Elijah and Elisha Message #6 “Mt. Carmel” Ed Miller Dec. 14, 2022

Listen to the audio above while reading along with transcript below, which is also available for download in Word document at www.biblestudyministriesinc.com and the “Topical Survey” link

Once again, we gather to look in the word of God, and there’s only one thing in the word of God, and that’s the God who is the word.  So, we’ve come to see the Lord Jesus.  We have everything in Him, and there’s nothing in Him but Himself, and having Him we have everything. 

I’d like to share Colossians 2:3 before we pray together.  It says, “In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”  If you know the hiding place, in Him are hidden, then there’s no excuse not to find the treasure.  Our mind is where our pleasure is, but our heart is where our treasure is, and it’s in Christ.  Let’s commit our time to the Lord, and then we’ll look in the word.

Heavenly Father, thank You again for the Holy Spirit who indwells us and lives in us, and whose delight it is to point us to the Lord Jesus Christ.  We pray again, even as we’re in Kings, that we might behold the Lord in a fresh way.  Thank You for every part of Your word, and especially today for 1 Kings 18, and we ask You, Lord, to guide us as we meditate together.  Protect Your people from anything I might say that’s not from You, and we thank You, Lord, that we can trust You for this.  We commit our session unto You, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let me review just a little bit.  The background of all of this is expressed in Paul’s burden for the Galatian Christians, and that’s in Galatians 4:19, “My children, with whom I am again in labor,” that little expression, “until Christ be formed in you.”  We talk about being conformed to Christ, but that happens when He is formed in us.  So, that’s where we are in the Elijah story.  He has seen a lot, his direction is correct, but now through the experiences of life Christ is gradually being formed in him.  We’ve been talking about the first five experiences, Elijah at the brook, Elijah at the widow’s house, and we only mentioned Elijah at Mt. Carmel, Elijah under the juniper tree, and Elijah on Mt. Sinai.  We’ll begin our discussion of that today, but over all five experiences, we’ve written the title “El Shaddai”, the God who is more than enough, and we finished our discussion of the first two experiences, at the brook and at the widow’s house, where he was introduced to God as the God who is more than enough.  At the brook he learned that God is enough for me, for all of my loneliness, for all of my protection, for all of my provision, that He’s more than enough for me.

And then at the widow’s house, he learned He’s not only enough for me, but He’s enough for others; there’s an unlimited supply.  1 Kings 17:16, “The bowl of flour was not exhausted, nor did the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord, which He spoke through Elijah.”  So, He’s El Shaddai, enough for me.  He’s El Shaddai, enough for me and others.  And then at the widow’s house he had another revelation of the Lord as El Shaddai, when by the miracle of God, he was able to communicate life to a person, a child, that had no life, and through contact he learned that the Lord is not only enough for me, for me and others, but He’s enough through me to manifest His life to those who do not have life.  That’s what we’ve looked at so far.  We finished our discussion on those early events.  At the brook, at the widow’s house he learned to depend upon the Lord, or begin to learn to depend upon the Lord, and he began to learn to walk by faith and not by sight. 

So far, we’ve only mentioned the next three events: Mt. Carmel, the juniper tree and Mt. Sinai.  Although, over all five of those human events and experiences we’ve written the word El Shaddai, we also gave another title, not to replace El Shaddai, but in a sense, to explain it a little more deeply.  That was from Hebrews 12:2, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.”  Elijah experienced at the brook and at the widow’s house the Lord Jesus as the author of faith, but now, as you know, for a season he’ll take his eyes off the Lord and he’ll have to experience Him as the perfecter, as the finisher of faith.  In all cases He’s still El Shaddai, but He’s also more than enough when I take my eyes off the Lord, and we can praise the Lord for that.

This section that we’re beginning begins in 1 Kings 18 and goes through chapter 19:17. It looks like, on the level of earth, that Elijah’s faith will fail, but the perfecter of faith will never allow that to happen, and what’s true for him is true for me, and is true for you, as well.  Elijah needed to be restored, needed to be recovered, because he took his eyes off the Lord, and for a season put them on circumstances.  He took his eyes off the Lord, and for a season put his eyes on Elijah.   Elijah has met the Lord, but he has not yet met Elijah, and Elijah needs to meet Elijah, and that’s what brought him to depression, when the eyes of his heart were opened to who he is.  We’ll begin to look at that this morning.

