Coming to a Carmel Moment: Stop Asking For the Rain of Healing When the Lord Wants to Send Fire (Hearts Before the Land)

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of First Kings, which describes the days of Solomon king of the united nation of Israel, as well as the days of a divide Israel into the northern kingdom of Israel, the southern kingdom of Judah, and the kings which would rule and govern those kingdoms. More specifically, today’s reading is found in chapters eighteen through twenty of this Old Testament book. THESE ARE THE DAYS OF ELIJAH! When you come to these particular chapters found within the Old Testament book of First Kings you will encounter and come face to face with the days of perhaps one of the greatest Hebrew prophets to ever walk the face of the earth, and to ever walk in the midst of the Holy Land. As you read the words which are written and found within these chapters you will encounter and come face to face with the strong reality of the days of the prophet Elijah—that prophet who would emerge on to the scene out of literally nowhere without warning, without fan fare, without trumpets heralding his arrival, and without men and women being able to prepare for him to step on to the scene. If there is one thing I have to admit I absolutely love about the days of Elijah is that not only were they days marked with the supernatural and miraculous power of the living and eternal God, but they were days that came without warning and without notice. The northern kingdom of Israel had come through years of political turmoil and upheaval as conspiracies surrounded the throne of the northern kingdom, and as different and various kings would rule and govern the people of the northern ten tribes. The northern kingdom of Israel had experienced a constant and continual turnover upon the throne in the midst of the land, as there would be kings who would do evil in the sight of the LORD, and who would not only continue in the sins of Jeroboam, but would also continue in their own rebellion and wickedness during the days of their reign. By the time you come to the days of Elijah you will find perhaps the most vile and wicked king to ever sit upon the throne in the northern kingdom of Israel. As you come to the final verses of the sixteenth chapter you will find the emergence of a new king who would sit on the throne of Israel—namely Ahab the son of Omri—who would begin to reign over the northern kingdom of Israel. This king by the name of Ahab would rule and reign over the northern kingdom of Israel for a period of twenty-two years, and yet those years would be marked by a continual doing that which was evil in the sight of the LORD. Moreover, Ahab would add to and compound the evil which he did in the sight of the LORD by taking unto him a very specific woman to be his wife—a woman whose name would be synonymous with a spirit of manipulation and control, as well a spirit that seeks to destroy the prophetic voice and ministry of the living God within the earth. Before you consider the days of Elijah and the prophetic ministry he walked in, I would invite you to first consider the words which are written and recorded in the final verses of the sixteenth chapter beginning to read with and from the twenty-ninth verse:

“And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years. And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the lORD above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Eth-baal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him” (1 Kings 16:29-33).

What makes the arrival and emergence of the prophet Elijah so absolutely incredible and tremendous is when you think about and consider the fact that after we read of Ahab the son of Omri ascending to the throne of the northern kingdom of Israel, we also read of a man by the name of Hiel the Beth-elite building Jericho, and how he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Joshua the son of Nun. Before we read of the emergence and arrival of Elijah the Tishbite in the northern kingdom of Israel we not only read of Ahab the son of Omri emerging on to the scene as king of the northern kingdom of Israel, but we also find that those days were also marked by the rebuilding of the city of Jericho. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this absolutely astonishing and absolutely remarkable reality, for in order to truly understand the days of Elijah, it is necessary to understand the backdrop and days which led to the Spirit of the Lord raising him up from the land of GIlead. GIlead you will recall was on the eastern side of the Jordan River, and it was from beyond the Jordan River the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD would raise up this mighty man of God and ancient Hebrew prophet in the earth. It would be from beyond the Jordan the Spirit of the living God would raise up and call the ancient Hebrew prophet Elijah to prophesy during the days of Ahab and Jezebel—Ahab who not only continued and walked in the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, but who also worshipped and served Baal. Ahab would also rear up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal which he had set up and built in the city of Samaria. The author of the book of First Kings goes so far as to say that Ahab also made and set up a grove, and did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to angler than all the kings of Israel that were before him. It’s incredibly interesting to think about and consider the fact that the days of Elijah were not only days that were marked by Ahab king of Israel, Jezebel queen of Israel and the daughter of Eth-Baal king of the Zidonians, but they were also days that witnessed and beheld the rebuilding of a city which Joshua the son of Nun declared should never be rebuilt. In the Old Testament book of Joshua you will find the city of Jericho being conquered and subdued by the children of Israel after they had marched around the city in silence one time each day for six days before shouting at the top of their lungs after marching around the city in silence seven times on the seventh day. Upon their shouting the walls of the city of Jericho would collapse and crumble before them, and each and every man would march straight up into the city with their sword to conquer and subdue the city. Upon the complete and utter destruction of Jericho Joshua the son of Nun would issue a prophetic word concerning that man who would seek to rebuild this city and raise it up from its ruins would lay the foundation at the expense of his firstborn, and would set its gates at the expense of his youngest son. The days of Elijah were not only days that were marked by the reign of terror, evil, and wickedness committed by Ahab king of Israel, as well as Jezebel his wife, but also days when the city of Jericho would be rebuilt within the land.

I am convinced that in order to truly understand the tremendous significance of the days of Elijah, it is absolutely necessary to understand the events which transpired in the midst of the northern kingdom of Israel, and the almost rapid succession of kings that would sit upon the throne in the midst of the land. In all reality, the northern kingdom of Israel would experience a tremendous upheaval in the midst of the political realm and that which surrounded the throne, as there would be successive kings who would emerge on to the scene. If you read the book of First Kings you will encounter and come face to face with different kings who would emerge on to the scene in the midst of the northern kingdom of Israel, and the narrative of the northern kingdom of Israel would almost appear to be one of kings and thrones that would be set up and established in the midst thereof. In all reality, I have to say that I thank God for the days of Elijah and that they took place when they did, for the days of Elijah would be a strong and powerful prophetic message to the northern kingdom of Israel that a time of repentance and renewal had come. There is not a doubt in my mind that the days of Elijah were absolutely necessary in the midst of the northern kingdom of Israel, as the days of Elijah would witness and experience the supernatural and miraculous power and might of the LORD being put on full display—first in the midst of the climate and atmosphere as the heavens would be shut up and no rain would fall for a period of three times, and second in the midst of the fire that would come down from heaven atop mount Carmel in the midst of the land. Elijah would not only be a prophet of rain, but the prophet would also be a one of fire as he would first declare there would be no rain except according to his word, would pray for rain three years later, and would also call down fire from heaven atop mount Carmel. Before you get into the prophetic ministry of Elijah it is absolutely necessary to consider the events surrounding the reigns of those kings that would ascend to the throne in the northern kingdom of Israel. I am absolutely and completely convinced that we cannot truly understand the significance of the days of Elijah without first understanding the events that would lead up to the LORD God of heaven raising him up in the midst of a kingdom that had experience a severe moral, spiritual and religious downfall which would be set in motion by Solomon king of Israel, would continue with Jeroboam son of Nebat, and would be continued by the various kings that would sit upon the throne leading up to the days of Elijah. Consider if you will the events surrounding the kings which sat upon the throne in the northern kingdom of Israel beginning with Nadab the son of Jeroboam who would immediately follow him on the throne:

“And Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned over Israel two years. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin. And Barsha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him; and Barsha smote him in Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines; for Nadab and all Israel laid siege to Gibbethon. Even int eh third year of Asa king of Judah did Barsha slay him, and reigned in his stead. And it came to pass, when he reigned, that he smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite: because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel to sin, by his provocation wherewith he provoked the LORD God of Israel to anger” (1 Kings 15:25-30).

