I think this chapter is one of the major high points of Scripture. It sure is one of the funniest. Don't tell me God does not have a sense of humor. V. 27, Elijah mocked them...
V. 1, And it came to pass... Elijah had been through the 3 ½ years school of hard knocks. He is now ready to face Ahab, Jezebel and the false preachers. It will come to pass if we stand true to the Lord. There will be Ahabs to face. Will we have learned our lessons well? The Lord will not make us confront his 850 false prophets until he has prepared us for the task. (1 Corinthians 10:13.) There is a chapter 17, wilderness, dried up brooks, refining furnace, widow, for all of us to go through before we can confront Ahab.
Vv. 2-4, Now Obadiah feared the LORD greatly. (Obadiah, servant of the Lord.) Of all places to find a man who feared the LORD greatly, it was in Ahab and Jezebel's household. You would expect to find him at Cherith or Zarepath, or even at the widow's house, but in Ahab's house!! It was the very center of the official idolatry as Ahab was killing all of the Lord's prophets at his wife's command. In the hotbed of corruption, immorality, idolatry, was a man who feared the LORD greatly.
No matter how wicked the times are:
1. God will have his people in high places, even in Caesar's household, or his closest cabinet. (Philippians 4:22.)
2. The conditions around us are no excuse not to serve the
Daniel became the chief adviser because he would not compromise.
The wicked may do wickedly, but they still like to have the godly in authority under them. They do not have to worry about ungodly ambitions on the godly's part. They do not have to sleep with one eye open at night to protect their head. Obadiah, which was his governor, v. 3. He was ruler of his house, serving his master faithfully.
3. The circumstances may be difficult, but his grace is sufficient. (1 Corinthians 10:13.)
Monasticism, the life of a monk or nun, has never been God's way of influencing society, other than a training ground of chapter 17. The area from which the Christian withdraws himself, he turns over to the pagan powers of this world. God's method of preserving is for the Christian to stay involved, and stand for Christ, with very few exceptions that is, where involvement violates Scripture.
Our marching orders are to go, fight win, not to wait, flee, hide.
4. Obadiah feared the Lord more than he feared the wicked, Ahab and Jezebel. This kind of fear will stand for God anywhere. This is the fear we must instil into our families.
Vv. 5, 6, 10. The hardness of sin. 3 ½ years without rain, and Ahab spends his time looking for Elijah and grass for his livestock. Ahab should have been looking for sin in his life to make right with the Lord. He should have been looking for the reason for the drought in his life.
I knew a young man whose life dried up. He was about to crack under the pressure, but instead of looking within for the cause of the drought, he is out looking for greener pastures where he can keep his family alive. The drought is not the problem, only the result of the problem. The problem is looking, seeking means of support other than the proper personal fellowship with the Lord. He would not give God a chance to show himself strong.
Obadiah worried about keeping God's men alive.
Ahab worried about keeping horses and mules alive.
Is this not typical of men today? Drought of God's word, especially from the pulpit, makes men more concerned over animals than they are over the unborn.
The 3 ½ year drought did not make Obadiah what he was, nor did it make Ahab what he was. The drought only brought out what they were.
One showed a genuine interest for the cause of Christ.
One showed a genuine interest in horses and mules, the things of this word.
V. 12, Obadian feared the LORD from his youth.
Ahab served himself from his youth. The drought only exposed his heart.
The spirit... shall carry thee... He knew the power of God, and this is just what the Spirit of the Lord did later with Elijah as he went to be with the Lord.
"If we have faith, there will be no drought" is a misstatement. What are we doing to do when it comes? Search for greener pastures, or seek to serve the Lord more? Will it send us far and wide trying to protect material possessions, or will it send us closer to the Lord?
Ahab blamed Elijah, v. 17, for the mess. Ahab's own wickedness brought about the mess.
We can blame everyone we want for the droughts in our lives, but it boils down to only one thing a call for us to make a choice. Who are we going to serve? Where are we going to look for the rain? Will it draw us closer to the Lord, or will we allow it to drive us further form him? It will do one or the other, Obadiah or Ahab?
