Calling out to our creator in drought

Calling out to our creator in drought

In this time of drought we need to especially call on our creator in prayer.  

I’ve had the attached below sermon notes on my computer since 2004.  I know I didn’t write them.  I can't be sure who gave them to me (If it's you please make contact and I'll attribute properly).  They are certainly helpful as we attempt to minister God’s word either in public Sunday teaching or in small groups. 

There’s also a range of graphics and other resources that you may like to use as you prepare to lead your people in prayer on this.

Dominic Steele

Sermon Notes on Drought

A Biblical Survey

1    God is the creator controller of all things including the weather. (Gen 2:5 Jer 10:11-13)

    a    he alone and not the false gods can bring rain (Jer 14:22)

2    God's created world operates with a regularity that can be studied and used

    a    Egypt's river floods and the land is irrigated (Deut 11:10)

    b    Palestine's rains come seasonally (Deut 11:14 Jer 5:24)

3    God has used the weather to judge and save humanity.  (Gen 6-9, 2 Pet 2)

    a    he sent the flood to judge

    b    he also saved through the flood at the same time 

    c    he promised not to destroy all things again by the flood

4    God sovereignly directed the course of history through famine (Gen 41)

    a    Joseph was appointed to high office by interpreting Pharaoh's dream

    b    Israel went into Egypt because of the famine

5    God's sovereignty over famine did not mean human inactivity (Gen 41)

    a    Joseph gave wise counsel to prepare for the lean years

    b    Pharaoh followed Joseph's advice to Pharaoh and Egypt's great advantage

6    God warned Egypt by rain and Hail (Ex 9)

7    Rain in the promised land (Deut 11:10-17)

    a    Palestine not like Egypt - it was farming by rain not by irrigation

    b    God gave that rain

    c    God would bless the obedience of Israel with rain

    d    God would express his anger at the disobedience of Israel by withholding rain

    e    1 Kings 17:1; Isaiah 5:6 Jer 3:1-5 God promises to withhold rain because of sin

    f    Isaiah 30:18-23 God promises to bless the repentant with rain 

8    The Lord sent rain and thunder at harvest (1 Samuel 12:16-18)

    a    to warn Israel of its great sin in asking for a king

    b    in response to Samuel's prayer

9    Solomon's Dedication of the Temple prayer (1 Kings 8:35-36)    

    a    acknowledges God using drought to punish sinful Israel

    b    requests forgiveness for the people when they pray towards the temple

    c    and that the forgiveness be accompanied by rain

 10    Elijah's confrontation with Ahab over drought and rain (1 Kings 17-18 James 5:16-18)

    a    the withholding of rain is the judgement of God (1 Kings 16:29-17:1)

    b    God promised Elijah rain before the showdown (1 Kings 18:1)

    c    Elijah lead the people to acknowledge God and kill the false prophets (1 Ki 18)

    d    God sent the rain in fulfilment of his own response to Elijah's prayer  (1 Ki 18:1, 41-46)

    e    James is dealing with 

        i    judgement of God in this world on sin (eg sickness)

        ii    the right way to handle such judgement in dealing with sin

        iii    the value and importance of rescuing the perishing

    f    James used Elijah to illustrate the effectiveness of the prayer of the righteous

    g    the prayerfulness of Elijah over the drought is not explicit in 1 Kings 17 -18

        i    he did pray effectively over the widow's son

        ii    he did prophecy the drought and the rain

        iii    he repeatedly adopted a posture of humble prayer in 1 King 18:42, 45

11    Plentiful rain is one of the signs of God's blessing on Israel as a parched land is a sign of his displeasure with rebellious people (Psalm 68:6-9)

12    The God of Israel is the God of creation and his provision of the blessing of rain is for both Israel his people and for creation as a whole (Psalm 147:7-11)    

13     The people in their sinfulness did not fear their God - the creator Jer 5:21-24

14    God sent a drought to Israel to warn them of their sinfulness and judgement but they failed to repent Amos 4:7

15    In apocalyptic literature (eg Zech 14:17-18, Rev 11:6) The blessings and curses of rain and drought symbolise God's pleasure and displeasure.  The third horse of Rev 6 similarly brings famine.    

16    To be like God we have to love our enemies for God sends his rain on the just and the unjust according to Jesus in Matt 5:43-48

17    To the pagans in Lystra Paul said that God did not leave himself without a witness to them for he gave rains and fruitful seasons Acts 14:17

18    Prayer of repentance needs to be genuine and not just an exhibition of sackcloth and ashes.  It is the broken and contrite heart, the righteous man that God listens to.  Whereas if I had cherished sin in my heart God would not listen to my requests

 

Reflection

1    God as creator

    a    makes the world in orderly fashion including seasons and rain

    b    testifies to all people of his kindness and his judgement through weather

    c    invites us to act wisely in relation to the weather conditions of our land

2    God of Israel

    a    promised in particular to Israel in the promised land that he would use drought and rain (amongst other things) to punish and bless his people

    b    sent droughts to warn the people to repent 

    c    responded to the prayers of the righteous man Elijah

    d    foreshadowed his final blessing in the kingdom of heaven

3    God our Father

    a    sends rain on the just and the unjust.

    b    judgement in this world is not exact as

        i    God is waiting for the final judgement

        ii    communities involve all kinds of people

        iii    God continues to give to pagans his testimony of kindness

 

4    Praying for Rain

    a    Australia is not Israel, and so we must think of Matthew 5 and Acts 14

    b    Yet God still sends and withholds rain for he is the creator and ruler of all

    c    And God listens to the prayers of his people

    d    And in praying to God we are  articulating our faith in God

    e    we must pray, looking at ourselves, noting 

        i    that the drought may be the hand of God warning us of our sinfulness

        ii    That if it is the visitation of God on our sinfulness we must repent.

        iii    Such repentance must be genuine and not just display

    f    The drought may have nothing to do with our sinfulness, but just God's way of ruling in the affairs of the life

 

5    Preaching and Running the meeting

    a    The Deuteronomy 11 passage has many themes in it and is relatively simple

    b    The Lystra testimony works well for evangelism

    c    Creation, and judgment, looking to God for rescue and blessing is straightforward.   

    d    Arguing that this is a matter of sin and repentance is more difficult.

 

6    Could this drought be a judgment on Australia?

    a    Yes it could be

    b    But have we committed any particular sin as a nation that would call for this?

        i    Treatment of refugees - but what evidence of God punishing us for this amongst all the other nations

        ii   Our ongoing wholesale abortions, our out of control gambling, but there is nothing new there

    c     But our general sinfulness lies in our rejection of the creator and worship of the creation through materialism and wealth production.   The drought challenges those ideas for it reminds us of how dependent we really are, and how absorbed we are in making money.

7    Without any word from God that this is his punishment upon us

    a     because we are not being part of Israel living in the promised land

    b    because we do not know any particular sin that would cause such punishment

    c    I assume that it is part of the judgement of God on the fallen world

    d    and if it is a particular judgment it is on our general materialistic self-confidence

 

A Prayer

All things look to you, O Lord,
To give them their food in due season:
Look in mercy on your people and our nation
And hear our prayer for those who lives and livelihood
Are threatened by the current drought.
In your mercy save both humans and animals.
We turn to you in repentance and faith.
We ask for your blessing of abundant rain across our land.
Guide and bless the labours of your people
That we may enjoy the fruits of the earth
And give you thanks with grateful hearts.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen

Based on "A Prayer in time of Drought,  Flood or Bushfire" (p92 An Australian Prayer Book 1978)

 

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