Interceder Encourager No. 95
Lessons from Elijah
In Encourager 89, I referred to a wonderful message given by Jonathan Kahn in Washington D.C., when he warned the country of coming judgment. If America doesn’t turn back to God, he said, then calamity will follow, not just for America but for the rest of the world. He referred to Elijah, quoting the song, “These are the days of Elijah,” not in the way that people normally use them, inferring that everything will be wonderful, and we will see God working miracles, but in the sense that the situation now is so bad that people need to pray for God to raise up men like Elijah, who will stand for God against the drift into evil and win victories for Him, so that the hearts of the people could be brought back to God.
That need is certainly there in Britain also. I have already informed you of the prophecy of David Noakes given earlier this year, warning, in a way similar to that of Jonathan Kahn, though even more urgently, that if this country does not turn back to God this year, before Autumn, then God’s hand of judgment, which has been partly held back, will be held back no longer, and terrible things will happen this Autumn and Winter. It is now Autumn, so the need is even more urgent than it was, but I see no sign of urgency in the churches of this land.
In the last Encourager, I asked every one of you to respond to what I wrote, but very few Interceders have responded. So, the situation is even worse than I feared. Not only have we the weakest, the most worldly and the most scared church ever known in this country, it would seem that even most of the Interceders are weak and scared as well, being unwilling to stand against our ungodly and anti Biblical leaders. Where are the Elijahs that we need?
As we look out on a world that is fearful of the current pandemic, we, as Bible believing Christians, should show that we are very different from the people round us. We should testify that we have been kept and provided for by the goodness and faithfulness of God, and our future is safe in His hands. If we are called upon to suffer, we can be sure that we shall be rewarded for every pain, and blessed for every tear, for that is what God has promised.
We need to show a complete absence of fear, for a fear stricken church cannot help a scared world. We, who claim that we are in the secret place of the Most High, must talk and act accordingly. We will never convince a faithless, frightened world that we have peace like a river flowing over our souls, if there is any trace of fear or anxiety in our manner, our words or our actions.
So, it is time, as Jonathan declared, to really accept the fact that we are here for such a time as this. As the world goes from bad to worse, as it will, we need to go from good to great, to return to the same power and the same anointing, so that all God’s wonderful promises of opening rivers on the barren heights and fountains in the valleys, of turning the desert in to pools of water, and the dry land springs of water, of pouring water on those who are thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground, will be fulfilled, and we will surely see the glory of God. We are told in Isaiah 60 that even though darkness covers the earth, and thick darkness the peoples, we are to rise up and shine, for the light has come. If we do that, the Lord will arise upon us and His glory will be seen upon us.
Let us take a further look at the prophet Elijah. In I Kings 17:1 we read that Elijah the Tishbite, of the people who had settled in Gilead, suddenly appeared and said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there will be no dew nor rain these days except at my word.” For an unknown man to stand before a king was amazing enough, but to stand and tell the king that his word was greater than the word of the king and greater than the forces of nature was astounding. For one man to have achieved such a position means that God must have been working in his life for some time.
We are told in James 5:17 that this was true. Elijah “prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. “This shows that behind the words of Elijah was earnest, fervent, heartfelt prayer. That is what is needed now.
If we attempted to do anything like that, we would be reviled and rejected and told we were of no importance. Moreover, in our “post Christian” situation today, even if we managed to obtain a hearing, we would be told that we were out of date and irrelevant, and people don’t believe all that kind of stuff anymore. In Elijah’s day, it was very similar. The people of Israel had rejected God, had erected altars to false gods all over Israel, and served a heathen god called Baal. Elijah was only too well aware of this, and realizing the danger that the nation was in, must have gone into a time of earnestly seeking God.
As a result of this, he had achieved a position before God that very few people have achieved. By the time that we hear about him, he had been given the strength and the authority to stand before the king, and declare the word of God to him. Not only that, God actually gave him the faith to believe the impossible, that God would stop all rain and even the dew from falling and that He would trust Elijah to declare it. Can God trust us to deliver His word today?