“And there was war between Asa and Barsha king of Israel all their days. In the third year of Asa king of Judah began Barsha the son of Ahijah to reign over Israel in Tirzah, twenty and four years. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin” (1 Kings 15:32-34).

“Then the word of the LORD came to Jesu the son of Hananiah against Barsha, saying, Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust, and made thee prince over my people Israel; and thou hast walke din the way of Jeroboam, and hast made my people Israel to sin, to provoke me to anger with their sins; Behold, I will take way the posterity of Barsha, and the posterity of his house; and will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. Him that doeth of Barsha in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that doeth of his in the fields shall the fowls of the air eat. Now the rest of the acts of Barsha, and what he did, and his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? So Barsha slept with his fathers, and was buried in Tirzah: and Elah his son reigned in his stead. And also by the hand of the prophet Jesu the son of Hananiah came the word of the LORD against Barsha, and against his house, even for all the evil that he did in the sight of the LORD, in provoking him to anger with the work of his hands, in being like the house of Jeroboam; and because he killed him” (1 Kings 16:1-7).

“In the twenty and sixth year of Asa king of Judah began Elah the son of Barsha to reign over Israel in Tirzah, two years. And his servant Zimri, captain of half his chariots, conspired against him, as he was in Tirzah drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza steward of his house in Tirzah. And Ziomri went in and smote him, and killed him, in the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his stead. And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Barsha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends. Thus did Zimri destroy all the house of Barsha, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake against Barsha by Jesu the prophet, for all the sins of Barsha, and the sins of Elah his son, by which they sinned, and by which they made Israel to sin, in provoking the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities. Now the rest of the acts of Elah, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of chronicles of the kings of Israel” (1 Kings 16:8-14).

“In the twenty and seventh year of Asa king of Judah did Zimri reign seven days in Tirzah. And the people were encamped against Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines. And the people that were encamped heard, Zimri hath conspired, and hath also slain the king: wherefore all Israel made Omri the captain of the host, king over Israel that day in the camp. And Omri went up from Gibbetthon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah. And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king’s house, and burn the king’s house over him with fire, and died, for his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the LORD, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, to make Israel to sin” (1 Kings 16:15-19).

“Then were the people of Israel divided into two parts: half of the people followed Tibni the son of Ginath, to make him king; and half followed Omri. But the people that followed Omri prevailed against the people that followed Tibni the son of Ginath: so Tibni died, and Omri reigned. In the third and first year of Asa king of Judah began Omri to reign over Israel twelve years: six years reigned he in Tirzah. And he bought the hill Samaria of Shemer for two talents of silver, and built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill, Samaria. But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him. For he walked in all the ways of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities” (1 Kings 16:21-26).

Within each of these passages we encounter and come face to face with the tremendous amount of corruption, wickedness, vileness, evil, iniquity and idolatry that surrounded the throne of the northern kingdom of Israel. What’s more, is that as you read each of these passages you will quickly and undeniably come face to face with the awesome and incredible reality that each of the kings which succeeded Jeroboam son of Nebat not only did evil in the sight of the LORD, but there was not a single king who did not continue and walk in the sins which Jeroboam son of Nebat had introduced into the midst of the land. If you turn and direct your attention back to the final verses of the twelfth chapter you will find that the sins which Jeroboam introduced into the land were two golden calves which he had set up on each end of the northern kingdom of Israel. In Dan Jeroboam set up one of his golden calves, while in Beth-el Jeroboam would set up the other golden calf. What’s more, is that as you continue reading the words which are found in the narrative of his life you will find that he set up an altar in the midst of the land whereby men and women could come and present their offerings, their gifts and their sacrifices. As if this weren’t enough, Jeroboam son of Nebat would also ordain a feast which the people of the northern kingdom of Israel would come to worship the gods which he had set up among them in their midst. It’s actually quite astounding and intriguing to think about and consider the fact that in all reality Jeroboam set up a religion of convenience and ease in the midst of the land, as his message to the people of this land was that it was too difficult, and it was too much for them to journey unto the city of Jerusalem and to the Temple of the LORD, and to the true altar of the LORD. What we learn and what we discover when it comes to the iniquity, the idolatry and the wickedness of Jeroboam son of Nebat is that essentially what he had done was set up a religion of convenience for the people as no longer would they have to journey unto the city of Jerusalem, to the Temple of the living God, and to the altar which was there at the Temple. No longer would men and women need to make the arduous journey unto the city of Jerusalem and leave the comfort of their own borders, for they could easily come to the altar which Jeroboam had set up among them in their midst. Oh, this new religion and this new religious system which Jeroboam son of Nebat had set up might very well have looked like that which was found to be present in the midst of Jerusalem and at the Temple of the LORD, however, what we must recognize and understand was that it was nothing more than a cheap imitation and knock of compared to what was actually instituted by the LORD in the wilderness when He implemented worship before the brazen altar and at His holy house and sanctuary.

As you continue reading the words which were written and recorded within these chapters you will find that each of the subsequent kings which reigned over the northern kingdom of Israel walked in the ways of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and the continued in the sins which he had made Israel to sin with. There was not a single king which reigned over the northern kingdom of Israel which the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel had not committed themselves to walking in and following in. What we must also recognize is that as went the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel, so also went the people of the northern kingdom of Israel. We must recognize and understand that it wasn’t just Jeroboam who caused the people of the northern kingdom of Israel to sin, but each of the kings who would walk and reign after him would also lead the people into the same sins which he had. What’s more, is that when you come to the sixteenth chapter of this Old Testament book you will find the narrative of Ahab the son of Omri who would begin reigning in the northern kingdom of Israel. Concerning Ahab, however, we find that not only did he continue and walk in the sins which Jeroboam son of Nebat had set up in the midst of the northern kingdom of Israel, and not only did he do evil in the sight of the LORD above all those which were before him, but also—as if it were a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat—he also married Jezebel the daughter of Eth-Baal king of Zidonians. It would be after marrying Jezebel that Ahab would add to the sins of Jeroboam by worshipping and serving Baal among the various other forms of idolatry that were present in the midst of the land. Concerning this religion of Baal in the land we must recognize that Ahab also reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. Moreover, Ahab would also make a grove in the midst of the land and would do more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him. In order to truly understand the days of Elijah it is absolutely necessary to understand and consider the fact that Elijah stepped onto the scene that was completely and undeniably marked with idolatry, with iniquity, with wickedness, and with transgression before and in the sight of the living God. The prophet Elijah stepped on to the scene during a time when tremendous iniquity and idolatry surrounded the throne of Israel, and when the people of the land were worshipping and serving false gods which had been created and set up in the midst of the land. We dare not and must not miss this, for by the time Elijah the Tishbite of GIlead would step on to the scene—not only were the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat still in full swing, but so also was the worship of Baal in full swing in the midst of the land. As if it weren’t enough for there to be the worship of the two golden calves in the midst of the land, there was also the worship of Baal which the prophet had to contend with.

