Summary of sermon by Erlo Stegen, 12 Oct 2014
“11 When Solomon had finished the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the Lord and in his own palace,
12 the Lord appeared to him at night and said: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.
13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
These are marvelous words which God spoke after Solomon had finished building the Lord’s house. If a person has a question, we say, “What do you feel on your heart?” We do not dictate to person but rather we ask the person, “What does the Lord say you should do?” Then we check if it is in accordance with the bible. I remember an experience of a man at Kingscliffe. He didn’t want anything to do with the faith. When I spoke to him, he lost his temper with me and I thought I would leave him alone. Some people knew him and said that they would get converted if that man got converted. Then God worked. He said he had two wives and now that he had repented he didn’t know what to do. I said, “I am not God. I can’t tell you what to do. You must ask God what to do.” In Africa some men had harems 7-14 wives. The missionaries said to those who got converted that they must get rid of all their wives and children except the first one. So the women and the children landed up on the streets and they said that Christianity is harsh. I don’t want to condemn those missionaries. They did the best they could. But we don’t do it like that. We say, “Seek the Lord and see what He says.” The first marriage of the man who had two wives was arranged and he didn’t really love her. She had six sons. He told me that he then looked for a woman that he loved. She had two children. He asked me what he should do and I said he must go and ask the Lord. After a few days, I asked if the Lord had spoken to him. He said he had sinned by taking the second wife. The Lord said, “I had neglected my first wife and children.” In the Zulu tradition if a man is working some where else he sends the money to the first wife but the man didn’t do that, he sent it to the second wife. In Zulu tradition a man with a harem would spend time with all his wives. I pity those with harems. One wife can be a problem. Having five or ten multiplies the problem. They fight. When he comes home, there are complaints that he must sort out. The women are jealous of each other. I tell such men they must sort out their own problems. If you have a wife and you take another you have committed adultery. He said,” I have sinned greatly by neglecting the first wife and children. The Lord showed me I must love them equally. If I do send money, I will send to the oldest wife and she can divide it between the two of them.” Many people of that area saw this and marveled and wanted to get converted. Throw a person on the Lord Himself.
Solomon did much that the Lord put on his heart. It was a wonderful temple. Listen to what your Shepherd says.
Second point. When God spoke to Solomon He said, ” When I shut up the heavens and there is no rain or send pestilence, if My people will humble themselves and pray, I will forgive them.” In 1966 in the USSR there was a believer. He was arrested because he was a Christian. When I went there I also had to meet in a forest like the believers had to at that time. Many Christians didn’t want to be in the government endorsed church. They were put on a train to northern Siberia where it is dark for six months. Many Christians died in northern Siberia from the cold. They threw him off the train so that he would die. It was very cold there and you can freeze to death. He fell into a very deep sleep. The cold caused him to want to sleep which is dangerous. Your brain can be frozen. When he woke up he said, “What’s happening? I feel warm.” It was a bear from the forest. A bear is very dangerous. He found himself embraced by the bear. He said, “Lord, you have sent a ferocious animal to help me.” When he woke up, the bear also woke up. It ran off and returned with a packet. It had food and bread inside. He ate the bread that had butter and jam on it. He also gave some to the bear. What an amazing work of God! When Peter was crucified, he wanted to be crucified upside down. It is said that Peter spoke to his wife comforting her. Many Christians must die for their faith. Those burnt at the stake felt as if they were on a bed of roses. When the bear had eaten its half, it walked off and the man followed it. The bear led him to a certain person’s home. Then the bear left. The people in that home treated the man very well. That night they said they had a secret prayer meeting in the forest and he was delighted to go with them. One person spoke. “I don’t know brethren if I am not well. It is as if God is rebuking me and spiritually I am sick. While I was at work, I put my food down. A bear came and pinched my packet and ran off with it.” That Christian said, “God is not rebuking you. That bear brought me that packet of food.” They said, “God, you who close the mouth of a lion for Daniel can also close the mouth of a bear. Oh God, you who can do such wonderful things.”
Third point. It is marvelous if the Holy Spirit indwells you. Then there is peace and liberty. There is no freedom if the Holy Spirit isn’t there. God helped Solomon to build a spectacular house. If you want peace and joy do exactly what the Holy Spirit tells you to do.
Fourth point. God said, “When I close the heavens and there is no rain and there is pestilence…” When there are epidemics it is a terrible thing. If locusts come they can devour a whole crop. In June 1986, a black person came from Vryheid. He was a miner and said, “I want to tell you how I escaped death. There was an explosion and then a thick, dark cloud came. We lay flat but many died. That smoke was like fire. Many were in great pain. The cloud had made every one black. That day I said I would belong to God.” After a short time he forgot his promise. If you make a vow to God and forget it, you will meet up with problems. His wife left him with their little child for another man. He wanted to murder that man. Then he heard God speaking and say,” So-and-so didn’t you say you would surrender your life to Me and preach the gospel? That’s why you are meeting up with so many problems.” The court case with his wife came and she said she didn’t want to be with him because he didn’t want to go to a witchdoctor and the magistrate said that they could divorce.
God said, “If I close the heavens …” He can stop spiritual or literal rain. Read the word intensely. What does the Word say to you? “If I close the heavens…” He can stop spiritual blessing. God can send a pestilence. Look at people who lose their jobs. Think of men with wives and children and see how difficult it is. The politicians say people should share with those who don’t have. It is shocking how people ignore the poor. There is a lot that we can say. Locusts that can destroy all. In South Africa there was a locust epidemic and the government sent airplanes. There is sin that destroys everything like cows that go on to your land and eat all the grazing. Locusts can change their colour. It is first a kaki colour, and then red. 5/6 times it changes its colour. Finally, it is very red. Satan can come in very many shades or with disease. Think of the thousands that die, like in West Africa. God sees our hatred, bitterness and friction and parting of ways and our gossiping. Only one thing will help. Repentance and parting from these sins. Depart from your evil ways and then God will help you. In 1903, Evan Roberts experienced a great revival and preached to many hard miners. He had four points: 1. Are there any sins you have not confessed to the Lord? You need peace regarding your past life. 2. Let there be nothing doubtful in your life where you don’t know whether it is right or wrong. For example, should I dress like this or smoke or not. 3. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Obey the Holy Spirit. 4. Confess Jesus openly in public. If you want God to work, keep these four points.
Is there something you haven’t confessed. Is there anything doubtful in your life. Obey the Holy Spirit and don’t be ashamed of the Lord Jesus? Do these things, and you will succeed. Otherwise you won’t succeed.