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SUNDAY 31/05/2020 SERMON TEXT PREACHED BY REV’D J.A. ABEGUNDE (GOD OF STORM AND RAIN)

TOPIC:- GOD OF STORM AND RAIN.

TEXT:- 1 KINGS 17:1-4; 18:1, 41-45.

                This topic is about God’s concern and plan for us and the need to shun idolatry or nominal allegiance to Him. Jehovah God is the Lord of creation and Master of all seasons of our lives and to no time and for no reason should we give credit to idol, of any form, in place of Him.

Storm is a violent atmospheric disturbance associated with strong winds. It can also be marked by rain, thunder and hail or lightening. The consequences of storm can sometimes be very damaging and disastrous. In another sense it is symbolic of trouble or an occurrence of bad thing in a large form. It is a situation that does not make for happiness in an individual life. For instance, we can talk of stormy career, stormy marriage and other storming relationships. However, whatsoever may be our individual or collective storms, God of all creation is able to handle and silence them. COVID-19 is a form of storm and shall be silenced for us by the power of the living God.

Rain also speaks about weather, the downpour of water from the clouds or the sky. The nature of rain is that it is released from the sky above. Rain is also symbolic of good things in copious or plentiful form. It is a symbol of life, renewal, sustenance and harvest. It is also emblematic of the sovereignty of God. The fact that humanity can do nothing to create rain or prevent its coming is a demonstration of the sovereignty of God. A prolonged lack of physical rain often leads to discomfort, drought, scarcity of food and other difficulties. However, rain is a blessing after drought. Thus I say that after the storm in your life, there shall be an abundance of rain. I wish everyone the good things that rain represents in Jesus Christ’s name.

TWO PHILOSOHIES ABOUT RAIN AT THE TIME OF KING AHAB.

There ought to be just one concept, theory or belief about rain among the people of God ; that Jehovah God, the Lord of all creation is the producer and giver of rain and all that it symbolizes. However, due to the influence of heathens and the importation of idols, there was another belief about rain. Baal was regarded as a weather god and producer of rain. Jezebel, the wife that King Ahab married from Sidon was an ardent worshipper of Baal, thus she imported her idol with about 850 prophets. She equated Baal, an idol, with the living God. As a strong worshipper of the idol with domineering character, she was not satisfied with co-existence. She insisted that Baal worship should replace the worship of Jehovah in Israel. Thus, Baalism became institutionalized and many prophets of God were slaughtered by Jezebel and her prophets except those that were kept in a cave and fed by Obadiah at that time (1 Kings 18: 4).

Opinions about Baal:

  1. Master, owner and Lord.
  2. Nature god that controlled seasons and cycles of the year.

Baalism therefore was a fertility faith. The idol was believed to control the fertility of crops, animals and human birth. One of the myths described Baal as a deity in conflict with death, infertility and flood that emerged victoriously as King of gods. What an insult against the living God! The questions that should readily come to mind are:

  1. Which other god had dealt with fertility and barrenness like the God of the Hebrews, who gave a baby to Hannah, or to Sarah a woman that had already passed her childbirth age?
  2. Which other god has dealt with the power of death and should be accorded “King of gods” other than the God of the Hebrews? Jehovah dealt a blow on all the gods of Egyptians to set His children free from their King. All these were contained in the history that made up these people (Hebrews) but they were bewitched by heathens’ opinion about Baal to a point of abandoning the living God for idol.

Things to note or be wary about:

  1. Supernatural powers are still in conflict with God today , influencing peoples thinking wrongly about the living God. We are also in an era of high prophetic activities like in the days of King Ahab and Jezebel. Therefore, a miraculous event or fulfilled prediction is not a proof that God is behind the sign. The content of any prophetic message must be measured against the Word of God. If it is in conflict with the Word of God, it must be rejected out rightly.
  2. Each child of God must enter into a covenant of honoring the living God for life. This is a covenant that will make each person to be ready to reject idol no matter how well its adherents can package.

GOD’S PROMISE: RAIN IN ABUNDANCE – Deut. 11:10-11.

                Under the leadership of Moses, as the children of Israel were about entering Canaan, rain in abundance was God’s promise to them. They were informed that the land was not like Egypt where they sowing their seeds by irrigation. Canaan was a land under God’s care from the beginning of the year to the end. They would be given rain, both early and latter rain and the two would come from God above. Therefore, they would gather in grains, wine and oil in plenty. They would eat and be full including their livestock. They were however warned not to set aside Jehovah God for an idol else the anger of God would burn and heaven would be shut against them and there would be no rain but drought and attendant problems.

