Sunday Service | Mount Zion Church | 3 March 2019 | The Days of Elijah | Ready to Revive Series | Malachi 4:5-6
In the dark age of Israel during the reign of King Ahab, God raised Elijah to declare the truth of heaven. His background was very simple, people knew him just as Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead 1Ki.17:1. He was just a common citizen of Israel, yet God found something very precious within his life. His ministry became very obvious and dramatic. Most of everything, he was caught up to the heaven at the end of his ministry, so no one can find his tomb.
There was a prophecy that Elijah will come before Messiah Mal.4:5-6, and indeed John the Baptist came with the power of Elijah Mat.11:14, Luk.1:17. Together with Moses then he appeared to Jesus at His transfiguration up at the mountain Mat.17:3. At the cross Jesus said: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” But people thought that Jesus called Elijah Mat.27:46-47 because the name Elijah had a meaning: “My God is Jehovah”.
At the end times, before Jesus come again for the second time, God will rise up a generation of Elijah with the power to bring repentance over people, the power of prayer, the power of the truth, so more people can know about God and His upcoming judgement. Are we ready to be His fellow-worker? God is preparing a big revival at the end times. Holy Spirit was ready to be poured abundantly. We are waiting for the latter rain Deut.11:14, the season of biggest rain so we can collect and bring in the harvest. We must ready, not only ready for revival but also ready to revive, get ready to bring revival, because we are the latter rain Job.29:23!
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” Malachi 4:5-6 NKJV
THE HEART OF ELIJAH
And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.” Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 1Kings 17:1-4 NKJV
The life-story of Elijah was started with his declaration to Ahab about great drought. Who is actually this Ahab? King Ahab did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. Not only walked in the sins of Jeroboam, Ahab also went and served Baal and worshipped him. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him 1Ki.16:30-33. We found later in book of James that actually Elijah was the one who start that petition for the sake of God’s name Jam.5:17-18. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for 3 years and 6 months. In that horrible day of King Ahab, Elijah found no way to rebuke Ahab other than bring something terrible also for him, which is that great drought! The zeal for God’s name has eaten him up. Everyone who love righteousness seriously will fight for it! This is the proof of loving God with all of our heart and soul Mat.22:37. We need to learn how to love what God loves and hate what God hates. Since God will never ever compromise with sin, so do we must not allow sin to enter our territory.
Elijah fought a good fight for the name of God. He declared God’s punishment upon Ahab for his wickedness. Even he decided to fight with his knees, he prayed earnestly asking God to shut up the heaven so that it will not rain! He wanted to show everyone how bad the moral situation of Israel in those days. He wanted to open the eyes of everyone, so they did not ignore that moral declining! We need to learn and have the heart of Elijah who have a passion for God’s name, a passion for fight the good fight of faith, let the consuming fire of the Holy Spirit burn our heart. We need to learn from Elijah how we can be brave enough to stand for Christ and not against it. The Bible gave us lots of example how we need to be brave for God. Daniel and his friends stood up for their commitment not to worship other gods. Peter and the disciples decided not to bow down to the Sanhedrin as they forced them not to say anything about the risen Christ.
Never be worried to fight for God since He promise to protect and take care His beloved fighter! Just after his declaration to Ahab, God spoke to Elijah to go eastward where God will provide everything for Elijah, fresh water from the brook also daily food freshly delivered by the raven! God is always more than able to protect and guard us Ps.91:9-11. In the last days where Sodom and Gomorrah life style will be very intense, we need to be brave to show our faith, do not lose our identity as a Christian. The voice of truth need to be heard everywhere. We need to bring the news of repentance. Don’t bother ourselves with the final result because that’s God’s part and not ours. The voice of truth need to be declared no matter how many people with give a good response for it. Even sometimes people may get angry with us just like Ahab become angry with Elijah!
THE STILL SMALL VOICE
Elijah’s passion for God’s name was somehow mixed up and distracted with his personal emotion and ambition. This pitfall also could be happened to anyone! After defeated 450 Baal’s prophets and get distressed with Jezebels’ intimidation, God visited Elijah and asked a very important question: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Responding to that question, Elijah simply answered: “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” 1Ki.19:9-10.
In that case, God introduced Himself to Elijah differently, so Elijah could learn more about God. The great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. At the end was a still small voice or a gentle whisper and then God told Elijah that he was never alone since there were 7,000 in Israel who stand together with Elijah, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him 1Ki.19:11-12, 18.
Burnt up with the zeal for God may looks similar with burnt up with our personal ambition, yet the result will be totally different! God wanted to bring Elijah back to the right track, in the track of the Holy Spirit, being led by the Spirit, so Elijah will never feel lonely! Holy Spirit will always encourage us to fight for God while in the same time Holy Spirit will also remind us that we are not alone. Entering the narrow gate and walking in the narrow path sometimes may bring a lonely feeling, specially when we look into the broad way which merrier and get the big crowd Mat.7:13-14! As God teach Elijah to carefully listen and sense the still small voice, so do we need to learn the same thing. A dedicated devotional time will truly help us to keep sensitive with the instruction and encouragement from the Holy Spirit. In quietness and confidence shall be our strength Is.30:15. The apostles in the book of Acts showed us a clear example how they submitted their acts in the hand of Holy Spirit, so a big revival happened in the early church, growing from Jerusalem, all Judea and Samaria, even to the end of the earth as promised beforehand Ac.1:8.
CONCLUSION & CHALLENGE
What it’s all about?
Elijah’s life was a bold evidence how the passion for God’s name could burn someone and bring a great revival. As God stirred Elijah’s heart to awake the kingdom of Israel, He is going to stir our heart as well to awake our family, our community, our neighbourhood, even our country! We need to let that consuming fire burn within us. The true passion will build our faith, bring our knees down, even force us to take the act of faith! The power to shut up the heaven is also given to us because Jesus said that all authority has been given to Him in heaven and on earth Mat.28:18.
Insights and impressions:
Elijah was the proof that perfection is real! Elijah was a man with a nature like ours. Elijah once gave up and lost his heart, but then he decided to obey eating the food from the angel twice. Elijah was consumed with his own ambition, but then he decided to listen to the still small voice. No matter what kind of weaknesses may happen in our life, God always have a solution and a strong answer for that. When we are weak then we are strong 2Cor.12:10.
Sense the still small voice is not a difficult thing to do yet it is not an instant thing. We need to give a good time for God, give Him a plenty time to speak with us, not in a rush. We may start to pray for something which is not right around us, something that need to be fixed, something that already broken. Revival is always start with someone who want to pray more. Our family may need revival, our relation may need revival, our career may need revival. Revival is something that will be happened when God’s hand is helping us and fighting for us. AMEN.