1 Kings 18:41- 42a “And Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go, eat and drink, fr there us the sound of a heavy rain.’ So Ahab went to eat and drink.”
After three and a half years without rain and proving beyond any doubt who the real God is, Elijah is telling King Ahab to “Go, eat and drink.” The water restrictions are over. You don’t have to ration your food and water anymore. The Lord is setting you free. Crops are going to start growing again. Enjoy your meal. Quench your thirst “for there is the sound of a heavy rain.”
It hadn’t actually started raining yet, but Elijah could hear it. Elijah was the only one who could hear it. He knew the rain was coming because the Lord had already told him “Go and present yourself to Ahab and I will send rain on the land.”(18:1) The Lord made that promise to Elijah before the confrontation with the prophets of Baal took place on Mt. Carmel
Ahab was, without question, the worst king Israel ever had. As a result of their sin, as a result of the consequences and choices they had made, it hasn’t rained in Israel for over 3 years.
It’s important for us to understand this. The Lord did not deliberately hold back the rain because He wanted to punish Israel for turning away from Him. The lack of rain was not God’s judgment; it was not God’s punishment for their sin. It’s not even close. Sin has not been judged yet. Our minds can’t even begin to comprehend what God’s judgment for sin is going to be like for those who insist on receiving it.
The truth is that the Lord continued to love Israel even when they were sinning. He loved them in spite of their sin. But, because of their sin, He was unable to bless them. Sin is hostility toward God. Sin causes us to treat God as our enemy instead of our friend. Sin made it impossible for the Lord to provide for them; impossible for the Lord to protect them or to deliver them from their enemies.
When we sin, we turn away from God. We turn away from the light and start walking in darkness. We walk away from wisdom and start living in ignorance. We remove ourselves from God’s protection and expose ourselves to danger. We turned away from freedom and place ourselves in bondage. We turn away from the truth and open ourselves up to all kinds of dangerous, demonic lies. Deliberately choosing to sin makes it impossible for God to bless us but it makes it very easy for Satan to deceive, manipulate and abuse us.
Israel is suffering and the land is dying because sin produces its own set of deadly consequences and these consequences are our fault, not God’s. The world is experiencing devastating drought right now that is getting more severe every day. I’m not talking about the severe weather conditions brought about by climate change producing extremes of both flooding and dryness, intense heat and frigid cold. I’m talking about the kind of drought that was described in the book of Amos in the Old Testament. It’s not the physical droughts and famines we should be worried about, it’s the spiritual ones that should trouble us the most.
“’The days are coming’ declares the Sovereign Lord, ‘when I will send a famine through the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.’” (Amos 8:11)
“a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” It’s not a famine of God’s word. It’s not a lack of God’s word. The Holy Spirit is still providing the words of the Lord. Preachers are still preaching the words of the Lord. It’s “a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” The word is available but people are choosing not to hear it. They’ve developed an appetite for other kinds of food. People are still eating. Their minds are being fed but their spirits are starving and their souls are thirsty. The words they’re hearing can’t satisfy the hunger growing inside them and what they’re listening to won’t keep them alive.
“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desire, they will gather around then a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
“A time is coming.” My friends, that time has come. That time is now.
“Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.” (Amos 8:12)
They will “stagger” under the intoxicating influence of all the false teachings being passed around. They will continue to “wander”, lost, searching for truth but never finding it. They’re filling up on other words, empty words, powerless words.
“In that day the lovely young women and the strong young men will faint because of thirst.” (Amos 8:13)
The youth love to drink at the fountain of contemporary thinking, but it leaves their mouths so dry. Drinking what they’ve chosen to drink keeps making them more thirsty.
Lord willing, we’ll pick it up from here next Tuesday. Thanks for being in God’s word with Pastor Buj.