The more I read the words which are found within the book of First Kings, the more I can’t help but find it absolutely incredible that there was the strong presence of the prophetic. It would during the days of Saul when the prophet Samuel would be the prophet voice that would speak unto Saul and unto the nation of Israel. It would be during the days of David king of Israel that we would find both the prophet Gad, as well as the prophet Nathan who would speak directly unto the king. It would be during the days of Solomon that we would find the LORD appearing unto Solomon twice during the night, while also speaking to him at the beginning of the Temple, as well as in the midst of his own idolatry and iniquity. While the living and eternal God spoke directly unto Solomon we begin to notice men of God with a prophetic voice emerging on to the scene and delivering the word of the LORD in the midst of the land. Perhaps one of the greatest realities I can’t help but think about and consider when reading the words which are written and found within the book of First Kings is the strong presence of the prophetic, and the strong presence of those who would speak the word of the LORD in the midst of the land. Despite the tremendous iniquity and idolatry which was present in the land the LORD was not without a prophetic voice and without a prophetic presence. This is especially true during the days of Ahab king of Israel, for although he walked in the sins of Jeroboam, although he had married jezebel, and although he had worshipped and served Baal, the LORD raised up a prophetic voice and presence in the midst of the land. Despite the fact that the northern kingdom of Israel was flooded and inundated with idolatry—even a religious system which on the surface might have seemed to be holy and pleasing in the sight of the LORD—the LORD would not be without a prophetic voice. From the days of Jeroboam unto to the days of Ahab son of Omri king of the northern kingdom of Israel we find prophets and men of God who would directly confront the kings which sat upon the throne, and would speak unto them the word of the LORD. What I absolutely love is that within this book—not only do we find the mention of the word prophet, but we also find mention of men of God—those who walked closely with, and those who heard directly from the LORD. The Spirit of the living God would Himself raise up men of God, and prophets which would speak the word of the LORD directly unto kings—despite the fact that they might very well have done so at the detriment and peril of their own lives. What I love is that it wasn’t’ simply prophets whom the LORD raised up, but it was also men of God—men who walked with, men who followed, and men who served the living God faithfully despite the idolatry and iniquity that was present before and all around them.

If there is one thing I absolutely love concerning the days of these vile, corrupt and evil kings which ruled and reigned over the northern kingdom of Israel, it’s that despite the idolatry that was so prevalent in the midst of the land, and although corruption, wickedness and iniquity surrounded the throne of the northern kingdom, the LORD still had those who would faithfully walk with and follow Him. The living God would still have those who were sensitive to His voice speaking directly unto them, and who were willing to directly confront and speak with kings who walked in and continued in their iniquity and idolatry. The Spirit of the living God would raise up men who would walk before and who would walk with Him and who would hear His voice speaking unto them. How absolutely incredible and how absolutely remarkable it is to think about the fact that the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD would still have those in the midst of the northern kingdom of Israel who could hear His voice—even though they were surrounded by idolatry, surrounded by iniquity, and surrounded by immorality. How absolutely wonderful it is to think about the fact that there were still those within the northern kingdom of Israel who would not worship, nor would they serve the false images which Jeroboam son of Nebat had set up, nor would they worship and serve Baal. In fact, when you come to the narrative and account of Elijah at the cave at Horeb the mount of God in the wilderness, you will find the living God declaring unto Him that despite the pervasiveness of idolatry and iniquity in the land, He still had seven thousand whom He Himself had reserved unto and for Himself. What’s more, is that if you read concerning Obadiah you will find that during the days when Jezebel would cut off the prophets from the land, he would take one hundred prophets and would hide them in caves and would feed them with bread and water. There is this strong sense that even in the midst of idolatry, and even in the midst of iniquity and immorality, the living God had still reserved unto Himself a remnant of those who would not worship, nor would they serve the false gods, the images and idols which were so pervasive in the midst of the land. The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD would still reserve those who would bend their knee, nor would they bow their head to Baal, nor to the gods which the kings which sat upon the throne had set up in the midst of the land. It is absolutely astonishing and incredible to think about and consider the fact that even though the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel had caused the children of Israel to sin, there would be those—a powerful remnant in the midst of the land—who would continue to cleave to the LORD their God, and who would not bend the knee, nor bow their heads to the idols and false gods that were found in the midst of the land. Pause for a moment and think about the fact that during the days of Elijah the Tishbite there were not only seven thousand whom the LORD had reserved unto Himself who had not worshipped Baal, but there were also one hundred prophets whom Obadiah had spared and served in the midst of caves there in the land.

SEVEN THOUSAND PEOPLE, ONE HUNDRED PROPHETS! A REMNANT OF THE FAITHFUL! A REMNANT OF PROPHETS! THE REMNANT OF THE FAITHFUL AND PROPHETS! I sit here this morning and I can’t help but find a tremendous joy and a tremendous hope in the fact that even though the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel had caused the people to err, and had led the people away in iniquity and idolatry, and even though Ahab son of Omri king of Israel himself had walked in the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, and had worshiped and served Baal while at the same time setting up an altar in the house of Baal, the LORD still reserved for Himself a remnant in the midst of the land. Even when you come to the days when Elijah and Elisha would walk together you will find mention of the school of the prophets, which suggests that there were still those who were training to walk in the prophetic, and those who were training to walk according to the word of the LORD. I absolutely love the fact during the days of Elijah—not only do we find a remnant of those who would not bend the knee nor bow their head to worship Baal, but we also find a remnant of prophets whom Obadiah himself had spared by hiding in caves and feeding them with bread and water. SPARED PROPHETS AND A REMNANT OF THE FAITHFUL! If we are looking to understand the days of Elijah, it’s imperative that we recognize and understand that the days of Elijah were characterized by a remnant of the faithful whom the LORD undoubtedly supernaturally preserved according to His presence and power during days of unprecedented idolatry and iniquity. As if the prophetic voice of Elijah wasn’t enough in the midst of the land, we find a remnant of faithful men and women who still remained in the land—those who had not bent the knee, nor bowed their head to the false gods which Jeroboam son of Nebat had set up, nor to Baal whom Ahab himself had worshipped and served. PRESERVING THE RIGHTEOUS AND HIDING THE PROPHETS! It’s worth noting that in the seventeenth chapter we find Elijah the TIshbite stepping on to the scene and declaring unto Ahab the king of the northern kingdom of Israel that there would not be dew nor rain during those years, but according to his word. Immediately following this initial interaction with Ahab king of the northern kingdom of Israel we find the word of the LORD coming to Elijah and instructing him to go and hide himself by the brook Cherith, which was before Jordan. It would be there at the brook Cherith where Elijah would drink of the brook, and where he would be fed by ravens. What I find to be so incredibly captivating is the fact that not only was Elijah instructed to hide himself by the book Cherith which was before the Jordan River, but Obadiah would also hide one hundred prophets during days when Jezebel would cut off the prophets from the land. It would be during those days when Ahab would worship and serve Baal, and when Jezebel would cut off the prophets of the LORD.