Both Obadiah and Ahab lived in the same house; both heard the same message; both faced the same drought and death; one looked out for God's men in their time of distress; one looked out for his livestock. Ahab's nature says, "Prosper by hoarding." Obadiah's nature says "Prosper by giving." The drought will reveal which nature is in control.
The drought was a call for Ahab to search his own heart.
The same drought was a chance for God to show himself strong and able to Obadiah.
Which one are when the droughts come? They will come, and will either draw us closer to the Lord or drive us (v. 10) into every nation trying to find an answer for it outside of ourselves.
One more point here:
Obadiah was satisfied and content with where God had him. It sure was not the best place in the world for a Christian to be. WE need to learn to be content, happy in whatever state we find ourselves. Do our best, and leave the results up to the Lord. He can change our state' if he so desires.
One of the best illustrations is found in Genesis 24:27. Abraham's servant looked for a wife for Isaac, saying, "I being in the way, the Lord led me..." This is a beautiful statement. He was just doing the best he could with the task assigned to him, and the Lord led him to where he, the Lord, wanted him to be. Ruth is also a good example of just doing what we must do, and letting the Lord take care of the details.
To many times, Christians feel like God's leading is some uncontrollable urge to turn this way or that, maybe even 180o. Most of the time God's leading is not at all like that. His leading is in the small, every day decisions we must make as we go through life. Too many of us expect the Lord to direct our steps as he did Elijah, And the word of the Lord came..., but far more often, it is I being in the way, the Lord led me...
Vv. 7, 8, Go tell Ahab... The moment of truth arives, and it will. Either here on this earth, or before the King of kings and Lord of lords. This is the moment God spent 3 ½ years preparing Elijah for, and the moment Ahab has dreaded.
Obviously, Obadiah was fearful that Elijah would not show up as promised, and it would be Obadiah's head.
V. 16, Ahab went to meet Elijah. Even though Ahab speaks first (v. 17), accusing Elijah, Ahab still went to Elijah. A prophet, or preacher of God's truth, is the most important office there is above all the kings of the earth.
V. 17, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? The world blames their problems on God's people: "If we could only get rid of commited Christians, all would be well. We must get their dogmatic laws away from us. Let us break their bands and cords." (Psalms 2.)
1. We confront their sins, and call them sinners. Without the law, there is no knowledge of sin and God's holiness, so let us do away with God's law. Then everyone can do what is right in his own eyes.
2. Because we call their sin to their attention, they think we are the ones in the wrong, for without our firm standard, they would be all right.
3. They believe if they can do away with Christians, they will do away with God's laws that condemn them. Therefore, they must remove the Christians, which they see as they source of their sins. Their god says that for them to be sinless', they must remove Christianity. Our God says that for us to be sinless', we must cry against their sins.
The ungodly cannot separate, nor do they want to, the message from the messengers; godly Christians must be controlled in order to control the message more to their liking. When we speak against their sin, they think we are speaking against them personally. 1 Kings 22:8. See 2 Kings 6:31 also.
I must admit, it is difficult to take a hard stand against sin and false doctrine without lowering ourselves to name calling and personal attacks.
Doug Wilson's "Reformed is not Enough" is a book filled with false doctrine, which leads back to Rome. There are men standing against what he has put forth in that book who justly speak against the false doctrine, but they also rail so badly against Wilson that the truth they speak against the false Roman doctrine is overshadowed by their personal attacks against Wilson.
We like to blame everyone else for the results of our sin, but Elijah (the word of God) won't let us. There are only two reasons for droughtswith Elijah, it was to teach him dependance on the Lord.; with Ahab, it was dealing with sin. How can we tell which is which? God's word!