I want to remind you of a very comforting truth, and we’ve emphasized it all the way through, but it’s from James 5:17, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours.”  When we’re studying Elijah, we’re also studying ourselves.  God’s people are all the same in every age and generation.  If such a person as Elijah can take his eyes off the Lord and go down into the dumps, we should not presume that it can’t happen to us, because if it could happen to somebody like Elijah and Peter, and so on, it can happen to us.  There’s no end to the possibilities of what can happen when we take our eyes off the Lord.  Sometimes we get shocked when we hear that a Christian fell into this sin or that sin.  We don’t need to be shocked.  If I’m not looking to the Lord, I’m capable of anything any unsaved person is capable of, so we cannot presume.  But, since we’re like Elijah, we also need not despair.  He sinned, we can’t presume, and he was restored, so we don’t need to despair.  The same God that restored him ever lives to restore you, as well.  Pretty much, that’s where we left off.  Elijah fell and was restored, and we need never despair.

In that connection, don’t you love Philippians 1:6, “I’m confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  In other words, He’s the finisher of faith, He’s the perfecter of faith.  If He’s begun it, He’ll finish it.  He has no unfinished symphony, and we can praise the Lord for that.

I only suggested that the revelation of the Lord’s heart was a heart of recovery.  That’s the theme.  He loves His people, and He wants to recover His people.  They didn’t respond, and He tried to recover Ahab.  We looked at that last time, and now we’re going to look at the recovery of His servants, Elijah.  We have the record of how He was a perfecter of faith. 

Before we begin our new material, I want to restate the occasion of Elijah’s taking his eyes off the Lord.  1 Kings 18:1, “It happened after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year saying, ‘Go show yourself to Ahab.’”  Ahab represents every enemy, “Go show yourself to the enemy.”  He represents the world.  He represents the flesh.  He represents the devil.  Up until this time in the history, Elijah has been protected.  He was at the brook sheltered.  He was at the widow’s house, sheltered, hidden safely away.  As you go on in the Lord, you’re going to find in your early experiences that you’re pretty sheltered.  God’s going to take care of you and teach you to live by faith and to depend upon Him, but you’ll be pretty much protected.  But there will come a day, and perhaps for all of you and most of you it’s already come, when He’s going to not let you be sheltered anymore, and He’s going to say, “Go show yourself to Ahab,” and in that day of revelation, you’re going to enter into what the theologians call “spiritual warfare”, where you are face to face with the enemy.  I suggested as we closed last time that Elijah is about to have his eyes opened in a fresh way to see the Lord, but also to be introduced to Himself, to see Elijah.  He’s going to be face to face with the enemy.

The occasion of taking his eyes off the Lord in the day of warfare suggested to 1 Kings 18:22, Elijah said to the people, ‘I alone am left a prophet of the Lord.  Baal’s prophets are 450 men.’”  Not everyone will agree to my approach to Mt. Carmel, but the truth is through the Bible.  I think Elijah was depending upon himself on Mt. Carmel, that he was depending upon the flesh, and he’s just saying, “I alone, I’m the only one, there’s nobody else,” even though he heard about a hundred others being hidden away.  He’s just got this attitude.  In 1 Kings 19:10, “I’ve been very zealous for the Lord, the God of Hosts, and I alone am left.”  Then again in 1 Kings 19;14, “I’ve been very zealous,” and that was his attitude, “I’m fighting this war, and I’m willing to face Ahab, and I’m willing to face 450 prophets of Baal, and I think that is the thing that is the beginning of his depression, his taking his eyes off the Lord.  He needs to learn at Mt. Carmel the battle is the Lord’s and not mine.  He had already learned to trust the Lord, that God would protect him, that God is His provision, that God is El Shaddai, but he’s got to learn, and you’ve got to learn, and I’ve got to learn that the battle is His.  After we get through a lot of this, I’m going to take at least a part of a session, maybe a whole session, and just deal with that whole thing of spiritual warfare, because there is a lot of blindness, I think on that.

When he entered the battle in his own strength, he had certain expectations.  Of course, they didn’t come to pass, and he failed.  He thought after the way God met him on Mt. Carmel that there was going to be a big revival, and felt pretty good about it, but instead, there was increased opposition, and persecution and he began to run, and with every step that he ran, he became more disillusioned, until he went into this very deep depression.  He ran and ran until he fainted; he collapsed at the juniper tree.  Then he got up and ran some more.  When you study the record, you are going to see from the beginning of his running until he gets to Mt. Sinai, that he ran about 350 miles.  He didn’t understand spiritual warfare, and he thought he had won, but he didn’t win, and now he’s a defeated believer, and he has to run.

