of “living” water (IV's).
Our spiritual thirst is nothing to ignore. It is critical. As Hosea 10 says...for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
I was watching the following video shortly after reading Hosea 10. The lyrics say, “Let it rain.” As I was singing and worshiping the Lord, it started to rain heavily outside. That is my prayer....that you and I will seek the Lord that He might rain down His presence, power and promise on us.