1 Kings 18:20 – So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.
In the previous blog, I talked a bit about the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel. There is something so stirring and so valuable about this story – and it is more than just a story. 2 Timothy 3:16 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. In this post, we will see that we too must come to Mount Carmel, our Mount Carmel. It is a place of decision, it is a place of separation, it is a place where we receive or refuse. It is a place of God’s provision. It is a place where we look on, rather than do. We see that God answers by fire. We see a sacrifice that takes the fire of heaven, while we undeservingly receive forgiveness. We passively, helplessly watch as God contests with Baal. Before we receive the rain, we must go to our Mount Carmel. As Elijah called the people to the Mount, so God will call us to the Mount. The Bible points us to the Lord Jesus Christ, Mount Carmel points us to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Elijah was God’s chosen prophet. God spoke by the mouth of Elijah. Elijah represents the written Word of God. He carried the message of God. He was God’s vessel. We see the authority of the Word of God through Elijah. Elijah told Ahab what to do, and Ahab, the proud, rebellious, wicked king of Israel obeyed him by gathering the people together to Mount Carmel. Elijah set the terms and conditions of the contest. God’s authority is supreme over his creation. And it is God that calls us to our Mount Carmel. Before we are saved, we are under bondage to Satan, but even Satan must yield to God. He is a created being, he has to seek permission for whatever he does, God is in complete control. The Bible says the wrath of God abides on the unbeliever. But John says that Jesus has lighted every man that has come into the world. The Bible says that God is not willing that any should perish. God loves us. He wants to bless us. But we are in a spiritual drought in our unsaved, lost condition. If we are saved, but being unfaithful to God, we also must come to Mount Carmel. The altar must be repaired. We focus and refocus our eyes on the Lamb of God. God gives every human being a chance to be saved. God sends his Word, God tells us how to be saved and know it. Jesus gives us life and gives it more abundantly. Jesus sets the prisoners free. We are free indeed. The Bible says the Son came to seek and save the lost. Jesus calls the sinners to repentance. The gospel is for sinners. Mount Carmel is the place of choice. It is the place of decision. Joshua said, Choose ye this day. Elijah said, How long halt ye between two opinions? Who will you serve? What or who will you put your faith in?
Rain symbolizes blessing in the Bible. It was a blessing when Israel received rain, and in particular where I live, it is a blessing whenever we receive it. Psalm 65 says, Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it. Rain or the lack of rain was a sign of the spiritual condition of Israel. The Bible says there will be showers of blessing. 1 Kings 8:35,36 – When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them: Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance. Jesus is the rain on the dry and barren land. There had been no rain since Elijah had pronounced the drought to Ahab over three years earlier. And God does not lie, the land of Israel was under a severe, crippling drought leading up to the contest on Mount Carmel. As Israel were parched, withered, thirsty, crying out for water, so too we spiritually are in drought until we are restored in fellowship to God through his Son Jesus Christ. Drought is what a life without Christ is. Jesus says he has the living water. He that drinks of the living water that Jesus gives will never thirst. Before we are saved we are dry and barren land. We cannot bring forth fruit. We are dry. God in in longsuffering and mercy calls us to Mount Carmel. He bids us come and see. We must go to our Mount Carmel before we receive the rain from heaven. We must see an altar that must be repaired. Sin must be dealt with. God’s wrath must be appeased. We need the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
The God that answereth by fire, let him be God. What does this mean? Fire is a sign of judgement, it symbolizes judgement and wrath. The fire from heaven is a picture of God. The Bible says that God is a consuming fire. God is the judge of the universe. WE have sinned, we have transgressed against God, who is holy above all else. His holiness is paramount, sin must be dealt with. God is the judge. That is why the people said, it is well said. Only God has the authority to judge. Only God has the authority to forgive. When Jesus forgave people, the people wondered, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? What man can forgive sin? Only Jesus can forgive sins. He has the power to do so. This is because Jesus is God. It is also because Jesus was the only perfect, sinless man to ever live. This is why we must come to Mount Carmel. We see what the entire Bible is pointing to, the sacrifice of God’s perfect son, the payment for the penalty of sin, the satisfying of righteous wrath of Almighty God. We come to the Mount, and we witness the sacrifice that Elijah made, a sacrifice that pictures the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The power is in his sacrifice. The anger of God against sin fell on Jesus Christ instead of us. This is what the fire from heaven consuming the sacrifice shows us. The Bible says Jesus poured out his life unto death. Jesus said, I thirst. Jesus bore our sins, he satisfied God’s wrath. And now we can live through him, because he arose. This is the power. This is the gospel. Romans says For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation unto everyone that believeth. Look and live, the Bible says. The people looked on. They were witnesses. Then they made a choice each individually. Who was their God? The Lord God or Baal? The people shouted, the Lord he is the God, the Lord he is the God!
