Bible Study : H. E. Alexander, 1950_01_02 translated from French
Revival At Mount Carmel With Elijah
Bible Study : H. E. Alexander, 1950_02_02 translated from French
If we speak of revival in 1 Kings 18, it is in the sense of a direct intervention of God in a desperate situation. This study brings us to the subject of the laws which govern a revival. It is sometimes forgotten that such a setting in motion of spiritual powers increases the inner tensions between flesh and spirit in awakened Christians. Deceptions and counterfeits often come on the heels of the work of God. To preserve the action of the Spirit of God, one must first have a solid biblical instruction and then a definite objective: the evangelization of the world.
Before the revival in Wales, the United Kingdom had the privilege of hearing from Dr. R. A. Torrey by whom the authority of the Word of God was clearly manifested. Thus Christians were prepared for the great movement of the Spirit of God which was to follow. We want nothing today that is outside of God’s will, and the more we learn from the Bible stories, the more sure we are of what God is doing. In Carmel, the emphasis is on the preparatory role of prayer.
After the passage of 1 Kings 18: 41: “And Elijah said to Ahab, Go up, eat and drink; for there is a noise which announces the rain”, we read in James 5:17-18 that “Elijah was a man of the same nature as us: he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and he did not fall. no rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit”. Elijah is like Jeremiah, one of those exceptional Old Testament men who lived and proclaimed God’s message alone in the midst of the nation’s apostasy. He had a great influence on the life of Israel. I have three thoughts on this.
Elijah and the New Testament
It is first associated with the first coming of Christ to earth when John the Baptist, from his prison, sent to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah. The Lord gave an answer corresponding to the texts of the Old Testament (cf. Isaiah 29: 18-19 and 35:5-6) then he himself continued with these words: “All the prophets and the law prophesied until ‘to John; and, if you want to understand, he is the Elijah who was to come” (Matthew 11:13-14). This means that John the Baptist was filled with the spirit of Elijah with a message and ministry similar to his.
He is then associated with the second coming of Christ when, on the mountain of the transfiguration, the few disciples present see Moses and Elijah appear with their Master. They then have a foretaste of the reign of Christ on earth. Malachi foretold: “Behold, I will send Elijah the prophet to you before the day of the Lord comes, that great and dreadful day” (4:5). Thus Elijah must precede Christ’s return in glory here below. In Revelation 11:3-12 we find that on the eve of this return, two powerful witnesses come to Jerusalem to exercise a ministry of judgment. They have the authority to call down fire from heaven like Elijah and the power to perform miracles on earth like Moses. They also have the authority to kill those who oppose them, but when their testimony is over, the Antichrist will destroy them. They will die, but they will rise again three and a half days later, in the eyes of all, and will be taken up to heaven.
Moreover, Elijah is associated with the prayer of authority which intervenes in the affairs of men, this special prayer of which James speaks (cf. 5:16-18) and which is of great effectiveness in thwarting the harmful projects of Satan. . Elijah prayed for no rain for three and a half years and then, after the drought, he prayed again for rain and water and it was given in abundance. Elijah’s prayers acted in the invisible world. He cooperated with God for the accomplishment of his plans and because of this blessing followed curse and grace followed judgment.
Finally, Elijah is associated with our nature and our infirmities. Notice that the greatest Old Testament prophet, the most powerful, the prophet to whom the Holy Spirit bears the most beautiful testimony is presented to us as being “a man of the same nature as we are.” Although weak because human, he prevailed in the affairs of this world by his prayer!
There is one last point of resemblance between Elijah and us: the circumstances of this story with famine, drought, suffering and anguish everywhere. It was in a time of crisis that God called this man and turned things around. All the revivals which God has raised up in the history of the Church have had their particular character and have brought to light one or more forgotten truths. I believe that the closer we get to the end times, the more the Spirit of God is preparing us for Christ’s return.
Elijah and our times
In what way is the example of Elijah an encouragement, a warning for the Church? He lived under a civil and religious authority which had overthrown the laws of men and of God. King Ahab “did evil in the sight of the Lord more than any before him” (1 Kings 16:30). Not only did he imitate Jeroboam – with the worship of the golden calves – but he married a pagan and idolatrous woman, the daughter of the king of Sidon and built a house in honor of Baal in Samaria the capital! And to top it off, under his reign, Hiel of Bethel had the city of Jericho rebuilt at the cost of the lives of his two sons (cf. Joshua 6:26 and 1 Kings 16:34 ). As we see, Ahab challenges God directly
Writing to the Church of Thyatira, the Holy Spirit mentions among his various sins: “But what I have against you is that you allow the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants, to indulge in immorality, and to eat meat sacrificed to idols” (Revelation 2:20 ). Jezebel is the personification of everything that, in the name of God, opposes God; of everything that is supposedly done for God, but is really against God. If Ahab represents the spirit of Antichrist in the world, Jezebel represents the spirit of Antichrist in Christendom. With such a king and such a queen one can imagine the heavy atmosphere and the state of moral and religious depravity in the time of Elijah.
