Fire inthe Hole
“And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.”
1 Kings 18:29,30
Just a few years before this showdown on Mount Carmel, Israel had been lush with prosperity and wealth. King Ahab had led the Israelites on a path that led farther away from the old, established worship of God than any before him, and had brought them to a life of riches, prosperity, and licentiousness.
The gods that he and his wife Jezebel had enticed the people of God with appealed to their earthly and fleshly desires. No longer did they have to be constricted with an old religion that demanded holiness and the fear of the Lord. No longer did they have to lead a life of separation from the things of the world that other, more prosperous nations enjoyed. They could enjoy the prosperity and fullness of riches without the constraints of a religion that had become outmoded and old-fashioned.
Life was good. So when Elijah pronounced the judgments of God upon Israel, they laughed him out of the king’s court. The true prophets of God had been eradicated from the public place and were no longer a thorn in the side of everyone who wanted the rewards of love, peace, and prosperity. You were no longer allowed to mention the name of Jehovah, much less pray to him in a public place. They now had priests and prophets of Baal that had replaced those old critical and judgmental men who had caused such consternation in the land.
Elijah had stood as the one, lone voice who cried for a return to righteousness.
And who was this hairy old man? He didn’t seem to be of any real consequence. He had no credentials, no theological bearing, and no consequential importance. Even his dress revealed his lack of social prominence and his irrelevance in such a modern, sophisticated time as this.
Ahab’s ears may have been deaf to Elijah’s pronouncement, but when Elijah spoke, God listened. The Ahab’s court may have derided him with laughter as he stood before the king, but 3 years later, no one was laughing.
We have followed a course similar to the one that Ahab had led Israel down. The Gospel we listen to is far different than the Gospel our grandfathers believed in. We decry the old brush arbor revivalists as hard, judgmental men who did not understand the love of God, and we have traded their message of repentance and holiness for one that is a kinder, gentler approach which promises love and peace and prosperity.
But the love, peace, and prosperity that our modern prophets have promised us are but a worldly shadow of that which God offers us through a walk of righteousness in the fear of the Lord.
We have been like the Israelites at the foot of Mount Sinai – we feared and trembled at the presence of God when the mount shook with fire and smoke, but as soon as Moses departed up the mountain and we were left to our own devices, we made for ourselves a golden calf to worship in God’s place.
I have said for 7 years now that something is coming to America that will be far worse than 9/11, but I never knew what form that judgment would take. Would it be a dirty nuclear explosion in one of our cities, or an epidemic, or some natural disaster? We would be hurt, but it wouldn’t take long to go back to our old ways. We are the great and mighty America, and we have an innate belief that we will always bounce back and dominate.
What if it wasn’t any of those imagined disasters, but something that struck right to the heart of that which we cherish the most? What if we lost our prosperity and wealth? And what if it consumed every level of our society and every part of our country?
We are living in that time of drought when the ravens fed Elijah by the brook Cherith, right after he fled the king’s court.
We look to our televangelists who promise us blessings, and refuse to consider that our lust for those promises is what has led us to this drought in the first place. But we still flip on the TV and hope for a word of encouragement that will convince us to hang on to a Gospel that has a form of godliness, but denies the power thereof. And of course, they tell us exactly what we want to hear, along with an encouragement to send them your money so that God can release His blessings all over you – but never a word of reproof or repentance.
The job of a prophet is not to tell you how beloved you are, how many blessings God wants to bestow upon you, or how much love is in your church. The job of a prophet is to rebuild the old broken down altars of God and declare unto the people of God their sins and transgressions so that they may come to a place of repentance and, once again, return to the true God of Israel.
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. “
Please mention ” Early Today” in your corresspondences