As Israel turned away from God, He found a man who would stand in the gap between His righteous anger and the people of Israel, a man who had developed a very special relationship with Him. As a consequence, right at the beginning of his ministry, supernatural things took place. Firstly, he went straight past all the barriers that would have been round the king, including his guards and his idolatrous wife, and spoke face to face with him. Secondly, He spoke with no apology, no fear and no hesitation, declaring the truth of God to the ruler of the land.
These are the kind of people we need today. Those who, as Wesley said, “fear nothing but God, and hate nothing but sin,” with a dedication, a boldness and a hatred of sin and idolatry that come only from God.
There is also another miraculous aspect to this part of the story. Later, when Elijah meets Obadiah, telling him to inform Ahab that he wanted to speak to him again, we read that Obadiah was very frightened because he knew that if he told Ahab that Elijah was there, he wasn’t sure that he would still be there, for the Spirit of the Lord could take Elijah to another place, and Obadiah would be killed for giving the king false information. This tells us that Obadiah knew that the Spirit of God took Elijah from one place to another, as in the New Testament the Spirit lifted up deacon Philip from the place where he had baptized the Ethiopian eunuch, so that he was found at Azotus, which was miles away. It would appear that the Spirit took Elijah up in the same kind of way. So, it could well be that Elijah had been taken from where he was, and put down right in front of King Ahab, without having to pass any guards. That would explain why Elijah suddenly appears in front of Ahab. Nothing is impossible for God, and He doesn’t change. Whatever He did in the past, He can do now.
Once he had obeyed God and delivered the message, God told him, “Go to the brook Cherith and hide yourself there. You can drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you. God told him to hide himself on the other side of the Jordan, so he could be undisturbed and not found by others. There are times when God wants us to get alone, so we can listen to Him. We should also notice that God commanded the ravens to feed him. Think about that. God calming the minds of the ravens so that they were not frightened of a human being, and, far more, making them understand that they had to take food suitable for a human being to Elijah every morning and every evening. God can control any part of His natural world for His purposes.
When Elijah got to the brook, he did not just sit there; he would have been interceding and crying to God on behalf of Israel day and night. He had a burden for the nation. That is why God could share His secret with him, telling him of what He would do in Israel. So, Elijah stood in the gap on behalf of the land.
But, of course, the brook dried up as it had no water. Then the word of the Lord came to him saying, “Arise and go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there. I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” Now the Sidonians were not connected with Israel. God had refused the Israelites interaction with them; but here the prophet of God is told to go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there. He was sent to the Sidon area, partly for him to investigate the situation there. The wife of Ahab was Jezebel, the daughter of the king of Sidon, who had brought the god of Sidon into Israel. If Elijah was to engage in spiritual warfare with this demon god, he needed to know more about this god, and where it originated from, so that he could know why it was so powerful as to rule over the nation of Israel. So, God sent Elijah to the country of Baal, so he could contend with the evil spiritual powers that had been allowed into the territory of Israel. In the same way, we need to learn all we can about the evil spiritual powers that are at work in this country, so we can oppose them and defeat them.
The other reason God told Elijah to go to the Sidon area was so that God could reward the widow for her obedience and sacrifice. God used him to perform two miracles. In faith, he spoke out what the Lord told him to say to her, that her jar of meal and her oil container would not run out until the drought ended. The Bible writer said that what Elijah said was the word of the Lord, which he spoke through Elijah. God never changes. He can still do the same today. Ask Him to speak His word through you.
