Steven Furtick - Wasted Rain
You're not going to believe what God gave me for today. Look at Isaiah 55, verse 8. "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.'" "As the rain, so is my word".
I want to talk to you from an interesting thought today that the Lord gave me. I know he gave it to me, and I'll tell you why in a minute. I'm going to call this sermon Wasted Rain. I know the Lord gave me this one. He confirmed it. He confirmed this message title, Wasted Rain. I was kind of feeling up in the air about it, and I'm recording it on a day where I woke up and it was really, really rainy outside. I thought, "Well, that could just be a coincidence". Do you know what I mean? Because I decided to preach about Wasted Rain.
Then I was looking for my Scripture to look it over again, and my phone… We're recording this. Maybe you're watching it much later, but it came up and it said, "Emergency alert". I'm preaching on Wasted Rain, and it says the National Weather Service is giving a flash flood warning in effect for this area for the next couple of hours. Even the National Weather Service knew God wanted me to preach this to you today. Chunks was texting me. He said, "I'm sorry about the rain". I said, "Oh, don't apologize. God sent this to confirm his word to you". He wants to talk to us today about Wasted Rain. "As the rain falls from the heaven and waters the earth, so is my word," God says through the prophet Isaiah, who prophesied, of course, during the reign of the king.
"In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord". He prophesied rain during the reign of King Uzziah. It's interesting, because I used to always pray this Scripture before I would preach. I still pray before I preach, but I don't pray this Scripture anymore, and I'm going to tell you why. I was praying it like it was a magic trick. I would always before I'd come out to preach… I'm a little superstitious, not necessarily because I believe it's luck to preach, but I don't know. I take it seriously. I figure if you came into church and your life is in shambles and you need God to speak to you and then he puts up some 40-year-old country boy from Moncks Corner, we need a miracle to get this done. I'm doing the math, and I'm like, "Oh, I need you, Lord".
So, I would always pray this so I could put the responsibility on God. "Lord, what they need you have. I don't, but if you'll do it through me, I'll give it to them". You can use that little trick parenting your kids, leading your team. Anytime you need to, just tell God, "This is big and I'm little. Will you make up the difference"? "Your thoughts are not my thoughts. Your ways are not my ways". I would always pray that. I would say, "Lord, I thank you that as the rain falls from heaven and waters the earth, so shall your word be that proceeds forth from your mouth, that it would accomplish what you sent it to do". It was in King James how I did it.
Well, I stopped praying that when I realized that for many years, I had been praying it a little bit out of context. The prophecy in Isaiah 55 is written to a specific people who will be taken into captivity, and they're being prepared for what they're not even going through yet. The text I read is very beautiful. It's very peaceful. "As the rain falls from heaven…" It's so beautiful, so peaceful. Or if you're like me, rain is depressing, but Holly thinks it's peaceful. We argue about this all the time. We have different interpretations of the rain, but in this passage it says the rain makes things grow, and it compares God's Word to that.
So, it would be easy to read this Scripture thinking the context of it is God's promise for revival, and it is. He's the God of revival. He's the God of resurrection. He's the God of renewal. He's the God who sends the rain into the parched areas of your life and brings about things your mind cannot conceive by the power of his Spirit. That's all true, but I guess I just saw a few years ago that it's less about what I say when I'm preaching and more about what you hear and then what you do with what you hear. Let's go to verse 6, just before the passage I read. The prophet says, "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord…"
This is the biblical picture of repentance, to turn around, the Old Testament maneuver by which we align our hearts with God. I thought the context of this was revival, but the context of revival is repentance. Before the rain comes the repentance. He said, "Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow…'" Look at it again. Verse 7: "Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts".
Here's what I want to say to you. How many of you love the Word of God? How many of you believe the Word of God can change your life? How many want the Word of God to work inside of you today? All right. Well, I want to tell you this first point: God's Word does not override your thought process. He said that before the earth is filled with the rain that will bring forth the purpose for which the Word was sent… First there has to be a forsaking before there can be a filling. The reason that helped me is I realized that, a lot of times, God has wanted to speak something to me, but I did not have room to receive it.
