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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Elijah flees to Mount Horeb/Sinai

        Jezebel has revealed her hand allowing Elijah to escape her wrath. He flees to the wilderness to Mount Horeb/Sinai. Elijah no doubt thought that revival would break out in the Promised Land after God's miraculous display of His power on Mount Carmel. Instead, Elijah is threatened with death. The wicked Jezebel still has influence over King Ahab and the Israelites. Discouraged and weakened, Elijah flees God's Land. He takes his faithful servant with him, but only as far as Beersheba in the territory of Judah where the servant would be away from the influence of Ahab and Jezebel and still be safe in God's Land. Ahab was king over the northern tribes only. Judah had a different king. Elijah, the mighty man of God, did not want to be the cause of a fellow servant of God leaving God's Land so he left his servant in Beersheba.
        Beersheba means “Well of the sevenfold oath.” Abraham swore an oath before God and made a treaty at the well of Beersheba with Abimilech that he would not deal falsely with Abimilech. Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs from the father's flock and gave them to Abimilech as a witness that Abraham dug the well at Beersheba and therefore it belonged to him. So the place was called Beersheba, because the two men (Hebrew and Gentile) swore an oath there. Genesis 21:22-31 Note that though there were 7 female lambs, they are referred to as one witness indicating a perfect and complete witness! The servants of the promised son of Abraham—Isaac--re-dug this well and called it Shebah also. (Genesis 26:32-33) The father and the son drank from the same well! This well of the Father and the Son represents the Holy Spirit who keeps us in covenant and peace with God and other believers.
        Elijah continues on his journey through the dry, barren desert (wilderness). He is headed back to Mount Sinai where the Word of God (Jesus) spoke to Moses. Elijah is going backwards away from God's Land back to where God gave Moses the Law and where the Israelites wandered lost for 40 years. The generation that Moses led never entered the Promised Land because the Land was given to Abraham and his descendants by PROMISE not by Law. The Law was given because of sin, idolatry, rebellion, unbelief, murmuring and complaining about God's provision, and lack of faith. The Promised Land was given to Abraham's descendants because of his faith and obedience to God's Word. In the days of Moses, the Israelites didn't want God to speak to them directly. They wanted God to speak to Moses and Moses to speak to them. There is no intimacy with God unless we allow Him to speak to us personally. The Israelites in the wilderness kept God at a distance. The Abrahamic Covenant was given because of Abraham's willingness to believe in God and His Word, and do it without the Law.  Abraham out of his love for God stepped out in faith after God spoke to him. The Law was not in effect at the time of Abraham. It was given to Moses hundreds of years after Abraham because of the sin and rebellion of God's people. …the Law is made not for the righteous, but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious...  1 Timothy 1:9-11 If all of humanity on earth would walk in the royal law of the love of God and Jesus Christ in obedience to the Word of God (James 2:8; Galatians 5:14; Acts 13:38-41: Romans 1:16), we would need no laws or police to rule over us. There would be no crime. This will happen in the future when King Jesus comes to rule over the earth and bind all evil. Because God's people were sinful and fleshly, they needed laws to govern their behavior. In the New Testament, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit want us to walk in love and willingly allow them to remove our fleshly, sinful ways so we walk in the Spirit according to God's will and ways.
        Elijah needs a place of refuge and rest where he can get alone with God.  Moses went to the same place and received direction from God. Moses and Elijah are closely linked in scripture. Why? Moses was God's servant-deliverer, ruler over God's people, mediator between God and His people, intercessor, lawgiver, ruler and priest. Elijah is the mighty prophet of God who rebuilt God's altar, defeated the false god, brought God's people to repentance, imparted resurrection life to another, and taught, trained and equipped Elisha to carry on his work. They are both a picture of Jesus in His roles. Moses represents the Law, and Elijah the prophets that point to Christ who fulfills them. Some parallels between Elijah and Moses are:
  • Elijah fled to the wilderness after killing someone as Moses did to escape corrupt rulers who wanted to kill them. (Exodus 2:12)
