Just a few steps from this temple was a cemetery where many jars were found containing remains of infants who had been sacrificed in the temple. The prophets of Baal and Asheroth were official murderers of little children. This is a sidelight on Elijah's execution of the prophets of Baal. Today we have these people just rallying, we want the right to kill the unborn. We demand that right. And we'll stop you from preaching against us if it comes to that.
Stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Now here's Pastor Rick with his continuing message called Elijah on Mount Carmel in 1 Kings chapter 18. God's original design and desire was for Israel to be united before Him.
But everything is all messed up now. And that's what the prophet is pointing out. Verse 32, then with the stones he built an altar in the name of Yahweh. And he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two sets of seed.
It's about over four gallons. And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, laid it on the wood and said, fill four water pots with water and pour it out on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood. You know if you go up on Mount Carmel there are a lot of stones up there, large sizable stones that you can lift and you can build an altar.
I remember sitting up on Mount Carmel on stones and I'm praying to the Lord telling him how I'm the only really smart pastor on the mountain right now. And then I got a thought in my head, you know snakes like rocks. So I went to the tour guide, hey you got poisonous snakes here, we got a lot of them. Would have been good to tell me that for sitting over there in the bushes by them. Anyway that's truly happened, I didn't want to sit over there anymore. Because it was warm enough and they come out, hey how you doing?
They disappear, they've got this cloaking device. Anyhow I have a quote from Tozier at this point because here we are, he arranges the altar just the way it's supposed to be. And of course he floods it with water, he's going to. He's given the command and they got to haul this water up so the clock's ticking right, sundown's coming. Tozier said, theological facts are like the altar of Elijah on Carmel before the fire, before the fire came.
Correct, properly laid out but all together cold. That has sat with me for over 30 years because I think about you know it has to have the fire of God. It cannot just be I've got all these facts, what does it mean to you? Just the last four Sundays I've been going home with one of the songs stuck in my head.
Just singing it in my head all week, this Sunday with source of God and it has been loving it. You can't do that if you only have theological facts. All you can do with theological facts is debate. But when you have that fire, that passion, everything changes.
So yeah Tozier made a good point and that's right if no fire came down on this altar it would have just been a proper altar. But meaningless as those of the prophets of Baal, verse 34. Then he said do it a second time and they did it a second time and he said do it a third time. And they said you know you're getting carried away.
No they didn't do it a third time and they did it a third time. Now you got to love that the prophet speaks to people do something. He tells the king meet me up there on the mountain with your prophets and it happens. He tells the people bring two bulls and then you know build this altar. Come to me build the altar bring up some water do it three times. Thoroughly soaking this altar making them dependent on God. So that no one can say you snuck a match into the pile.
This is no match gonna light this. This would be difficult for them to accuse Elijah of trickery. Verse 36 and it came to pass at that time of the offering of the evening sacrifice.
There's another time stamp for us it's about 3 p.m now. That Elijah the prophet came here and said Yahweh God of Abraham, Isaac and all Israel. Let it be known this day that you are God in Israel and I am your servant. And that I have done all these things at your word. This is huge faith is a substance of things to hope for the evidence of things not seen by it. The elders obtained a good testimony that's what we're looking at. Here's a man who said I believe God's gonna make it rain. I believe he's gonna send fire on the altar. How do you get this kind of stuff? I've been trying to get it like this you know just you know a simple prayer like God.
Can there be no other cars on the road when I'm driving and it's just not happening. Anyhow this is impressive when he says I am your servant. And that I have done all these things by your word. Now man can be right with that and he is right. And again with him it's got that asterisk on it.
Yeah but I'm the only one at Tigger complex. Well remember what he is saying here when we get to verse 43. I reminded you about verse 30 when we got to that point that was made. Now this second point is that he is doing this at God's word. This is not that Elijah has said okay the drought I think it should end now.
People are having a hard time. That is not what has happened. What is happening is he's doing what God has told him and that is a big part. We'll come back to that verse 37 now. Hear me oh Yahweh hear me that this people may know that you are Yahweh God.
And that you have turned their hearts back to you again. Another big verse so the whole Elijah is trying to win souls. Win apostates back to God. Jeremiah says God's speaking through him.
If you return oh Israel says Yahweh return to me. And if you will put away your abominations out of my sight then you shall not be moved. And this is the heart of God the mercy of the Lord. He could have said you know what after all I've done for these people this is what I get in return.
I'm just gonna let them die out and the next generation I'll invest myself in them. But that's not what God does. You cannot say that God loves the youngest child in the church.
Any more than the oldest servant in the church. His love does not fade. He doesn't look at us and say you know you're not as cute as you used to be.
It was so much easier to love you when you were just a little thing. But now no that is not what God says. Isaiah talks about that says God will be with me even through my old age. Verse 38 then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice. And the wood and the stones and the dust and licked up the water that was in the trench. If I could just get past these verses so I can make my comment.
Because it's so exciting. This is the fourth time in scripture that this is said at least the fourth time. It's happened Solomon when he dedicated the temple in second chronicles chapter seven. The fire came down on the altar also just another example. Verse 39 now when all the people saw it they fell on their faces and they said Yahweh he is God.
Yahweh he is God. The chant now comes out they converted. They said you know fair enough they could halt between two opinions.
But then it halted now this is progress. You imagine Elijah gave up on them when they said nothing. He could have said well you don't you can't speak up you can't commit to Yahweh. He doesn't do that.
He just continues to move forward with his program. He's totally in control. And when you're sharing Christ as long as they're letting you speak you're in control. The spirit is moving forward even if it ends up ending in persecution.
You're in control because well you have the floor and what you have to say is taken seriously. Otherwise you wouldn't be persecuted. So they're either going to persecute you mock you with a mock mocking false mockings. Or they're going to take to heart which is saying verse 39. Now when all the people saw it they fell on their faces and they said Yahweh he is God.
So in an instant they realize how terribly they were deceived. Paul when he wrote to the Thessalonians who as I mentioned were into paganism. And the heathen world all around them. They were hungry and thirsty for a righteousness they didn't know existed. And then Paul brings it and he writes to them he says everybody's boasting about you.
Everybody's boasting about you in a righteous way. For they themselves declare first Thessalonians 1 9 concerning us what manner of entry we had to you. And how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and the true God. So Paul says we brought the message to you. You listened to us and you were converted. The God who answers by fire he is God.
And here it is happening here. It happens in the fullness of the spirit upon the Christian. You have a pastor goes to the pulpit you better hope that the God who answers by fire. Anoints him to speak so that he does not depart from the word. Even if he is afraid to say something because people might leave the church. But he knows God is selling him he's got to say this and that's what it has to be. The minute he starts fearing consequences over what God says. Not a good beginning in that direction verse 40. See when I was younger I would have smashed it.
If he does that he would have been an imbecile. But now I'm mature and wise and mellow and the only prophet in the pulpit. But now I know better.
I know a little better and I don't leave some space there to be wrong again. Anyway verse 40. Elijah said to them seize the prophets of Baal do not let one of them escape.
So they seized them and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and executed them there. Two violent episodes at least in scripture demand a verdict against ecumenicism. The ecumenicism is that all the other religions are fine.
It really doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if they're a church but they don't believe in the Bible. And they believe that there's many ways to heaven that's ecumenicism. We're going to have a rabbi come up and preach in our church now.
And I want to pray with him that's ecumenicism and God condemns that. The first one is Samuel and Agag. Samuel would have no part of this. And he hacked them in pieces.
And then the second and there's others but these two big ones. Elijah and the prophets of Baal here. He's executing them. The signal is we're not called to violence but we are called to spiritual violence against lies.
We're not to tolerate them. We're to take a sword to lies about Jesus Christ verbally. God does not leave us supposing that mingling into the Christian faith somehow improves what he has done when Jesus said it's finished.
It is done. And so God does not espouse peace with a lie. This is truly spiritual war on a physical battlefield here.
But also Matthew 10 34. Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword is serious. A sword is always serious. If you see somebody walking down the street with a firearm, a pistol, you notice it.
Because it's serious. Well the sword is supposed to be the same way and hopefully your co-workers will treat you as being serious about your faith even if they don't share it. To let these men escape would be license for them to continue their apostasy and their influence. Now here's a Haley's Bible handbook 24th edition.
Anything after the 24th edition don't waste your time. Anyway, Henry Haley writes this on this section. He says, a temple of Asherah, goddess wife of Baal, just a few steps from this temple was a cemetery. Now the archaeologists, I'm sorry I didn't set this up, the archaeologists have found where their temple was in this part of the world.
Just a few steps from this temple was a cemetery where many jars were found containing remains of infants who had been sacrificed in the temple. Prophets of Baal and Asherah were official murderers of little children. This is a sidelight on Elijah's execution of the prophets of Baal. Today we have these people just railing, we want the right to kill the unborn.
We demand that right and we'll stop you from preaching against us if it comes to that. Anyway, Carmel this Kishon shows up in the book of Judges. It's where Sisera's army was slaughtered by Barak's army and at the moment it's dry because of the drought. Verse 41, Elijah said to Ahab, go up and eat and drink for there is a sound of abundance of rain. So he tells him, go to your camp and indulge yourself because that's what you do and that's who you are.
Rain's coming, you're happy now, you want to go back to your old lifestyle. Not a peep from Ahab. I mean you would think Ahab would have said, what do you mean go and eat? You just killed all my wife's prophets.
Then you would think there would be some recorded response from Ahab. He gets on his chariot and he goes. He says for there's a sound of abundance rain. Baal was the main deity in Canaan as mentioned before and he was the god of rainfall. And so the irony, intentionally Isaiah makes this challenge you know to bring fire down and he soaks up the altar and Baal should have prevailed and this was his area of expertise.
If he were real, well much more to say but time's running out. Verse 42, so Ahab went up to eat and drink and Elijah went up to the top of Carmel and he bowed down to the ground and put his face between his knees. Now Ahab is heading towards Jezreel where the capital was, his home. Elijah goes up to the mountain, it's higher up because they're certainly not at the apex where this all this was taking place.
Elijah is going to catch him and outrun him but that comes later. Anyway, so without hesitation Ahab, he leaves and it is a shame that he will listen to the prophets instructions but not when it comes to righteousness. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel then he bowed down on the ground put his face between his knees and we'll pause there. This is his prayer posture for this. This is how he's moved to pray, no screaming and shouting and cutting himself. God promised rain but it still demands prayer.
Is that not insightful? God said I'm going to make it rain but still the prophet has to pray. Prayer in the midst of prophecy. James 5 16, the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Well he certainly has Elijah in mind because he's been talking about him, James that is. Verse 43, and said to his servant, so he has a servant that he will abandon next chapter. Go up now look toward the sea so he went up looked and said there's nothing and seven times he said go again. Now you can stand on Mount Carmel and you can look if you face north you can look to the left and you can see the Mediterranean Sea and without moving you look to the right and you see the Sea of Galilee. It's a nice little feature about Mount Carmel. Mount Carmel he's looking for fulfillment of God's word. That's what he's sending him to look for seven times.
I would have given up at five because that's just a good number to quit at. Anyway when we pray it's good to remember Elijah but now I come to a point I want to make there is an ocean of difference between persistent prayer and forced entry in prayer. There are those that preach this breakthrough stuff. You got to break through in prayer as though you know God is reluctant or something or that it's in your power and there are subtle differences but they are important. This prayer of Elijah is built on what I said we'd come back to this here in verse 43. It's built on the command of God's word. It wasn't something Elijah thought up.
I want it to rain and this is what a lot of people who this breakthrough I think this would be done and it's their will breaking and entering is a crime. Even Jesus stood at the door and knocked did not break his way into the church of Laodicea in way of illustration. When Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane said thy will be done he wasn't saying if I just you know stay at it I can get God to do what I'm praying because I'm going to break through this thing.
It's not right. The son of God on those two occasions to those very serious occasions illustrates to us that when we pray we're in submission to the will of God as was the prophet he said I am doing I am the servant I am doing God's will and so by this insistence in prayer and that's what it is insisting I think we corrupt persistent prayer. Prayer there are times when we are not with vain repetitions though there may be repetition something's weighing on us and we can sense the spirit leading us and those who preach this breakthrough I think confuse and corrupt the persistent prayer as I said it more self-will in Jesus name as though the name of Jesus is open sesame because I've said his name if I say it enough times you got to yield to me and a lot of a lot of Christians are buying this stuff because they want prayer to work but that's not what I'm saying. Because they want prayer to work but that's not how life is in Christ. Elijah is under orders he's not determined to break the drought because he needs rain. Again first Kings chapter 18 verse 1 go present yourself to Ahab and I will send rain on the earth.
