Monday, July 15, 2019

Fire and Rain

Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God." 
1 Kings 18:38-39

Israel was going through a drought, spiritually and physically.  The people had turned their back on God and were worshipping false Gods.  Their worship of idols had brought on this drought in their land.  They had turned from God and followed King Ahab in worshipping Baal.  As a result, God had Elijah declare there would be a drought. Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe] in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” 1 Kings 17:1
The things the Israelites were chasing would never satisfy them and God had to get their attention to make sure they knew it.  In a season of drought, it’s easy to turn to anything and anyone to satisfy the thirst inside our heart and soul.  But the only thing that will satisfy the drought is the living water of Jesus Christ.  The Israelites needed to learn this, and God showed up in a BIG way to help them understand. 
To make a long and very dramatic story short, there was a showdown between the One True God and the false God, Baal, on the mountain that day.  If you aren’t familiar with the story you should definitely take time to read it!  The whole thing can be found in 1 Kings 18:16-46.  There were 850 prophets of the false gods, and one prophet of the One True God – Elijah. They decided on a challenge between the gods.  They built altars on the top of Mt. Carmel, and Elijah said you call on your god and I will call on mine.  The one who answers with fire is the One True God.  The false prophets called, yelled, screamed, shouted, to no avail.  Elijah soaked his altar with water, soaked the stones, the wood, and dug a trench around it and filled it with water.  When he called on God, he answered with fire and consumed every stick, stone, and drop of water on the and around the altar. God showed up in a big way with a big fire.  And then God sent rain into the parched land.
We all want God’s fire to fall on our lives, but what we don’t understand is that for God’s fire to fall, there has to be a sacrifice.  It’s not enough to just build the altar, we have to put it all down on the altar.  God will not come and take it out of our hands or out of our pocket.  We have to give it willingly.  He will send His holy fire and burn it up along with all the trappings – the stones, the dust, the water drenched wood, and the trench filled with water.  He takes all we will give Him.  And then He brings the cleansing rain that soothes the parched.  
Once we step out in faith, we see that God is real and reliable, and the idols are fake and undependable.  They will not bring anything but heartache.  How many idols have you turned to in a spiritual drought?  Or how many idols in your life have brought on a spiritual drought?  What are you holding onto that you can’t lay down?  If you can’t let it go, you aren’t desperate enough for the fire and rain. He is ready.  He will send it the minute we make the sacrifice, the minute we lay it at His feet.  Turn it loose because fire and rain are on the horizon, waiting to bring you new life.

Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.  1 Kings 18:37

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