I sit here this morning and I can’t help but think about and consider the awesome and incredible fact that during the days of Elijah—not only was there a remnant of the righteous in the midst of the land, but there was also a remnant of the prophets which would remain in the midst of the land. There would be a remnant of the faithful which would be preserved in the midst of the land, as there would be those whom the Spirit of the LORD would reserve unto Himself and preserve during days of unparalleled and unprecedented darkness. When we think about the days of Elijah we must not solely think about the fact that Elijah alone was the only righteous one in the midst of the land, for although Elijah was the prominent prophetic voice and presence during those days, there would be a remnant of the faithful in the midst of the land. We would learn about the remnant of the prophets which would be preserved by Obadiah, as he not only hid them in caves by fifties, but would also sustain them with bread and water. It wouldn’t be until Elijah stood before the LORD at the entrance of the cave at Horeb the mountain of God in the wilderness that the LORD would correct Elijah’s thinking, and would declare unto him that He had reserved seven thousand who had not bent the knee, nor bowed their head in idolatrous worship before Baal. When and as we think about and consider the narrative of the life of the prophet Elijah, we must recognize and understand that during the days of Elijah there was still a faithful remnant who not only refused to worship and serve Baal, but who had also undoubtedly chosen to worship the true and living God. While Elijah was the dominant prophetic voice in the midst of the land during those days, he would not be the sole individual whom the LORD would preserve, for the LORD had seven thousand faithful, and one hundred prophets who would still be present in the midst of the land. IN order for us to understand the days of Elijah, we must understand them as being days which were characterized by remnant, as the LORD had faithfully reserved and preserved a remnant of the faithful—men and women who would not go after, who would not worship, and who would not serve Baal. Moreover, the LORD would still have a remnant of the prophets in the midst of the land—perhaps those who would eventually form the school of the prophets which we discover during the journey of Elijah and Elisha just before Elijah would be taken up into heaven in a chariot of fire. How absolutely remarkable and astonishing it is to think about and consider the wonderful reality that not only had the LORD reserved a remnant of the faithful during the days of Elijah, but He would also reserve a remnant of prophets whom Obadiah would hide in caves by fifties as he fed them with bread and water.

THE VOICE OF THE PROPHETIC AND THE PRESERVATION OF A REMNANT! The days of Elijah were unprecedented and unparalleled significance, for although they were days which were characterized by tremendous idolatry and iniquity, they were days that had in the midst of them a prophetic voice, as well as the preservation of the righteous. I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that even during these days which are characterized by unparalleled and unprecedented darkness, the LORD still has a remnant of faithful men and women who refuse to bow their heads and bend their knees before and unto the false gods of this culture and society. I am absolutely and completely convinced that during these days the LORD not only has a prophetic voice which is still very much active, but the LORD also has a remnant of faithful men and women who have chosen to remain faithful before and unto Him. I firmly believe during these days we are living in times when the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is and has been faithfully preserved a remnant of righteous men and women who walk before Him in sincerity, in truth, in holiness, in purity and in obedience. Just as during the days of Elijah the LORD Himself reserved seven thousand who had not bent the knee in worship to Baal, so also the LORD has preserved and reserved for Himself a remnant of faithful men and women whose hearts would not be lifted to idols and to the false gods of society. In all reality—when we think about the days of Elijah we tend to think of them as being days when only the prophetic voice of Elijah was present in the land. We tend to think about and consider the days of Elijah as being days when Elijah was the only faithful one who walked before and unto the living God. The truth of the matter is that Elijah wasn’t the only one who would walk before and serve the LORD during those days, for the LORD Himself had preserved seven thousand who had not bowed down before, nor who had served Baal whom Ahab worshipped and served. Despite the fact that the king of the land during those days had set up a house of Baal, and even though the king of the land during those days would himself worship and serve Baal, there would be a remnant of the faithful whom the LORD would preserve and reserve unto Himself, and I would dare say that He did so supernaturally, as there is not a doubt in my mind that remaining faithful to the LORD—particularly and especially during days of tremendous idolatry and iniquity would abound in the land and characterize those days. I am convinced that remaining faithful to the LORD during those days would not have been easy, and as challenging as it might have been for Elijah to stand as the prophet of the LORD in the northern kingdom of Israel, so also it would have been incredibly challenging for a remnant of the righteous and faithful to walk in obedience, in faithfulness, in holiness and purity before the living God.

ELIJAH WASN’T THE ONLY RIGHTEOUS ONE IN THE LAND! ELIJAH WASN’T THE ONLY FAITHFUL ONE IN THE LAND! The more I think about and the more I consider the narrative of the days of Elijah, the more I can’t help but come face to face with the strong and powerful reality that during those days—although Elijah was the prophetic voice and presence in the midst of the land, he wasn’t the only faithful, not was he the only righteous one in the land. I am convinced that just as the living and eternal God faithfully and supernaturally provided for Elijah—first at the brook Cherith, and then in the home of the widow and her son—so also the LORD would supernaturally preserve a remnant of faithful men and women in the midst of the land. There is not a doubt in my mind that just as much and just as surely as the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD preserved and provided for Elijah, so also the Spirit of the LORD would preserve and provide for that remnant of the righteous and faithful which were present in the midst of the land. For so long I have focused on the days of Elijah as being days where Elijah was perhaps the only faithful one in the midst of the land, and yet this simply isn’t the case, for the LORD would have for and unto Himself seven thousand who had not bowed down to, nor worshipped Baal in the midst of the land. What’s more is that Elijah wasn’t the only prophet during those days, for we know of at least one hundred other prophets who were hid in caves and who were faithfully preserved by Obadiah who served before Ahab the king of Israel. If we are truly going to understand the days of Elijah, we must understand them as not only being days of a powerful prophetic voice, but we must also understand them as being days of preservation—preservation of the righteous, and preservation of the faithful. The days of Elijah would be days where the LORD would faithfully preserve those who would not bow before Baal, and who would not worship and serve the false gods which were so prevalent during those times. Elijah wasn’t the only one who would walk before the LORD in faithfulness and uprightness, for there would be seven thousand faithful and one hundred prophets whom the LORD would reserve in the midst of the land. Pause for a moment and think about this fact, for during the days of Elijah—not only were there seven thousand faithful, and not only were there one hundred prophets, but there was also one prophetic voice that would minister according to the word of the LORD. The days of Elijah would be days of tremendous preservation, protection and provision of the living God, as He would not only preserve Elijah, but would preserve a remnant of the faithful and other prophets alike.