Reading chapters 17 and 18 of 1 Kings, one is struck by the passivity of the people; Elijah, Ahab, Jezebel and the false prophets of Baal play the main roles, but where are the people?… They are there, silent, without reacting to events. When Elijah gathers the prophets of Baal and the people he asks this incisive question: “How long will you shy away from both sides? If the Lord is God, go after him; if it is Baal, go after him! The people answered him nothing” (1 Kings 18:21). The word translated “ shy away from both sides” is found in the expression “I will pass over you” (Exodus 12:13), which means to pass over; good in the case of the Passover because of the bloodshed, bad in the reign of Ahab because of his repeated iniquities. Elijah’s question could be translated as follows: How long will you pass over the iniquities of Ahab and Jezebel? Until when will you refuse to take your responsibilities? How long will you hesitate between two decisions? How long will you remain stationary? By dint of persevering in this attitude the people passed over the evil, did not judge it, tolerated it and joined in it.
It was this mentality that Elijah had to deal with and it was in the midst of this paralysis that divine intervention was needed. Remember that these things “were written for the instruction of us who have come to the end of the ages” (1 Corinthians 10:11 ).
Even today we want to enjoy a name that does not correspond to reality, to have privileges without taking on responsibilities and without condemning iniquity in all its forms. We prefer to ignore the evil, to pass the towel… yes, and we are talking about waking up! But that’s not all, the saints were in a sorry state. There was at the court of Ahab a man named Obadiah, governor of the palace who feared the Lord from his childhood and who had even hidden a hundred prophets of God in a cave during persecution (cf. 1 Kings 18:4). One day he met Elijah and said to him: “Are you my lord Elijah? He replied: It is I; go, tell your master: Here is Elijah!” (18:7-8). The focus is on your master. Elijah could say without reservation: “As the Lord lives, the God of Israel, whose servant I am!” (1 Kings17:1). But Obadiah, who feared God and had compromised himself for him, had a divided heart. He served both Elijah and Ahab. He too was wrong on both sides.
Does the Spirit of God have anything to say to us about this? Are our hearts shared? We fear the Lord, it is true, and we serve him; but are we enlightened to the destructive subtleties of evil, and in what interest are we acting? One of the curses of our times is the number of believers whose hearts are divided. How good words can cover a submission to a modern Ahab and Jezebel, if only indirectly!
And then there are the seven thousand, of which the Lord speaks to us twice (cf. 1 Kings 19:18 and Romans 11:2-4). We learn from these passages that Elijah was not alone and that a minority did not succumb, yet they were not by his side. Where were they and what waere they doing when Elijah’s life was in danger? The Bible says nothing about this, but it is better to be active like Elijah (James 5:18) than passive like the seven thousand (cf. 1 Kings 19:18)!
I underline another characteristic which concerns us directly: “Elijah was a man of the same nature as us” (James 5:17). This prince of the prophets faces the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, orders their immediate execution, fears absolutely nothing but God and yet flees when he receives a death threat from Jezebel (cf. 1 Kings 19:3 ).
Why this failure? What is the explanation? I believe that Jezebel lets go of the secret when, in revenge for Elijah, she speaks of the gods whose demonic power manifests itself in the wearing down and exhaustion of those who resist them. Elijah is exhausted from the fight against apostasy. We see him tired, weary, discouraged, calling for death, but God intervenes on his behalf and helps him. With infinite compassion, the Lord speaks to him; he takes care of it, feeds it so much that it recovers, goes away and walks forty days and forty nights until Horeb where God meets him again (cf. 1 Kings 19: 3-8). You know his marvelous earthly end: his rapture in glory and his cloak falling on young Elisha (cf. 2 Kings 2:11-14).
Let no one be discouraged and let no one boast either! God uses the weak things to annihilate the strong things of the world, but he must possess his own fully to overcome the contemporary atmosphere and mentality.
Let’s go back: Elijah first prayed for heaven to be closed (cf. 1 Kings 17:1-2 ), then – after the restoration of the altar and the destruction of the false prophets – he prayed that it would open again. God answered both prayers. Scripture describes the sensitivity of Elijah who hears the distant sound of rain, climbs to the top of Carmel and prays intensely until he is heard (cf. 1 Kings 18: 41-46). It is in this sense that I speak of revival in Carmel. God intervenes in the affairs of men and blesses them when evil is judged through Elijah’s faithfulness and his intelligent prayer life, even though Ahab still remains under the power of false gods. Thus God shows that he is the strongest.