The cry of the wicked against the godly is always the same:
1. They have turned the world upside down, Acts 17:6, 8.
2. They exceedingly trouble our city, Acts 16:20.
3. The Lord was accused of sedition.
4. The first Christians were called enemies of the human race.
Ahab has not changed his accusations today. A man that will live godly today, as Elijah did in his day, will still face persecution as an enemy of society.
"The lamb must have fouled the stream, whichever way it flows."
V. 18, note Elijah's response: Thou are the troubler of Israel."
Proverbs 28:1 The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
The world says, "If it wasn't for Christianity, we would
The truth is that the actions of the ungodly make oppressive policies and armies necessary.
Ahab's followers make high taxes a necessity as they line their pockets with the profits of ungodly activities.
Ahab's followers are the ones who brake up homes with their drunkenness, illicit drugs and other means of self-destruction. They love death: But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death. Proverbs 8:36.
Notice here also: forsaken...the Lord,... followed Baalim. We will serve one or the other. Anytime we forsake the commands of the Lord, we serve Baal, the god of this world. (He could be education, intelligence, reasoning, money, any thing that is contrary to trusting in the Lord God, Proverbs 3:5, &c.) I like the translation of Baalim The lord of the flies.
We do not have to be sold out' completely as was Ahab, but we can be a little sold out' at a time. I like the challange Elijah makes in v. 21, Make up your mind. Serve one or the other.
(V. 22, I only remain... See my notes on a message here on the smaller paper.)
V. 19, Now therefore... Do this, Elijah says. Get all 850 together at Mt Carmel. Elijah is telling the king what to do. Looks like Ahab was all bluff without his wife, Jezebel, around. (Looking forward to the vineyard Elijah pouted; Jezebel acted.)
Carmel Elijah probably chose this spot because it was within 20 miles of Jezebel's palace in Jezreel, and the fire would be easily seen by her. Ths spot raised about 1000 ft in a natural platform above the surrounding plane. It was a perfect location that could be seen by everyone. (Prepared by God in the beginning.)
Of course, Ahab had just experienced 3 ½ years without rain at Elijah's word. Where he probably considered Elijah a wild man 3 ½ years ago, he has certainly changed his mind now While God matured Elijah, he was also preparing Ahab. God has a way of working on both ends. While preparing Elijah at the dried up brook and the furnace to meet Ahab here, he also prepared Ahab to listen to Elijah. When God's time is right, he will have both ends prepared.
V. 20, So Ahab did what Elijah told him to do. The man of God
stood his ground, and the wicked king fled before him.
Baal or God; serve the world, or serve God.
This is one of the greatest passages in Scripture to me. There is more here than I will even attempt to cover, so I will deal with only a few high points.
Remember, Jeroboam's sin started all of the issue being confronted here by Elisha. Jeroboam built the calves, and said, "These be thy gods O Israel." You can worship the Lord God just as well here as at God's authorized place, Jerusalem." Jeroboam did not say the Lord was not God, nor that there was any other god equal to the Lord God. He simply said, "You can worship him just as well here in our way before the calves as you can there. The right way, though it is not far to go to Jerusalem, is too difficult. I am thinking of your good, so I am making it easier for you."
As I pointed out in Chapter 12, the calves were not an offer of other gods; rather, they were offers of a better way to serve the Lord God. However, when we refuse to worship the Lord God in the manner prescribed by him, then we do worship other gods. Aaron offered Israel another way to worship the Lord God, and he did it under the calf. Exodus 32.
The people followed Jeroboam's heresy until Ahab. At this time, Jezebel introduced Ball with "Baal is equal in power. He too is lord and god over nature, and he is the source of life. This is not to say that the Lord God Jehovah is not, but Baal is equal to the Lord Jehovah.
Now, Jeroboam did not do this. He said that the Lord Jehovah was the only God, but he can be worshiped in the most convenient way. Ahab and Jezebel said thee is another god of equal power, Baal.
V. 21, How long halt ye between to opinions? You cannot serve the two: If the Lord (Jehovah) be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. Both the Lord and Baal had been placed on the same level by Ahab, and both had been attributed with the same power.