As the seventeenth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Kings opens, it does so simply with the words “And Elijah the Tishbit.” There is nothing more that is said about Elijah, other than he was a Tishbite, and that he was one of the inhabitants of GIlead. We know nothing about where he came from, we know nothing about his upbringing, we know nothing about his life other than the fact that he was a Tishbite and from the land of GIlead. During a time when idolatry and iniquity was at its all time high in the midst of the northern kingdom of Israel, and during a time when the nation was engrossed in the worship of false idols and false gods there is this man who appears out of relative obscurity, and does so without any fanfare, without any warning, and without any advanced notice. The sixteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Kings ends and concludes with the city and ruins of Jericho being rebuilt, and I can’t help but wonder if the days of Elijah were days that were characterized by rebuilding that which the living and eternal God had decreed should never be raised again. We tend to think of the days of Elijah as days when Ahab did evil in the sight of the LORD, and when Jezebel killed and murdered the prophets, however, I would dare say that we fail to understand and recognize that it would be during those days when that which the living God had decreed should never rise or be rebuilt again would in fact be raised up. It would be during the days of Ahab and Jezebel, as well as during the days of Elijah when one would engage in the work of rebuilding the fallen ruins of Jericho—a city which the LORD had completely and utterly overthrown during the days of Joshua the son of Nun, and had instructed that none of the children of Israel should take of the accursed things. The days of Elijah were days when idolatrous worship and the killing of the prophets was at an all time high, and when that which the LORD God of Israel had decreed should never rise again. Oh, if we are to truly understand the days of Elijah we are to understand them as days when that which the living God had ordered never should rise again would be raised from the ashes and ruins, and days when the prophets of the LORD would be slain and idolatrous worship would be pervasive and prevalent in the midst of the culture and society. It would be during the days of Elijah when the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD would raise up a prophetic voice that would confront the national idolatry and iniquity that was so pervasive during that time, and when the living and eternal God would raise up a prophetic voice out of obscurity.

Oh, I can’t help but get the strong sense that when the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD desires to raise up a prophetic voice that is meant to shake a nation, that is meant to shake kingdoms, and that is meant to confront national—as well as personal—idolatry, He oftentimes raises that voice out of virtually nowhere. In all reality, it’s almost as if the Spirit of the LORD raises up the voice of the prophetic that would trumpet and herald the word of the LORD in the midst of a wicked and rebellious society during days when no one is looking for and no one is expecting it. If you study the history and ministry of the prophetic you will find that more often than not when the living and eternal God sought to raise up one of His holy servants the prophets—not only did He rarely announce and proclaim it, but more often than not He never announced them as a prophet. If you read the opening verse of the seventeenth chapter you will not find the author of this book speaking of and referring to Elijah as a prophet of the LORD, nor do we find the Spirit of the LORD announcing the arrival of the prophetic voice and prophetic messenger of the LORD. Neither the title or office, nor the voice of the prophet was announced and proclaimed during those days, and there was no advanced warning that the LORD was going to confront it. There was no word that came to the nation and northern kingdom of Israel that they were about to be confronted with their sin and with their idolatry, and yet what we read and find in this passage of Scripture is Elijah the Tishbite who was from GIlead stepping on to the scene. This is something that is absolutely and incredibly important, for more often than not the Spirit of the LORD doesn’t announce and proclaim the emergence of the prophetic voice and prophetic word of the LORD that is coming to shake and rattle the nation. More often than not you will not find the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD announcing and proclaiming to a nation that He is about to raise up and is raising up a prophetic voice. In fact, if you study Scripture you will find that the exact opposite usually takes place, as when the voice of the prophet is meant to shake, rattle and wake up a sleeping, complacent, lethargic, idolatrous, iniquitous nation, He will raise that voice and that ministry out of a place no one was either looking, nor even expecting. There was absolutely nothing that announced the prophetic voice was about to emerge during those days, and there was absolutely nothing that was announcing the prophetic office was being raised up. When Elijah is first mentioned in Scripture the only thing we learn about him is that he was a Tishbite and was from the land of GIlead—a reality which is quite intriguing when you think about it, for all we know and all we see in this passage is that the Spirit of the LORD raised up a voice in the midst of the land in order that He might directly confront the idolatrous practices and worship of Ahab and Jezebel.

I sit here today thinking about how Elijah stepped on to the scene, and I find myself being absolutely and completely consumed with the fact that Elijah stepped on to and emerged on the scene out of nowhere when no one expected, and when no one was anticipating the voice and word of the LORD. In all reality, I would dare say that the northern kingdom of Israel—despite the fact that there were seven thousand souls who had not bowed the knee to Baal—were not looking for, nor were they expecting the voice of the prophetic to confront them the way that it did. It’s worth noting that when this prophetic voice emerged on to the scene it first emerged with a message to Ahab king of Israel before it would ever transition to a message to the people of Israel. When Elijah stepped on to the scene, he did so with a proclamation unto Ahab that it would not be dew, nor rain during those years except according to his word. We know absolutely nothing about how and when Elijah received and obtained this word, and we know nothing about the time of preparation Elijah had experienced and undertaken to make him ready for such a time as this. We find absolutely nothing describing how the LORD had appeared to him during a time of prayer and fasting, and we find absolutely nothing that reveals how Elijah came to encounter and experience this word. Of course we know that this word came directly from the LORD and that it was a word spoken for that hour and during that hour, but we know absolutely nothing of what it was like as Elijah received this word. Perhaps this word came to Elijah much like the word of the LORD came unto Abram to leave his country, the land of his nativity, his father’s house, and everything he knew. I have to admit that this truly is remarkable and astonishing when you think about it, for I would dare say that Elijah stepped on to the scene during a time when the northern kingdom of Israel was perhaps numb and indifferent to the word of the LORD, and perhaps neither looked for, nor expected it. It would be during the days of Ahab and Jezebel when a man from GIlead would emerge on to the scene with a word specifically unto Ahab king of Israel. That word mentioned absolutely nothing about idolatry, nor did it mention anything about iniquity, nor anything about transgression, nor anything about rebellion, but only that it would not rain during those years. There was no explanation given as to why the heavens were going to become brass, and there was absolutely no definitive time frame for how long the heavens were going to be shut up. The only thing we know about that time and during that time was that there would neither be rain, nor would there be dew during those years, except according to and by the word of the LORD.

