Oh, That You Would Rend The Heavens
Intro: “We have strayed…”
Isaiah 64 (NKJV) “Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence—2 As fire burns brushwood, As fire causes water to boil—To make Your name known to Your adversaries, That the nations may tremble at Your presence! 3 When You did awesome things for which we did not look, You came down, The mountains shook at Your presence. 4 For since the beginning of the world Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,Who acts for the one who waits for Him.”
REND VS RENT: Open vs shut; famine vs feasting; drought vs downpour.
God does the opening – you prepare the soil.
COME DOWN: There has to be a desperation. Thank God for desperate situations. Ask Him to come down.
A downpour nourishes, restores, replenishes, and revives – it makes alive. Example of seeds – dead and buried.
You may feel Dead and Buried, but don’t give up. “God, come down!”… must be the Desperate Cry of your heart.
But men, especially, are too proud to cry out to God. As a result, they never experience a Downpour.
I can’t imagine going through life with the heavens never opening. Sure, you’re a good Christian and you know the Bible – but you’ve never experience a mighty downpour.
Sure they live the Christian Life and do a few things, but it’s the difference between a farmer throwing down a few seeds on the ground and planting a bumper crop with 1000s of seeds.
Contrast – a little spring running ever so calmly versus a downpour that causes a dam to burst.
EVERYTHING SHAKES – “the mountains shook”: When a downpour hits, it disrupts everything – the soil, the landscape…our lives, our agendas…our relationship with God.
IT CONSUMES: As the brush is burned and the water boils, a downpour consumes, heats, and purifies.
IT STOPS THE ENEMY: “he trembles at God’s presence.”
“The weakest saint on his knees receiving God’s downpour is stronger than hell’s best soldier.”
Oh, that You would REND THE HEAVENS…our families, church, city, and nation need it.
THANKFULNESS REFRESHES: “You did awesome things.”
Bitterness, negativity, and a critical heart prevents a downpour. I’m going to ask you to let all that go this evening.
WAITING PREPARES THE SOIL FOR THE DOWNPOUR: “He acts for the one who waits for Him.”
Waiting has a cost ~ a downpour has a cost
The value of something determines its cost: Retirement, a PhD, the Olympics…
The Cost of the Cross – have you embraced it?
There is no Painless Pentecost: “I don’t want to WAIT in an upper room!”
“Life-giving preaching costs the preacher much—death to self, crucifixion to the world, and the travail of his own soul. Crucified preaching only can give life. Crucified preaching can come only from a crucified man” (E.M. Bounds).
Prepare the soil as you wait for the rain:
Break up the fallow ground – examine our hearts. Is the downpour about God’s glory, or are we striving for popularity, position, and power.
Remove excuses such as “I don’t need that…I don’t want to get carried away. I’m just not emotional. That’s not who I am.”
Pull out the root of bitterness: “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” (Galatians 5:15).
Sow in love: so many believers know the Bible and they are workers but they lack the fertile soil of love and compassion.
If you’re not loving, gentle, and compassionate, you have not received a downpour.
Do farmers gently work the soil? NO. I usually rent a 22,000 pound backhoe to tear it up.
We often think that a message like this is for immature or new believers; its not. Leonard Ravenhill wrote…
William Booth said, “I found that I ebbed and flowed until one day the Holy Ghost came in his fullness.”
The Salvation Army was a penniless organization that went into seventy countries in ninety years. Not seventy cities, but seventy countries! Men and women left their castles in England. Professors left their professions. Why? Because they could see that fire as clearly as Israel could see that pillar of fire at night. The Holy Ghost was there! DOWNPOUR!
Thou Christ, the burning cleansing flame, send the fire!
Thy blood-bought gift today we claim, send the fire!
Look down and see this waiting host
Give us the promised Holy Ghost
We want another Pentecost.
When Jesus comes He will baptize you “with Holy Ghost fire”…
How many can say like Jeremiah, “His word was in my heart like a burning fire, shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not” (20:9)?
In the words of Oswald Chambers before the Spirit came upon him, “God used me during those years…but I had no conscious communion with Him. The Bible was the dullest, most uninteresting book in existence…”
Then he writes a few years later, “If the four previous years had been hell on earth, these five years have truly been heaven on earth. Glory be to God, the last aching abyss of the human heart is filled to overflowing with the love of God.” HEAVEN WAS RENT.
Coming forward prepares the soil. Ask the listening audience to do something as well.
You’re admitting that you need more God.
You’re asking Him to Rend the heavens.
You’re turning from Pride and humbling yourself.
The irony is that I often see those who don’t necessarily need to come to the altar come, and those who desperately need to come do not.
Ask God to rend the heavens today…