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Monday, June 3, 2013

Elijah on Mount Carmel Part 1


Elijah on Mount Carmel   
      Elijah has been nurtured and refined by God. He is now prepared to take on the false god Baal and his false prophets as well as the false goddess Asherah and her false prophets. Elijah will courageously come against these as one man. Elijah believed in the power of His God! One man of God will come against 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah—Baal's female counterpart. (850 against 1) Not only do Ahab and Jezebel have all of these false prophets, they have even lured God's own people into worshiping the false god and goddess. God's people have also listened to the false words sent forth by the false prophets and prophetesses. Even though Elijah believed in the True God of power and might, he didn't come against these without preparation! Elijah had earlier spoken to Ahab about the drought coming for 3 ½ years, but before he was told to take on the false god and his female counterpart, Elijah must be prepared.  One bold, faithful, prepared man with his God will come against evil. Because Elijah was so wholly committed to God, He gave Elijah almost unlimited power. The only One to walk on the earth with full, unlimited power was Jesus Christ because He is God and had the fullness of the Holy Spirit and Truth.  God will not disappoint Elijah. God will prove not just by His Word but also through His actions that He is the all-powerful One. God speaks Truth and also walks in it as Jesus did while in His earthly body because He is Truth.  Jesus also wants those who love and follow Him to not only speak the Word but also do it so God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are revealed through us.  Jesus, as one Divine Man, came against all the forces of evil on the cross.  Elijah and his confrontation with the false god on Mount Carmel is a foreshadowing of Jesus' victory over Satan on the cross.  Jesus was One in Spirit and Truth with the Father.  Jesus wants His Bride to also be one in Spirit and in Truth so she too can come against evil as “one Man.” 
        Like John the Baptist was a forerunner to Jesus (God), Elijah was a forerunner of the revelation of God here on Mount Carmel.  God will reveal His power and might on Mount Carmel so all present will know that He is indeed the true and all-powerful God of heaven and earth.  With the Godhead leading, Jesus wants to prepare His Bride without spot or blemish so she too will be powerful against the false god Satan and his false bride. Jesus’ prepared Bride will be the forerunner to His second coming.  As Elijah and John the Baptist preached repentance before the revelation of God in the Older Testament and Jesus in the New, Christ’s Bride will preach repentance and a return to the Lord before Jesus comes again to destroy all evil.          The kingdom of the Israelites was divided at this time, so Elijah couldn’t bring them to Jerusalem as one man united.  These 10 tribes (northern kingdom) were in Samaria and its surrounding territory.  God will reveal Himself right where they are.  It is important to note that even though God’s people are in rebellion and worshiping other gods, God in His love and grace will reveal Himself on Mount Carmel in the hope that the Israelites and maybe even some Baal worshipers will return to Him.  This is God’s heart of love.  He doesn’t delight in destruction but goes to every extent to bring humanity to belief in Him.  God often gets a bad rap through humans who do not understand His unfailing love for humanity whom He originally created in His own image and likeness.  As our Heavenly Father and Creator, the Godhead continually reaches out to His erring children to bring them back to relationship with Him.  God even went to the extent of sending His very own Son to die for the sin of the world to bring us back to right relationship with Him.  There is no greater love than this.  Comprehending God’s agape love is difficult for our human minds and hearts to grasp, but God wants us to understand it so we will illustrate His love to others so He can restore others to His loving arms.
        Ahab called all of the false prophets and people to Mount Carmel.  The Jezreel Valley lies immediately northwest of Mount Carmel.  Mount Carmel is a natural barrier God provided as protection for His Land of Israel.  On the top of Mount Carmel one could see any enemy approaching through the valleys.  As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people protecting, leading and guiding them.   
       Elijah confronts all the people including the false prophets.  The Israelites were worshiping both God and Baal.  By doing this, the Israelites were breaking the first, second, third and fourth of the Ten Commandments.  Elijah said to them, “How long will you waver between two opinions?  Elijah pleased God not man.  He wasn’t afraid to offend people with the Truth.  He spoke boldly and truthfully.  He asked them a question as God and Jesus often did when confronting disobedience.  Next Elijah tells them to make a decision on who they will serve, “If the Lord is God, then follow Him; but if Baal is god, follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21   The people were silent.  No doubt some conviction was taking place.  It is now time to make a decision.  If you are serving two gods, you won’t serve either of them with your whole heart.  Like the Israelites under the rule of Ahab, you will be lukewarm or serve one more than the other. The same is true of Christians who mix the worldly and fleshly ways with the ways of God. You will be lukewarm.  Elijah believed in and defended the true God faithfully, as ministers in the New Testament are to defend the gospel of Jesus Christ and come against corruption, compromise and distortion of the Truth.   Being double-minded and having a divided heart makes a person unstable. We cannot serve two gods well.  Jesus put it this way, “No servant can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.”  Luke 16:13  And James said in 1:6-8, “But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.”  God doesn't want us to be double-minded being tossed to and fro by divided loyalty and every wind of doctrine, but wants us to be true to God, to seek and search for the truth and stand on it in faith that God will honor His character and His Word. It is the Truth that sets us free and keeps us on a firm foundation in Christ. The Truth will also bring unity and power.  God is Spirit and Truth, so He wants us to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.  
         Elijah will stand alone with God against the false god, his harlot bride Asherah and the false prophets who speak false truth.  Elijah feels like he is the only one left to do it.  “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left…..” 1 Kings 18:22.  The wicked Jezebel had put a death sentence upon all of God’s true prophets including Elijah!  
                                                          (to be continued)


     

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