In addition to wars and societal chaos predicted for the last days, the Bible also predicts great Spiritual activity at the time of the end--an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh and the world-wide preaching of the gospel (see Matt. 24:14 & Acts 2:17). This blog is dedicated to encouraging Christians around the world to pray and believe for a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit on their land and in their churches.
Friday, May 8, 2020
GOD'S FAITHFULNESS IN TIMES OF ECONOMIC DISTRESS
The blameless spend their days under the LORD'S care . . . In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will have plenty.
The coronavirus continues to take thousands of lives but there is, perhaps, an even more deadly scourge that is now plaguing our land--"hopelessness."
Because of the shutdown of the economy and the ensuing loss of millions of jobs, suicides, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and domestic violence are all on the rise. The stress of being without income and unable to pay the bills is putting many thousands over the edge.
Many find themselves ensnared in pits of despair and hopelessness with seemingly no way out. CBS News recently reported a study that estimated that 75,000 Americans will die of what they called “deaths of despair.”
Sue and I believe that God showed us in 2001 that there will be a collapse of the world economy. I do not believe that this downturn is the fulfillment of that vision, but that is not the point here. At that time God showed us that out of the rubble of economic collapse, His providential provision would arise for His people, and that is my point in this article.
This providential provision and blessing I call “the opening of the windows of heaven.” Many years ago, God spoke to me with great clarity about this “opening of the windows of heaven” and it has been an incredible source of hope and strength ever since.
God Gives Me a Promise
In 1976 I was reading a small book entitled The Authority of the Believer. Within the book was a quotation of Malachi 3:10, which includes the promise from God that He will open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.
The phrase open for you the windows of heaven burned in my soul. I went to bed that night and it seemed as though I could actually “feel” that word in my soul in the same way food just eaten could be felt in the stomach. It was a very real experience.
I arose the next morning and began my devotional time in which I was reading through the Bible. However, I immediately sensed my heart beginning to burn with that phrase I will open for you the windows of heaven. I paused to consider whether I should continue with my devotions as usual or should I give attention to this burning in my soul.
As I pondered this question, I glanced down at my Bible which was lying open on the floor. It had fallen open to 2 Kings Chapter 7 and the first words I saw were windows in heaven. I was astounded for I did know there was another place in the Bible that spoke of the windows of heaven. This was incredible and I knew that God was speaking.
God Uses Four Poor Lepers
I continued to read and found that this was the account of God’s supernatural deliverance of a city of Samaria that was besieged by the king of Syria and his powerful army. They had cut off all escape routes and blocked any food or other supplies going into the city. There was a complete economic collapse. It was so bad some in the city were turning to cannibalism.
In the midst of this desperate and impossible situation, Elisha the prophet (who was inside the city) made an incredible prophecy. He predicted that the very next day food would be sold at ridiculously low prices because of the abundance.
An officer of the king of Israel (who resided in this city), heard Elisha’s prophecy and scoffed. Look, he said, If the Lord could make windows in heaven, could this thing be (I Kings 7:2)? Elisha replied that he would see it but would not eat or partake of it.
That same night four leprous, homeless men who lived outside the city gates decided that it was time to take radical action. They said to one another, Why are we sitting here until we die? They reasoned that if they went into the city they would die of starvation. They would also die if they remained in their present position. Why not go out to the camp of the enemy, they reasoned. The worst that can happen to us is that we will die. But if we sit here, we are going to die anyway.
So, they began walking toward the enemy camp. As they marched forth, God caused the Syrian army to hear a sound of a large army marching toward them. They concluded that the king of Israel had hired the Egyptian army, and they ran in terror, leaving everything behind
The Windows of Heaven are Opened
The four lepers reached the camp and found food, clothes, gold, and silver in abundance. They enjoyed a sumptuous meal and then they took gold and silver out and buried it. Then they went back to the city and informed the watchman on the wall of what they had discovered. The watchman informed the king and the king sent several men to check it out. It was as the leprous men had said. The Syrian army had fled leaving behind a massive storehouse of supplies.
As morning dawned and word spread that food was being sold at the gates of the city, there was a mad rush by a lot of hungry people. The officer of the king who had scoffed at the prophecy of Elisha was put in charge of the gate where the food was being sold.
