Drought Or Rain?
By Dave Butts
In every society, in every land, and in every age, rain is important. We depend upon it as a key source of life. Without rain our crops die, gardens wither, grass turns brown, and our water supplies begin to dry up. We must have rain to have life.
There are spiritual droughts as well. They come upon individuals, churches and nations. They come as seasons of spiritual dryness when apathy, inactivity, and sin characterize our lives. God’s Word speaks clearly to us about these times of spiritual drought:
"God sets the lonely in families, He leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land" (Psalm 68:6).
"You will be like an oak with fading leaves, like a garden without water" (Isaiah 1:30).
"The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst" (Isaiah 41:17).
"O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water" (Psalm 63:1).
I believe these verses describe much of the world today…a dry and weary land where there is no water. It might describe you as an individual as well. Is there a spiritual dryness in your life? Is there a lack of enthusiasm and excitement concerning spiritual matters? Is your prayer life dull or virtually non-existent? Hold on…the rain is coming!
Scriptures do not only speak of these times of spiritual dryness…they also speak of times of refreshing…of rain from heaven:
"Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on new plants" (Deuteronomy 32:2).
"He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth" (Psalm 72:6).
"I will bless them and the places surrounding My hill. I will send down showers in season: there will be showers of blessing" (Ezekiel 34:26).
"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" (Hosea 6:3).
"Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until He comes and showers righteousness on you" (Hosea 10:12).
What is this rain we so long for and need? Ultimately, it is the Lord’s presence. Jesus Himself spoke of the living water that we would need in our lives. The Scripture speaks of "times of refreshing." Such a time as this is not so much an experience as it is a Person – a waking up to the presence of Christ in our lives.
Whether we are asking for ourselves, our church, or our nation, Hosea chapter 10 gives us what we need to do to end drought and prepare for rain:
"Sow for yourselves righteousness." Both Old and New Testaments teach us the spiritual principles that you reap what you sow. If you plant wheat, you do not harvest corn. If you plant immorality, you will harvest immorality. Much of the world has been sowing greed, pleasure, immorality, and self-centeredness…and we are reaping the results of that. Unfortunately, it is all too easy for the Church to join with society in reaping the same damaging seed. God’s Word says to sow righteousness…sow right things. We must speak right things, watch right things, read right things, and do right things. The Bible becomes the means for us to see what those right things are. God’s Word gives us a standard for righteousness. Righteousness is not what seems right to a man, but what is right to God.
"Reap the fruit of unfailing love." When righteousness has been sown, we will begin to harvest the fruit of unfailing love. God loves everyone, but the fruit, the benefits of that love, come to those who are moving to establish God’s righteousness as the standard for their lives. There are many unclaimed blessings. One of the most neglected is the fruit of unfailing love. It only comes to those who have sown righteousness in their lives.
"Break up your unplowed ground." Unplowed ground has a hard time receiving rain. Sun-scorched, baked earth forms a hard crust and when rain comes, it simply runs off rather than soaking in and making a difference. Unplowed ground is a picture of the unrepentant life. The rain of God’s righteousness will not soak in and change a life that is hard and unrepentant. So the command here is: "Repent! Change! Go a different direction!" That is always God’s call to those seeking revival. Today so many seeking revival, the rain from heaven, seem to want just good feelings or nice meetings. However, the good things of revival come only after times of tears and repentance. God’s command is to break up the hard, unplowed ground of your lives before you will see the rain of revival.
"It is time to seek the Lord." Those in periods of spiritual dryness often go looking for answers in many places. But God’s Word directs us to the only place where we can experience renewal…the rain of heaven…and it is to seek the Lord. You may argue, "But I’m already a Christian. Why should I seek the Lord?"
The sad truth of the Christian life is that we all have a tendency to move away from His Presence. We find ourselves spiritually dry and wonder why such a thing could happen to a believer. The Lord’s Presence must be continually sought after. Complacency and a natural tendency toward getting distracted by the affairs of this world require us again and again to put aside other matters so that we may seek after the Lord. Whenever there is spiritual drought in the land and rain is being desired, the almost automatic response ought to be, "It is time to seek the Lord!" Seeking requires effort. It is not a vague desire but a consuming passion. It requires persevering prayer. Though times of regional or national revival are completely in the Lord’s hands, personal revival and renewal comes when we commit ourselves to seek the Lord.
Hosea 10:12 gives great hope to us today. When we have broken up the unplowed ground in repentance and begin to seek the Lord with all our heart, then the promise comes. It is the Lord Himself who comes in response to a repentant, seeking heart – ready to shower His righteousness upon us. It is Jesus Himself in the midst of His people, receiving our worship, and showering upon us the blessings of His Presence.
If you would like to read more articles by Dave Butts, please visit www.harvestprayer.com.