Now, if this is not a context between Christianity and the world, what is? Humanism wasn't introduced as equal in power, but as an easier way to worship the Lord God. It has gained popularity to where humanism is elevated to equal power with the Lord God. "You can believe in that outmoded, old fashion Jehovah God if you like, but modern man, men of intelligence, realize that Humanism is the answer." (Humanism reasoning our way through life by our own abilities.)
God's people are trying desperately to serve both. They look to the Lord God to get them to heaven, but to humanism to see them through their daily life. See the first thing Elijah had to do as he called Israel back to God. He did not jump into this project' unprepared, but spent 3 ½ years learning complete dependance upon Israel's God. We want to have chapter 18 in our lives without having to go through chapter 17.
First. The people had to see that Baal was powerless before Jehovah God.
The devil is a liar and the father of lies. He has convinced people that the way of their own hearts ("this is the way I feel it should be) is just as good as God's way. It is only under the power of God that they can see that Baal is nothing but a piece of wood stuffed with a lie. Satan has poisoned their minds.
Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Ephesians 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Christian's eyes need to be opened to see the powerlessness of the things of this world, and that Christ is even now seated on the right hand of the Father in the place of all power and authority. Christ alone determines everything that takes place here on this earth. Where is our boldness that we are serving the King of kings who even now sits on the throne of David?
2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
The unsaved need to see the powerlessness of Baal, which only the Spirit can reveal to them. Those in the grip of the Baals of this world require the same power as Elijah had to have their eyes opened to the power of God. Only the Spirit of God can break the power of the false gods of this world, and reveal the truth of the Son.
Keep in mind James 5:16-18:
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
Elijah prayed again, and it rained, and the people's hearts were turned back, and their eyes opened to the truth about Baal being powerless.
It will require a lot of prayer before their eyes will be opened, but they can be. It requires a lot of patience also, 3 ½ years here in this case.
Satan not only accuses the brethren before god (Revelation 7:10, Job 1:9), but he accuses God before the brethren. (Genesis 3:5) He conviences men that Baal is the answer, and has supplied all their needs. Maybe God created them, but they must watch out for themselves now.
Certainly, God is in control, but look at the foolishness. The enemy goes to man and sais, "God cannot be trusted, so you must reason it out on your own." He then gods to God and sais, "Look at that man. He does not trust you. He is reasoning it out on his own. You need to get even with him."
He says to man, Yea hath God said. Then he goes to God and says, Man does not trust you. He plays both ends against the middle, very effectively, which is why we msut remain steadfast in the faith. Remember Job.
Second. The heart goes with the understanding. (As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he, Proverbs 23:7.)
As long as people think or understand that Baal is the one who supplies their needs, they cannot help but love and reference him. (Dumb Idols, 1 Corinthians 12:10.)
Not until we see the enemy has lied to us, we have believed the lie, the Lord alone not only has made us (and not we ourselves) and He is the one who provides all for us, will we return to him.
The enemy makes slaves out of people while promising freedom, and after the person sees this from the depth of his heart will they put Him back where He belongs.
Third. Elijah showed them, and when the people saw Baal was powerless and they had believed a lie, then vv. 39, 40. They returned to the Lord God, and there was a change in their actions.
The heart controls the actions. If there is a change of heart, there will be a change of actions. A person will act out of his heart. When the people's hearts change, there was a change of action.
A person who claims to love God with all his heart, but all their actions do not prove this love, is doing nothing but speaking into the wind.
They are self-deceived. They sure have not deceived others, because others can see the problem.
Notice the inward change of heart is called repentance. (Romans 2:4). The outward change is called conversion, resulting from the repentance Repent and be converted. (Acts 3:19.
V. 39, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God. It took 3 ½ years of preparation and hard lessons to bring the people to this point of confessing that the LORD, he is God.
It takes the preaching of the Word of God to cause people to turn from their vanities to the living God (Acts 14:15), along with the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 1:18, 21.)