Let me ask the question again. How many of you want to receive a word from God today? I do. I need his Word. I don't just want it. I want a Quest cookie after I preach. It would be nice, but I don't need that. I need God's Word. I need God's Word for my dysfunction. I know you dropped down out of the second cloud right there behind Gabriel and put your harp in the closet for church today. That's all right. I need God's Word. I need God's Word to give me direction. I really do, because I don't want to spend any of my time making decisions that I will spend more time cleaning up because I didn't first seek the Lord.
How many of you wasted some days because you didn't get God's direction for your life? You would have never had to delete their name out of your phone if you would have prayed before you… So, we understand this on one level, that in order to receive God's Word there are some of our own thoughts we have to forsake. God's Word is free. Aren't you glad? You don't have to pay for this. In fact, that's the context of Isaiah 55. He says, "You who have no money, come". But it will cost you your thoughts. It will cost you your will. It will cost you your opinions. It will cost you your preferences. The Word of God. I love the Word of God. I don't know why. I've always loved it. Since I was a little boy I liked it. Even if I couldn't understand what the preacher was saying, it felt different than everything else everybody else was saying. Sometimes I slept through it, but when I woke up, I still liked it.
Now I'm coming to the point in my life where I value it and I realize that God's Word in different seasons of my life will come to me in different ways through different people. Well, the Bible tells us so much about the Bible. The best way to know about the Bible is to read what the Bible says about the Bible. Yet at the same time, God's Word can be so plentiful and our lives can be so pitiful. I read something. I normally don't believe anything I see in newspapers, and you shouldn't either. But I read something, and this sounded accurate, so I'm going to read it to you. This was from the L.A. Times last year in February. They were talking about a state that is so prone to droughts. Those of you who live in California, this may really hit home for you.
In February of 2019, this writer, Hannah Fry, said, "California's wet winter has dumped an estimated 18 trillion gallons of rain in February alone [in the state]". Eighteen trillion gallons in that month alone. Listen to this. "But much of it is simply going down the drain". I'm about to preach the L.A. Times. I'm just warning you. Then she quotes this expert, and his name is Mark Gold. He said, "When you look at the Los Angeles River being between 50% and 70% full during a storm, you realize that more water is running down the river into the ocean than what Los Angeles would use in close to a year". He said that it's a waste of water supply, that so much water in a land that is so concerned about drought is going down the drain.
I don't know anything about environmentalism, but I've been preaching God's Word to God's people long enough to know that some of you… You have about 18 trillion gallons of notes in your sermon notebook. You know who you are. Now, some of you just turned on for the first time. You weren't even trying to watch church today. It came up in your feed, and you didn't know what it was, and here you are. But some of you have 18 trillion gallons of truth, but what are you doing with it? What am I doing with it? I want a revelation. "God, speak to me today. Show me today". And he has, and he will, and he does, but so much of it… This is what the article was saying. The systems can't handle, because they don't know what to do yet with the runoff.
They said in the article they're trying… I don't know if they're doing it yet or not. I didn't look at the update, but they said until they can get the supply to the place where it needs to be, there can be 18 trillion gallons of downpour and still a drought. There can be 18 trillion gallons of truth… Oh yeah. God has been trying to encourage you all week, and you're discouraged. Why? Because it went down the drain. I wonder what God has spoken over your life in this season or a previous season that you've been letting go down the drain. You know how it does. It just goes down the drain into the pessimistic… Pacific Ocean. It said all that water… What a waste. All that water down into the pessimistic emotion… Pacific Ocean.
Some of you have been wasting the words God has spoken over your life. It's one thing if you don't need to pay attention to people. People are always talking. You can even not pay attention to me, but when God speaks… That's how he supplies all of your needs, yet so much of it goes down the drain. You do know that by the time you finish hearing this sermon, the Devil will have arranged three clever distractions to get you from digesting what he gave you and drain you of the deposit so that you stay dehydrated in a state of drought. I just needed you to know it's not a shortage of God's Word.
