Sun am 4 March 2018 – Johan Esterhuizen

Deut. 11:13-15; Ps 119:105; Ps 1:1-3; Hos. 6:1-3; Joel 2:23-25,28-29; James 5:7-8; Amos 9:11-13; (Ps. 150); (Zech. 4:6); (2 Sam. 6:3-8, 17); (Acts 15:16)

It is beginning to rain and without stating the obvious, we are in a drought.  We need rain.  Greater than the physical drought, we are in a spiritual drought. The Church seems to be losing its voice as we are not addressing certain issues that are arising in the community around about us. We need the rain of God’s Holy Spirit.  Thirst is one of the greatest needs man has and I pray today you will develop such a thirst for the precious Holy Spirit. God is the rain giver; when God’s Spirit rains, it brings about the change.  At times in our lives, we might face drought: drought in relationships, drought in our money, drought in our health, and the list goes on.  The Lord is the One who controls the rain.

In Deuteronomy, He sets a principle. If we obey God, do His Word, love Him and serve Him with all our hearts, He will do His part; He will cause the rain to fall.  To understand what the Scripture is saying about the early and the latter rain, we need to understand the agricultural structure of Israel.  There were two rainy seasons: the early rain in spring and then the latter rain in autumn. They would first prepare the soil and sow the seed, and then the early rain would come.  It would rain for two months and the seed would sprout and grow.  Then there was the dry season, and then came the latter rain.  That would complete the growth cycle and then would be the harvest.  It was like the Lord set that pattern – the ideal climate for agriculture – and Israel depended upon that.  And the Lord said, I will keep that system going if you obey and serve Me and love Me and do my commandments (Deut. 11:13-15).

God’s blessing is first personal: they had a harvest, they received money, their family was blessed; they were prosperous.  There is also a local blessing.  As we prosper and spend money, there is a combined pool effort.  Then there is a national combination and growth.  We need to understand that God Almighty is the One who causes the rain to come, and we need the rain.  We need to know and believe with all our heart: if I trust God and I do right in God’s eyes, and I serve the Lord and I love the Lord, He will cause the blessing.  You need to know that trusting and relying on God is the key.  As Pastor Kobus put it: “Faith rests on the shoulders of trust.”

We are talking this morning about the lack of rain, yet God wants the rain to be poured out.  Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.  After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight.  Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.  His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth (Hos. 6:1-3). You cannot have a harvest without rain: the latter rain and the early rain – the pattern set by God.  Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you — the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.  The threshing floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil (Joel 2:23-24).  He goes on to say that He will restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten.  There is a deeper issue when you start to study the Word of God regarding the latter rain and the earlier rain: there is restoration for the nation.  It also speaks of a greater issue that is going to take place in the coming years, in the end time.  And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.  And also on My menservants and on My maidservants, I will pour out My Spirit in those days (Joel 2:28-29).   I believe the Lord is making the Church attentive to the drought – spiritually, physically.  It is a lesson that we are learning, and I believe as we seek the face of God we are going to see some things happen! (James 5:7-8).  I firmly believe in my heart that God is preparing His Church for a great event.  There is going to be an outpour of God’s Spirit.

We are now in a really dry time.  The new season is coming.  God is about to pour out His Spirit in a special way.  “On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name,” says the Lord who does this thing.  “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “When the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; The mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it” (Amos 9:11-13).  Then He continues to share how He will restore Israel in the land.  This time of end-time revival is key to see what God is doing in the nation of Israel.  God is about to cause something to happen that will be an unprecedented harvest. We will see a tremendous move of God’s Spirit.

God is going to restore the tabernacle of David that lay in ruins.  To understand this, we need to know there was a time when the nation of Israel fought against the Philistines and the army inquired where the Ark of the Covenant was.  At the time Eli’s two sons, Phineas and Hophni, were the priests and desecrated the temple, doing what was wrong – they were evil (1 Sam. 2:12-17).  They went to Shiloh and took the Ark, and when the Ark of the covenant went to the battlefield, the people roared with a shout and they were happy.  And you know what happened?  They were defeated (1 Sam. 4).  I have discovered that you cannot organise and bring down God’s presence.  God is the one who gives the rain.  We do what we must do but God is the One that will cause the rain to come.  The nation of Israel was defeated, and the Ark was captured.  For the rest of king Saul’s rule, the Ark was never in Israel.  The Philistines had respect and were scared for the presence of God.  The Ark was then placed in Kiriath-Jearim in the house of Abinadab.   David enquired where the Ark was, and then he built a new ox cart with new oxen to go and bring back the Ark.  His intentions were right.  Abinadab’s sons, Uzzah and Ahio led the procession because they were used to having the Ark in their house.  As the oxen stumbled, Uzzah put out his hand to touch the Ark and the Lord slayed him.  The Bible says that David was angry and scared of the Lord that day.  For months He mourned and asked God why it had happened (2 Sam. 6:3-8).  Ahio means ‘brotherly, human’, and Uzzah means ‘strength’.  Man reached out to touch God, but it does not work like that; it is not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit (Zech. 4:6). So David did research and did it properly: he brought the Ark on staves on the shoulders of the priests.  He then placed the Ark in a tent on Mount Zion and that tent was called the tabernacle of David (2 Sam 6:17). David’s tabernacle consisted only of the Ark of the Covenant; it did not have any other furniture.  David had the anointing of prophet, priest and king upon his life.  When that Ark was there in Mount Zion, he spent an incredible amount of time in God’s presence – he served and worshipped God. Out of that flowed a tremendous amount of worship and musical instrumentation (Ps. 150). I believe the restoring of the tabernacle of David is going to be us celebrating, understanding and living in God’s presence. The restoration of the tabernacle of David is when we come to that place when we fall in love with God again: when we have our first love again, when we serve God in spirit and in truth; where we raise our hands and bless the Lord and where we do what is right according to the Word of God.  When that happens, the Word says, “I will give you the early and the latter rain.”  There is going to be a mighty outpouring of God’s Spirit!  The time is going to come when God is going to restore the tabernacle of David in our midst (Acts 15:16).

It is dry but listen to the voice of the Spirit, it is beginning to rain.  When it rains, the land is restored.  When it rains, things happen.  When it rains, God will restore.