Man's needs are always secondary to God's will that is a constant it does not change. Had Peter tried to break through while in Herod's jail he would have died disappointed. God sent an angel to open the iron gate we don't even read of Peter praying read of him sleeping in jail. As Peter could have walked around saying you know Adam bomb could have hit him it wouldn't have died it could have been a direct strike because Jesus told him when you get old Peter you're going to die he doesn't work that way that would have been tempting God and not a wise thing to do but it's kind of humorous to think of it that way imagine if Jesus said you know you're not going to die until this age then you can start jumping off bridges right you could not you'd be again undoing the promise you wouldn't get that kind of a promise. So here he is under orders and Acts chapter 12 and when Herod was about to bring him out that's Peter that night Peter was sleeping bound with two chains between two soldiers and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. So Peter says here look okay here I am he doesn't try to just gotta break through these guards break through these chains a lot of breaking through going on here and I just think that this is lost sight of Moses was told by God to stop praying about this. Deuteronomy 3 26 Moses wanted to get into the promised land he said I come this far this is just not right and it's your people that caused this situation secretly I like to say this don't tell God secretly I side with Moses those people were irritating but don't tell the Lord because I don't want to get a dose of what Moses got now you got to know I'm being ridiculous but the Lord was angry with me on your account I love that Moses puts that in these what a man and would not listen to me so Yahweh said to me enough of that speak no more to me of this matter there goes your breakthrough it's the will of God that drives our prayer and it doesn't drive it it leads us and you know many of you have been through some tough things praying to God you could sense his presence and I think sometimes maybe you can look back and say I can remember praying for things I really wanted that God didn't want me to have don't let it corrupt your theology Elijah persisted seven times because God told him this is what he wanted full assurance. Paul said I sought the Lord three times about this thing you know what God said to me my grace is sufficient for you I'm not gonna grant this you're just gonna have to live with my grace you're gonna have to know that I love you and I'm gonna take care of you and Paul said I I I and that's the way yes Lord and went on about his business so yeah I do get irritated when people come up with these little catchy phrases and sell books and they make a lot of money from Christians that go around and then they start repeating this because they bought the program and just the Bible you tell me about a movie a Christian movie okay that's fine but I got the Bible I have the source and if you like the movie that's fine I'm not coming against you or that and I might even like it but I might not I might not even watch it because cartoons are so attractive those Looney Tunes forget no kidding let me finish this up there is nothing that's what the response was persistent prayer of course when it knows God's will has to not back down reading and prayers they are a force against hell and we move to verse 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 and say to Ahab prepare your chariot and go down before the rain stops okay so early I had already had him in his chariot heading home but evidently not so I've lost sight of that but I will not confess that I lost sight of it under oath so the fact is that there can be no progress in the Christian life without prayer that is one of the great lessons out of this even with the will of God you cannot progress as a Christian you cannot mature as a Christian if you don't pray should it be any other way if you don't talk to God why should God minister to you there are things that God gives an answer to prayer that he will not give without prayer that is a fact he wants his people involved with him but he does not want them to be nagging him and we have to watch out for that all of us do it would be so nice if I were perfect I could stand up here and tell you all what to do right and not have to worry myself but that is not how it is I need prayer I need people praying for me I need to pray for myself I pray for the people in this flock to tell you one of my favorite prayers is I ask God to get you to give me money no never never all right verse 45 now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and the wind and there was a heavy rain so Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel you would think that everybody would say Baal's not the storm god Yahweh is the god of all nothing didn't happen verse 46 then the hand of Yahweh came upon Elijah and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel so this distance is about 13 miles or more depends on what part uh is hilly of course and he out runs the chariot this is a miracle this is not like oh you know he this is um pretty impressive figuring he's been up all day that's why he was snacking on the locust well he doesn't say that he was but we know he liked those kind of things so anyway I think he wanted to get there to see the look on the face of everyone when it was told and he did not factor in he got a little presumptuous he did not factor in satan's response and uh we learn a lesson if you're going to preach and start leading people to righteousness in satan's territory don't be surprised if he rears up against you but god is stronger and can make satan helpless thanks for joining us for today's teaching on cross reference radio this is the daily radio ministry of pastor rick gaston of calvary chapel mechanics ville in virginia we trust that what you've heard today in the book of first kings has had a lasting lasting imprint on your life if you'd like to listen to more teachings from this series or share it with someone you know please visit crossreferenceradio.com we encourage you to subscribe to our podcast too so you'll never miss another edition just visit crossreferenceradio.com and follow the links under radio again that's crossreferenceradio.com our time with you today is about up but we hope you'll tune in next time to continue studying the word of god join us again as pastor rick covers more in the book of first kings on cross reference radio
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