Notice that it took 3 ½ years of drought and famine to bring the people to the point they would listen to the preaching of God's man (Isaiah 26:9).
Do we need to pray that God will bring a famine?
Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
There is already a famine of hearing the words of the Lord, and the people do not seem to mind. Thus, do we need a real drought and famine to bring people to the realization that by one's own strength, he cannot succeed? Do we need to pray that God will bring a drought and famine' into the lives of those who are trying to serve both the Lord God and the gods of this world?
2 Corinthians 5:11, The terror of the Lord motivated Paul. The half and half Christians need to know or see the terror of the Lord fire fall or the earth quake when they reject the still small voice of the Lord before they will be willing to turn to him. But hope or faith that is built upon sight will not last:
Romans 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
Man cannot change himself. It takes the supernatural fire from heaven to bring the change from the half on, half off to where it is all on.
Now, rather than supernatural signs from heaven to call sinners to God, as happened in the Old Testament, we have the Spirit of God to call sinners to God. The Spirit now works to give the desire and power to please God. John 16:8, Philippians 2:13.
The Spirit testifies of Christ, John 15:26
The Spirit renews the heart, Titus 3:5, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
The Spirit gives peace and joy, Galatians 5:22.
V. 37, contains one of the greatest prayers in Scripture. There were just a few short words, yet it resulted in the turning of the people's hearts to the Lord. (James 5:17-20.)
Elijah had prayed for many years.
1. The drought and famine was a result of his prayers, which prepared the people for the confrontation.
2. The fire from the Lord was a result of his prayers, causing the hearts of the people to turn (...thou has turned their hearts back again.). Did he pray during that 3 ½ years? Did he know to what the 3 ½ years drought and famine were leading?
Not only the prayers of Elijah (19:18), but were there the prayers of at least seven thousand more faithful prophets involved? Did they know what was coming down'? However, we are only told of one man. Prayer moves the heart.
Prayer and patience (Hebrews 10:35, 36, James 5:17, 18) will reap results. The difficult part is that the results are not necessarily according to our time table.
We need God's work among Christian men.
We must remember that it took Elijah 3 ½ years before he accomplished vv. 37-39. Patience and waiting on God's time is one of the most difficult of all tasks. (Isaiah 40:27-31, 41:9, 10.)
Look at what the Lord tells Isaiah:
Isaiah 40:28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
Why does He allow hardness to continue? Why does he wait so long to move in hearts?
There is no searching his understanding.
He gives power to the faint.
He will increase strength to them that have no might.
Why? So they can continue to wait upon him. He will renew them, and he will bear them up.
It is in his strength we are able to patiently wait for him to move in the hearts as we pray ans seek his face. (For 3 ½ years or...) For whom are we seeking His face? We are seeking for those who serve the wrong god. Isaiah 40:19. We must just keep hanging on, and he will move in his time. Men will be turned to him only by the power of God.
We must say with Elijah, v. 21:
1. If there be a God, serve him with all your heart, soul and strength.
2. If there be a judgment, prepare for it.
If not, then serve Baal with all our might.
V. 21, And the people answered him not a word. One man vs. 850 false preachers of a false god. The people were stuck between two opinions as to which God to serve. A very large portion of God's people today are stuck here. They are stuck, switching back and forth between the two. (Halt = to hop, or leap as in v. 26. It is like a squirrel, hopping from branch to branch.) These people are not realy able to decide who to serve completely. Tehy serve the Baals of this world for a while, then their conscience speaks to them, so they serve the Lord for a while. I would say that about every seventh day, the feel they must give to God his due, and that is only lip service, if anything. For a moment, we think they are really going to sell out to the Lord, and then they leap to another branch. Then we wonder if they will even be able to stay in the tree.
Preachers get up and preach with all their might against indecisiveness, but the people answer not a word. It is the power of God that alone can cause people to move off of dead center. Preachers must show the advantage of serving the Lord God, but God must do the work in the heart.