Let me tell you how I want to set this before you, and then we’ll develop it.  Although Elijah met the prophets of Baal in his own strength, at that time he didn’t know he was doing it in his own strength.  He thought he was doing everything God said, and in fact he did do everything God said, and he’s trusting in the Lord, and he felt pretty good during the contest.  He wasn’t discouraged at all when he met with those prophets.  In fact, he felt pretty courageous.  He felt good about the battle, and he thought pretty good about the outcome of the battle.  It wasn’t until the next day, 1 Kings 19:1, “Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, how he killed the prophets with the sword, and Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah saying, ‘So may the gods do to me, and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.’  And he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life.’”  That’s when he crashed, because he didn’t understand spiritual warfare, he didn’t understand how to have victory, and his only solution when he failed so miserably was to run.  He’s running from Jezebel.  He’s running from Ahab.  He’s running from circumstances, but mostly he’s running from himself.   

I think you know this but let me throw in a little piece of my testimony.  Do you know how futile it is to try to get away from you, to try to get away from yourself?  You’re bringing yourself wherever you go.  When you try to run away from yourself, it’s not going to work.  I remember when I was having a hard time in the pastorate, and I got real discouraged, and I told my Lillian, “I need to change ministries.  I need to quit this pastorate and take another pastorate in a fresh place, and if I were in a new place, then things would be different.  I wouldn’t be so discouraged.  The only problem is that when I went to a new place, guess who I brought with me?  I brought me, and every time you try to run from you, you’re bringing you to that new place.  You don’t begin anew by changing jobs, or by changing location, or by changing ministries.  It leaves us in the same place we were when we started. 

Elijah’s problem was not primarily Ahab or Jezebel.  His problem was Elijah.  It’ wasn’t Baal and it wasn’t Asherah.  His problem was Elijah, and God is going to, through His great grace, unveil to Elijah who Elijah is, and then He’s going to recover him, and there will be a great victory.  So, be patient with me, please.  I get a little intense here because I remember trying to run from me, and I think I took the same steps that Elijah took, and found myself under the juniper tree, and I wanted to die, and I wanted to quit, and I wanted to throw in the towel, and I ended up on Mt. Sinai, back to the law.  It was just a terrible time in my own life.  So, when I read this, I’m very much in his sandals, and I hope that doesn’t confuse you, and I don’t want to spend too much time on that.

I want to tell Elijah’s story, but in the full blaze of the entire Bible.  I don’t want to stick to chapter 18, Mt. Carmel.  I want to tell Mt. Carmel in the full blaze of the whole story.  In other words, Elijah is going in one direction, and God is not only telling a history, but He’s also writing a Bible.  This is part of the Bible, and so I want to show God’s heart and Elijah’s heart, and I want to show how Elijah, no matter how much he trusted in Elijah, he’s not going to stop the program of God.  He’s not going to stop the purpose of God.  God is still going to get His glory and God is going to do His thing at Mr. Carmel in spite of Elijah.  Since he’s you and he’s me, even when you take your eyes off the Lord, you are not going to hinder God’s work. He’s still going to work, and He’s still going to use you, and He’s still going to use me.  It’s an amazing study.  May God help us!

I want to tell that story in the light of the whole scripture, in fact Mt. Carmel, under the tree and Mt. Sinai, in the light of all of the scripture.  1 Kings 18:1, “Show yourself to Ahab.”  When God told Elijah to go show himself to Ahab, we’re told when he received that commission.  Notice 18:1, it says, “It happened after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year.”  Do you remember how long the famine lasted?  James 5:17, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours.  He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.”  He showed himself to Ahab in the third year.  The famine lasted three years and six months.  We see it again in Luke 4:25, “Our Lord Jesus said, ‘I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months.’” 

I call attention to this because when Elijah was called to show himself to Ahab in the third year, that means there was at least six months before Mt. Carmel.  When you read it, it looks like it happened right away.  It looks like, “Show yourself, gather..” in fact, let’s read it.  1 Kings 18:19&20, “Now then, send and gather to Me all Israel at Mt. Carmel, together with 450 prophets of Baal, 400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.  Then, without a break we read, “So, Elijah sent a message among all the sons of Israel and brought the prophets together at Mt. Carmel.”  It then looks like it happened right away, but there was actually six months, at least, in between.  We don’t know.  It said, “In the third year,” and we don’t know what part of the third year.  So, from the time of Elijah facing Ahab and this contest we’ll read about, was at least six months.  It took time to get the word out, and to get the people to come, and to get the prophets to come, and so on.