  • Moses fasted for 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 34:38) before writing the words of the covenant, as Elijah hungered and thirsted for 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness before receiving God's instruction on Mount Sinai. Jesus fasted 40 days and 40 nights while being tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Jesus had the Word and the Holy Spirit to sustain Him.
  • Elijah wandered 40 days and nights in the wilderness before reaching Mount Sinai and hearing from God. Moses and the Israelites wandered 40 years in the wilderness after hearing from God. The Angel of the Lord fed Elijah to strengthen him, as the Lord fed the Israelites manna and quail during their journey through the same wilderness. Jesus is the Angel of the Lord who feeds us the Bread of Heaven – the Divine Word because He is the Divine Word.
  • The Angel of the Lord guided both Elijah and Moses in the same wilderness. (Exodus 14:19)  Jesus and His Holy Spirit guide and direct us through the wilderness of earth.
  • Elijah interceded for God's erring people as Moses did and as Jesus does. (Exodus 19:16-19) Jesus is our Eternal Intercessor before God.
  • Elijah hid in a rock cave on Mount Sinai as Moses hid in a cleft of a rock on the same mount. (Exodus 33:21-23) Believers are hidden in the Rock Jesus.
  • The manifestation of God's glory passed by Elijah and Moses on Mount Sinai. (Exodus 33:19-22; 1 Kings 19:11) Jesus is the glory of God.
  • Elijah and Moses appeared with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration but faded out of the picture leaving just Jesus indicating that their ministries pointed to Him. (Matthew 17)
  • God manifested in wind, earthquake and fire on Mount Sinai with Moses and with Elijah. (Exodus 19:16-19)
  • God used both Moses and Elijah to defeat a wicked king. (Exodus 7)
  • God performed miracles through both Moses and Elijah.
  • Both Moses and Elijah spoke God's Word as prophets of God. Jesus is the Supreme Prophet of God and is the Word.
  • God parted the waters for both Moses and Elijah. Moses used a shepherd's rod to part the Red Sea, symbolizing the Red Sea of Christ's blood that parted the waters between heaven and earth for all who believe in Jesus and His shed blood. Elijah used his mantle (prophetic garment) to part the waters of the Jordan River that had to be crossed in order to enter the Promised Land.  The Jordan River symbolizes the Holy Spirit that will teach and guide us and bring us into God's Eternal Promised Land.
  • Both Elijah and Moses had mountaintop experiences with God. They also had a mountaintop experience with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Jesus continually went up on a mountain (high place) to get alone with God and with His disciples.
  • Two witnesses in the Spirit and power of Elijah and Moses will come again during the last days. These two witnesses will call people to repentance and back to God. They will perform miracles similar to those of Elijah and Moses and will be hated and killed. But God will resurrect them and gather them to Himself in front of the whole world. (Revelation 11:1-12) Moses died a mysterious death, and Elijah didn't see death but was taken up to God mysteriously. God's ways are mysterious!
        Elijah "came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die.” 1 Kings 19:4 He is so discouraged and down that he wants to die. He realizes that he is no better than his ancestors who had also failed God. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, I am no better than my ancestors.” He has failed the Lord just as his ancestors had. He feels useless with no purpose. He is tired of the struggle and battle against wickedness. He has had enough. God will bring us to the end of ourselves so we will understand that we are all sinners in need of God's mercy, grace and help. "When we are weak, then He is strong." The battle is not ours but the Lord's. A broom tree is a desert shrub. In this dry, desolate place, Elijah comes upon a broom tree that will provide some shade from the hot sun. He falls asleep hoping he will die an early death.
        Instead of death, Elijah is met with God's favor through an angel who feeds and encourages him. Encouragement from others strengthens and empowers others to keep doing God's calling on their life. The Bible shows that laborers, prophets, kings and even heathens needed encouragement. It is a motivator. As this angel met Elijah under the broom tree in spite of his lack of faith and feelings of defeat, Jesus meets us right where we are with God's favor. God often sends an “angel” -- fellow Christian who is full of the Anointed Word to touch and feed us when we are weakened by this journey called life and God's calling.
        God will feed Elijah supernaturally for the third time to strengthen and empower him to go on. We have the three sections of the Bible -- Older Testament, New Testament and Revelation--to feed on to strengthen and empower us for our journey through life.  God is not through with Elijah. He still has work for him to do.

(to be continued)

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