Vv. 22-26. And the God that answereth by fire, let him be god. Baal was the fire-god or sun-god. His image was a bull, regarded as the emblem of fire. Baal's priests and worshipers claimed Ball's power over fire (sun) was independent from Jehovah. Elijah said, "NO, he isn't. If Baal is god, then let him exercise what you claim he can do."
And this should be our plea: Challenge the leaping Christians. If you can have your needs honestly met outside of Christ and the laws established in his word, then have at it. Don't waste God's and your time. Don't drag his name through the mud by telling others how much you love him, yet you don't put him in his proper priority.
This is where character comes in serving God and doing right all the time, regardless of which way social pressure is pushing. Notice the side of right here (Elijah's) was not the popular side: one man vs 850.
V. 23 The false priests were to provide the bullock. They got
first choice, cut it up and put it on their alter. Twice Elijah
says put no fire under, vs. 23, 25.
The priests of Baal were good at digging a hole under the alter and hiding fire in the hole so when they put the offering on their alter, it would look like Baal sent fire to consume the offering. Here they had to do it in public with no opportunity to hide the fire under the alter.
Vs. 26-19 To me, this is one of the funniest passages in scripture. This is Ps. 2:4 acted out. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: The LORD shall have them in derision.
29> Until The time of the offering of the evening sacrifice they cried unto their god until they ran out of time, evening. There is a night time coming when all the false prophets will be exposed for what they are and all of their leaping and crying and cutting will be exposed for what it is - vain.
Some things about these False prophets:
1) They were sincere. You can't get anymore sincere then cutting
They began early, we should not do less.
2) They were convinced.
3) They were determined, persistent. - Should not we be? Jacob wrestled all night; the widow would not give up as she cried out to the judge, "Avenge me of mine enemy."
4) They were wrong and powerless-
People by the millions are taken in' by sincerity and determination. Watch the Electric Church a little while and see the parade of sincere, convinced, determined (and wrong) preachers that come along, and some with even a right sounding message in an area or two.
Vv. 30-34> And Elijah
1) Repaired the alter
2) Took 12 stones
3) Built the alter
4) Dug the trench
5) Put wood in order
6) Cut the bullock
7) Laid him on the wood
8) Twelve barrels of water on the sacrifice (see v.23 - practice of hiding fire under the offering)
10) FIRE FELL, consumed the sacrifice, wood, stones, dust and water
Why was all of this necessary? Elijah could have laid the bullock on the ground, prayed and the Lord consumed it off the ground. Not even any need of the wood soaked in water. The LORD could have consumed it without wood under it. The wet wood wouldn't have burned anyway and Elijah wasn't depending on the wood burning the offering.
God could do whatever he pleases anyway he pleases, but he chose to obey certain principles. God could speak to the leaping' people by vision in the night and save all of the trouble Elijah had to go through. However, he chose to do everything in order. Our job is to see that everything is in order, then leave the rest up to Him.
The order of consumption by the Fire was backwards, from heavens' side not from earth's side. God operates beyond human comprehension, but it will be in His order.
GOD'S WAYS ARE BACKWARDS OF MAN'S WAYS. They don't seem right to us at all. Again, this is why we must accept His revealed word by faith.
Vv. 39-40> They fell on their face
The people turn back to God after seeing HIM in action, and
Elijah demands they put feet to their decision. (40).
If there is not resulting action, then nothing took place in the heart. (The Law required these false prophets be put to death. (Deut. 13:1-11).
Vs. 41-46> There is a sound of abundance of rain.
The companion verse to this in the New Testament is Ja. 5:17-18. The Old Testament illustration of the New Testament, Truth of Rain. There are more things about this than we can possibly extract right now, but we will try.
The first thing that strikes me is (18:5,6, 10) Ahab had used all of the means at his disposal to try to find water. Every way that human intelligence could dream of and had failed. Now Elijah is going to pray and they will have an abundance of rain. We had better teach our (people and) kids how to pray. They need to know how to a hold of God and his requirements rather than how to get a hold of uncle Sam.
