Are we ready in this season God has purposed you for?
As we read about Elijah’s prophetic ministry in 1 Kings 17, we note that he sets a pattern as a father for other ministries to follow. We see the leading of Holy Spirit and the phrase “spirit of Elijah” found in 2 Kings 2:9 where Elisha is seeking to receive the same empowerment Elijah had in order to carry his prophetic ministry. The energizing spirit of power that enabled Elijah to prophesy was the “Spirit of God”. (see 1 Samuel 10:6,10 and 19:20, 23).
“Elijah” lives up to his name, “Yahweh Is My God.”
God answered Israel’s worst king by raising up one of the greatest and most powerful prophets in the Old Testament, namely Elijah the Tishbite. We see the significance of Elijah’s prophetic ministry here as a man of restoration who we read came in a whirlwind of fire with signs and wonders to change the heart of a nation.
This article is mostly about his prophecy declaring there will be no rain at his word. Elijah is sending a message from God as to who really is in charge of world events.
We understand that those who worship Baal believed that Baal controlled the rain. In effect Elijah cuts to the heart of ‘Baalism’ and challenges their so-called god, proclaiming that the Lord God of Israel controls the weather.
We read in 1 Kings 17:1 “And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word’.”
The times we are living in are not dissimilar, to the times of Israel’s history where we see wicked leaders like Ahab and Jezebel governing the land. Scripture uses these shocking words: “Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him.” (1 Kings 16:30).
Ahab distinguishes himself as being the most wicked king who reigned over Israel. As we read in 1 Kings 16:31we see a man that allows the nation to degenerate, and he marries Jezebel, in “And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him.”
Jezebel got Ahab to build a house for Baal beside the palace in Samaria, as well as at “Ashtoreth,” that is, an idol of the fertility goddess. Then she brought 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Ashtoreth from Phoenicia, housed them in the palace. Their duties would have been to promote the worship of Baal and Ashtoreth throughout the land.
Jezebel was fanatical about her Baal religion. She was a headstrong, self-willed, domineering woman, she had little trouble manipulating her way through witchcraft and control.
Jezebel sought to stamp out every remnant of Jehovah worship and to kill every true prophet of God. She had to have things completely her way, and she almost succeeded.
From what I see on the horizon as a warning for us today, the biggest threat to the Church in the last days is the “Jezebel spirit.”
In the midst of these evil plans God sends a prophet with a message that God will withhold the rain and dew, until Elijah says the drought is over. This was a very threatening statement to make to a wicked kingdom ruled by Ahab and Jezebel.
Elijah’s Message to Ahab
A summary of 1 Kings Chapter 18 begins with the Lord sending Elijah back to Ahab in the third year of the famine. He was sent to alert Ahab that the Lord will finally send rain. After nearly three years of drought the looming question, of whether it was the Lord God of Israel or Baal who controlled the rain, was about to be answered.
We read in 1 Kings 18:1 “And it came to pass after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, “Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth.”
When Elijah appeared before Ahab, (v17) When he (Ahab) saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?”
Elijah answered back and told Ahab the king was the one who troubled Israel, the king and his father’s house troubled Israel by forsaking God and following Baalim.
The days are upon us where the prophets will provoke those operating in wickedness in nations and challenge ungodly rulers.
It was to observe whose God would answer a call. Elijah puts a challenge together against all the false prophets and gods of the land. The challenge would show whose God was the true God.
(v24) “Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.”
The followers of Baal went first. They chanted from morning to noon. They cut themselves with knives. Elijah simply looked on and waited for them to finish.
We read in 1 Kings 18: 27-28 And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.”So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them.
Then Elijah set before the Lord his sacrifice and prayed to the Lord to demonstrate to the people that they are faltering between two opinions if the Lord is God follow Him; but if Baal follow him the God who answers by fire.
We read in 1 Kings 18: 30Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.
Elijah also prayed to show the people that Elijah was the Lord’s servant.
We read in 1 Kings 18: 37 “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”
The Fire from the Lord
Fire fell from the Lord and the fire licked up all the burnt sacrifice and the people were convinced and confessed the Lord is God.
- Fire from the altar will touch the Bride of Christ
- God is repairing the altar of prayer in the Body of Christ
- God in his mercy is turning our hearts back to him
Elijah had all the false prophets of Baal captured and killed.
Elijah goes to pray to end the drought.
(1 Kings 18:41-43) Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.”So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees,and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.”
We can learn much about prayer from observing Elijah.
First, even though he has a promise from God for the drought to be broken, he went to God in prayer for the fulfilment of this promise.
Secondly, we see his posture in prayer – he bowed his face down between his knees, in a humble attitude of pray.
Thirdly, we learn the importance of persistence in prayer as we read Elijah prayed seven times. We also read in (1 Chronicles 16:11) “Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually.”
Fourthly, we understand the necessity of faith as we pray realizing that Elijah believed in God as he prayed, and he believed the answer had come, even before he prayed for the actual rain to come.
Fifthly, even though the cloud was as small as a man hand, Elijah knew this was a sign from God. How often we miss the small signs because we think they are insignificant because of their size and true meaning. That small sign like a small cloud will stop an evil king. God uses the ‘foolish things’ to confound the wise.
Sixth, God tends to speak with gentle leading. Just how God spoke to Elijah… He was not in the swirling wind, the violent earthquake, or the raging fire. When all was still, God spoke with a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:11–13).
God speaks in our innermost spirit. Satan will speak to our soul or human mind. As we mature spiritually, by regular spiritual experiences through the gift of discernment, we learn to distinguish the hearing between soul and spirit. From Scripture we gain the understanding that God Himself takes up residence deep in our inner spirit. There He lives and communicates with us.
Self and Satan have access to our minds, but God alone has access to our innermost human spirit.
We have guidelines in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
One of the Words for ‘Discern’ in Hebrew means: ‘biyn’ – to understand; discern. ‘Biyn’ can mean to mentally separate or distinguish. It means to: understand, deal wisely, pay attention to, regard, consider, notice, perceive, inquire, and discern.
We quiet our mind and allow the Word of God to divide between soul and spirit. We listen carefully for God to speak deep within. We exercise discernment by what we hear that emanates from our soul (my mind) or from our inner human spirit. Learning to discern between soul and spirit requires patience, practice, and careful cultivation and knowledge of God’s Word.
It is imperative that we become sensitive to the small still voice of God that is often a subtle voice in our human spirit. Most often signs are all around us, but we fail to discern or see them. Our prayers today are Lord give us an increased manifestation of the gift of discernment, open our spiritual ears and eyes that we may hear and see.
As believers today, we are to heed that instruction to test worldly philosophies, foreign doctrines, and different ideas and spins that come from our politicians, celebrities, community leaders, and even some of our religious leaders.
We are to test everything that comes through our television sets, over the radio waves, and from our computers and phones.
We are to exercise the gift of discernment and this is to possess the ability to judge well. We get our English word “aesthetic” from Greek “aesthesis” means: perception, not only by the senses but also by the intellect, cognition and discernment.
From the Greek word for discernment we get the meaning: moral perception, insight, and the practical application of knowledge.
A MESSAGE FROM ELIJAH – (Part Two)
Then Elijah sends a message to Ahab to eat and drink because there is an abundance of rain on the way. Then it thundered and the abundance of rain came, ending the drought.
(1 Kings 18:44) Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So, he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’”
We read in (1 Kings 18:45) “Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel. “
Yes, even for us we will become aware of dark times and darkened skies, the signs of the end times.
The hand of the Lord will come upon God’s servants.
We read in (1 Kings 18:46) “Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.”
That same sign of a man’s hand that brought the rain is the same hand of the Lord that came upon Elijah the prophet, who was divinely empowered by God to outrun Ahab’s chariot from Carmel to Jezreel which was approximately 25 miles.
The phrase “the hand of the Lord” is not a formula that refers to the divine inspiration of the prophets rather it is undoubtedly an indirect reference to the Holy Spirit. Here Elijah was supernaturally strengthened by the Spirit of God to do miraculous feats.
This supernatural ability is what God is preparing for those prophets who will walk in intimacy and obedience in these times. They will outrun evil and outwit the enemies of God and carry divine messages and operate in acts of power on behalf of Almighty God and fulfill exploits for God in building His Kingdom.
Saul was turned into another man by the transforming and empowering of the Spirit of God. (1 Samuel 10: 6).
When Chariots are mentioned in the Word, they usually signify doctrinal things of both good and the truth, and also the knowledge belonging to doctrinal things.1
It is the same with horses in front of the chariot; by horses in the Word signified of understanding, and therefore also by chariots signified doctrinal things and the knowledge belonging to these.1
Prophets today will be moved on by God to build together.
And the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See now, the place where we dwell with you is too small for us. Please, let us go to the Jordan, and let every man take a beam from there, and let us make there a place where we may dwell.” So he answered, “Go.” (2 Kings 6:1-2)
God is raising up a generation of prophets to build His work together, to meet together, to share together, to equip the body and to commit to work with the Five-fold ministry with emphasis upon apostolic teams.
Today the Lord is reminding those called into the prophetic ministry to live at a higher level of devotion and commitment and prophets who are called to build His church and stir up the Body of Christ to come into the knowledge of God. (1 Samuel 10:10).
When Christ returns it will be for a Church He loves, a glorious Church, sanctified by the washing of water by the Word.
Many church congregations are under attack as they see believers falling away and caught up in the ways of the world. In the Book of Revelation John records a message from God to seven churches. These were real churches that existed in the time that John wrote to the seven churches. These messages also stand as representations of all churches today.
John in Revelations 3:14-17 is addressing the church of Laodicea and these verses are addressed to followers of Jesus, and not to unbelievers, as a warning. In Revelations 3:20 we read that Jesus is knocking on the door. This is addressed to believers, the church. It’s not a warning to unbelievers, but a warning to believing Christians who are drifting away from God.
These scripture are about believers that have become lukewarm as they have become self-sufficient. They ignore the request of Jesus to enter and they leave Him standing on the outside of the door. This is the hardened condition of heart to which Jesus gives the invitation “if anyone hears My voice and opens the door (his heart) I will come into him and dine with him and he with Me.”
Could it be that the Laodiceans Church enjoyed material prosperity that led them to a false sense of security and independence from God. This is not to do with salvation being lukewarm but in the context of this verse the church had lost it’s purpose.
THERE IS A STIRRING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
However with these challenges there is also a stirring taking place, by the Holy Spirit, with the emphasis on “spiritual zeal and passion” for The Lord.
Yes, because there is a desire for something different, we must then do something different. Our models of ministry should not only be about attendance, but about seeking the presence of the Lord. A greater desire for the presence of God a holy habitation within our gatherings. With a stronger emphasis on God’s love and grace based on relationships that are deeper and more meaningful.
There is also a greater awareness and emphasis in the church on the harvest and the importance to getting the good news of the gospel into our neighbourhoods and cities.
Following this we are being reminded by the Holy Spirit that the great commission is so important in preparing disciples for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, promised in the last days.
The emphasis is on Five-fold ministry gifting in building the structure and function of the Church (Ephesians 4:11-12). Today the Holy Spirit is shining His spotlight on our cities, and how to reach these cites for Christ, with strategies that need Five-fold teams to strategize the way ahead.
As we read in (Acts 13:2) “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Our church services will need to have a flexibility in relationship based meetings that both include small and large meetings to meet all sorts of needs and limitations coming to challenge the wider Church.
(Luke 14:23) Then the master told his servant, “Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in that my house may be filled”
The Greek word translated “compel” is very strong. It is the imperative of ‘anankazo’ meaning: “force,” “compel,” or even “drive.” The Latin origin of this word, “implorare”means: “invoke with tears.” 4
John Wesley gives this comment on “compel them to come in,” with all the violence of love, and the force of God’s Word. The apostle Paul says it like this: “we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
THE LOST AXE HEAD (2 Kings 6:5-7)
In the above scriptures we get an impression that while they were building they lost something of the cutting edge that is so needed today.
(v5) One man in the group was cutting down a tree. Then the head of his axe fell into the river. It was iron. ‘Oh sir,’ he cried out. ‘It was not my axe. Somebody allowed me to use it. I intended to give it back afterwards.’
(v6) Elisha asked, ‘Where did it fall?’ The man showed the place to him. Elisha cut a stick and he threw it where axe head went in the river. That caused the iron to float.
(v7) “Pick it up for yourself” Elisha said. Then the man reached out his hand and he took it.
(Insight) Where did it fall? That is a perfectly common question for Elisha to ask, “where did it fall?” This demonstrates our need to identify where we lost our effectiveness and zeal in ministry? We are all on borrowed time?
Has your axe head grown blunt because you have not spent time with the Lord to sharpen your inner man through prayer and the Word?
Have you lost your ministry sharpness because you do not have the time to meet the Lord in the intimacy of His Word and/or feeling a lack of effectiveness in prayer? Scripture identifies spiritual gifts as a supernatural ability bestowed on an individual by the Holy Spirit, this is a visible evidence of His activity.
“But the manifestation of Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
The Holy Spirit bestows the gifts to whom He wills as the occasion recommends from the divine viewpoint. We need to examine our ministry in reflection to what the Holy Spirit has called us to do. He has given us gifts for the operation of ministry. These gifts should be operational in our lives as a demonstration of the kingdom of God. Are we hearing the clear voice of God? Have we lost our pioneering spirit to minister to the un-reached people in our communities and nation?
Consider the place where you lost your (axe)head
Verse Six says: Elisha took a stick and threw it into the river within moments, the axe head surfaced out of the mucky Jordan. This imagery of the “stick” of wood symbolizes the Cross of Jesus Christ. The picture shows us there is no redemption, no salvation, without Christ!
In Elisha’s words “Pick it up for yourself” ‘once the axe head arose to the surface. Elisha instruction was: “Retrieve your effectiveness and get productive again.”
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9).
As disciples of the Lord with a spiritual calling over our lives, we are to sow our life to the Spirit, by knowing Christ and fellow-shipping in His suffering and pressing onward to the end and in so doing we will reap a fruitful harvest that is pleasing to the Lord.
Eagle Ascend Ministries
- Scriptures are from the New King James Version of the Bible New King James Version® Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
- Thayer’s Greek Lexicon STRONGS NT 144: αἴσθησις
(αἰσθάνομαι) perception, not only by the senses but also by the intellect; cognition, discernment; (Prov. 1:22; 2:10 etc., equivalent to דַּעַת): Phil. 1:9 of moral discernment, the understanding of ethical matters, as is plain from what is added in Phil 1:10.
- Implore |imˈplôr| verb [reporting verb] ORIGIN early 16th cent.: from French implorer or Latin implorare ‘invoke with tears.’