Do you know what's weird? When I looked at that, I thought, "Well, if God's Word comes…" You know, like how we like to do. We just quote Scripture over the top of struggles we don't really deal with. Remember, God's Word is like the rain. Oh, by the way, it also says in Scripture that God's Word is like honey. It'll brighten your eyes. These are all things in the Bible about the Bible, because the Bible interprets itself if you let it. God's Word is not only like honey, but one writer said it's like milk. It's like pure milk. The pure milk of the Word of God can come in and nourish you in the infant stages of your faith. But then he said you can't just be hanging out drinking that milk forever. You need to grow up and mature and get off the bottle. Lord, I thank you that the mature people can receive solid food.
So, the Bible is milk. The Bible is meat. The Bible is honey. This is the food category. Everybody who loves to eat, thank God that the Word of God… Jesus said, "Man does not live on bread alone but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God". Think about it. That does no good without digestion, just like the Word of God cannot do what it was meant to do if you have a jacked-up thought process. So, if you are a pessimist, you will always hear God's Word like it's for somebody else or you will only hear the parts of God's Word that reinforce your emotional biases. If your heart is rooted in suspicion, you will transfer that same suspicion to the Scriptures. You will come to the Scriptures thinking you have life, but you will not know him.
We think, "Oh, well, God can just put a word, and I can put it up on a Post-it Note on my mirror". That's fine on a Post-it Note on your mirror, but until it gets into your thought process, which the Bible calls meditation… I just wonder what you've been doing with all the water God has been sending you. As the rain falls from heaven, as the snow… The Bible calls itself a sword. Did you know that? That means you can fight with it. It's not only a sword you can fight your enemy with, but it's a sword that pierces you. The Scripture says it's a double-edged sword. That means you don't go around attacking others with Scripture verses that apply to their situations, the things you happen not to struggle with, but you know those Bible verses. It means the Bible is at its best when it is dividing the bone and marrow and the soul and the spirit.
That's what the Word of God can do. I guess that's why I love it. It cuts through all the clutter, and it cuts through all the crap, and it cuts through all the cynicism, and it reminds me who I am apart from the layers of what life has tried to label me with. I love the Word of God because it's a sword. "Take up the sword of the Spirit". In Baptist church, Holly used to do sword drills. They would quote Scripture at each other, competing for God's love, to see who could quote the most Scripture like Pharisees. I'm kidding. It's a good thing. Get the Word of God in your heart any way you can. But it also says not only is the Bible carbohydrates like honey…
How many thank God that the Bible is carbs that don't make you fat? And then that the Bible is a weapon. Not only is it a weapon, but it's a surgical instrument. But then I love this, because I was reading about it and it said it was a lamp. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet". Can we spend a little bit of time talking about why we love the Word of God? Well, the Word of God says the Word of God is a lamp unto my feet. Not a floodlight. Just enough to show me the next step. I love the Word of God like that. God can't be memorized, calculated, or predicted. He certainly will not be confined to the GPS coordinates of where we thought he would show up at this age in our lives. The Word of God is a lamp to my feet. Jeremiah said it's like a fire. He also said it's like a hammer.
Do you want another one? There are so many of these. I could go all day. Some of these we love. Some of them we don't. It said it's like rain. "As the rains fall from heaven…" I don't know if you can hear it. It was raining so hard before I came to preach today, I thought it might make a backdrop for my sermon and I would just say, "Yes, Lord". Some people didn't even come today because of the rain. The real ones came. That's why I like the rain in church. But I have to be honest with you. I told you this already. I like honey. I like a sword if I'm the one holding it. I like all of those things we just mentioned, but that rain… Did you notice this? It said, "And snow".
We live in North Carolina. This church is all over the world, but in this part of the world, if you ever come here… I'm not talking about a blizzard. I'm not talking about a blanket. I'm talking about not enough snow to make a miniature snowman. You can't even make a figurine. You came from Toronto. Do you think it's hilarious when it snows here? See, y'all know what to do with the snow. We don't. I like the Bible being honey, and I like the Bible being a sword so I can fight the Devil. "You picked on the wrong one today, Devil! Not today, Satan"! I like all of that stuff, but the snow is inconvenient. The rain is inconvenient.