The other miracle was the healing of the widow’s son. Up until that time, God’s ways with Elijah had been fairly straightforward, with no healings or death involved. But now, when the widow’s son dies, Elijah cannot understand it. “O Lord, my God, why have you brought calamity upon the widow, with whom I am staying, by killing her son?” But the Lord is testing Elijah and his faith to a greater extent. Elijah stretched himself upon the child three times and cried out to the Lord, that He would send the child’s soul back into him. We read that God listened and responded to the prayer of Elijah, the soul of the child came back in to him again, and he revived. When he was returned, alive, to his mother, she said, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is true. You would think that the widow already knew that Elijah spoke the truth, as she had seen the first miracle. But now she had seen the word proved even more strongly. How we need to see that word proved even more strongly in these days. In the face of such blatant evil as we are seeing today, with darkness spreading over this nation and the world, we must pray for God to confirm His word by signs and wonders, (Mk.16:20, Acts 4:29-30)
Then, in the third year after the drought started, the word of God came to Elijah, “go back and show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain upon the earth.” After these years of prayer and preparation, God knew that He could trust Elijah to fulfil His purposes for the country. This is the place that we all need to get into. That place of closeness to God, where we know that we have gained the victory over sin and all evil forces. In that spiritual realm, Elijah had overcome the demon behind Baal.
In 2 Chronicles 7:13, God had promised to Solomon, “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or have commanded the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will 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 heal their land.” We can assume that Elijah knew the word of God given to Solomon. He also knew that because of the sin of the people, God had used him to close the heavens; yet he also knew that if God was to open up the heavens again, He depended on people who fulfilled the conditions that He had made clear to Solomon. Elijah had fulfilled the conditions, even though he was the only one who had. But, as we are told later, there were 7000 others who had not bowed the knee to Baal, and still prayed to the one true God.
So, Elijah called for Obadiah to call Ahab. When Ahab came and saw Elijah, Ahab said to him “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” But Elijah answered him by boldly saying, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed Baal. Now send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table”. Here we see Elijah speaking with the authority of God, and commanding Ahab to bring the satanic priesthood of Baal to the place he had chosen. We are not told, but we can assume that God had told Elijah to get all the people together on Mount Carmel, for this is the most outstanding mountain in Israel, so God could work there, people would associate the power of God with it, and it would be remembered in the future. God intended it to be a turning point in the history of the nation.
We should note that whenever the devil wants to do something significant in a country, he looks for leaders, because there he can have authority. That is why Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 to pray for those in authority for they can influence the whole nation. The devil had entered Ahab through Jezebel. Instead of standing for God he had stood for Baal and gave the devil authority to work in Israel. God needed someone to stand in the gap for His kingdom. So, this was a confrontation between the forces of good and those of evil. Elijah realised this, and boldly spoke to Ahab, “You are the troubler of Israel because you have rejected the commandments of the Lord, and followed the ways of Baal. So, call all the people and prophets of Baal and Asherah to me on Mount Carmel.”
How we need men like Elijah and Jehu, whom Elijah was told to anoint, who will confront our political, judicial, educational, media and business leaders and tell them they have troubled the nation and corrupted it, because they have forsaken the God of their fathers, and thought they knew better than Him. They have taken this nation away from the one true God, and substituted atheism, cultural Marxism, the LGBT agenda, the killing of innocent children in the wombs of their mothers, and allowed the worship of other gods in place of the worship of the One True God, just as Ahab and Jezebel had deliberately taken the people away from God, and substituted the worship and practice of
Baal and Asherah with their terrible immoral practices, for the worship of the Lord, and the keeping of His commands.
And just as God stopped the rain, and caused drought and a famine in the land of Israel because of their disobedience and idolatry, fulfilling His curse upon the land, so the curses and judgement of God have started to come upon this land because of its rejection of God and His standards; and His controlling hand against sin and wickedness is being taken away. This can be seen in the fact that our country now has the highest level of crime and the highest number of murders it has ever had. Our prisons are fuller than ever before. The family, the basic unit of society, is under serious threat, leading to social chaos and increasing suffering. Because sexual promiscuity is actively promoted, as it would have been under Baal worship, we have the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Western Europe, and sexually transmitted diseases are almost out of control. We have the highest level of personal debt of any country in the world, and the highest level of national debt, per person, of any Western country. Our bankers and our politicians have been shown up as greedy and untrustworthy. Not only that, but the governments of this country have passed many laws which are against the will of God, causing people to think that the ways of immorality and evil are right, and the ways of God are wrong and outdated. Ahab and Jezebel would have rejoiced to have governments such as we have had, backing up and enforcing their ideas.
