DELIVERANCE IN A DROUGHT
". . .like a tree planted by the water. . ." Jeremiah 17:8
Here in East Tennessee, heat and drought are nothing new during the month of August. Our lawns dry up, our pool levels quickly drop, and we get thirsty quicker, too! According to the TVA website, "the average annual runoff in the region — the amount of water that ends up in the river system after it rains — is about 23 inches, or 44 percent of the average rainfall. The monthly average runoff varies from almost four inches in March to less than one inch in August."
Living in such conditions can bring a spiritual drought as well. Despite having received the water of life in baptism, we can still dry up spiritually. For many, these warm summer months bring a break from spiritual disciplines. They focus on refreshing the body but not the soul. They stop going to church. They neglect Bible reading and weekly Bible studies. They don’t talk to God in prayer.
As a result, they become as dry as the nation of Israel in the time of Jeremiah. God had watched His people turn their back to Him and worship false gods. They followed their sinful inclinations instead of the Word. As a result of their sin, Jeremiah warned, "Thus says the LORD: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land’" (Jeremiah 17:5-6)
Thankfully, God’s love is always greater than His wrath. He desires nothing more than a vibrant, permanent relationship with His people. Immediately after this curse, the LORD spoke words of life. "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
These words of blessing and hope are just as true for you, the people of God, today. Does your spirit feel dried up and withered? You can find deliverance in times of drought by turning to the LORD. Hear the promise of Jesus, ". . .whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4: 14). The death and resurrection of Jesus assure us of everlasting life and bless-ings. We have been delivered! The joy and confidence we receive from God continues to inspire us to reach out to God and others.
As we receive the water of life through worship, Bible study, and prayer we will experience deliverance—even in times of drought!
Pastor Mark Rhoads