Elijah and us
I stopped on the times of Elijah because of their resemblance to ours. We have seen that the attitude of the seven thousand is not enough. We must not only believe, but we must suffer with Christ, identify with him, bear his reproach, accept the judgments of others and the crown of thorns that the world weaves for us. If we do not reach this level, let us not be surprised at the spiritual and moral state that weighs on the Church: the drought, the lack of conversions and fruit everywhere.
Consider Elijah: we are told that he lived in the presence of God. Generally Scripture gives us the genealogy of priests and prophets. Of Elijah we know nothing at all, except this: “Elijah the Tishbite, one of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab: The LORD lives, the God of Israel, whose servant I am” (1 Kings 17:1). Elijah comes from the presence of the Lord. No other details are given. As for Melchizedek, we are suddenly in front of the character. The first thing we must insist on is fellowship with God in the midst of these same circumstances, despite these same temptations. Let nothing take us out of the presence of the Lord, neither his work, nor our ministry, nor our environment.
You may be an unknown disciple, but if you live in the presence of God, all is well and he will take care of you. The devil will try to remove you from this position. Who does not know the fight? “The God of Israel whose servant I am” is the servant before his beloved master, the soldier before his superior, the child before his father. Yes, in the midst of indifference and anguish, seek the presence of God! Close your door and tell your knocking friends, “Not now!” You want revival, you want God to use you for it. Here is the first condition: “The Lord…whose servant I am.”
Here is Elijah, this energetic man, standing up for God in the midst of an apostate world where iniquity reigns. No one was with him, but he was up for everyone else. Standing in Cherith, by the torrent; standing at Zarephath when the widow fed him; standing for God before the four hundred and fifty prophets; standing in the name of God before Ahab; standing up for Israel against the enemy. May the Spirit of God wake us from sleep to stand up and win the battle: “Besides, be strong in the Lord, and in his mighty strength. Put on all the armor of God, so that you can stand firm against the wiles of the devil…so that you can resist in the evil day and stand firm after you have overcome everything” (Ephesians 6:10-13 ). Standing firm means standing tall!
Read Genesis 18: Abraham stood up and asked for mercy even for Sodom and Gomorrah. Are we standing up for our generation? Read Numbers 16 where, during Korah’s revolt, Aaron ran – censer in hand – into the midst of the congregation, standing between the dead and the living. Aaron, like Elijah, was one of those who knew how to stand up for the people, for the country, between God and Satan. Let us make the decision to not only keep God’s presence in our lives, but to stand up for the world. In the days of Elijah, one man was enough. Readers, how many are we? A hundred Christians before the throne of God is the release of an extraordinary power, it is the announcement of a great rain.
Echoing 1 Kings 18:42, James tells us, “I prayed.” He bent down to the ground, his face between his knees, seeking the face of God. He knew the tragic situation, he knew that God alone could intervene, his life and his reputation mattered little to him, provided that God answered: “The fervent prayer of the righteous man availeth much” (James 5: 16). Learn this lesson, dedicate yourselves to this labor of childbirth! God will open your eyes to see the cloud on the horizon and your ears to hear the sound of a great rain. Our Savior said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18). There are satanic powers that must be bound in the name of the Lord Jesus in order for the nations to be delivered from them and this is done in intercession. God could turn things around overnight if he wanted to, but by his own laws he expects his children to cooperate like Elijah.
Back to Revivals in the Bible.
Bible References : Basic English Bible : 1 Kings 18
1. Now after a long time, the word of the Lord came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, Go and let Ahab see you, so that I may send rain on the earth.
2. So Elijah went to let Ahab see him. Now there was no food to be had in Samaria.
3. And Ahab sent for Obadiah, the controller of the king’s house. (Now Obadiah had the fear of the Lord before him greatly;
4. For when Jezebel was cutting off the prophets of the Lord, Obadiah took a hundred of them, and kept them secretly in a hole in the rock, fifty at a time, and gave them bread and water.)
5. And Ahab said to Obadiah, Come, let us go through all the country, to all the fountains of water and all the rivers, and see if there is any grass to be had for the horses and the transport beasts, so that we may be able to keep some of the beasts from destruction.
6. So they went through all the country, covering it between them; Ahab went in one direction by himself, and Obadiah went in another by himself.
7. And while Obadiah was on his way, he came face to face with Elijah; and seeing who it was, he went down on his face and said, Is it you, my lord Elijah?
