Opening Story: In 1969, when I was 15 years old, we had a drought in Kansas that lasted 13 weeks, from late June through early September. With the drought came the heat and the wind that caused everything to dry up.
Everything dried up… the farm ponds dried up… the creeks were just stagnant pools… the crops withered and burned up… thegarden groaned to produce a few vegetables with the help of the water we carried to it.
Everything suffered and bore the marks of the drought… the cattle were thin… people lost hope, and despair grew daily with the dawn of an unclouded day.
The ground looked like a giant road map with endless cracks running here and there and intersecting with each other… a mute testimony of the severity ofthe drought.
That was the summer I learned to swim… there was nothing to do but go down to the creek and jump into one of the pools we used for a swimming hole.
That was the summer that time seemed to stand still… nothing much moved… nobody did very much… and everybody waited for the rain.
And then the rains came! Cool… refreshing… wet… rain!
We need the rain in the natural aroundhere, but more important is that we receive the spiritual rain of God’s Spirit and His blessings!
Tonight, I want to look at a phrase that the prophet Elijah told to King Ahab…
1 Kings 18:41, NKJV
41 …Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.”
Context: Prior to this Elijah had told King Ahab that there would be no more rain until he said so!• For 3 ½ years no rain had fallen upon Israel.
• Elijah hid by the brook Cherith and the ravens fed him for awhile…
• Then he lived with a widow woman at Zarepath, and God miraculously caused the meal and the oil jars to never get empty for many days.
• Finally, after 3 ½ years, the Lord told Elijah to confront the false prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel and in one day aftercalling fire down from heaven, and killing 850 false prophets, he speaks to King Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.”
Rain has always been a symbol of God’s blessings, as well as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Story: “Palestine [Israel] was a land dependent upon the yearly rains to ensure an abundant harvest and an ample food supply for the coming year.Thus, the presence or absence of rain became a symbol of God’s continued blessing or displeasure with the land and its inhabitants. Rain fell in two seasons: the early rains during October and November, and the later rains in February and March.” – Holman Bible Dictionary
Today, God wants us to have the continual rain of His blessings!
Today, God wants us to live in the outpouring of God’sSpirit!
#1. RAIN IS A NECESSITY IN BOTH THE NATURAL AND THE SPIRITUAL REALMS . . .
A. Story: When we were working in the fields and the clouds began building up in the western sky . . . giant thunderheads formed and towered high in the atmosphere . . . the clouds began to darken into a deep blue . . . but we kept working in the fields.
You see, the rain clouds may come to us, orthey may go around us. Just because we saw some clouds didn’t mean we were going to get rain.
However, when the wind began to blow, we knew we better go to the house as fast as we could. We knew that when the clouds darkened AND the wind started blowing, there was going to be an abundance of rain!
C. Rain is an essential part of life on earth as much as God’s Word is essential forspiritual living!
Isaiah 55:10-11, NKJV
10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it...