In all reality, I find this to be absolutely incredible when you take the time to think about and consider it, for Elijah didn’t immediately burst on to the scene preaching a message of repentance, nor did he burst on to the scene preaching against sin, preaching against idolatry, preaching against iniquity, and even preaching against Jezebel for killing the prophets. There was absolutely no mention of sin or idolatry when Elijah emerged on to the scene, and almost as quickly as Elijah emerged on to the scene he was told to hide himself by the brook Cherith by the Jordan River. Pause for a moment and think about this absolutely astonishing reality, for not only was there no announcement of the emergence of Elijah on to the scene, but his appearance was almost like that of lightning which flashes from one end of the heaven to the other and disappears almost as quickly is it is seen. I consider this to be absolutely astonishing, for when Elijah emerged on to the scene he did so like a flash of lightning and like a peel of thunder, for as soon as he was heard he was hidden, and soon as he was seen he was secluded. I can’t help but look at this and be absolutely astonished when you think about it, for there was no announcement of his coming, nor was there any announcement of his arrival, and as quickly as he stepped on to the scene he was instructed to go and hide himself. We find absolutely no command, nor any instruction of the LORD spoken unto Elijah concerning the prophetic word he would bring to Ahab, and yet we know that the word he brought would indeed and would in fact come from the LORD. In fact, we don’t find any record or mention of the LORD speaking unto Elijah until after he had proclaimed unto Ahab that it would neither rain nor dew those years except by his word. How absolutely remarkable and astonishing it is to think about and consider this reality, for it is one that says something about those days—days which were marked by idolatry, iniquity and immorality. Elijah the Tishbite would step on to the scene without warning and without notice, would proclaim a word concerning nature and the environment, and as soon as he proclaimed that word to Ahab he was instructed of the LORD to hide himself by the book Cherith which was before Jordan. We find absolutely nothing about “Go and proclaim,” and yet what we do find—almost as quickly as we find Elijah proclaiming the word of the LORD—is to go and hide himself in a very specific place. It’s worth noting that Elijah didn’t know how long he would have to hide in that specific place—only that the LORD had instructed him to hide by the brook Cherith which was before Jordan, and that the LORD would command ravens to feed him, and that he would drink from the book. Please don’t this absolutely astonishing reality, for it is absolutely astonishing to think about and consider the fact that the word of the LORD would be seen, heard and felt in the midst of the northern kingdom of Israel—almost like a flash of lightning and as a peel of thunder—and as soon as it was seen and heard it would disappear. No explanation was given, no follow up was given, no invitation to respond was given, no nothing, and immediately after it, the LORD would instruct Elijah to go and hide himself.

As I sit here today thinking about the current days and time we are living in, I can’t help but get the strong sense that we are about to enter into an Elijah moment—and perhaps are even in an Elijah moment right now—when the word of the LORD will emerge on to the scene, and almost as quickly as its presence is seen and heard it will be hidden by the LORD until the appointed time when He will bring it forth again. It’s interesting and worth noting that after Elijah proclaimed the word of the LORD to Ahab—not only would he hide himself by the brook Cherith which was before Jordan as he would drink from the brook and receive bread and flesh from ravens in the morning, but when the brook dried up he would be sent unto Zarephath and unto a widow’s house, for the LORD had commanded a widow to sustain him. Isn’t it amazing to think about how the living God sustained the prophet Elijah and how the Spirit of the LORD sustained the prophetic word of the LORD—first by a brook before Jordan by ravens who brought him flesh and bread in the morning and evening, and next by a widow. It’s quite interesting to think about how the prophetic voice and how the prophetic ministry would be sustained during that time, for it would not be sustained the way we would think it would be. The prophet was not sustained at the king’s table, nor was the prophet sustained the way we think and feel he should have been sustained, but he would be sustained in what we might think and consider are some of the most unconventional methods and means of sustaining it. I firmly believe there is a truly astonishing word here concerning how the Spirit of the LORD can and will sustain the prophetic word and voice during these days, and that the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD will sustain the prophetic voice and ministry during these days, for it cannot and will not be sustained by man, but will be sustained by the living God. The prophetic voice and ministry cannot and will not be sustained and provided for during these days according to man’s standards, and there will be no man who can and/or will take credit for it. The prophetic voice and ministry during these days can and will find it being sustained by ravens and by widows as it is the living God who has commanded the provision. Elijah didn’t have to go and look for provision in his life, nor did he have to wonder how he would be cared for and provided. The only thing Elijah knew was that the LORD instructed him to go and hide himself by the brook Cherith, that the LORD would provided for him, and that when the book dried up the word of the LORD would come to him again instructing him to go unto Zarephath, for it would be there the LORD had commanded a widow to sustain him.

During these days and during this time, I am absolutely and completely convinced that the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is calling and has called men and women into the secret closet of prayer, and is going to bring about the time when this voice which has been prepared in the secret place of isolation and seclusion will emerge forth like flashes of lightning and like peels of thunder. It was John the Baptist who would prepare a generation for the manifestation and emergence of the Messiah, and would do so in the spirit and power of Elijah, and it would be Malachi who would prophesy that before the Messiah would return, the prophetic voice and ministry of the Elijah would once more be manifested in the earth. I am absolutely convinced that there is a prophetic voice and minister that is not only being sustained by ravens and widows, but also by locusts and wild honey that is about to emerge on to the scene and is going to thunder, herald and proclaim the word of the LORD. I am absolutely convinced that this time of isolation, quarantine and seclusion must be understood as an invitation from the Spirit of the LORD to hide themselves in the secret closet of prayer, intercession, fasting, weeping, and mourning, and that there is coming a time when this voice will emerge from the closet like a lion out of a cage. I firmly believe the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is making ready and preparing men and women during this time through prayer, through intercession, through fasting, through weeping, through mourning, and is doing so in the secret close of prayer. I believe the Spirit of the LORD is calling men and women into the secret place in order that He might sustain them until the time comes when they will be released into the earth to trumpet and herald a message for this hour and for this generation. Elijah emerged on to the scene with a message that shut up the heavens, and he wouldn’t emerge before Ahab again until the heavens would be opened once more—first by fire, and then by rain. How absolutely remarkable and astounding it is that when the heavens were preparing to be opened once more, they would first be opened—almost prepared—by fire coming down from heaven upon the altar, and then by a torrential downpour which would come upon the land. It’s almost as if the fire which would split the heavens and come down would highlight and underscore the altar before the rain would come upon the land. How absolutely remarkable and astounding it is to think about and consider the fact that when the heavens were opened after a period of three and a half years, they wouldn’t be opened with clouds of rain, but rather by fire coming down from heaven. There was a word that shut up the heavens and made them as brass—perhaps in and of itself a prophetic message concerning the heavens being brass during those times concerning the relationship men had with the living God—and there would come a time when the heavens would be unlocked through prayer.

