Steven Furtick - Don't Waste What God Speaks
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. 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.