In addition to all this, as we have noted, because our government has gone so far away from God, and thinks it knows better than Him how to govern this country, it has been deceived by “the evil consortium” into following a programme of trying to deal with the Covid 19 virus through lockdowns, enforcing mask wearing, social distancing and injecting vaccines which it thinks will deal with the virus, but which have resulted in thousands of unnecessary deaths, which could have been stopped by simple cures. Going against God and His commands is very costly, and our politicians need to be told this, just as Ahab needed to be told he was going against the will of God. But where are the ones who will tell them? Pray that God will raise them up, or be willing to be used yourself.
You may be thinking that this isn’t our job. We are here just to pray for God to pour out His Spirit on this land. To a certain extent, you are right. For we can get too involved in praying for worldly matters and the things that pass away, and not be as concerned as we should be in spiritual matters. So, we do need to be very careful about this, and be sure that we are praying according to the will of God, while at the same time, yet also remembering that the worldly and the spiritual are often linked.
When Rees Howells and the students at the Bible College of Wales were praying during World War 2, for God to intervene in the affairs of the war, they could have been criticised for not concentrating on spiritual matters, but they would have said that they were praying for God’s will to be done, for the forces of darkness to be defeated, and for the evil of war to end. They could be said to be praying according to 1 Tim. 2:2, for those in authority, that we might live a quiet and peaceable life, so that the gospel can be spread. In this case, the two aspects, the spiritual and the worldly were linked together.
In the case of Elijah, we can see that not just two but three aspects were linked. He could have thought it wasn’t his job to get involved in political matters, but his submission and obedience to God caused him: a) to stand for God against the forces of darkness, b) to pray that God would intervene to break the power of the evil forces that were dominating the land, and c) to pray that God would come down in power to turn the people back to Himself. So, in his mind, all three were linked together.
Therefore, like Elijah, knowing of the evil that is now dominating the land, and that it is due to our nation rejecting God’s ways, and knowing, from the story of Elijah, that God is far more concerned about these things than we are.
1) we must never stand still or stand aside and let evil continue, but must stand for God and speak for Him on every occasion, with no apology and no fear, no matter what the cost,
2) we must pray that God will intervene in power to break all the evil powers in this land and round the world,
3) we must pray that God will raise up courageous leaders like Elijah, to stand and speak with authority for the one true, eternal God against all the powers of evil.
4) we must pray that God will come down in supernatural power to turn people back to Himself; that He will rend the heavens, and come down in power and fire.
When the people and all the heathen priests had come together on Mount Carmel, Elijah stood in front of them and challenged them straightaway. “How long will you dither, and go limping between two opinions? If the Lord is the true God, then follow Him fully, but if Baal is the true god, then follow him. Make your minds up. “But the people did not say a word, because they knew they had been unfaithful to the Lord, and had followed the sensual Baal religion. Then Elijah informed them, “I, alone, am faithful to the Lord, just one prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. “He was willing to stand before them all; just one man before hundreds, possibly thousands. What amazing courage God gave him. And just as Elijah challenged the crowd, God always wants to challenge people, as the Early Church apostles did, and bring them to the place where they need to make a decision for or against the one true God. All the great preachers have done this, but very few, if any, do so today.
Then the prophet told them to get two bulls ready. Firstly, Baal’s people prepared their sacrifice. The Bible does not say they erected an altar, implying that their altar was ready, as they had been offering sacrifice regularly. So they prepared their sacrifice and cried to Baal until evening, but, of course, no voice came, and certainly no fire.
Elijah then called the people to come near to him, and when they came, he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.” This shows that the people had previously made sacrifices to the Lord, but had stopped doing so, and the altar made for Him was now in ruins. Elijah knew, before the presence of God could come upon the land, before he could get the victory over the power ruling the land, before he could offer a sacrifice pleasing to God, he needed first to repair the altar. That is why God wants us to set up prayer altars.