THE PRAYER THAT OPENED THE HEAVENS! THE PRAYERS THAT UNLOCKED THE HEAVENS! THE PRAYER THAT SPLIT THE HEAVENS—FIRST BY FIRE, AND SECOND BY RAIN! THE FIRE PRECEDES THE RAIN! THE FIRE ALWAYS PRECEDES THE RAIN! STOP LOOKING FOR THE RAIN WHEN THE LORD WANTS TO SEND THE FIRE! IT WOULD BE THE CONFRONTATION AT CARMEL AND THE REPAIRING OF THE ALTAR THAT WOULD NOT ONLY SPLIT THE HEAVENS WITH FIRE, BUT ALSO WITH RAIN! IT WAS A DECREE THAT SHUT THE HEAVENS, BUT IT WAS PRAYER THAT UNLOCKED THE HEAVENS! GOD DIDN’T SEND THE RAIN FIRST, BUT SENT THE FIRE! ELIJAH DIDN’T PRAY FOR RAIN FIRST, BUT FIRE! THE FIRE MUST ALWAYS PRECEDE THE RAIN! The more you read and consider the narrative of the prophet Elijah, the more you will come face to face with the fact that Elijah emerged on to the scene without warning, without advanced notice, without fan fare, without any type of indication that he was about to appear, and when he did emerge on to the scene he did so with a single word for the king of Ahab—namely, that there would neither be rain, nor dew during those years except by and according to his word. Immediately after he delivered that word he was instructed of the LORD to go and hide himself by the book Cherith which was before the Jordan. It would be there at the brook he would drink of the waters found there, and it would be there at the brook where the LORD would provide for him by commanding ravens to bring him his daily food. Scripture reveals how the ravens would bring him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh during the evening. Scripture doesn’t indicate how long Elijah was there at the brook, but what we do encounter and come face to face with concerning this passage is that “after a while” the brook which the LORD had instructed Elijah to hide himself by would dry up because there had been no rain in the land. Following the brook drying up the word of the LORD would come unto him again instructing him to get himself to Zarephath, which belonged to Zidon, and to dwell there, for He had commanded a widow woman who lived there to sustain him. It would be there in Zarephath where he would come encounter the widow woman whom the LORD spoke of. What’s interesting to think about and consider concerning Elijah and this widow woman is that when he first spoke to her he asked her to fetch him a drink of water. As she turned to fetch him water he also asked her to bring unto him a morsel of bread inm her hand. Initially, however, the woman balked at his request because she did not have a cake—only a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse. This widow was on her way to gathering two sticks that she might go in and dress it for her and her son that they might eat and then die. Elijah would instruct the woman to fear no, and to go and do as she had said, but to make him a little cake first, and bring it unto him, and only afterward would she make one for her and her son. Elijah would then declare the word of the LORD unto her that the barrel of meal shall not waste, neither would the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sent rain upon the earth. How absolutely remarkable and astounding it is to read how this woman did according to the saying of Elijah, and both she and her house did eat many days, for the barrel of meal wasted not, nor did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD.

As you continue to read the narrative of the life of the prophet Elijah you will encounter and come face to face with the absolutely astounding reality that after the brook had dried up because of the lack of rain, Elijah would go unto Zarephath and unto a widow woman who was preparing one last and final meal for her and her son that they might eat and die. Elijah would deliver the word of the LORD unto this woman and her and her house would eat many days, for the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail. Before the seventeenth chapter of this book ends and concludes, it does so with the only son of this widow dying, and her sheer and utter distress at the death of her son. Before we come to the eighteenth chapter and the prayer which Elijah would pray, we find him praying for this widow and for her son, and that the living God would restore the life of her son unto him. The LORD would hear the voice of Elijah, and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. Elijah would then take the child and deliver him unto his mother, and then declared unto the woman, “See, thy son liveth.” What you find at the end of the chapter is actually quite astounding, for when the seventeenth chapter concludes, it does so with this woman of Zarephath declaring unto Elijah that now she knew that he was a man of God, and that the word of the LORD which was in his mouth was truth. The final words which are written in the seventeenth chapter are absolutely astonishing and remarkable when you think about and consider them, for with them we find the first declaration in Scripture concerning Elijah—namely, that he was a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in his mouth was truth. It would be after Elijah would pray and intercede on behalf of this widow and her son that he would experience resurrection, and immediately following this we find the word of the LORD again coming unto Elijah in the third year of the famine instructing him to go and show himself unto Ahab, and He would send rain upon the earth. What is so absolutely remarkable and astounding when you think about and consider this, is that directly linked and connected to the LORD sending rain upon the earth was Elijah showing himself unto Ahab. What makes this even more intriguing is when you think about and consider the fact that when Elijah encountered Obadiah as he prepared to shew himself unto Ahab he would be told how there was not a nation, nor was there a kingdom whither Ahab his lord had not sent to seek Elijah. Upon hearing that Elijah was not in any of the places he had sent for Elijah, Ahab would take oath of that nation or kingdom confirming that he was not there. It’s actually quite intriguing and astonishing to think about this fact, for the word of the LORD would indeed promise rain once more falling upon the earth, however directly linked and connected to rain once more falling upon the earth would be Elijah showing himself unto Ahab king of Israel.

Upon reading the words found in this narrative you will discover how Elijah would in fact come face to face with Ahab, and how when Ahab saw Elijah, he said unto him, “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” Elijah’s response is actually once of tremendous boldness, for Elijah responded to the king by declaring that he had not troubled Israel, but that Ahab and his father’s house had, in that they had forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and had followe Baalim. What I so absolutely love about this passage is that the word of the LORD would come unto Elijah, and it would declare that the LORD would send rain upon the earth once more, however, Elijah first needed to show himself unto Ahab. It wasn’t about Elijah simply showing himself unto Ahab, for upon seeing Ahab, Elijah would instruct him to gather unto him all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, as well as the prophets of the grove, which were four hundred—those which did eat at Jezebel’s table. Ahab would indeed send for all Israel, and they would gather before Elijah at mount Carmel, and upon seeing Israel come before him he would ask them a very pointed and powerful question—namely, “How long haul ye between two opinions? IF the LORD be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.” Oh, it was indeed true that Elijah needed to show himself unto Ahab, but directly linked to his showing himself unto Ahab would be a confrontation atop mount Carmel between the prophets of Baal, and the prophets of the grove, and himself. The challenge which Elijah set forth on this particular day there at the top of Carmel would be that they would each set up an altar, and they would each present an offering upon the altar, and the God who answers by fire would indeed be the living God. Thus, Elijah’s showing himself unto Ahab would be an open door and invitation to confront the prophets Baal and the prophets of the grove, as well as to confront the divided, idolatrous, wicked, and rebellious hearts of the people of the northern kingdom of Israel. It would be there atop the mountain that Elijah would emphatically declare that the God who answered by fire would indeed be the LORD. Elijah declared unto the four-hundred and fifty prophets of Baal that they were to call on the name of their gods, and he would call on the name of the LORD, and the God which answered by fire, let him be the one true God.