IDOLATRY AND DISOBEDIENCE SHUT HEAVEN.

In 1 Kings 17:1, we can see the announcement of drought/storm for the next three and a half years in Israel. God brought Elijah on stage like Melzedek without the usual introduction. If Elijah was not brought in at the time, that would have been the end of the worship of Yahweh in Israel. Elijah announced the drought/storm that the people had invited upon themselves and he went into hiding as instructed by God (17:3-5). God’s word does not fail; hence the effect of Elijah’s prophecy began immediately. God does not take interest in punishing or troubling His own children, it is determined by their own choice. We need to note the following:

  1. Idolatry and disobedience often shuts heaven and each child of God must run away from it. While we may not be idolatrous in our time in the way of the Old Testament people, we may also base our desires and hopes on things, people or institution instead of God Himself which is equally idolatry. The living God has everything we may need  and whatever He does not give, no idol can give it to us without attendant trouble.
  2. Idol does not control seasons but God. We therefore must not get to a point we give the control of our lives, the now and future of our lives to an idol.

GOD CONTROLS THE STORM FOR HIS CHILDREN.

                God controls storm for His own children which is evident in the way He took care of Elijah. He controlled it for Elijah through preservation and provision made for him. He preserved and rescued him from the fury of Jezebel and Ahab when he was asked to go into hiding (17:3). He used both natural and supernatural means to provide food for him. God used ravens instead of angels to show that He can serve His purpose effectively by meanest creatures and by the mightiest ones. Nothing is impossible with God or for God.

Furthermore, God used a woman with limited resources instead of someone who had more than enough to take care of Elijah in Zarephath to prove that the help of His servant is always in the providence of God . Unless we also come to that realization, we will limit ourselves and close the door of unimaginable help meant for us to enjoy. The generosity of the widow of Zarephath seemed to be more than that of Abraham (Gen. 18:5-8) in the sense that Abraham entertained his visitor out of much that he had, while this woman offered what she gave to the prophet out of almost nothing( 1 kgs.17:11-13). Her -generosity, however, was not wasted but rewarded by God( (17:15-16). We must be generous as well, as much as we can.

AFTER STORM, THERE SHALL BE RAIN-1 kings 18:1

                Elijah and Ahab met at Carmel which ended with abundance of rain. If there shall be rain following any storm in our individual lives, we must take note of the following that are very essential:

  1. Atonement: All that Elijah did to invite fire on the altar is a picture of atonement. Atonement means reparation for an offence. Reconciliation with God is essential to offset judgment for sin and to enjoy blessings. Everyone must reconcile with God and seek to be right with Him. As requested by Elijah, God that could pardon sin and bring blessing down upon His people must signify by fire. Baal that was regarded as master of thunder/storm could not produce fire. I therefore pity anyone that runs after or serves idol that cannot save or deliver form storm or trouble.
  2. Faith: Faith is essential, particularly persistent faith is required to draw blessings that can override the effect of any storm in an individual life. This is shown in how Elijah persisted till there was a sign of rain in the sky even when the position he took was not easy at all.
  3. Great blessing begins from a small cloud or a small beginning. What seems to amount to nothing today, with persistent faith will amount to greatness tomorrow.
  4. Prayer is essential to bringing down the hand of God for blessings. Baal worshippers cried, mourned and wounded themselves force blood out of their bodies but their idol did not answer them. God of life answers prayer. Yahweh sent down fire and rain in answer to Elijah’s prayer.
  5. Supernatural stamina/ Power: God granted Elijah a supernatural stamina to run and overtake King Ahab who was riding on his chariots. Like God granted unusual stamina to Elijah, He can do the same for us. Following the advent of COVID-19, God will grant you stamina. You will run and overtake, make plans and execute them will stunning success. After COVID-19, there shall abundance of rain and unusual breakthroughs in Jesus name.

IMPLICATIONS:

  1. Avoid idolatry and nominal allegiance to Yahweh, the Lord of creation.
  2. Let God be everything to you, for He can do the impossible in your life.
  3. Depend on God for daily living. Your life is in the providence of God, just like Elijah.
  4. No event of your life is outside the realm of God’s control. Try to leave it there for Him to handle.
  5. Idol is empty and prayer to idol is futile and a waste.
  6. Conquer worry and fear about the tomorrow of your life with faith and courage.

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