Rain in the Wilderness
Prophet Elisee Yao / 11 Aug 2019
"I thirst for You" is how David expressed his longing for the Lord while in the Desert of Judah (Psalm 63:1). The same David who restored the tabernacle, a man after God’s own heart, who fully grasped the consciousness of God’s presence, and wrote this (among so many other favourite Psalms) made one crucial mistake: he became casual with the Presence. Instead of pursuing God, he started to pursue lust.
When David’s people went to war, the warrior stayed home. He saw Bathsheba bathing while walking around on the rooftop of the palace, and gave in to the lusts of the flesh. Upon his request, Bathsheba was brought to him, he slept with her, and she became pregnant with David’s child. David went to great lengths to organize the murder of Uriah (Bathsheba’s husband), as an attempt to cover up his error. And the worst part was that his general, Joab, knew about everything. This is why the King could never discipline the general in spite of his murderous streak, because Joab knew David’s darkest secret. From that day onwards, for the duration of David’s reign, Joab held David to ransom. Just like Joab held David’s secret over his head, so it is when you give in to the things you are not supposed to. The enemy will hold you to ransom and it is like he has free rein in your life because he knows your secrets.
David made one crucial mistake: he became casual with the Presence
Psalm 63 was written in the wilderness of Judah after David had gathered his men and fled from his son, Absalom. But the real reason why David ran away was because he failed to pursue the Presence. What he pursued (lust) drove him out of the kingdom. So David was roaming the wilderness with his officials, humiliated and guilt-ridden, and it was in that state that he remembered the Lover of his soul whom he had forsaken. David realized that he needed to go back to the principle of seeking Him, and being conscious of His presence.
David had a long walk with God, but he fell into a comfort zone. Many of us have fallen into our own comfort zones. Even something done with good intentions, like your times of prayer and seeking the Lord, can become a comfort zone. You can fall in love with your children or ministry without falling in love with God. You can seek God for many things, but you are not necessarily seeking Him for Him. Have you noticed that people pray more often when in trouble? Perhaps you do the same. So often when we’re in trouble, we pray for things instead of seeking Him.
When you fall into a comfort zone, God will allow situations to take you out of there. Absalom became a tool to lead David back to the wilderness. And this is the lesson: David was trained in the wilderness. He wrote Psalm 23 in the wilderness when he was completely alone, but when he became king he forgot the principles of the wilderness. Somebody had to drive him back into that place to recall the principles. In the wilderness, David remembered his God, saying: “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek You; I thirst for You, my whole being longs for You, in a dry and parched land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).
The wilderness is not necessarily a bad place when you are a God-seeker. There is just one problem: do not allow the wilderness to get into you! The wilderness is a set of circumstances orchestrated in such a way as to make you realise that there is no other help but God. It is a place where you say "I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from?" And you realise that your "help comes from the Lord [alone]" (Psalm 121:1-2). In your darkest hour, there is no rescuer but God. In the wilderness, He will become your friend, because you have no one to talk to, no one to listen to you, and no one to understand you but God Himself. It’s in the wilderness that you are trained to kill the bear and the lion.
The wilderness is not necessarily a bad place when you are a God-seeker. There is just one problem: do not allow the wilderness to get into you!
The problem is that many people allow the wilderness to get inside of them. The wilderness is a place of need. When you allow the wilderness to get into you, you are allowing your needs to control you instead of being controlled by God. The phrase often used in teachings is that the people came out of Egypt, but Egypt was still in them. The problem was not Egypt in them. The Israelites referred back to Egypt with longing because their situation in the wilderness was bad. The wilderness (difficult circumstances) had entered them. Unless you find yourself in the wilderness, you don’t have a reason to question anything. But the moment you question, you begin to lose your peace because you have allowed the wilderness (trouble) to enter you. You can run away from people, but not what is inside of you.
When the wilderness takes hold of a man, he becomes dry. The sign that the wilderness has entered you is when you perceive your physical surroundings and realities as bigger than the reality of the mighty presence of God. So the answer for the dry effect of the wilderness is rain. Rain breaks the wilderness season in your life. The Bible says, "Be glad…for He will cause the rain to come down for you – the former rain, and the latter rain (Joel 2:23, NKJV)". The rain of the Spirit will cancel the wilderness in you.
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul" (Psalm 23:1-3).
Consider that the former rain (first or early) is a destroyer. When a farmer sows the seed, and it is ready for the rain, the first rain causes the seed to decay, while the latter rain brings growth. If the seed casing doesn’t perish and crumble, the plant cannot grow. Likewise, the first touch of the Holy Ghost will cause death to self. You must die to self so that the latter rain can make you grow. The reason why you feel like you are dying is not because there is no rain; it is a sign of the former rain! If the seed does not die it will not grow to produce fruit. So allow the rain to kill the seed. When the seed crumbles away and dies, there is a mixture in the soil. If you dig where you planted your seed after the rain you won’t find the whole seed anymore, it will be mixed with the earth. You need to be lost in the Spirit to be found somewhere else.
You must die to self so that the latter rain can make you grow.
No mortal body can access the Presence – it must perish and get new life first. When we talk about accessing God’s Presence, we are talking about people wishing to die to self. But death is not an easy thing, it is painful. Remember that every baby coming into this world gives out a loud cry for two reasons:
1. The baby has been separated from the comforts of the womb (has become dead to the womb) and this is both a shocking and painful process. It is a form of death to self.
2. Also, the first breath of oxygen burns their lungs causing them to cry.
Babies are comfortable in the womb, and when they are born it is a shock to their system. Surely they wish to be back inside the warm safety of their mother’s womb where somebody eats and breaths for them, and they are protected from outside circumstances. When they are exposed to ‘the real world’ outside it is almost unbearable. Do you see the similarities? You feel the way you do because God has given birth to you: a brand new, living hope. By your new birth you have been separated from your comfort zone, and it is now time to breath on your own. If you don’t take that first breath, and keep breathing, you will die. Just like the crying infant who realizes the pains of being responsible for their own life. If only he could go back into the womb of the mother and be fully dependent on her for his every need.
You may be going through a wilderness season in your life, where you feel completely removed from your comfort zone and the circumstances are unbearable. But God leads you to the wilderness to train you. And at the right time, He causes the former and latter rain to fall on you so that you can access His presence. May God water you in the wilderness, because the answer to the wilderness is the rain.
May God water you in the wilderness, because the answer to the wilderness is the rain.