So I wondered, "Will some of the most effective things God speaks over my life be some of the most inconvenient things"? Do we associate God's Word only with comfort and not realize that most of the words he speaks that will really bring forth in our lives…? That's why Isaiah said it's going to bring forth if you forsake your thoughts. The really good words from God, the really good sermons, you have a hard time saying, "Amen". You'd be saying that other Hebrew word, that "Oh crap" Hebrew word. Have y'all ever read that in Hebrew? That's when God says something that you know, "Now I've got to change. Now I can't feel sorry for myself. Now I can't just be bitter. Now I can't just hold on to this offense. Now I can't just hold on to this grudge. Now I can't just make this excuse. Now I can't just blame these other people".
I was thinking about how God's Word is so powerful, yet I often feel so powerless. I don't want to bring it to condemn you, but remember, just like the 18 trillion gallons of rain that fell for a land that needed it, God is always speaking to your life. Not just right now. God is speaking to you through the insurmountable challenges that cause you to rely on his grace, much like Paul's thorn that caused him to call out to God. God is speaking to you through the people who stayed with you in your life. He's showing you that he has always had you, he's always got you. He's speaking to you.
Are you wasting the rain? If your thought process is programmed by the world, you can't receive the Word. That's why I stopped praying Isaiah 55. I stopped praying about the words I was going to speak so much, and I just started praying, "God, open our hearts to hear it so we don't waste the rain". It's so powerful that every time God speaks, it comes with a purpose. That's what Isaiah said. He said, not only is your thought process the way you receive God's Word, but it is the purpose of God that is wrapped in the Word. So, when God speaks to you, it's not just so you can… I don't know how we do it sometimes, like it's a sedative, but it's meant to be surgical. This is what he said: "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth…"
Somebody asked one time, "What are your thoughts"? They were asking me, "What are your thoughts"? and I heard them say, "Water your thoughts". I was like, "Ooh, that's deep," because the thoughts that you water grow. I heard it "Water your thoughts," like they were telling me. I had a picture in my mind, like, "Oh yeah. I'm going to water my thoughts". When you water the wrong thoughts and the wrong suggestions, they take over everything in your life. This is why God sent me to preach it to you today. He said, "You waste the rain when your emotions are overrun with fear and doubt and anxiety".
When God sends his Word… I like the sword. I like the honey. I like all of those things, and I prefer them. But he said, "Like the rain and the snow that you sometimes don't plan for…" In the Old Testament, they connected the weather to God's favor. So, when the Lord is speaking about this, he's not just talking about it ruined your day at the beach. He has in mind the farmer who needs the early rain in October and November, and then the latter rain in the spring, one to germinate and one to make the harvest possible to be reaped. Both are necessary. The Lord is saying through Isaiah, "As the rain falls from the heaven and does what it was meant to do, so is my word that goes forth out of my mouth. It will not return to me empty…" Or one translation says void.
God's voice when it speaks into your life doesn't return to him void; it accomplishes what he desires and achieves the purpose for which he sent it. I read that to you because, a lot of times, the reason we will think we're receiving the Word of God is not the real reason, but we don't know that until later. Whatever God has spoken over your life… Some people when I say that have in mind this very Pentecostal version of God speaking over your life and all of that. No, I just mean the things God has said about you that are true…who you are, your identity in him as his child, the purposes he has for you. I want you to know that when God sends a word, he sends it for a purpose.
I was talking to somebody the other day. I know you know this about me, so please don't laugh when I say it. It'll hurt my feelings. But I have a tendency to ramble. Well, I was rambling to this person the other day, and they looked so bored. I could feel it. Do you ever just keep talking, and you won't shut up, and you know you should shut up, but you can't shut up? It's like, "Where's my 'shut up' button"? and you can't find it. I was telling them all this stuff, and it was really TMI too. I was telling them all about my past and when I was 8, and all this stuff, and I didn't even know them that well. I was just going on and on. I said, "I don't know why I'm even telling you all this". They looked back at me like, "I don't either".
