Seeking Jesus First - June 28, 2023

Seeking Jesus First - June 28, 2023
Photo by Mike Erskine / Unsplash

Part Two - Prayer is an audience with the king who loves you and considers you part of his family.

Prayer is not primarily about telling God what I want. It involves relational conversation with an emphasis on listening.

How did Elijah receive The Word of The LORD?

Do you know why Elijah prayed for rain after a three year drought and God answered his prayer anit rained and sent a drought ending rain? Let’s work backwards from the event and see why Elijah did this.

Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.” Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’ ” Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel. Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.” (1 Kings 18:41–46, NKJV)

Elijah prayed seven times for rain and each time he sent his servant to go and look for the signs of rain. It took seven times of bowing himself down in prayer for the sign of rain to show up. What would have happened if he had not kept bowing himself down to pray?

No one knows. We can only deduce from reading that Elijah felt it necessary to keep bowing down in prayer until he saw the sign of rain.

Before that…

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.” 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 did it a third time. So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water. And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near 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. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” And 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.” (1 Kings 18:30–40, NKJV)

Elijah called the people to him to repair the altar of sacrifice and to prepare a sacrifice. During a drought, he poured barrels and barrels of water on the sacrifice. It is kind of like he was sacrificing what they needed most - water. Then he called on God to answer with fire and consume the sacrifice.

Before that…

And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.” So all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken.” Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.” So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made. And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.” (1 Kings 18:21–29, NKJV)

Elijah challenged the people of Israel to choose between God and Baal but they remained silent. So he challenged the false prophets who had been supported by the king’s wife, Jezebel, to prove that Baal was god by saying, “The one who answers by fire is really God.”

Before that?

Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?” And he answered, “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 the Baals. Now therefore, 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.” So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel.” (1 Kings 18:17–20, NKJV)

After three years of drought (which Elijah prophesied directly to the king saying, “It will not rain again until I tell it to.”), Elijah presented himself to the king who wanted to capture and punish him. He gave the king a command to assemble Israel. The king obeyed.

Before that?

And it came to pass after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, “Go, present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the earth.”” (1 Kings 18:1, NKJV)

God told Elijah to present himself to Ahab and God would send rain.

There is no record of God telling Elijah to do anything after he presented himself to Ahab. If you argue that God must have told Elijah to do all that other stuff, you have no Scripture on which to hang that claim. But I won’t argue that point. I just want to point it out that Elijah was acting on God’s authority because He had a word from God. Elijah was authorized by God so God went with Him and enforced Elijah’s words. Elijah kept God’s words and God kept Elijah’s words.

Do you need a Scripture about God honoring a man’s words? Here you go… “So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.” (1 Samuel 3:19, NKJV)

Go back to the prayer for rain. Why did Elijah have to pray for something that God has already decreed? That was Elijah’s faith at work. It takes two. God in heaven and a human on earth because that is how God like to work. Co-laboring with us. Grace and faith. His promise our belief. His word our trust. His command our obedience.

Point Number One: Obey the word of The LORD know matter what. Go and do what God tells you to do.

Point Number Two: While you are obeying God, God is responsible for the outcome.

Point Number Three: While you are obeying God, God has your back. Keep His words and He will keep yours.

Point Number Four: While obeying God, you have His authority to act.

Point Number Five: While obeying God, believe that God will do anything that you ask Him to do.

Point Number Six: Declare what God is doing. Elijah told King Ahab, “I hear the sound of the abundance of rain,” before he even prayed for rain.

Point Number Seven: Even when you have a word from The LORD, you need to pray in faith until the signs of manifestation show up. Watch and pray.