As I have already mentioned, the heavens would be shut up according to the word of Elijah as he would come and declare unto Ahab that there would neither be rain, nor dew upon the earth except by his word. With that being said, we find the word of the LORD declaring unto Elijah that He was about to unlock the heavens, and as a direct result of His unlocking and opening the heavens he was to go and show himself unto Ahab. What I find to be so absolutely remarkable and astonishing is that the LORD would indeed unlock the heavens, however, before the heavens were unlocked and opened with an abundance of rain, they were first unlocked and opened by the consuming fire of the living God. Though the nation was in desperate need for rain, the LORD would not initially begin by sending rain upon the land, and rain upon the earth, but would first send fire upon a repaired altar which Elijah had built atop Carmel. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this absolutely remarkable and astonishing reality, for with it you get the strong sense and come face to face with the tremendous reality that before the LORD would send rain upon the earth to heal the land, He would first send fire upon the altar to heal the hearts of the people. Please pay close and carefully attention to this, for as much as the LORD was concerned about the land itself, He was more concerned with the hearts of the people. Oh, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the author of the book of Second Chronicles recorded the living God speaking unto Solomon during the night after he had dedicated the Temple and prayed unto the LORD concerning the house and the cries of His people. In the thirteenth and fourteenth verses of the seventh chapter you will find the following words which were spoken by the LORD unto Solomon: “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven,and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14). It’s important for us to read the words which are found within these two verses, for more often than not we quote the fourteenth verse without also quoting the thirteenth verse. It is in the thirteenth verse that we find the LORD speaking unto Solomon concerning His shutting up the heavens that there be no rain, concerning the LORD commanding locusts that they devour the land, and concerning the LORD sending pestilence among His people. If the LORD had sent any of those upon the people and the land—if His people, which were called by His name would humble themselves, and pray, and seek his face, and turn from their wicked ways, then would he hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and would heal their land.

I am absolutely convinced that this is the word of the LORD for this particular season of time this nation—and not only the nation, but also the entire world is facing. Oh the LORD has not sent a famine upon the land, and the LORD has not commanded the heavens that there be no rain, however, the LORD has indeed sent a pestilence upon the land, and one might even argue that the LORD has figuratively sent locusts upon the face of the earth to devour and consume the land with its economy by and with its commerce. We are in fact living in times of pestilence and locusts as there is a virus that is spreading throughout and upon the earth. Not only is there a virus that is spreading throughout and upon the earth, but there are countless thousands of individuals who have died as a direct result of the virus. What’s more, is that directly linked and connected to this virus is the presence of figurative locusts who would devour the land with its economy, with its jobs, with its businesses, with its commerce, and the like. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this, for we are indeed living in days of pestilence and locusts, and yet despite the fact the LORD has indeed sent both upon the earth, and although both are consuming and ravaging the earth, the word of the LORD to the nations of the earth is that if they would pray, and seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, then and only then would He hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land. What’s important to note concerning this passage of Scripture, is that the LORD did in fact declare that He would hear from heaven, but before He promised to heal the land, He first promised to forgive sin. This is truly important when you think about and consider it in light of Elijah atop mount Carmel, for although it would be the rain that would heal the land, the LORD would not immediately send the rain upon the earth, but would send fire. It’s almost as if the fire which the LORD would send down from heaven would not only highlight and underscore the altar, but would be a strong and powerful declaration that the LORD was more concerned with the hearts of the people than He was the land. There at mount Carmel the living God would split the heavens with His consuming fire, and it would be that fire which would not only consume the sacrifice upon the altar, but would also lick up the water in the trench round about the altar, and would even consume the dust round about the altar. Please don’t miss this, for while it was indeed true the living God would send rain upon the land to heal it, He would send fire down from heaven upon the land in order to highlight the altar of the LORD, and in order that He might call and bring the people back to repentance.

How absolutely remarkable it is to think and consider the fact that the LORD did indeed promise to send rain upon the earth, and essentially He would heal the land, however, before He would heal the land, He needed and wanted to directly confront the hearts of the people of Israel. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this particular reality, for while it is true that the LORD can heal the nations of the earth, and while it is true the LORD can heal the land, and that the LORD can heal economies, business, and the like—it is all the more true that the living God wants to heal the hearts of the people before He heals the land. Oh, we might very well be looking for the LORD to heal the land during these days, and to restore what the locusts have eaten, and yet that which the LORD desires to do is to heal the hearts of men and women, and to forgive sins. Oh that we would recognize and understand that before the LORD desires to “send rain upon the earth,” and before the LORD desires to heal the economy, and to restore that which the locusts have eaten, and to even restore that which we have lost and suffered during this time, He desires all the more to forgive our sins and heal us spiritually. With that being said, I believe we are coming to, and in all reality have already come to a Carmel moment when the altar of the LORD need to be repaired, and when we must make a decision whether we are going to serve the living God, or whether we are going to serve Baal. The LORD is bringing the nations of the earth into the valley of decision, and is calling them to essentially “Choose you this day whom you will serve.” What’s more, is the fact that the living God is calling and bringing men to Carmel during these times and in this hour, for the LORD wants to highlight and underscore the altar and call men and women once more to prayer, to repentance, and to seeking his face. What we must notice is that the LORD did promise Solomon that He would hear from heaven, and would forgive sin, and would heal the land, but directly linked to that was the people humbling themselves, praying, seeking their face, and turning from their wicked ways. This is what was so astonishing and remarkable about the words which are written and found in the eighteenth chapter of the book of First Kings, for Elijah called the men and women of Israel to a moment when they were being called to humble themselves, when they were being called to pray, and to seek the face of the living God, and to turn from their wicked ways. Oh, as I prepare to bring this writing to a close, I am reminded of the words which the prophet Joel prophesied in the second chapter of the prophetic book which bears his name. I am absolutely convinced that it is the words which Joel spoke according to the word of the LORD that is directly linked to the word of the LORD from Second Chronicles 7:14. I leave you with the words which were written and prophesied by Joel in the second chapter of this Old Testament prophetic book:

“Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every on in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: and the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that exectuteth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? Therefore also now, saith the LORD, Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth Him of the evil. Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. Yea, the LORD will answered and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will not more make you a reproach among the heathen: but I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things” (Joel 2:1-20).

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