8. And Elijah in answer said, It is I; now go and say to your lord, Elijah is here.
9. And he said, What sin have I done, that you would give up your servant into the hand of Ahab, and be the cause of my death?
10. By the life of the Lord your God, there is not a nation or kingdom where my lord has not sent in search of you; and when they said, He is not here; he made them take an oath that they had not seen you.
11. And now you say, Go, say to your lord, Elijah is here.
12. And straight away, when I have gone from you, the spirit of the Lord will take you away, I have no idea where, so that when I come and give word to Ahab, and he sees you not, he will put me to death: though I, your servant, have been a worshipper of the Lord from my earliest years.
13. Has my lord not had word of what I did when Jezebel was putting the Lord’s prophets to death? how I kept a hundred of them in a secret hole in the rock, fifty at a time, and gave them bread and water?
14. And now you say, Go and say to your Lord, Elijah is here; and he will put me to death.
15. And Elijah said, By the life of the Lord of armies, whose servant I am, I will certainly let him see me today.
16. So Obadiah went to Ahab and gave him the news; and Ahab went to see Elijah.
17. And when he saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, Is it you, you troubler of Israel?
18. Then he said in answer, I have not been troubling Israel, but you and your family; because, turning away from the orders of the Lord, you have gone after the Baals.
19. Now send, and get Israel together before me at Mount Carmel, with the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal who get their food at Jezebel’s table.
20. So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and got the prophets together at Mount Carmel.
21. And Elijah came near to all the people and said, How long will you go on balancing between two opinions? if the Lord is God, then give worship to him; but if Baal, give worship to him. And the people said not a word in answer.
22. Then Elijah said to the people, I, even I, am the only living prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.
23. Now, let them give us two oxen; and let them take one for themselves, and have it cut up, and put it on the wood, but put no fire under it; I will get the other ox ready, and put it on the wood, and put no fire under it.
24. And do you make prayers to your god, and I will make a prayer to the Lord: and it will be clear that the one who gives an answer by fire is God. And all the people in answer said, It is well said.
25. Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, Take one ox for yourselves and get it ready first, for there are more of you; and make your prayers to your god, but put no fire under.
26. So they took the ox which was given them, and made it ready, crying out to Baal from morning till the middle of the day, and saying, O Baal, give ear to us. But there was no voice and no answer. And they were jumping up and down before the altar they had made.
27. And in the middle of the day, Elijah made sport of them, saying, Give louder cries, for he is a god; he may be deep in thought, or he may have gone away for some purpose, or he may be on a journey, or by chance he is sleeping and has to be made awake.
28. So they gave loud cries, cutting themselves with knives and swords, as was their way, till the blood came streaming out all over them.
29. And from the middle of the day they went on with their prayers till the time of the offering; but there was no voice, or any answer, or any who gave attention to them.
30. Then Elijah said to all the people, Come near to me; and all the people came near. And he put up again the altar of the Lord which had been broken down.
31. And Elijah took twelve stones, the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the Lord had said, Israel will be your name:
32. And with the stones he made an altar to the name of the Lord; and he made a deep drain all round the altar, great enough to take two measures of seed.
33. And he put the wood in order, and, cutting up the ox, put it on the wood. Then he said, Get four vessels full of water and put it on the burned offering and on the wood. And he said, Do it a second time, and they did it a second time;
34. And he said, Do it a third time, and they did it a third time.
35. And the water went all round the altar, till the drain was full.
36. Then at the time of the offering, Elijah the prophet came near and said, O Lord, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be seen this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things by your order.
37. Give me an answer, O Lord, give me an answer, so that this people may see that you are God, and that you have made their hearts come back again.
38. Then the fire of the Lord came down, burning up the offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and drinking up the water in the drain.
39. And when the people saw it, they all went down on their faces, and said, The Lord, he is God, the Lord, he is God.
40. And Elijah said to them, Take the prophets of Baal, let not one of them get away. So they took them, and Elijah made them go down to the stream Kishon, and put them to death there.
41. Then Elijah said to Ahab, Up! take food and drink, for there is a sound of much rain.
42. So Ahab went up to have food and drink, while Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he went down on the earth, putting his face between his knees.
43. And he said to his servant, Go now, and take a look in the direction of the sea. And he went up, and after looking said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times; and he went seven times.
44. And the seventh time he said, I see a cloud coming up out of the sea, as small as a man’s hand. Then he said, Go up and say to Ahab, Get your carriage ready and go down or the rain will keep you back.
45. And after a very little time, the heaven became black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab went in his carriage to Jezreel.
46. And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; and he made himself strong, and went running before Ahab till they came to Jezreel.