We all must make a choice in our life. We make choices all the time. The most important choice we will ever make will be whether we receive Jesus or not as our personal Saviour. We must stop halting between two opinions. Acts says the times of ignorance are over, repent and believe the gospel.
It is important to note at this time that Elijah emptied barrels and barrels of precious water on the sacrifice. This was not only because he was eliminating any doubt that could be had over the legitimacy of God’s answer, but Elijah emptying the water barrels shows us that we have to empty ourselves of everything we feel is valuable. We must come humbly to God. We have nothing to bring,w e have nothing to offer, we need to put our faith in Jesus Christ as the sacrifice in our place. Water was precious in those days. Three and a half years of no rain, they had no water to spare. And yet Elijah liberally poured barrel after barrel on the sacrifice. Elijah pouring water on the sacrifices pictures the written Word bearing witness of Jesus, pointing to Jesus, anointing Jesus as the Son of God. It also shows us putting our faith in him. It shows us casting ourselves at his feet, casting ourselves upon him. We are precious to God, our lives are precious, our souls are precious, if we give ourselves to him, we will be saved, and we will have more abundant life.
The trench around the altar shows us separation. Noone else could do what Jesus did. He stands alone. He stood alone. He did the work alone.The Bible says all forsook him. He bore the sins alone. The Bible says that Jesus by himself purged our sins. As Jacob dreamt of the ladder helpless in sleep, so the people of Israel stood silently watching on. It was out of there hands. Mankind can do nothing to save himself. This is part of coming to our Mount Carmel. It is where we stop protesting. We empty ourselves. We cease our self justification. We stop. We look. We wonder. We ponder. We leave and receive the rain, or we reject and meet the same fate of the prophets of Baal.
After God answered by fire, the Bible says that Elijah went to the top of Mount Carmel. He prayed. This pictures Jesus praying for us, his prayers are always heard by the Father, his requests are granted by the Father, he pleased the Father. We can be blessed when we believe Jesus because blessings are in Jesus. When we are saved, Christ lives in us through his spirit. We are children of God, we have access to God. You can be saved and in fellowship with God today. The Bible says humble yourselves before God and he will raise you up. Now we can receive the rain. We can receive the dew of heaven. When we believe, when we trust, when we repent and turn in faith to God through Jesus, God’s wrath no longer abides on us, we enter into the blessings and fullness of life through his Son. The Bible says there was a great rain. There was an abundance of rain. This is what our lives can be. We do not need to have a big house, a fancy car, a perfect job to live a life that is full of days. We can be poor, we can be alone, but we can be the happiest, most blessed people in the world. This world is not our home anyway. We live in anticipation of the world to come, a new heaven and a new earth. We have an eternal view. We can commune with our Creator. You don’t need to go to a church, you don’t need to go to a priest, all you need is Jesus Christ, who is our High Priest, and you can enter into the very presence of God yourself. He will set you free from religion, from sin, from the darkness. He will break the drought in your life.
Go to your Mount Carmel. And you will. The fire of God does not need to consume you, let it consume the perfect sacrifice, and depart from Mount Carmel as the rain drops of blessing are falling, in gratefulness for a God that has provided the way of salvation for us. It is a free gift. Look and live, all ye ends of the earth, and be ye saved!