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Friday, February 8, 2008

Refreshing Rain - the Wilderness Experience

Paul Keith Davis says "For the Bride of Christ to be identified with the Bridegroom, she must also know something of the wilderness. The Holy Spirit has been alluring us into the wilderness so that He can speak tenderly to us and to the issues of our hearts. From this place we emerge with God's anointing and the power of His Spirit."

Noah did all that the Lord commanded . . . Noah went into the ark and the LORD shut him in . . . and the fountains of deep were broken up and the heavens opened . . . it rained for 40 days and 40 nights . . . And all the high hills that were under heaven were covered up . . . And all that was in dry land died . . . all of flesh wherein is the breath of life was no more. . . GENESIS Chapter 7

The Holy Spirit has illuminated the "wilderness experience" in the story of Noah and the ark as I read it last week. Here was Noah, who had found favor in the sight of God, for Noah walked with God. Yet the land that Noah lives in is filled with wickedness and God must bring a purging and cleansing rain to this dry land. So Noah is obedient to walk into the wilderness, the ark - a time and place of being stripped, refined, with no one or no where else to turn to but the Lord God Almighty. And the Lord shut him in the ark. The high hills in his life that he might want to run to when the rains come were covered up - the dry land incapable of producing fruit becomes saturated with living refreshing rain so it can overflow. The ark in your life - boundaries, isolation, for a time. All else is flooded - you feel like the fountains of the deep have been broken up and heavens opened and poured on you? You are in the place God brings you as you walk with Him in order that you can escape the evil around you . . . and then new life can spring forth.
I can think of a few things lately - my best friend is moving away in a few months, a nightly war with terrorizing fear in my daughter's life that went on for more than 40 days, prolonged sickness in my family's lives, dying to self , letting go (of circumstances, choices, schedules) and a holy spotlight on my every motive . . . just to name a few. Do you want to run to higher ground? Are there dry unfruitful places in your life? But do we dare step out of the ark - the protective covering hand of Almighty God, into the flood that will completely destroy us? Sometimes we think the enemy has brought something our way, but instead it is the Lord, refining and purfying His bride. Isaiah 54:16 says "Behold, I have created the blacksmith who blows the coals in the fire, who brings forth an instrument for his work."

And as Noah walks out of the ark when the flood had subsided, I'm sure he was a different man. One of whom you could say "Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved?" from Song of Solomon 8:5. Noah built an altar and made a sacrifice to the Lord - a pleasing aroma to the Lord. He gave Him praise for what he had just gone through. Deuteronomoy 8:2 says "Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness those years to humble you and test you in order to know what was in your heart." And Proverbs 17:3 says, "The refining pot is for silver, the fire for gold and the Lord tests the hearts."

So, this is my prayer. It is from the song "Bring the Rain" by MercyMe: Can circumstances possibly change who I forever am in You . . . My only shelter from the storm . . . so bring me joy, bring me peace, bring the change to be free, bring me anything that brings you glory. And I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain, but if that's what it takes to praise you . . . JESUS BRING THE RAIN . . . (Mercy Me song "Bring the Rain")

Surely when the flood of great waters of trial shall overflow, they shall not reach the spirit inside of him, for you are my hiding place, you preserve, you encompass with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:6



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