Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. -James 5:18.
Here in Florida we are suffering from a severe drought. Except for very limited showers, we have had no rain for months. The aquifer is dropping, the flow of water is slowing, the ground is parched, hay for animals is becoming scarce and fire dangers are extreme. And many grumble and complain and, yes, I will confess that has crossed my mind as well, but at some point we are reminded that it is all in God's hands. The words of James above talk about how important living for God and praying for His divine assistance is to our ultimate success through Him. In the passage, James is referring to one of the great Prophets of God in Israel in the years before Christ, the Prophet Elijah.
Elijah lived in a time of great wickedness for Israel. After King David died, the country broke apart, with the northern portion of the land retaining the name Israel and the southern becoming Judah. Elijah was a Prophet of God in the north and in his time nearly nine hundred years before Christ, he was in constant danger as King Ahab began supporting worship of Baal and Asherah, idols and false gods who encouraged licentiousness and unhealthy living.
Ahab was dominated by his wife, Jezebel, who had been brought up worshiping the pagan gods and she convinced him to do so. To please her he built great and ornate worship centers for Baal where immoral rituals and sacrifice of offerings were given. Idolatrous prophets of both Baal and Asherah prospered, with nearly nine hundred such operating in in the land at their height. Needless to say, God wasn't pleased and Elijah, having the gift of divine understanding of what God wanted from mankind, prayed for three years without rain. God granted his wish.
Three years later Israel was in dire straits, with crops dying and water disappearing in a parched land. Elijah presented himself at the chief center of worship to the pagan god and challenged the false prophets to show the people how Baal could save them. They offered a bull as a sacrifice, and carried on with their symbolic rituals of praise for the false god. Not surprisingly, they received no answer.
Elijah then offered to show them how the true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, would respond to praise and an earnest quest for help. He sacrificed a bull on the altar and after a short wait, a thunderbolt of fire struck the altar and destroyed the entire worship center. The people immediately fell to their knees and prayed to God as the false prophets lost their influence. But Elijah left the scene fearful of what Ahab might do and later prayed in earnest for God to forgive His people and bring rain. Soon abundant rain returned and the nation recovered and Ahab repented but his wife, Jezebel, retained true to her pagan ways until death.
So why do I tell this story? I do so to point out that God is in control of everything that He has created; he can accomplish anything he wants. But sometimes he wants to teach us a lesson, or He might just be interested to see if we would solve the problem ourselves based upon the way in which he expects us to live. We are given free will in which to operate on this earth but he never intended us to do anything that would not reflect what He had in mind when He gave us dominion over the earth. We make many mistakes, sometimes honestly, sometimes due to greed and selfishness, but He lets us operate as we wish until the time that He ultimately decides its time to act. If we are really smart, we won't challenge his but instead fulfill his wishes.
Water is a precious commodity, a basic building block of life, and when we abuse it, misuse it, and fail to learn from past mistakes droughts come about which can threaten all that we have and our very existence. We need to learn that the only way we can properly use anything is if we are doing it in the manner that God created it for, and that takes faith, my friends. And the drought will end, but will it create havoc on many people first. Only God knows the answer to that.
So take a tip from Elijah. Thank God for the blessings of rain and don't take it for granted. For living in a state like Florida that has been dry for most of the year so far, it takes someone much greater than all the engineers on earth to solve the problem. It takes the guidance of God and his grace.
Dear Lord, we thank you for the blessings of rain and we pray that you will shower them down on us once again. Help us to learn from the drought, to be better stewards of your earth, and to make all the decisions that we must based on your counsel and love. We ask in Jesus' name, Amen.
If you like today's Sunday Morning Coming Down, you might like my book, A Blogger Shares His Faith, now available at the Kindle Store. It's just a straight from the heart offering of why I think our faith in God of three persons is so important to our future. Without Him, we will ultimately die in darkness, but with Him and His light we are afforded the opportunity to live forever. Here's the link: