Water in the Desert - Revival!

Bible Book: 2 Kings  3 : 15-20
Subject: Power from God; Holy Spirit; Renewal; Revival. Water of
Introduction

Have you ever felt dry, barren and fruitless in some area of your life? Surely you have. We often hear of someone who feels like their job or vocation has turned into a barren desert. They no longer enjoy what they do for a living, because something in their vocational life has dried up. We hear of others who feel this way about their marriage. They feel that their marriage has drifted into a desert place. Some speak of this happening to them physically and or emotionally. They may call it "burnout," but it is indeed a desert place in life.

All of the above are serious but none is as serious as a barren place in your spiritual life. Somehow the joy goes out of serving God, and in a very subtle way one drifts from the oasis of nearness to God to the barrenness of a spiritual desert. Prayer becomes a burden, studying the Bible a drudgery and worship loses its vitality. The Christian in this state loses the dynamic that God longs to provide.

Today I want us to look at a story from the Old Testament about an army that found itself in a barren, dry, desert place but also discovered the path to bring the fresh water from God back into their ranks. With revival services beginning next Sunday night, we need to ask God for a downpour to drench the dry places in our lives. Note the story from the Old Testament found in 2 Kings, chapter 3.

When Ahab was King of Israel he had extracted tribute from the Mesha, King of Moab, in the form of 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams annually. After the death of Ahab, his son Joram took the throne of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Mesha decided that he would not pay the tribute to Ahab's son and this infuriated Joram so much that he decided to attack Moab. To do this he sought the help of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, and the king of Edom. These three armies joined together and readied themselves for an attack against Moab.

It took the three armies seven days to march into position and form themselves into ranks for an attack. Finally they reached the staging area and were ready to attack when someone pointed out a serious problem ‑ there was no water. This is a life-threatening predicament for any army, especially so for an army in the desert. Without water the animals could not work and the fighting men would fall in the desert from dehydration. Without water, sand would take over everything. They just could not go on without water.

Now, imagine this scenario. All these troops had been gathered - three nations had been mobilized for war. Treasuries had been emptied to pay for uniforms, animals, weapons, and equipment. Training had taken place and skills had been sharpened to a fine edge. For a week they had travelled to be at the final staging area for the assault. They had everything they needed ‑ almost! But without water it was all a waste of time!

Let this be a picture of the Christian or church today. Just consider this for a moment. We have buildings and budgets, we have training and skills, we have programs and plans, we have money and methods, but ladies and gentlemen if we are spiritually dry, we are wasting our time. What do I mean by "DRY?" In your Bible you will note that several things are used to illustrate the POWER and PRESENCE of GOD. Fire is one of these. Wind is another example. However, water is one of the prevelant examples of the supernatural presence of Almighty God with His people. That is what I mean by "DRY." Friends, we must have the blessing of God to serve our Lord, and we must have the showers of blessings upon us if we expect to confront the enemy of our souls. We cannot afford to be in this desert-world without the refreshing rain of God’s Spirit upon us.

We need a fresh flow of the Water of Life upon God's troops who are trying to face the devil every day. We need a spiritual downpour, for the mercy drops will not do in the midst of spiritual war.

The songwriter said it best:

“There shall be showers of blessing,

Precious reviving again;

Over the hills and the valleys,

Sound of abundance of rain.

There shall be showers of blessing;

Send them upon us, O Lord;

Grant to us now a refreshing,

Come, and now honor Thy Word.

There shall be showers of blessing:

Oh, that today they might fall,

Now as to God we're confessing,

Now as on Jesus we call!

Showers of blessing,

Showers of blessing we need:

Mercy-drops round us are falling,

But for the showers we plead.” (Daniel W. Whittle)

More than anything we need the Blesser, the Giver, of the showers of blessings. That is, we need the power of the Rainmaker to come down upon God’s people in this time.

This morning let's begin by looking at the RECOGNITION FACTOR in getting the dry places drenched with the Water of God . The recognition factor involves three things: Awareness, Admitting and Action.

I. Aware of the Need

Before the troops began to go into battle that day in the desert of Edom, someone pointed out the lack of water. I don't know who noticed it but they should have given that man a medal of some sort. To have warred without water would have meant suicide in the sand. Some conscientious trooper brought word to the commander of the problem, who then carried it to a general, who at last related it to the king. On the spot, a decision was made not to advance a foot until water could be found.

It is easy for us in our Christian life and our churches to slowly be depleted of the Water of Life from God. I don't mean that we loose our salvation or anything like that, but I do say that we move away from the powerful presence of God ‑ even if it is ever so slowly. Like a sheep that just grazes its way into the dangerous area of the wolves, we ever so slowly move from the safety and strength of the Great Shepherd into the "wilds" where every kind of ravenous beast of Satan waits to devour us. Revival is a time when we stop, lift up our heads and look around to see where we are spiritually. For almost every one of us here, the look will do us good, if we are honest with ourselves!

A. It Is Possible to be Unaware of your Spiritual Condition

In Hosea 4:6 God says, "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge." Indeed! Someone has said that ignorance is bliss, and that is certainly not true when speaking of spiritual ignorance. There is no bliss in spiritual foolhardiness. To be ignorant spiritually is dangerous and deadly. In fact, very little ignorance is actually bliss. What if you were driving you car down a freeway at 65 miles‑an‑hour and did not know that one of your tires was ready to blow out at any moment. Or what if you had a small tumor somewhere in your body today that doctors easily remove everyday around the world, would it be bliss to be ignorant of it and to allow it to grow to be a giant, un-removable mass eating away at life? Likewise, to be blind to our spiritual dryness can lead to all kinds of sad and sordid conditions in us, our families and our friends. There is no need for ignorance in spiritual things, for God promises to reveal to us all things if we are willing to open our hearts, our eyes – our spiritual ears.

In Revelation 3:17 and 18 we read, "You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover you nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see." Here was a church that could not see itself for what it really was. Oh! How badly we need God to make us aware of our spiritual deficiencies. No wonder the Psalmist cried out in Psalm 119:18 "Open thou mine eyes..." The church described in Revelation 3 was told that she needed pure gold ‑ refined in the fire. That means we must allow God to heat things up and to purge out the dross, the unclean and unnecessary things, so that we can be pure gold before our Lord. She was told to buy white clothes from the Lord. How many of us are spiritually dressed in uncleanness? Then she was told of her need for eye salve. That's it! We need our sick eyes opened so that we can really see, then we will be able to observe ourselves so that we can properly confess our sins and needs before the Holy God. Then we will be able to see the Lord. Then we will be able to see each other with the warm eyes of love. Then we will be able to see a lost and dying world that needs the love, salvation and care of a Savior! Oh, yes! Open our eyes, Lord Jesus!

B. It is Pitiful to be Unaware of your Spiritual Condition

In Isaiah 1:3 we read, "The ox knows his master, the donkey his owner's manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand."

How pitiful it is that an animal has more knowledge of his master and more regard for him than God's people have for the Lord! That is the picture here.

In 2 Peter 1:9 we read that it is possible to be so nearsighted and blind that we forget that we have been cleansed from our past sins. How can that be? Surely this must mean that one can be so blind to the lack of the Lord's power and presence that he or she will travel on without the full strength of these twin blessings.

C. It is Possible to be Made Aware of your Spiritual Condition

Job once prayed, "How many wrongs and sins have I committed? Show me my offense and my sin (Job 13:23).”

The Psalmist once said, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23‑24).”

Yes, it is possible to be made aware of our spiritual condition and it is very practical as well. We must ask God to reveal our condition to us.

Most of us in this service today know that we have some spiritual dry places in our lives, but we may be like some people discovered wandering in desert places. It is said that rescuers have come upon people in deserts who are terribly dehydrated, but in the moment they are found the poor, thirsty souls are obnoxious and actually refuse to drink water. They cannot stand to take it. Such persons must be made to drink of they will die. Oh, that God would show us just how barren we are, even forcing us to the water of blessing that we so desperately need.