During that six months we don’t have any information, but no one knew about the contest.  Elijah did not tell Ahab, “We’re going to have a contest.”  All he knew was to gather them.  That’s all he knew; he did not know about the contest.  They didn’t learn about the contest until they arrived on Mt. Carmel.  I think that’s important.  You wonder during that six months about Jezebel.  If it’s going to take that long, I’m sure she must have gotten wind about a gathering.  She didn’t know about the contest, but she must have gotten wind that they were going to gather at Mt. Carmel.  We notice in 1 Kings 18:19, “Four hundred prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table.”  What we know is, Elijah said, “I want four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and four hundred prophets of Asherah.”  When you read the record, she didn’t send her prophets.  The prophets of Asherah never showed up at Mt. Carmel.  They’re probably still sitting at her table and eating.  So, I’ve gotten the idea that Jezebel knew about the gathering, and she said, “If you want to take your prophet of Baal, you go ahead but I’m not going, and my prophets aren’t going.”  So, that’s how I’m reading in between the lines.

When they get there six months or so later, they get the challenge.  1 Kings 18:20, “Ahab sent a message among all the sons of Israel, and brought all the prophets together at Mt. Carmel, and Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions?  If the Lord is God, follow Him, if Baal, follow him.’  But the people did not answer him a word.  Then Elijah said to the people, ‘I alone am left a prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men.  Now, let them give us two oxen, and let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it up and place it on the wood, and put no fire under it, and I’ll prepare the other ox, lay it on the wood, and I’ll not put a fire under it.  Then, you call on the name of your god, and I’ll call on the name of the Lord, and the God who answers by fire, He is God.’  And all the people said, ‘That’s a good idea.’”  So, that’s when they heard about the contest, and I think Ahab is sort of stuck now because all the people think it’s a good idea.  So, he’s got to go through with it. 

I want to look at the contest of Mt. Carmel, but again, not isolated, not as a historical event that took place in the days of Elijah, because it’s bigger than that.  It’s far more than that.  What happened that day is a parable, a picture, an illustration.  It’s literal, but it’s also telling a great story.  We are seeing a heart of redemption, and the redemption we see here at Mt. Carmel, we’re going to see here at Mt. Calvary.  So, I want to be able to show you God’s heart using this as an illustration.  It’s a snapshot of His whole salvation.  So, we’ll just call this the full meaning of Carmel.

I want to assume at this time I’m correct.  You may not agree.  My Lillian doesn’t agree.  Anyway, you may not agree that at this time Elijah was doing what he did in his own strength, but I want you to at least play along with me; assume it while we go through this.  1 Kings 18:18, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have.”  That boldness before Ahab makes me think that he doesn’t really understand the full message of spiritual warfare, to be able to talk to he that represents the enemy.  1 Kings 18:22, “I alone am left a prophet of the Lord.”  Then, when he prays after Carmel, he says, “Please let the people know that I’m Your servant.”  Why would he pray that?  1 Kings 18:27, “It came about at noon that Elijah mocked them,” and then you remember how he mocked them.  He called out that maybe he’s on vacation, maybe he’s busy, maybe he fell asleep, all I know is from Jude 1:9 that Michael the archangel would not rebuke Satan, because he was an authority, and he said, “The Lord rebuke you.”  Even the highest angel in the sky would not rebuke, and here he is mocking him and making fun of him.  I don’t think he understands spiritual warfare. 

This is quite a dramatic scene on Mt. Carmel. We talk about signs and wonders, well, Elijah is really into that.  He really likes that idea.  When he prays, look at the end of verse 37, “You’ve turned their heart back again,” “Let them know You’ve turned their heart back,” except their heart wasn’t turned back.  That’s what he thinks is going to happen; he thinks there is going to be a revival, and he says in verse 36, “Let it be known, I’m Your servant and I’ve done all these things at Your word.”  And I think he did, but I think there is a little deeper thing, “I have done it.  I’ve obeyed Your word. You can check me out.  I’ve done everything according to the letter.”  No question he believed he had authority, because of verse 40, “Seize the prophets of Baal, and do not let one of them escape.”  When you understand spiritual warfare you’ll realize that you have no authority.  You have Him who has all authority, but you have none. 

All of these things, that he was bold before the king, and that he thought he was fighting single handed, and that he was mocking, and that he was into the signs and the wonders, and he thought there was going to be a revival and he wants people to know he’s His servant, and he has authority, just makes me think he might be doing this in his own energy and in his own flesh.  Anyway, assume that with me that he’s doing it in his own flesh, and watch how that does not affect at all what God is doing.  Even if I’m right, God is still going to do His thing.  That’s just a Bible truth, no matter how badly I mess up, God is still going to get His way and God is going to get His glory.  He’s not going to be losing any glory because of me.

Moses, in unbelief, can strike the rock, but God is still going to send water out, and satisfy the thirst of His people, no matter what Moses does.  And Naomi, she can say to Ruth, “Go back to your gods,” and that’s not going to stop Ruth from saying, “Your God will be my God.”  And Jonah can ruin the business of the mariners, and that’s not going to stop God from putting a fear in their heart, and so on.  So, no matter how badly we mess up, even dear Sarah, when she said, she gets credit, “Sarah called Abraham lord,” and she gets credit for being the mother of faith.  When did she call Abraham lord?  Only one time in the Bible, and it says, “How can my lord, being old, give birth to a child?”  It was unbelief she is saying lord, and God found something in that unbelieving sentence to reward, and that’s the kind of God you have, the kind of God that I have.

With that in mind, let me tell the story of Mt. Carmel.  The meaning of Mt. Carmel is the garden of God.  Our Lord Jesus was crucified in the garden.  In terms of God’s heart, we need to see Mt. Carmel.  I want to mention five universal truths.  It happened at Mt. Carmel but it’s all the way through Mt. Calvary.  The first is the entire history.  Stand back and just look at the entire history of Mt. Carmel, and what you are going to see is that on one side, because of the blood of the sacrifice, salvation, and on the other side, those who reject judgment.  That’s the whole picture of the whole Bible; God offers salvation, and you can choose who you will serve.  If you choose against Him, then there’s judgment.  1 Kings 18:21, “Elijah came near to the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions.  If the Lord is God, follow Him, and if Baal, follow him.’”  And all through the Bible you’re given that choice, and man is given that choice.  He goes a little deeper than Carmel.  We always say, “Accept Christ; make it definite.”  He goes on the other side and says, “Make rejection definite.”  It’s important if you don’t accept the Lord, say it out loud, “I reject Him.”  Rejection should be as definite as acceptance should be. Then there’s his warning in verse 40, “Seize the prophets, and don’t let one escape.”  So, that’s a whole picture, a visual aid of God’s whole salvation.

The second universal truth is illustrated by Baal and his prophets.  When we studied Judges, we looked at Gideon and his conflict with Baal, and at that time I told you the meaning of the name Baal.  The word itself means husband.  That’s why Baal worship represents all idolatry, and the issue is which husband do you want?  Are you going to have a relationship with the Lord, your husband, or with any other conflicting husband?  Once again, you have this universal truth; God wants to be a one and only, and that’s illustrated at Mt. Carmel.

In verses 30&31, “He repaired the altar of the Lord which had been torn down.  Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel to whom the word of the Lord had come saying, ‘Israel shall be your name.’”  You notice that he is rebuilding the altar and he’s using twelve stones.  Once again, this is a parable in stone.  It’s a protest against the split that took place before.  They had divided the kingdom into ten and two, and God never accepted that in His heart.  God’s people in every age and generation are one, and that’s through the whole Bible.  When our Lord walked on earth, He had a garment without seams.  Now He lives in us, the church, but I think there’s a lot of seams, a lot of denominations, sectarian splits, and some people take the church here and the Jews are here, and they’ve got all these splits.  God only recognizes all His people; the unity of the body is illustrated on Mt. Carmel in the twelve stones.

There’s a meaning, far from that local picture, also, in verse 23, “Let them give us two oxen, and let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it up and place it on the wood and put no fire under it.  I’ll prepare the other ox.”  Mt. Carmel has an altar, has an animal sacrifice, and then notice in verse 29, “When mid-day was passed, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice.”  And then, again, in verse 36, “At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice.”  Why is attention called to the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice?  Just to let you know, that was three o’clock in the afternoon.  There’s a reason in Carmel there’s an altar, and an animal sacrifice, and the time of the evening sacrifice.  Go to Mt. Calvary.  There’s an altar, there’s a sacrifice, and listen to Matthew 27:45, “Now, from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.  About the ninth hour,” that’s three o’clock in the afternoon, that’s the time of the evening sacrifice, “Jesus cried out, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’”  What took place on Mt. Carmel took place exactly at three o’clock.  Our Lord Jesus on Mt. Calvary took place at three o’clock.  Matthew 27:50, “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit, and behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split.”  It’s not an accident that these things took place: the altar, the sacrifice, the time of the evening sacrifice.  In that hour, what was pictured there, the veil was rent, that’s God’s invitation that everybody is welcome to come in, and no more forbidding veil. 

So, in those ways Mt. Carmel just pictures God’s salvation.  You choose.  It’s either life or it’s death.  That’s the choice.  You choose which relationship you want, which husband do you want?  There’s got to be an altar, and there’s got to be sacrifice pictured by the animal, and there’s got to be the time of the evening sacrifice.  We look at that and think all of these details are coincidental.  They’re not; God is writing a Bible, and whatever Elijah’s attitude is, it’s not going to stop God from presenting these glorious truths.

I want to show one other parallel between Mt. Carmel and Mt. Calvary, and there are three illustrations of it in the story of Mt. Carmel.  The principle is this, that salvation is a mighty miracle of God, a mighty miracle by the grace of God.  The first illustration is the futility of works.  It’s not by works, lest any man should boast.  1 Kings 18:25, “Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, ‘Choose one ox for yourselves, and prepare it first for your many, and call on the name of your god.’”  So, talk about works.  Verse 28, “They cried with a loud voice, and they cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out.  When mid-day was passed, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, but there was no voice and no one paid attention, and no one answered.”  Isn’t that sad, no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention, the futility of works?  They’re shedding their blood to get the attention of their god.  Our God shed His blood to get your attention and my attention.  It’s not by works, lest any man should boast.

The second illustration is that it’s not by any natural means.  That’s illustrated when the sacrifice was soaked with water.  1 Kings 18:34, “’Fill four pitchers with water and pour it on a burnt offering and on the wood,’ and he said, ‘Do it a second time,’ and they did it a second time.  And he said, ‘Do it a third time,’ and they did it a third time.  The water flowed around the altar and also filled the trench with water.  There was special care made to show that it would be humanly impossible.  We talk about Jesus turning water into wine, boy, He turned it into fuel here.  He was able to burn it wet, and it was a mighty miracle of God. 

Then the third thing, of course, that Elijah could not do is verse 38, “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.”  You talk about a mighty miracle of God.  Lord willing, after the holidays we’re going to revisit some of the facts on Mt. Carmel and pick up some very instructive details, but I wanted you to get the overview first.  I wanted you to see God’s salvation pictured here in the whole Bible.  It’s life or it’s death, it’s one husband or some other relationship, it’s all the people of God, twelve stones, it’s the sacrifice, the altar, the timing of God’s salvation, and it is a mighty miracle of God.  It’s not by works, lest any man should boast.  All of this was pictured in spite of my understanding that Elijah is trying to do it in his own strength.  In fact, He used Elijah.  Elijah at this time doesn’t have a clue that he’s doing it in his own strength.  He thinks he understands spiritual warfare.  When we look at it we’ll see how far from the truth he was at this time.

God didn’t need to wait until Elijah got things right before He could perform His work, and He doesn’t need to wait until you get it right or I get it right.  He’s going to do His thing no matter what, and you’ll be amazed at how He uses you when you are doing it wrong.  We’ll pick that up in a little bit.  So, that’s the first precious truth, that God gets His way in spite of me.  There’s another precious truth illustrated in this chapter.  Let me state it and then I’ll come back to it and try to explain it a little. 

God allows me to enjoy His indwelling life until He reveals my sinful heart.  His indwelling life does not go away.  He still indwells me, but at that time, in the day of revelation, when I see who I am, I don’t appropriate the life that’s available to me. He’ll never leave us.  He is still inside.  Let me read verses 41-46,

“Now Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of the roar of a heavy shower.  So, Ahab went up to eat and drink, but Elijah went up to the top of Carmel.  He crouched down on the earth and put his face between his knees.  He said to his servant, ‘Go up now, look toward the sea.’  So, he went up and he looked, and he said, ‘There’s nothing.’  And he said, ‘Go back, seven times.’   And it came about at the seventh time, that he said, ‘Behold, a cloud as small as a man’s hand is coming up from the sea.’  And he said, ‘Go say to Ahab, “Prepare your chariot and go down, so that the heavy shower does not stop you.”’  In a little while the sky grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy shower, and Ahab rode and went to Jezreel.  Then the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he girded up his loins and outran Ahab to Jezreel.”

We have many references to Ahab and his hard, callous, rebellious heart.  He has just witnessed four hundred and fifty prophets being slaughtered.  In fact, Elijah had a hand in that, in killing those prophets. So, as I read this, “Go up, eat and drink,” you just saw four hundred and fifty of your prophets cut to pieces.  They were slain.  To him it was just like he was coming out a movie, or he’s just coming out of a play.  He doesn’t seem to care that all these people were just killed, and he goes up and he has a little lunch.  He’s hungry.  He has a feast.  I think it just shows his heart, “Go up, eat and drink.”

