In Part One we saw that the hand of God is ready to move in revival, and when He moves, no force of evil can stop Him. But several categories of people can stand in the way and attempt to thwart His purposes. There are
The corrupters, like Ahab and Jezebel.
The compromisers, like Ahab’s steward, Obadiah, who was a follower of God, but had so fully compromised with the world, he was of no use to God.
And the confused, evident in America today, those who don’t understand the situation. They haven’t got a clue.
To recap, I’m not talking about Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. I’m talking about revival, where God is revered in our nation again. A revival that news anchors can’t explain, not anyone’s program, propaganda, preaching, or paraphernalia. A revival where the fire of God falls—fire that consumes, convicts, and converts.
We’ve got some problems in Washington. I don’t know how it’s going to end. But as we saw in Part 1, prophets of God like Elijah, who confronted the king to his face, are always looked upon as troublemakers. Ahab said, “Are you he that troubleth Israel?”
Elijah could rightly say, “No, Ahab, you are the one troubling Israel.”
When prophets of God speak, when pastors in the pulpit address the sin of a nation, there are always those like Ahab who will say, “I wish that guy would shut up. He’s a troublemaker.” It was that way millennia ago, and it’s that way today.
Whether those who speak out and speak up for God are praised or ridiculed, we must do it.
In response to Israel’s wickedness—and it was Israel’s, not just Ahab’s, for God give us the leaders we deserve—God closed the heavens. For three years not a drop of rain fell from the sky. Severe drought stalked the land. Often the citizens suffer when a wicked leader is in charge.
When God’s prophet Elijah called for a contest, things came to a head:
“Now, therefore, send, and gather unto me all Israel unto Mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal, four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves, four hundred, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto Mount Carmel.” 1 Kings 18:19-20
There’s a summit meeting at Mount Carmel. Notice what Elijah says to this great throng of people, clearly the confused, who’ve come to watch the spectacle.
“And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him.” v. 21
That is, how long are you going to straddle both sides of the fence? Now notice this: “And the people answered him not a word.” v. 21
These people were just on the fence. They didn’t have enough grace to serve God nor enough courage to serve the devil.
Now you ask,
“Why are the polls like they are today? Why is there so much ambivalence? Why do we have a generation that doesn’t even seem to have a clue as to what is going on?”
I’ll tell you why. Go back to the Obadiahs—the compromisers. People have not seen enough in the church of the living God to convince them one way or the other. They’re in the stands; we’re on the playing field, and they haven’t seen very much in us.
The world doesn’t need a new definition of the gospel; it needs a new demonstration of the gospel. The Church today has lost it power. Jesus said we’re like salt without savor, without its bite. In Bible times, if left outside in the elements, the flavor, the zest of salt would leach out of it, and it would be just a nauseous mess on the ground. Salt without savor, the Bible says, is worthless.
What could you do with salt like that? You couldn’t put it in the well or in the river; it would poison the streams. You couldn’t put it in the fields; it would kill the crops. Only one thing to do with that kind of salt: put it on the roadways where it would cake and harden and become like soil cement. It was good for nothing but to be “cast out and trodden under foot of men.”
Do you know why the church is being walked on today, so denigrated, hated and despised? Because we are salt without savor. We have lost our bite, our sting.
Salt stings, salt irritates, but salt heals and salt purifies. But we are a generation of salt-less saints. No wonder the crowd is so confused.
On the Day of Pentecost, there was another great crowd. The power of God came in such a way that the people were amazed. When they saw this, they asked, “What does this mean?” Then, “What must we do?”
We’ve been trying to get people to ask the second question before they ask the first. What have they seen about us that they can’t explain? What do they know about you that’s different from anyone else on your block? What can they see about you in the office, in the school, that they cannot explain? When they start looking at our lives and seeing the power of God, and start asking, “What does this mean?” maybe before long they’ll be asking, “What must we do?”
We have a generation today that doesn’t have a clue. They’re sitting on the fence and the prophet of God says, “…How long halt ye between two opinions? I believe there are multiplied thousands—yes, millions that will come to Christ if the church of God will awaken.
There’s a fourth category of person: competitors to the gospel of our Lord and His kingdom. Elijah had the priests of Baal (v. 22-29). There were plenty of them. Elijah was in a minority. God’s people in this day were in the minority.
I didn’t realize until recently what a minority we are in America. Humanism, demonism, witchcraft, and sheer unbelief surround us. But in spite of all of these, they cannot hold back revival because the Bible says, concerning the priests of Baal, the humanists, the atheists, the cultists, “Greater is He that is in us than the spirits of Satan in the world”(1 John 4:4).
Some today don’t want Americans to be able to pray in public meetings or in schools. They have such silly arguments: they say they believe in pluralism, but they just want believers to shut up. I’m not afraid of pluralism. Elijah wasn’t afraid to let the priests of Baal pray. He said, “Let them pray. And let us pray. We’ll see who’s God. The God that answers by fire, let him be God.”
The great danger in America is not that the people of Baal pray but that the people of God don’t.
What is the hope of America? It is the blood of Jesus. The power of Christ on that cross that has absolutely decimated the kingdom of Satan. The blood is the basis of our warfare. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb… (Revelation12:11).
Look at Elijah’s prayer, only sixty-three words.
“…Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that Thou art God in Israel, and that I am Thy servant, and that I have done all these things at Thy word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that Thou art the Lord God, and that Thou hast turned their heart back again.”
This prayer was precise. He knew what he was asking. So much of our praying is meaningless generalities.
This prayer was powerful because the basis was a bloody sacrifice. The Bible teaches us in Hebrews 10:19 to pray on the basis of the blood.
“Having, therefore, brethren boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.”
This prayer was purposeful. Elijah says, “…that this people may know that Thou art the Lord God.”
Do you know what Elijah’s zeal was for? The glory of God. Do you want your prayers answered? Then let your zeal be for the glory of God. That’s what it means to pray in Jesus’ name. It means for His glory.
When He prayed, Jesus prayed this way. “Father, glorify Thy name…” John 12:28.
Our problem is, we’re trying to have revival for America’s sake, for our family’s sake, for our children’s sake, our grandchildren’s sake, for our reputation, for our church, for our denomination. We need to get more concerned for the glory of God.
Our God is a consuming fire. The fire, ultimately, will fall, and if the fire doesn’t fall on the sacrifice, it will fall on us, but the fire will fall. Either that fire will fall on the sacrifice, the Lord Jesus, on our behalf and on America’s behalf, or it will fall on us. We’re going to face fire, whether it be judgment fire or the fire of cleansing.
In America today we need a supernatural demonstration of the power of God, fire from heaven that consumes, convicts, then converts. When revival comes, multiplied millions can be swept into the kingdom of God.
Will you pray toward that end?
Father God, I pray with a broken heart for this nation. Lord, I pray that by whatever means, You will awaken this nation. O God, we live in a nation that seems to be dead to Your Word, blind to danger, a nation with a hard heart, lustful thoughts, and eyes filled with greed, where we mercilessly slaughter babies in the mother’s womb, where we cannot mention God in the public schools, but dispense birth control devices, and give sexual advice without a moral basis.
Lord, we take our tax money and pay to have our children taught that they are an accident, created by chance, rather than by Your beneficent hand. O God, like Ezra of old, we blush to lift our face to You. And we know that we are ready to be judged.
Father, we pray that You would forgive our pride, our arrogance, our sinfulness, and that revival might begin in my heart, in my family, in my church, in my city.
Lord God, one more time, let the fire fall. For I pray in the name of Jesus and for Your glory. Amen.