But you know what? God never says that. God never speaks to you and says, "I don't know why I'm telling you this". He's too intentional to do that. He doesn't waste his word. As the rain falls from heaven and waters the earth… God said, "Every word I speak…" Now get this. Every vowel, every consonant, every single jot, and every tittle. Look it up. That's the biblical language. God said, "I will give you 18 trillion jots and tittles, and every one of them has a reason. Every one of them has an assignment". Even when God rambles it's revelation. This happens sometimes. You're like, "Oh, I don't know".
Listen. When my phone went off with an emergency warning today, I took it like God. It might not have been God, but God used even that… All things, every word, all the rain, every drop. The Lord gave it to me like this: every drop has a destiny. God did not send everything he sent into your life to leave you now. Have you been wasting the rain? Have you been taking for granted what God has put in your life? I do it all the time. I think it's too accessible, and I think that makes me less grateful. I think it's sometimes bad for me that there are so many different things I can listen to, too many different words to choose from. I have faith fatigue from too many options, yet when God was showing to me that his Word comes with a purpose, I was like, "Well, yeah. Of course it does".
The destiny of the seed is dependent on the rain, and within that is everything we need to know about life. There is a part of it we can't control and a part of it we can control, and in that marriage… Everything I told you the Word of God is…honey, milk, meat, bread, sword… One writer said the Word of God is like a mirror. Everything I just listed does no good without a response. Go through them. Honey doesn't feed you if you don't eat it. Milk doesn't feed you if you don't drink it. A mirror doesn't help you if you don't go back and change clothes, for God's sake, brush your teeth, and redo the thing you need to do. That's what James said. He said, "The perfect law that gives freedom is like a mirror, and you look in it and just walk away and do nothing with it".
The Word of God is relational, and it is dependent on your response how powerful it becomes in your life. This explains why some people will sit through a sermon and look at their watch, because to them the Word isn't worth very much, and other people will cry through the whole freakin' thing. Somebody was on YouTube this week making fun of some of y'all. They said, "The crowd is so excited in there. It sounds fake. It sounds like a sitcom. It's not real". Because there are a few people in here helping me preach. I wish you could tell them what the Word of God means to you and how much you need it. "It is my necessary bread".
When they say "Amen," when they shout, they're not shouting at me. They're not shouting about a man. They're not shouting about an opinion. They're not shouting about a rhyme or a hickory dickory dock. They're shouting because when that rain hits your heart… "It has been really dry this week, and I've been down, and I've been discouraged, and I've been in the dark, so excuse me while I praise him. Just for 10 seconds, I've got to say 'Amen.' I've got to lift my hands. I've got to clap my hands like the trees of the field when I receive the rain of the revelation of God. I can't sit there with my arms crossed".
Sometimes God will speak to you, and you'll feel something inside of you, something rising up from the inside. Like the belly of the earth produces the seed in the form of a flower, here comes the Word producing in your life. It's powerful because it's personal. God has spoken some things to you. "So I'm sorry for praising him". But the next time somebody criticizes you for it, look back at them in your best Milli Vanilli and say "Don't blame me. Blame it on the rain. Blame it on the Word of God. Blame it on the presence of God. I can't help but get happy. I can't help but thank God for everything he saw me through this week".
When God sends a word, it serves a purpose, because you serve a purpose, because you are assigned by God and anointed by God. I'm prophesying over your life. It will not return void. God doesn't waste words. God doesn't waste rain. He has something in the earth he desires to bring forth, and that's why he sent this word into your life. That's why you're watching: so you can be watered, so what's inside of you can be revealed. I found out rain brings revelation, the rain of God's Word. It doesn't make something new appear. It shows what was already there. That's why God's Word comes alive in me. That's why I need to spend a little time with God every day, so what's inside of me, not what's around me, can control me and guide me and live in me, so I can forsake my thought and receive his.
