Spiritual Dryness PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ps Jules   
Saturday, 02 March 2013 02:23

Spiritual Dryness

1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.  4The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.  6For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.(Psalm 1, King James Version)

In our communion with the Lord, in our spiritual journey, we find ourselves moving sometimes slowly towards a routine and feel as if we are alone in our journey. We experience stagnation, we move slowly and grow slowly – if ever we continue to grow if faith. Sometimes we wish we could go back to where we started with the Lord, when we loved Him and did everything for Him and through Him. We look back into our journey and we think in ourselves, O what a blessed intimacy we had with God! We seem to think that the best is gone. We then think of how to get the fresh air, the fresh spiritual fuel that can bring back our first love. This Psalm teaches us the very truth of spiritual life. Spiritual dryness is not reserved for some weak Christians and timid servants of the Lord. With this study, let us open our hearts to God to dig deep and take the steps necessary not to fall into spiritual dryness, and if ever we find ourselves in spiritual dryness, let us find comfort in the word of the Lord!

1. The trees:

There are in this first Psalm a description of trees and also the chaff. There are both in the Church: the trees and the chaff. Everywhere where the Word is preached, this means here, right now this afternoon, we are either one or the other: tree or chaff, tree planted by the rivers of water, planted now, planted for ever by the Holy Spirit, planted by the Father, planted for eternity as we are here, planted in the house of the Lord as this church is just a shadow on earth… or chaff… chaff deposited here just for a while waiting to be deported somewhere else.

Yes that is the difference between the tree and the chaff, the tree is planted and the chaff is deposited. The tree is fixed forever; he has chosen the place of his entire life there, near the rivers of water. He will always be there where he is. He has taken a position, a commitment with God. He is married to the ground where his roots are grounded and where he is nourished. His life is always near those rivers of water where as little grain he had his beginning. Moving from there is not a question for him, abandoning the place near the rivers of water to some other place is not even on his program.

Trials can come, suffering can shake him, and he will always be there as the old Job was in the faith, like all the righteous of all ages. Because the tree of Psalm 1 is all the righteous called by the Apostle Paul the saints, those just living from the Word of grace declaring them righteous, righteous for God who justifies them in Jesus-Christ, Who cleanses them and give them peace. He said, 27Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14: 27). I remember the story of a man who was the only one saved from a ship wreak washed ashore and made his habitation on an island. He did everything to live after that. He even built his shelter with the last of the material from the boat before it sank, and was waiting and praying to be rescued one day. After a while he became discouraged, and to make the matter worst his shelter burned up. Everything was burned. He did everything to save it. No way! He cried and began to question God. This is what oftentimes we do when we are caught in trials and tribulations. Why my God? Why me? What have I done to deserve this? Why?

When he was crying and questioning God he lifted his eye and saw… an unbelievable and incredible sight… a boat coming to him and he was rescued. The Captain told him then, “we saw your fire of distress from far away and we came to rescue you”. His burning shelter was a signal, a signal used by God to save him, a signal to show him that the promises of God are still true. A signal to tell him that He is God Who answers prayers. 2When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.    3For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior…    4Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.  5Fear not: for I am with thee” (Isaiah 43: 2-5).

The rivers of water, that Holy Spirit of Revelation 22 verses 1 through 5 that we read, are his strength. They feed him. He is committed to God’s promises. He doesn’t walk in the counsel of ungodly. He is faithful in his devotions; his life is a life of prayer. He knows why he is there by the rivers of water. He knows that “evil communications corrupt good manners, bad companions ruins character” (1 Corinthians 15: 33). He has decided to hide the Word of God in his heart not to sin against God” (Psalm 119: 11). He knows the Lord Whom he serves. God is his confidant. He doesn’t stand in the way of sinners. It is so easy to sin with sinners all around when we stand with them. We consider what they say, what they do, all of them, chaff. But the chaff is just deposited.

2. The chaff:

He came there near the rivers of water beside the tree by the wind. Just those people walking and moving the air carrying the chaff there, carrying it in the Church this evening, could create the wind. Because they move here and there carrying news, they carry gossips… they create mischief. They are always chatting on others, murmuring. When they are with you they try their best to be your friends by telling news about others. They never ask to pray for those people they are talking about. They are there for a moment. The next wind will carry them somewhere else to tell others about you too. As an example of how they deal if you are burdened by a sin – let’s say for the matter adultery - you have done and need to be counseled and helped in the way of the Lord, they will ask you “with whom have you committed adultery”. And you know what? That is the beginning of the next gossip…

The wind has brought him here. It could be the wind of evangelical education, the wind of tradition saying that they should go to church every Sunday. It could be the anxiety of life, worries, and troubles and so on as in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. The chaff is there ready to fly with the first wind and to go… who knows where? Inconsistent, fragile, light and superficial, where will the next wind carry you? On which abandon and denial will carry you the next wind? Any chaff finds one day the wind that will carry it. Every life in which the Name of the Lord is called finds one day the decisive test. For Lot it was the splendor of Sodom (Genesis 13: 10); for Samson it was the love of Delilah (Judges 16: 6); for Simon Peter it was the embarrassing questions of a servant on that night (Luke 22: 56-57).

