Elijah approached all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people of Israel did not answer him so much as a word.
~1 Kings 18:21
In the 9th century B.C.E., when drought covered the land of Israel, a weak King Ahab and a wicked Queen Jezebel ruled. The prophet Elijah was moved to confront Israel's double-minded prophets on Mount Carmel, asking them to make a decision. Their decision was not about what to have for breakfast that morning, but whether they wanted to eat at all in the future!
Like Joshua before him, Elijah spoke of the need to choose whom they would serve - and to choose wisely! Under Torah laws, to choose idolatry would mean a death sentence.
God's challenge to the New Testament Church is the same. Revival tarries when, like the church in Thyatira, the Bride of Christ tolerates Jezebel: compromising herself with sin and yielding her flesh to moves of religious spirits instead of the movements of the Spirit of God. Throughout the Bible, the message is the same: it's Jesus plus nothing!
Today, a narrow window of time remains for the Body of Christ to determine where she stands. If God is God, it is time to stand for righteousness and truth.
If the dead works of religion, compromise, and control are more appealing, then I believe we will miss the pure revival fires of the Lord, who still desires to be Head of His church. The overcomers who hold fast to Jesus in these end times comprise a remnant-Bride who will ultimately receive authority over the nations. (Revelation 2:18-29.)
ELIJAH BUILDS AN ALTAR
After giving the false prophets time to prove their point and summon their (nonexistent) gods, Elijah demonstrates, rather than teaches, how to summon the Living God who answers by fire.
For all their raving, dancing, and prophesying, Jezebel's followers cannot initiate a move of God! In a dramatic and even unified effort which includes 12 hours straight of prayer and worship, these self-appointed prophets cannot create fire; "...there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention." (1 Kings 18:26)
Elijah summons the people to him and begins to build an authentic foundation for the altar of God. Noting in prayer that it is at God's word that he builds, Elijah takes 12 stones, one for each of Israel's tribes, rebuilds the altar "in His Name," lays out the sacrifice, and begins to pour pitchers of water on something that he hopes will burn.
This is an unthinkable, foolish way to create a fiery "move" of God! No one lights a match and expects soaked wood to burn!
But it works.
Fire, which usually burns upward, descends downward from heaven and consumes not only the sacrifice, but the wood, the stones, the dust, and even the water in the trench! Truly God has done "exceeding abundantly more" than Elijah could have thought or imagined! (Ephesians 3:20)
As one commentator writes, God is not interested in "divided devotion." Like an unfaithful spouse, 9th century Israel wanted to keep both their marriage partner and their illicit lover! The Lord has a legitimate claim to the exclusive devotion of His Bride. He will not tolerate lukewarmness any more than He will tolerate Jezebel. (Revelation 2:4 & 2:20.)
Preacher Charles H. Spurgeon put it this way in the 1800's: "How many more dead sermons do you want? How much more drought? How much more sickness? How many more graves for your families? The people of God lacked the courage to answer Elijah, just as many people today lack the courage to either defend their position or to change their minds."**
Sadly, Spurgeon's words are still true.
THIS IS A TEST!
Just as Elijah tested the false prophets at Mount Carmel, so I believe the Body of Christ is being tested right now. The Lord is interested to see whether we will continue to build on altars of human desires, emotions, and flesh rather than on the sure foundation of Jesus Christ. Elijah's test was sponsored and initiated by the the Holy Spirit, not from a soulish need for self-justification or self-promotion.
In a vision this morning, I saw the throne of God, where flashing lightnings were being combined and then released in explosive power that was given to believers positioned before Him in prayer. I heard the Father ROARING over His people like a lion; it was a roar of justice and love and such a passionate desire to see His children return to Him and experience ALL that He is! Yes, He is a jealous God! His commands are not burdensome; His desire is always to bless and increase us as we come to Him. But we must come! Fully come!
The next glory-moves of God will come as a result of the "power that works in us" by the Holy Spirit, not by any works of the flesh! To build according to what we want, the needs we have, or anything other than the foundation that God is now laying for His church is to plan to fail.
It's Jesus plus nothing. And that, dear friends, is everything!
*David Guzik; Enduring Word Commentary on 1 Kings; www.EnduringWord.com
**Spurgeon.org Library of Sermons
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.