After carefully taking twelve stones, one for each tribe of Israel, Elijah built the altar. This shows that God was wanting all twelve tribes to come back together again, and for this to be the turning point in their history, when both the ten northern tribes of Israel and the two southern tribes of Judah would be reunited, and recognize the Lord as their one true God who had brought them all out of Egypt, and was now wanting them to make a fresh start.
What God planned did not happen, but it could have come to pass if what He did on that mountain had been fully followed up. God wanted Elijah to deal with Baal worship on Mount Carmel, then to anoint Jehu as king, so that he would deal with Jezebel and Athaliah and all successors to Ahab, so the Israel royal line would finish, and all twelve tribes would come back to the worship of the one true God. Jezebel planned the opposite, that she and her daughter would take over control of Judah with Israel, but Jehu ended all that. We can be thankful for that, but saddened that God’s purpose was not fully realised.
After preparing the sacrifice, Elijah made a trench round the altar, and ordered that water should be poured on the sacrifice. This was done three times, so that the water ran into the trench and filled it. When this was done, and the time for the offering of the evening sacrifice
Elijah came nearer to the sacrifice and said “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and 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. Answer me Lord, that these people may know that You, O Lord, are the One True God, and that You have turned their hearts back to you.” Elijah tells us that everything he has done, has been in obedience to the word that God had given him. He doesn’t rant and rave as the prophets of Baal had done. He just prays very clearly and pointedly, affirming his faith in the Lord. In this, he again shows complete obedience and also great faith that God would answer his prayer. How we need to get into the position that Elijah was in, a relationship with Him that is so strong that in confidence, we can pray to Him and He answers.
As we know, God answered his prayer, and sent the fire from heaven, which not only burned up the sacrifice and the wood and the stones and the dust, but also licked up all the water that was in the trench. It was the most complete burning of a sacrifice that has ever occurred. Through it, God made His incredible power and judgement very clear to everyone present. God is not to be trifled with. His power and His judgments are real.
It was not surprising that when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” Through one man, one fully dedicated, prayerful man, God had brought the hearts of Israel back to Himself. Fire had come down, showing there was an open heaven. That is what we are praying for.
But there was more for Elijah to do. The Lord had been shown to be greater than Baal. But his prophets were still there, so he ordered that the prophets of Baal should be killed, so he took them to the brook Kishon and killed them, endorsing the victory that had been won at the top of the mountain. He then ordered Ahab to eat and drink, for the rain was coming.
The rain wasn’t actually coming at that point. Elijah was speaking in faith that the Lord would answer his prayers for the rain, just as He had answered his prayers for the rain to be stopped. He then went up to the top of the mountain and, in spite of the victory that had been achieved, he prayed earnestly and with full intensity, bowing down on the ground, and putting his face between his knees. He told his servant to look for clouds, and, as we know, it was not till the seventh time of looking that the first cloud appeared. Yet God had told Elijah, “Show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain upon the earth.” So, we may wonder why it involves Elijah’s prayers? God must have told Elijah to pray at that time, and He would answer, so obedient Elijah did as he was told.
So from the story of Elijah we should have learnt that we need to ask God to work in us to make us like Elijah, so that we know the truth about the evil spiritual powers that are at work in our society, that we have a hatred of sin and idolatry, and have a burden for the nation. Beyond that, we need to get to the place of victory over sin and over evil and demonic forces. We also need to have a greater faith in the power of God to perform miracles, and to ask God to confirm His word in power.
We need to pray with more earnestness, more fervency, more faith and more authority. We need to pray with more faith in the promises of God. We need to ask God to enable us to speak against all doubt, all fear and all sin with more boldness and more authority, with no apology, no hesitation and no fear. We need to ask God to speak through us, to declare the truth of God to the church and to the nation.
Without Him, we can do nothing, but with Him all things are possible. He has given us promises, just as He would have made promises to Elijah, so claim them. ~ From an article by Alec Dunn in his Publication “Encourager” for The Intercessors of Great Britain.