So, now let's look at ...

II. Admitting the Need

An embarrassed commander might well have decided not to tell the general about the water shortage that day in the desert of Edom. What would have occurred? DEATH! Many would have died in that desert. SHAME! Both the people of God and the name of God would have been laughed at by the world if they had marched ahead without water that day. NO! They could not go forward without the water and they could not have water without Admitting that they NEEDED IT!

In Lamentations 3:40‑42 we read, "Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven and say: We have sinned and rebelled ...." There is no hope for drenching the dry places until we admit that the places are dry. We must look up to God and tell him that we are in need of a fresh flow of water.

In Psalm 51:11‑12 David cried, "Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."

In the story found in Kings there was water to be found, but only after admitting the need for it. How many today lack spiritual power and blessing simply because they will not admit the spiritual need in their lives. Often when someone came to Jesus he would ask them, "What do you need?" Then He supplied the need when they admitted that one existed!

In the Old Testament there is the story of a time when the treasury of the Lord was robbed and the gold shields of the king were removed from the house of the Lord. The king made brass shields in the place of the gold ones. That is so sad! No matter how well the shields were made and no matter how much they shined, they were brass and not gold. How much better not to cover up the missing gold ones, but to cry out to God for the real thing to be returned! That is what we need in the church today. We need to cry out to God to send a real revival which will transcend all our human efforts. We need to admit that we are in need of a great outpouring of his Spirit upon our lives!

In Matthew 7:11 we read that Jesus told his disciples to ask the Father for good gifts. He compared our desire to give things to our children to that of God giving good things to us. How we love to give things to our little ones. Let me assure you, God is ready to provide, when we are willing to plead!

Lastly, let's consider that we must ...

III. Act Upon the Need

The people in the story from 2 Kings called upon the prophet Elisha, who waited before the Lord and then told the people to dig ditches in the desert and God would supply the water. The thirsty and tired troops starting digging and dug all day. At the end of the day they were exhausted and fell asleep that night without the water. The next morning, however, they awakened to ditches full of water. It was a miracle. God had drenched the desert place in their lives! Hallelujah! Water! Clear, cool water!

Conclusion

As the people of God, we are in a war in this world. We have no means of winning the victory without the provision that only God can provice.

i. We must be AWARE that we need the Showers of Blessings from the Lord
ii. We must ADMIT that we need the water from the Lord
iii. Then we must come to the Lord in an ACT of faith to show that that we believe things can be different

Then, and only then, God will bless us with showers of blessings – with ditches running with water in a desert land.

Namaan was told to dip in the Jordon seven times to have a disease removed from his body. Reluctantly he did and he was healed.

Jesus told and man to go to the pool of Siloam for his blindness, he did and he was healed.

Jesus told ten lepers to start toward the priests in order to be reinstated into the community, even though the leprosy was still upon their bodies. They did and they were healed on the way!

God can pour out the water upon your dry life and mine. He can pour out the water upon a dry church. He can pour out the water on a marriage, a business, a vocation, or a heart and mind!

Pour out your spirit, Lord! We are aware of the need. We admit it openly! We take a public stand to acknowledge it! Now, come Lord Jesus and do a mighty work of pouring out the water upon us!

Let me conclude with the results of the water that God provided in the desert. The enemy, the Moabites, woke up that morning in the desert and saw the water in the ditches of God's people, and they thought it was blood. It looked like blood glistening in the sunlight. So, they thought that the armies in the desert had turned upon each other and they attacked. When they did the three armies defeated them soundly and completely. God gave the victory of the water, but he also gave the victory through the water.

Jesus said, “I am the water of life.” The water is symbolic of the presence, the power, the cleansing and the Spirit of the living God! The Water is Jesus in us, doing what only He can do.

Everyone admitting your need of God’s showers of blessing, now is the time to come to Him. Admit your need and believe in His promise to supply water in your desert!