Effectual Fervent Prayer.
James writes on faith's actions of works and of all the Old Testament saints, he chose Elijah as his example.
1. Elijah's prayer was the prayer of a righteous man. (Ja.
a) The only prayer of the unrighteous man He will hear is for grace and mercy.
b) He will not hear the prayers of a righteous man who has hidden sin. (Ps. 66:18)
c) To the unsaved his message is Go to the prophets of thy fathers. II Kings 3:13. Go cry to the gods you have chosen. Jude 10:14.
I am afraid this is his message to HIS people who try to do their own thing until the way gets too rocky. (b) until they confess their sin. Pro. 28:13, 14
2. The prayer of a man of like passions.
a) he was fearful on the day at Mt. Carmel.
b) he showed unbelief as he got up and fled from Jezebel.
c) he showed discouragement as he set under the juniper tree and asked to die.
d) he revealed self pity when he said he alone was left (19:14) and Obadiah had already told him that he had hid 100 for the LORD.
God knew about these weaknesses when He told Elijah to confront
Ahab and the 850 false prophets.
God isn't looking for PERFECT men (other than the righteousness of Christ). He is asking for willing men who will serve him with a clear conscience. Elijah felt the same emotions that I do, Like Passions, yet prayed down the life giving rain (Holy Spirit) on a dry hard land (hard hearts).
3. The prayer was fervent. - "he prayed earnestly"
"He prayed with prayers"
a) with all his heart (Ps. 119:2) eagerly, intently.
b) how would we pray if we had just killed 859 false prophets then told the king whose prophets we had just killed, that rain was coming after a 3 ½ year drought?
c) Now, Elijah didn't do any of this at his own will but at God's insistence.
d) Someone has said that there are not many people who really and truly pray half a dozen times in their lives.
We pray formal and lukewarm prayers, then we wonder why we get no answers. (And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly... Luke 22:44.)
e) Not because God is hard to convinced, but he wants us to be convinced. The problem is not with him, but with us.
4. His prayer was persevering.
a) his servant went and looked Nothing
b) six times the same response no result of Elijah's prayer
c) the answer to prayer seldom comes when and how we expect
We ask for holiness, and God sends illness. We complain and
shut up our heart against the very thing for which we prayed.
We pray for spirituality, and God offers us a choice between some worldly joy or something to draw us closer to him. We choose the wrong thing, and become more worldly than spiritual.
We ask God to draw our children closer to him, then we fail to recognize their desire in their simple questions.
d) the answer to our prayer might be a long time in coming.
The servant said, "No sign of an answer" 6 times.
Do we cry out with David, Psalms 77:7-9?
Will the Lord case off forever and
will he be favourable no more
is his mercy clean gone forever
doth his promise fail forevermore
hath he forgotten to be gracious
hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies. Selah
Our answer, Psalms 37:3-7:
V. 1, Fret not thyself because of ...
Trust in the Lord and do good
Delight thyself also in the Lord
Commit thy ways unto the Lord
Trust also in him
Rest in the Lord
Wait patiently for him
V. 7, Fret not thyself because of...
Cease from anger
V. 8, Fret not thyself in any wise
Elijah cried to the Lord seven times. He prayed until God heard and answered him.
The answer may come in a small way at first.
Only a cloud the size of a man's hand.
We would have said, "Lord, it has been 3 ½ years. You sure won't get much rain out of that small cloud."
Instead, Elijah started praising the Lord, and preparing for an outpouring of His blessings upon the parched earth.
The answer to our prayer may be some seemingly insignificant questions from our children, or from one we are concerned about. No matter how insignificant it might seem, keep praying if you want to see the rain.
Daniel prayed three times a day (Daniel 6:10), even at the bottom.
7 times. Keep praying until the God of promise hears and answers.
"I prayed one time about that, and God did not answer." How badly do we desire an answer?
"I prayed about that for a month, even a year, but God
did not send the rain." How badly do we desire an answer?