Connect: Prepare the Way (Part 2)

This morning, we’re going to continue our message series entitled ‘Connect’.  In it, we’re going to begin to learn who God really is and what He is like and how we can connect with Him.
So far, we were reminded that our God’s alive and that we are His witnesses.  We were challenged to be like King Josiah who turned to the Lord with all of His heart, soul, mind, and strength such as no king before nor after him ever had before.
We looked at different connectivity issues that we have with God and began to learn from the life of a man who set a great example in how to stay connected with God and especially how to prepare the way for God to move mightily in and through a life: Elijah.
This week, we’re continuing on in the life of Elijah to find how his simple obedience to the Lord has prepared him for one of the greatest miracles that he had ever witnessed.  We’ll see that, again, the Lord can use even one single individual whose heart is fully committed and obedient to Him to turn an entire nation back to Him.
Let’s turn in our Bibles and continue our look at Elijah’s journey.
1 Kings 18:1-39
1 After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” 2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.Now the famine was severe in Samaria, 3 and Ahab had summoned Obadiah, his palace administrator. (Obadiah was a devout believer in the Lord. 4 While Jezebel was killing off the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah had taken a hundred prophets and hidden them in two caves, fifty in each, and had supplied them with food and water.) 5 Ahab had said to Obadiah, “Go through the land to all the springs and valleys. Maybe we can find some grass to keep the horses and mules alive so we will not have to kill any of our animals.” 6 So they divided the land they were to cover, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.

7 As Obadiah was walking along, Elijah met him. Obadiah recognized him, bowed down to the ground, and said, “Is it really you, my lord Elijah?”

8 “Yes,” he replied. “Go tell your master, ‘Elijah is here.’”

9 “What have I done wrong,” asked Obadiah, “that you are handing your servant over to Ahab to be put to death? 10 As surely as the Lord your God lives, there is not a nation or kingdom where my master has not sent someone to look for you. And whenever a nation or kingdom claimed you were not there, he made them swear they could not find you. 11 But now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ 12 I don’t know where the Spirit of the Lord may carry you when I leave you. If I go and tell Ahab and he doesn’t find you, he will kill me. Yet I your servant have worshiped the Lord since my youth. 13 Haven’t you heard, my lord, what I did while Jezebel was killing the prophets of the Lord? I hid a hundred of the Lord’s prophets in two caves, fifty in each, and supplied them with food and water. 14 And now you tell me to go to my master and say, ‘Elijah is here.’ He will kill me!”

15 Elijah said, “As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, I will surely present myself to Ahab today.”

16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”

18 “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

But the people said nothing.

22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”

Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”

25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it.

Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs (24 lbs.) of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”

34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.

“Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”

Wow, what an awesome way for all to personally witness that the Lord alone is the one true God; that He truly is an all consuming fire!
I believe that this morning, the Lord is desiring to reveal Himself to us as well.  Many times throughout scripture, God chose to reveal Himself to us as a fire.
He’s an all consuming fire
the refiner’s fire
tongues of fire rested on those receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
John said that Jesus would baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire
Paul said that God will test the works done in our life with fire
a pillar of fire lead Israel through their wondering by night
Moses heard God speak through a bush that was on fire, but did not burn up
fire consumed Mount Sinai as the Lord descended on it and called up Moses to Him
Jeremiah said that God’s word was like a fire in his bones that he could not hold in
The list goes on and on…
However, I believe that He has a challenge for us this morning.
We’re hungry for the full revelation of God and for His fire to consume our lives and burn away our impurities.  We’re hungry for the supernatural miracles, signs, and wonders of the Lord.  We want more of Him in our lives and less of us.
However, are we willing to do the work to build up our lives as an altar for Him and to repair it when the enemy damages it?  Are we willing to make the sacrifices and to present to Him an offering?  Are we willing to prepare the way for Him to move in power?

Of course, we no longer offer up bulls, rams, and lambs to God as a sacrifice because Christ made the sacrifice once and for all in the new covenant that we have with Him.  However, we are now urged to offer something even greater as that sacrifice.

Romans 12:1

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Are we willing to do it?  God is ready and willing to do His part, but He chooses to work in cooperation with us.  Are we ready to be like Elijah?  Are we willing to make whatever sacrifice the Lord calls us to make out of simple obedience to Him?  Are we ready to prepare the way for the Lord in our lives; to allow Him to fill us up?
If you feel the Lord tugging at your heart this morning, make this closing song your commitment to Him.  Let it not only be the cry and plea of your mouth, but let it root deep down in your spirit and reveal itself through your actions.
The Lord will surely bless that commitment and pour forth His fire into our lives and reveal Himself to us that we can stand as witnesses that He is alive and that He alone is God!!!
* Jesus Culture – Fill Me Up *