When The Fire Falls

1 Kings 18:38 – Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

I love Elijah. He is a prophet that came out of nowhere. He is first mentioned in the previous chapter, 1 Kings 17, when he announced to King Ahab that there we be no more rain in Israel. The Bible says in James that Elijah was a man of like passions as we are. He was just a man, yet he was used so mightily by God. He stood up, even when it seemed like everything was against him. He stood alone. We can stand alone, we can feel alone. Romans 11:4 – But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Our faith is not proportional to other people. Our faith should not rely on other people. Our faith should be a faith that can stand, even when we think and feel alone. God will strip away our reliance on other people to expose what we are truly made of. It is easy to be concealed and hidden in a crowd. Jude says, God afterwards destroyed them that believed not. God sorts the sheep from the goats, the tares from the wheat. God could use Elijah because he had faith in God. He had immense faith to pronounce to Ahab that there would be no rain. He spoke to Ahab by faith. He knew his God that well that he could speak on God’s behalf, God was speaking by his mouth. James says that it did not rain because of his prayer. He knew the will of God, he prayed according to the will of God, and God heard him.

There had been no rain for three and a half years leading up to the famous showdown on Mount Carmel. The land would have been parched, dry, crying out for the rain from heaven. Yet there was no repentance in the land of Israel yet. This goes to show the pride of man. As Revelation says, even when men are being scorched by hailstones, and enduring the wrath of God in the end times, they will not repent. Job 41 talks about leviathan, the king of the children of pride. Why was pride so important to be exposed and dealt with in Job’s life? Pride is deceitful, it hardens us, it causes us not to repent, it keeps us from being saved, it keeps us from receiving the grace, mercy and love of God. After all Job went through, he discovered that he was proud. Pride was the last thing to be dealt with. God was using the circumstances of life to humble Job. And Job said, I repent in dust and ashes. Job said, I will put my hand on my mouth. God looks to a humble and contrite spirit. God resists the proud.

Despite the three and a half years of no rain, Israel had not repented. They were under Jezebel, and her prophets. Ahab said to Elijah, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? Elijah had not troubled Israel, it was Ahab and Jezebel who had lead Israel to this state. Israel was under Jezebel, who was the real leader of Israel, who used Ahab as a front while really making all the decisions and dictating what was happening behind the scenes. Jezebel is a picture of false religion. She is a picture of Mystery Babylon, revealed in Revelation, which is false religion – man’s religion. At the tower of Babel, they tried building a tower that would reach unto heaven. But they did not succeed. Man’s religion is an exercise in futility, we only go to heaven by God’s appointed way. Proverbs says the strange woman ways are moveable, but God reveals Mystery Babylon. Her footsteps take hold on death. Her guests are in hell. Will you be seduced by Jezebel? John said in 1 John, These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.  The Bible teaches faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, not in your local church, not in your denomination, not in your priest, not in the things you are doing that make you feel so spiritual, justified and righteous. It is not about what I can do, or am doing, it is about what he has done. The believer’s election is that of grace, and grace can only be received by faith. If you are working to be saved, to stay saved, to feel saved, you will not receive God’s grace. God’s grace is received by faith alone. How can we know the way? Jesus said, I am the way. Have faith in Christ, and Christ alone. Follow Christ, and Christ alone. All the rest will be taken care of if we simply seek first his righteousness.

Elijah said, How long halt ye between two opinions? This is a position which all of us will find ourselves in, but will we stay there? Jesus said, Ye cannot serve God and mammon. No man can have two masters. You will serve one or the other, you cannot have both. James says a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. You have a decision to make. And you will make it whether you like it or not. Maybe you have already made your choice. Is the Lord God your God, or is Baal your god? You are serving either God or Baal. The Bible says, And the people answered him not a word. What a state of affairs.

The Bible says that Elijah repaired the altar. The power of our lives is in the altar. Our power lies in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our power is in the Lamb of God. Elijah preparing the sacrifice is a picture of our Saviour. The sacrifices of the Old Testament were pointing to the ultimate sacrifice of God’s perfect, sinless only begotten Son. The Bible says that the fire of heaven fell. Fire is a symbol of judgement. Fire burns, fire purifies. The Bible says that our God is a consuming fire. Jesus bore the wrath of God. Jesus said, I thirst. He was crucified in the place of a skull. He poured out his soul unto death. The fire falling from heaven is a picture of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. We can only stand and witness it. We all looked on as Jesus was nailed to the tree. We could not die the death. Our death does not satisfy God’s wrath, it cannot, could not and can never. This is why unbelievers go to hell, they can never pay the price for sin, no matter how long they are punished for. It took the sinless blood of Jesus Christ. Our hope is in him. Jesus did the work, Jesus finished the work. He is passed into the heavens, accepted in the beloved, and seated at the right hand of the Father. His sacrifice was accepted. God’s wrath was satisfied once for all in the death of his Son. The Bible says in Isaiah, Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.

The Bible says that the people of Israel fell on their faces and said, the Lord he is the God, the Lord he is the God. May this be our reaction when we come to the foot of the cross, and see the finished work of Jesus Christ. He died once for all. It is finished. Done. Over with. As the Israelites looked on the brazen serpent and lived in the wilderness, spiritually we need to look on the Saviour hanging on the cross for us. He bore our sins. He did what we could not do. He lived the life we could not live. His death, burial and resurrection is our power and our life. Our power is in the Lord Jesus Christ. Then will be the sound of abundance of rain. We will receive the showers of blessing. There was a great rain. Romans says that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. That’s what this life is about, getting saved. Everyone dies, our lives are short, James says our life is like a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. So many of us spend our lives focused on the affairs of this life and neglect our salvation. This is why wisdom is more important than material things. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. This life will be over soon, and you won’t be taking any physical possessions into eternity, but who you are, whether you are saved or not, will be taken into eternity. This is why the Bible says in Revelation, He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. It is good to enjoy what God has given us. But the important thing, the only thing that ultimately counts, is that you are saved.

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