Now God has been speaking to you, but some of us can't receive it because we are so full of insecurity. One of my good friends was encouraging me the other day, and I noticed on the phone all I did the whole time was interrupt him and try to change the subject. This is somebody whose insight I greatly value, and they were telling me how far I've come. He's going on and on and on. I'm like, "Yeah, what about those Patriots"? I don't even like the Patriots. Anything to talk about. "How's Cam doing over there"? Anything I can. I can't even take a compliment. I can't even receive encouragement, because I'm too full of what I think I know about me and my limitation.
This is what some of us have been doing. We start limiting our opportunities to the level of our insecurities. All week, I promise you, God has been speaking to me and to you, and he's been doing it through some people, but you cut it off. You wasted the rain. The only way the rain doesn't work is if there's nothing in the ground to come forth. The rain reveals what was already there. Have you been wasting the rain? God has been trying to water his thoughts in your life. That's why this year has been so weird. It has been rainy, really rainy. Not rainy like Isaiah 55 rainy. Rainy like Matthew, chapter 7, rainy. Do you know the difference? All right. Y'all need to see this.
Have you been wasting the rain? Look at this in Matthew 7. I was connecting it in my heart because the Lord told me to talk to you about wasted rain. Then I saw the context in which Jesus said it. Isaiah said the rain came down like the Word from God's mouth, what he speaks, his revelation, the truth of who he is revealed fully in Jesus Christ, the Word incarnate, the Word made flesh… When that comes, it's like rain that brings forth what was already there, and that's how it works in our lives. It doesn't return void, no matter what the Enemy tries to do, no matter what happens in our lives. But then I read where Jesus said kind of something like Isaiah, but it was a little different. I'm going to show you this.
In Matthew 7, Jesus is closing a sermon we call the Sermon on the Mount, and he's talking about the way God's kingdom works versus the way the empires of men work, and he's contrasting that. He closes with a picture. I want to give you this picture, and I want you to meditate on it today. This word is for you. I know God's Word is powerful. That's not the question. Is it personal? Here's what it comes down to, and it's right here in the text. Jesus said, "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine…" You don't have any room for the words of Jesus if you are so full of the words of the world. That was a really fancy way of saying, "Turn off your phone every once in a while and hear the voice that speaks from within so you don't waste the rain". He said, "Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice…"
The honey is no good if you don't eat it. The lamp does no good if you don't walk by the light it gives. The mirror does nothing but show you a reflection of what's there. It doesn't do the changing; it just gives you the opportunity for the change. The revelation requires a response. But that's what he said. He said, "Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock". Underline rock in your Bible. "The rain came down…" That's exactly what happened in Isaiah 55. "The rain came down…" God said, "Like the rain comes down from heaven…" Jesus said, "The rain came down…" The same thing happened, but the context is a little different.
See, in Isaiah 55, that prophet is talking about the rain that comes from God's mouth as his Word, or the truth, but Jesus is using a picture… He said, "The rain came down…" He's talking about not the truth but the trials. Both are represented by rain. This is like honey from the honeycomb, I'm telling you. This is more worth than gold if you can get this. So the rain came. How many can say the rain came to your life this year? Inconvenience? Uncertainty? The same rain Jesus is talking about here… Isaiah says the Word, the truth, is like rain, but then Jesus says, "The rain came, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock".
This rain represents the trials of your life. You can plug in a divorce. You can plug in an eating disorder. You can plug in a wayward daughter who's not even returning your calls. You can plug in an emotional state that you yourself cannot untangle, and you've been to three therapists, and nobody can straighten you out. That's the rain. [0:46:00] But God said the same way the rain that comes from his mouth reveals what was in the dirt to begin with, the rain that comes through the trials of your life reveals what was beneath the surface the whole time. What I'm really trying to say is rain brings revelation. Don't waste it. The same rain we will shout about… "O God, the rain of your Word". And Jesus says, "Uh-huh".
There's another rain that comes, and it is the rain that comes to test whether what you heard is really in your heart. The way God showed this to me… He said, "Not only did I give you my Word so you could be a survivor of every storm that comes in your life but so you could be a steward of every storm so that you don't waste the rain". Everyone who hears what God spoke and holds to it and builds by it and won't let it go, won't let it drain into the Pacific emotion, the pessimistic emotion, the emotion of oceans, the drainpipe, that drain of discouragement, that drain of depression, that drain of despair… It has all been draining out. You can't even hold a word from God for five minutes. It's draining, 18 trillion gallons of truth God sent, and Jesus Christ his Son, the Word made flesh, going down the drain.