I want to focus on a Elijah, and I want to call attention to his ears, his eyes, and his feet.  And I’m not talking about these ears, these eyes, and these feet.  I’m talking about these ears, and inside these eyes, the eyes of faith, and the ability to run by the Life and the power of the Lord.  I want to talk about that for a moment.

Before we continue, I made the comment, and clearly it wasn’t clear, Rachel called attention to that, that uses me in spite of me, when I’m trusting myself, but He allows me to enjoy His indwelling until, until the revelation, until the revelation of my sinful heart.  In that day, in the day of revelation, His indwelling will still be there.  When I’m looking away from the Lord, that doesn’t change that He lives in me, and He lives in you; He’s going to continue to live in you, but once you see yourself, there’s a tendency toward morbid introspection and looking inside.  Let me illustrate by David’s murder by proxy of Uriah and the adultery with Bathsheba.

According to the record, he lived after his sin for a whole year before he confessed his sin.  That baby was already born when Nathan said, “Thou art the man.”  That year, he sinned, he lives a whole year, he murdered, and he committed adultery, but he didn’t confess until a year later.  Was he in fellowship during that year?  Was he still enjoying the Lord, did he write any Psalms during that year?  You might be shocked at the answer, but he was enjoying; he did not know. 

I lived in legalism many years before God showed me I was a legalist, and during those years I lived in legalism I was enjoying the Lord.  I didn’t know, and He didn’t show me at that time.  So, I’m just calling attention to the fact that Elijah, as far as he’s concerned, is enjoying union with the Lord.  He doesn’t know who he is and the possibility of his evil heart, yet, so he’s still enjoying it until….  Now, God is going to show him, and down in the dumps he’s going to go, but until then, even though he had been working in his own strength, he’s still enjoying the presence of the Lord.

Now, I call attention to this because some will understand this illusion to scripture, and maybe some of you won’t, but don’t go to war with the enemy until you hear the sound of the wind in the trees.  Some may not understand what I’m talking about.  We’ll come back to that when we do warfare, but what I’m trying to say is, when God convicts you of your sin, you have to repent, or you are out of fellowship with God.  But until God convicts you, you may still enjoy relationship with the Lord, because He hasn’t revealed it.  So, when you think God is calling you to convict somebody else, you better be careful, you better not try to convict somebody until the Lord is convicting them.  You’ve got to wait for the Lord.  You can go up and grab somebody and say, “You know, God convicted me of smoking, and you shouldn’t be smoking.”  You wait until God convicts them about drinking and going there and doing this and buying lottery tickets, and all of the rest.  You be careful before you start convicting people when God is not giving them trouble, because they are enjoying the Lord and walking with the Lord, until….  But when God gives that revelation, then you turn from your sin.

I call attention to that because up to this time Elijah is still enjoying the Lord, and notice verse 41, “Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go up, eat and drink; there’s the sound of the roar of a heavy shower.’”  There was no thunder, there was no sound of a shower, except in Elijah’s heart.  He heard in his heart the sound of a shower.  Theologians call that spiritual discernment.  The Christ who lived in Elijah was letting him know that soon the promise would be fulfilled.  He had the assurance before there was any physical evidence, spiritual intuition, that he knew in his heart what God would do; it thundered in his heart before it thundered in the sky.  Again, we’re going to revisit these principles, but just know that the Christ in him convinced him that it’s coming.  Just so, he saw the coming storm by faith before there were any clouds in the sky.  He saw that in his heart, and that’s why he sent his servant back and forth.  He said to his servant, verse 43, “’Go now, look toward the sea.’  He went up and looked and said, ‘There’s nothing.’  He said, ‘Go back,’ seven times.”  Next time I’ll relate this to Elijah’s prayer.  If God promised rain, why does he have to pray for it?  There’s an answer to that, and we’ll touch on that in another connection.

But picture his servant, whoever that might me.  Some theologians think it was the widow’s son he raised from the dead.  We don’t know that, and I don’t know where they get that idea, but some say that. Just picture the poor servant.  Elijah is praying and he says, “Go to the sea and take a look.”  He comes back and says, “I didn’t see anything.”  Elijah said, “Well, go again.”  Then he went again, and came back, “I see nothing.”  “Well, go again.”  He goes the third and fourth time and a fifth time and sixth time.  He must have been getting weary, “What’s this guy doing?  It’s not working.  I see nothing,” until the perfect number, until patience has its perfect work, until the fulness of time, until he says, “I see a cloud the size of a man’s hand.”  Well, Elijah had already seen that in his heart, because he doesn’t know yet, so he’s enjoying the indwelling Christ, and he is knowing God’s will because he hears the thunder in his heart, and he’s walking by faith, because he sees the clouds that are going to come. 

Then in verse 46, “The hand of the Lord was on Elijah, he girded up his loins and outran Ahab to Jezreel.” This is not a foot race between two people.  Ahab is not running.  Ahab is sitting in a chariot drawn by horses, and when he outran Ahab, he outran horses.  This is a supernatural power of the Lord.  Scholars tell us that the distance between Mt. Carmel and Jezreel was between 18-20 miles.  One commentator said 25 miles.  It was a marathon.  1 Kings 21:1, “It came about after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was in Jezreel beside the palace of Ahab King of Samaria.”  Why did they run to Jezreel?  That’s where Ahab’s palace was, and it was right next to Naboth’s vineyard. 

So, again, the indwelling Christ, the Christ in me allows me to know the will of God.  The Christ in me allows me to live by faith and not by sight.  The Christ in me allows me to run the race set before me by His Life and not by my own.  I have ear in my heart, and an eye in my heart and running feet in my heart.  What do we find in 1 Kings 19, the next chapter?  Does Elijah do the will of God?  Is he hearing the sound of rain?  No, he’s hearing the threats of Jezebel.  It’s not listening anymore to the heart; now he’s listening with the ears.  Is he bowed down with his head between his knees waiting patiently for God to complete his promises?  He’s not trusting the Lord.  He’s fearing man.  There’s been a change.  He has the indwelling life; God doesn’t go away.  He’s never going to leave. 

I love the contrast, the end of 18 with the beginning of 19.  At the end of 18 he’s running in the mighty power of the Lord and outrunning horses.  Here is how 19 begins, “He was afraid and rose and ran for his life.”  He’s running again, this time not by the power of the Lord.  Now, he’s going to run 350 miles, and he’s going to faint along the way.  He has the life of Christ in him to hear what is not audible.  He had the life of Christ in him to see what’s not visible, he had the life in him to run with the strength not his own, the strength of the Lord, to know the will of God, to walk by faith, and to run by the power of the Lord.  Just as God did Carmel in spite of him, now God is going to recover him, even though he’s not appropriating anymore the life that is within him.  The life is still there, but now he’s not appropriating it.  Now, he’s hearing threats, now he’s fearing man, now he’s running in his own strength, now he’s going to want to die.  God loses nothing.  God gets the glory.  In fact, in the light of that, Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”  Who is the loser if I take my eyes off the Lord?  Not God; I’m the loser.  If I take my eyes off the Lord, I’m the one that loses.  You take your eyes off the Lord, you’re the one that loses. 

Elijah is about to meet a stranger named Elijah.  He’s about to meet himself.  I’ll tell you, you take your eyes off the Lord, you’re going to fall.  You put your eyes on the Lord, you’re going to rise.  You abide in the Lord, you’re going to live.  I recommend that.  Take your eyes off the Lord, you fall, and you put your eyes on the Lord, you rise, abide in the Lord and you live.  Elijah needs to be delivered from Elijah.

I want to close with a little testimony.  I’ve heard many wonderful testimonies.  In fact, some of you who know my testimony know that I was so enamored with other’s testimonies that I stole somebody’s testimony, and I lived a lie for 7 seven years, and I pretended that I was this, because I love testimonies, and I didn’t have one.  It’s a little hard to say, “I accepted Jesus on Valentine’s Day, and I asked Him to be my Valentine.”  It just doesn’t have the power.  Some people say, “I was delivered from a life of crime,” “I was delivered from a drunkard’s grave,” “I was delivered from addiction, I had strong addictions,” “I was delivered from pornography,” “I was delivered from a life of passion and anger and all that kind of thing.”  I never experienced those things.  Potentially, I was delivered from all of those things, everybody is, but I can’t say I was delivered from a life of crime and a life of liquor and a life of addiction, a life of lust, but I have a better testimony.  I’ve been delivered from Ed Miller.  Do you understand what I’m saying?  I’ve been delivered from me, and by creation God gave me me, but by redemption He gave me Christ.  Elijah is about to be delivered from Elijah, and we’re going to study next time, Lord willing, which, by the way would be January. 

Have a great Christmas with your families, or friends, and all, but we’ll come back, and we’ll watch Elijah run and watch the Lord run with him, and watch the Lord restore, and watch the Lord deliver Elijah with a still, small voice from Elijah.

Father, thank You for Your word, and we just pray, Lord, that these things that we’re studying are not just history and not just academics, but they’re life and they’re real, and we just pray that You might unveil Yourself to us, according to that you see we’re ready.  Just open our eyes and show us ourselves, but not without the revelation of Christ.  We ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.