As the crowd rushed forward, he was trampled and died. The prophecy of Elisha was fulfilled in that he saw the widows of heaven opened but he did not eat or partake of the miracle.
God’s Sudden, Supernatural, Abundant Provision
Out of this experience theopening the windows of heaven came to mean to me “God’s sudden, supernatural, abundant provision.” It is God breaking through from above into our present situation. It is God bringing about effects for which there is no human cause or explanation.
In the natural world there is the scientific law of cause and effect which says that for every effect there is a cause. This is a human attempt to explain, on a horizontal plane, why things happen. We work forty hours per week in order to get a paycheck. We toil for hours digging, planting, weeding, and watering and the effect is a beautiful garden. Sometimes it seems that nothing happens unless we do something to cause it to happen.
But when God opens the windows of heaven, He brings about effects for which there is no human cause or explanation. He breaks into our lives from above and produces effects that we have not caused. He provides in a way that is sudden, supernatural, and abundant.
God Confirms His Word
As I pondered all of this that morning, I seemed to hear in my spirit, “I am going to open the windows of heaven on you and on everyone who supports you in what I have called you to do.”
About two years after this, Sue and I were sitting around our kitchen table with several other people, including a white-haired, eighty-year old woman who was a long-time prayer warrior. As we lifted out hearts in prayer, this dear old saint, arose from her chair, came around the table, laid her hands on my head, and began to pray. After our time of prayer had ended, she said, “The Lord told me to lay my hands on you and pray, and when I did, I saw two doors/windows open over your head.” I excitedly replied, “Praise the Lord! He told me he would open the windows of heaven on me.”
As Sue and I have, for many years, sought to walk out God’s plan for our lives with integrity and a daily dependence on Him, we have seen Him fulfill His promise and open the windows of heaven in ways we could never have imagined. Out of our walk with Him certain principles have emerged that I will here share with you. They are, I believe, keys to seeing God open the windows of heaven in your life.
1)Always see God as your source.
Your job is not your source. Your government pension is not your source. These are channels that God uses to provide for you. God has many channels that He can use, but you must always see Him as your One and only Source.
2)Ground yourself in God’s promises.
Before we married, the Holy Spirit brought three promises to Sue’s mind that would characterize our lives together. All three are wonderful promises of God’s provision; Psalm 34:10, Psalm 84:11, and Philippians 4:19. Memorize these and other promises of provision and meditate on them every day until they are a part of your life.
3)Nurture an attitude of generosity.
I am not talking about a “give to get” religious legalism that often comes through in Christian fundraisers and telethons. I am talking about a heart attitude that wants to bless others and help those in need. There are many promises in Scripture related to the generous and those who give out of a pure heart. Jesus said, Give and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken down, and running over will be put into your bosom (Luke 6:26).
4)Listen for God’s wisdom.
God’s provision often comes to us, but it will sometimes come through us. In other words, there are times that we will have to take certain actions to set in motion the miracle that is needed. Wisdom is defined as “the correct application of knowledge” and God wisdom working through you will bring blessing and favor into your life.
5)Be the best you can be—diligence.
One thing that impressed me about John D. Rockefeller was that in his autobiography he tells about when, as a young man looking for his first job, he decided that he would put in eight hours per day looking for a job until he found one. This is known as “diligence.” At a significant time in our lives, God said to Sue and me, “Be the best you can be.” That is diligence. Proverbs 22:29 says, Do you see a man (or woman) who excels (is diligent) in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men.
Will God still open the windows of heaven? Will He do it for me? Absolutely! One of His Old Testament covenant names is Yahweh Jireh, which literally means the “The LORD will see and provide.” As we take Him as our Source and Provider, we will see Him open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings in ways we could never have imagined. We will not live in fear about the economy. As it says in Psalm 37:19 of those who trust in the LORD, In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.
Dr. Eddie Hyatt is the co-founder and president of Hyatt Int'l Ministries with a vision to see the church transformed and the world impacted by Biblical Reformation and Spiritual Awakening. His books are available from Amazon and his website at www.eddiehyatt.com. His latest book, 1726: The Year that Defined America, documents the impact of the First Great Awakening on the founding of the United States and the ending of slavery on the American continent.