The rain came to reveal what your house was really built on. When you hit a storm, become a student, because the rain will always bring you revelation. Isn't that crazy? Some things we only learn in storms. Some things we only learn by sitting with that negative thing and not running from it. Isn't there temptation to always run from the rain? "Let me pop this pill, and I won't have to feel that. Then I won't have to deal with what caused it. Let me just go over here to this…" I'm running from the emotion God is trying to use to reveal what my life is really built on. As the rain falls from the heaven… The rain came to show you what your house was built on. It has been a rainy year. I don't mean because you've heard a lot of sermons; I mean because you've been through a lot of storms.
Are you going to waste the rain? Look at what happened to the other man, just to show you how God's Word is so powerful. It can hold your life together, and there's no real reason your life should be together. How many of you have a peace you can't explain right now in your life? Well, when people ask you, "How are you so strong"? just blame it on the rain. I might retitle this sermon. I might put Rob&Fab up there. God said, "Are you really going to let this storm that only served the purpose to show you that from the foundation of the earth, I was there holding your life and I am what your life is built on…" The same rain that showed the first man how strong his foundation was… Look at what happened to the other man.
Verse 26: "But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice…" Everybody who sees the honey but is not strengthened by it. Everybody who smells the bread but does not digest it. Everybody who fills sermon notebooks with cute sounding cliches but never takes a moment just to walk it out in faith. Everyone who comes to church 20 years and still cherishes racism in their heart. "Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice…" That's like a foolish man who has all this information but no revelation. He built his house on the sand. Look at what happened in verse 27. "The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash".
The rain came to show you that you were building on the wrong foundation. Now let me ask you that. If something in your life is falling apart this year, this week, this month, and God allowed a storm in your life… He may not have sent it, but he allowed it, and everything fell apart. Are you really going to go back now and build on the same faulty foundation that caused it to crash the first time? Are you going to waste the rain or are you going to get wisdom from it? He said the wise man said, "I'm building…" You remember how the big bad Devil huffed and puffed. You remember the story. Are you going to waste the rain?
One of my favorite Bible characters that illustrates this is called Elijah the Tishbite from Tishbe, because that's where Tishbites come from. My man spoke a word that resulted in a three-year drought. It had already been dry six months. He said to Ahab, "It's not going to rain again". Ahab was the king who reigned who had so much potential. He was powerful. His military prowess was like Omri, his dad. He learned all of that from him. So, he could do what he needed to do. By the time the Assyrians were done with this king Ahab, they were putting his name on their monuments instead of attacking him. That's how powerful he was. He was so powerful his government was always stable, yet the Bible says he took a wife who worshiped a different god.
This is not a sermon about marriage. Don't worry about that. Just worry about the times where you've allowed your heart to worship the wrong thing. That's what he did. The whole nation started getting comfortable with Baal worship. Baal was the Canaanite rain god. They thought he controlled the weather. He didn't. They found out really quickly, because when Elijah spoke the word of God, the water stopped coming. God will allow in certain seasons of your life for things to be taken away so that you build back on the rock. Listen. See if this hits you. The rain revealed the rock. The rain came to reveal the rock, to know that my life needs to be built on something solid, on something stable. God sent the rain so I wouldn't live in an unstable place.
