1 Kings 18:37-38 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back." (38) Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
Although the prophets of Baal "raved all afternoon," no one answered them. Their god was silent because it was not real. The gods we may be tempted to follow are not idols of wood or stone, but they are just as false and dangerous because they cause us to depend on something other than God. Power, status, appearance, or material possessions can become our gods if we devote our lives to them. But when we reach times of crisis and desperately call out to these gods, there will only be silence. They can offer no true answers, no guidance, and no wisdom.
Using 12 stones to build the altar took courage. This would have angered some of the people because it was a silent reminder of the split between the tribes. While the 10 tribes of the north called themselves Israel, this name originally was given to all 12 of the tribes together.
God flashed fire from heaven for Elijah. He will also help us accomplish what he commands us to do. The proof may not be as dramatic in our lives as in Elijah's, but God will make resources available to us in creative ways to accomplish his purposes. He will give us the wisdom to raise a family, the courage to take a stand for truth, or the means to provide help for someone in need. Like Elijah, we can have faith that whatever God commands us to do, he will provide what we need to carry it through.
The name Elijah literally means, "My God is Jehovah!" So Elijah shows up in our text as an obscure prophet whose very name declares to these backslidden Israelites that they were serving other gods beside the One True God. My heart has been so full the past few days as the truth of "Elijah" has been peculating in my spirit, in the "crock pot" of my mind! I want to declare "Elijah" every time I am tempted to bow at the feet of Baal. Who is baal? As simple as I can declare it, he is the god of sensuality, doing whatever feels good and right at that moment. The god of pleasure. Our flesh tempts us several times a day to bow to "baal" but the Spirit of God wants to declare through us, "Elijah! My God is Jehovah!" Every time we make that declaration, in the midst of an ungodly culture, we are dying to our flesh and choosing to walk in the Spirit.
Elijah had spoken for God and declared that there would not be rain or dew on the earth because of the worship of baal. So it had been over three years since it had rained. The Israelites were desperate for physical rain to fall. My friends, I am desperate for spiritual rain...a raining of God's Spirit. However, there are few things that really minister to me from Elijah's story in 1 Kings 18. Things that we must take note of IF we desire a fresh rain:
#1 The worship of baal had to stop. Rain would never come until they began to worship Jehovah, and stopped bowing to Baal.
#2 After baal worshipers desperately tried to get a dead gods attention, and failed, Elijah REPAIRED the altar. The Hebrew word for repair here is "rapha" which means healing. He had to bring healing to the altar. If we want to see a rain of God's Spirit, we must repair our altar. Our family altar, personal altar, church altar! We MUST cry out to Jehovah God in prayer.
#3 He then placed a sacrifice on the altar. The sacrifice that we need to put on the altar is ourself. Romans 12:1 tells us that we are a "living sacrifice". The problem with a living sacrifice is that we can crawl off the offering whenever we want to. I want to stay on the altar and allow God to purify me.
#4 After a simple prayer, the fire of God fell. Fire signifies purity. The fire of God will burn away ME if I stay on the altar. I need God to burn away the selfishness, pride, anger, lack of dependence on God...burn away ME so I will DECREASE so Jesus can INCREASE in me.
#5 Then the rain fell, for the first time in years. We love to talk about the rain of God's Spirit, but the fire of purity must be allowed to fall upon our life before the rain saturates us. The rain is much more enjoyable than the fire. Fire isn't comfortable as we confess, repent, admit we have been wrong. These things MUST happen BEFORE we experience the rain!
So, daily I want to declare "Elijah! My God is Jehovah." When faced with temptation..."Elijah!" When I feel alone..."Elijah!" When I am depressed, discouraged, mad, frustrated, helpless, at the end of my rope...declare "Elijah!"
"Lord, thank You for this Word today. I desperately crave a rain of Your Spirit in my life, but there are some things that I must do before that will happen in my life. I need to stop bowing to baal. I need to die to my flesh who tries to lead me to the feet of baal. I need to repair the altar in my life. It is so easy to just go through the motions in my devotional life. I want my daily time with You to be life changing, every single day. I want to crawl upon the altar, and stay there as Your Fire burns ME away so that Jesus can INCREASE in me. Burn purity into my life Lord. Then, Your rain will fall in my life. I declare today...ELIJAH! My God is Jehovah!" In Jesus name, amen!"