When the trees are shaken by the wind… how would the chaff resist it? When the righteous, those wicked and now forgiven are sifted as wheat (Luke 22: 31) by the judgments of God, signs of His Judgment, how will the wicked men and women living in their wicked ways, in their profound incredulity of an existence without God could live? With thunderstorms or calm, the wind blows. In the violence of the persecution, in the subtlety of doctrines or false promises of the world offer to all convert, the judgment is passing. The tree is still there because the ground holds it. But the chaff flies away until becoming the food of some idols or some demons.

The ungodly are the reverse of the righteous, both in character and condition. The ungodly are not so, (verse 4); they are led by the counsel of the wicked, in the way of sinners, to the seat of the scornful; they have no delight in the law of God; they bring forth no fruit but what is evil. The righteous are like useful, fruitful trees, the ungodly are like the chaff which the wind drives away, the dust which the owner of the floor desires to have driven away, as not being of any use. They are of no worth in God's account, how highly so ever they may value themselves. They are easily driven to and fro by every wind of temptation. The chaff may be, for a while, among the wheat, but He is coming, whose fan is in his hand, and who will thoroughly purge his floor. Those that, by their own sin and folly, make themselves as chaff, will be found so before the whirlwind and fire of Divine wrath. The doom of the ungodly is fixed, but whenever the sinner becomes sensible of this guilt and misery, he may be admitted into the company of the righteous by Christ the living way, and become in Christ a new creature (2 Corinthians 5: 17). He has new desires, new pleasures, hopes, fears, sorrows, companions, and employments. His thoughts, words, and actions are changed. He enters on a new state, and bears a new character. Behold, all things are become new by Divine grace, which changes his soul into the image of the Redeemer. How different the character and end of the ungodly!

3. The danger for the trees:

Tree or chaff… The danger for the chaff is the wind but the tree has his danger too. Faith is also in danger. The danger is everywhere. And the danger of the tree is the dryness. The dry. Dry piety and dry zeal. Becoming dry. Being there where you were planted, having the same function in the church, being there before every body, professing the same faith every day but being dry. All the questions are still in you. Your reading of the living Word of God is empty. Your devotions are empty. Your prayer lacks substance and you feel that you don’t have anything to say to God. He seems too far and He doesn’t listen any more. You start thinking that God is slow to answer or even that He doesn’t answer at all.

Being dry with the living faith of the beginning where you were burning of zeal and love for God; being dry with that same faith which became just a system of dry truths, a routine of life. We know that Jesus is alive but He is just like a mommy for us now… A dry tree is still there but it doesn’t bear any fruit. It is frightening. We have to fear it because it is the danger for all of us. Our family is dry. Our marriage is dry and our love is dry, no creativity any more. The “for the best and for the worst” is now “the best for me the worst for you”. We don’t say the “I love you” of the beginning. No more compliments. Our way out is singleness again… We are compromised. We are following the world in its evolution. We don’t take care of the education of our children because of the so-called conflict of generations. We are not engaged in our faith any more. The battle is lost already. We refuse to fight. How would we live if we want to follow the rules of the Lord in this world? Dry faith… dry commitment… and dry life. “9The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Luke 3: 9).

Conclusion:

This is what happens here and there. It is a spiritual catastrophe. The Bible calls it death. For this reason the first Psalm provides an answer to prevent this danger: “Blessed is the man whose delight is in the Law of the Lord (that is the Word of God). He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season.” The life of that tree is a miracle, a miracle of the stream of water. That water is the Holy Spirit coming from the throne of God and flowing in the children of God. The Word of God in our life does the miracle. 8This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Joshua 1: 8).

A pastor was invited to minister in an old church in a certain region of this Country. Before starting his tenure there he decided to get acquainted with the people he will be serving by the grace of God. So he started going around and visiting his new parishioners. He went to an old lady who had been there for so long. When talking to her he asked her if she was a Christian, if she was born again. She answered “no”, and then she added “for the past 50 years that she has been in that church no pastor has ever asked her that question”. To be the tree we need to be born again, to respond to God’s grace in Jesus Christ by opening our heart to His mercy, His forgiveness and His grace. John 1: 12 says, 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”.

Tree or chaff… All of us here this afternoon by the rivers of water, all light chaff, sinners with a hardened heart to the love of God, let us be born again to the tree we are to be by the Hands of the Lord, by these Hands called the Holy spirit that we shall live and bear fruit, the fruit of love in Jesus. Amen.

(Inspired by a sermon by an old French preacher, Rev. Theo Riebel in the Trumpet of Jericho)

Rev. Jules Ngangmeni

 
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