That's why he allowed the rain to come, and that's why he allowed the rain to stop, because he is God like that. He is Yahweh. That's what Elijah means. Eliyahu, "My God is Yahweh". Oh, Elijah had faith, because God knew how to take care of him. During the trial, Elijah never starved. During the famine, Elijah never went hungry. He always had something. God sent him to an exact coordinate where he could be fed through the whole three years. One day, God said to Elijah, "It's time now. You go back to Ahab and tell him to stop wasting his reign". Stop putting the wrong person on the throne. "You tell my child, 'Stop letting worry sit on the throne in your heart.' You tell my child, 'Stop letting what this cynical, sick world…'"
Did y'all hear me last week? You stop letting those words have the throne in your heart. Elijah went up there on Mount Carmel, and he called down fire from heaven and killed all of the false prophets. The Bible summarizes it in James, chapter 5. This is kind of a headline on it. In verse 17 he says, "Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years". James is being nice to Elijah here, because next he tells us, "Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops". Then he stops talking about Elijah. He said he prayed and it didn't rain. He prayed again; it did rain. What he neglects to tell you, for whatever reason that he only records this particular instance, is that Elijah prayed for rain and the rain came, just like he prayed for the rain to stop and the rain stopped, but then he ran. When the rain came, it's the strangest thing. After God showed who he really was to the nation and Ahab's wife Jezebel found out about it, she sent a word to Elijah.
Now I'm going to ask you a question. If you know the Word that's powerful enough to control the weather, why would you run from the words that came from one human being? Isn't it amazing what can make you back down? Isn't it amazing what can get you off track? Isn't it amazing how one little thought can keep you from trusting the God…? Isn't it amazing how we waste the rain? Ahab wasted his reign because of the words Jezebel spoke. Elijah almost wasted his rain because of the words that came from the same woman's mouth. What words have been sent into your soul to get you running from the very thing you prayed for? The Lord sent me here for you.
Do you know how personal his Word is? He sent me here for you to tell you to stop running from what you prayed for. He fled 40 days away from the place where God had sent the rain. Remember, this rain is what they had waited for. This rain represented revival. He was needed in this space. He was needed to proclaim the Word of the Lord, to bring the nation back to God. The moment the sky grew black with clouds, he ran because of the words that were in the mouth of his enemy. I wish he had remembered he had a bigger sword. I wish we had remembered that no weapon that is formed against you has the power to withstand you.
If the Word of the Lord is with you, let every man, let every insecurity, let every disappointment be a liar. I'm not running from what I prayed for. I got so scared when churches started closing, I didn't know what to do, but I decided, "I'm not running from the place where God put me for such a time as this. I'm not going to waste what God gave me". You prayed too hard for this. You've survived too much to not steward this storm. By the way, for every one of you who has been through a real storm lately and the Devil has been throwing rain at you left and right and bad reports left and right and discouragement left and right, tell him he wasted his rain, because all the storm did… He wasted his weapons because all it did was show me my rock, and I'm still standing!
Are you wasting your rain? Some of you will take this word and do something with it. Some of you will take it and do nothing with it, and what you do with it is everything about what you get from it. The rain came. One more time, I want you to lift your palms. There was a notice on my phone that said there was a flash flood warning in this area, and I believe that's coming to your house right now in the best way. We wrote a song a few years ago that said:
Hear the word roaring its thunder
With a new future to tell
For the dry season is over
There is a cloud beginning to swell.
To the skies heavy with blessings
Lift your eyes, offer your heart
Jesus Christ opened the heavens…
He reigns! Ahab doesn't reign. Jesus reigns.
Jesus Christ opened the heavens
And now we receive the Spirit of God.
God said, "I'm trying to release it. You won't receive it. I'm trying to love you. I'm trying to affirm you. I'm trying to direct you. I'm trying to speak to you. I'm trying to call you deeper".
Every seed buried in sorrow
You will call forth in its time…
That's what the rain is for: to show you what was there the whole time. It's still there. The seed is buried, but it's still there. It just needs water. It just needs worship. It just needs time. They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. It's still there. It's not gone. It's growing. I hear the sound, the abundance of rain.
You are Lord, Lord of the heartbreak, Lord of the hardship, Lord of the storm. You tell it when to stop. You are Lord, Lord of the seed, Lord of the harvest, calling our hope now to arise. I want you to get ready, because it's raining right now. Those aren't tears you've been crying. That's rain. It's all right to hurt. Don't stop. It's all right to hurt. Don't run. It's all right to question. Just you commit to it. "I'm staying right here".
And with great, anticipation
We await, the Promise to come
Everything, that You have spoken
Will come to pass, let it be done!