“But he went a day’s journey into the wilderness and coming and sitting down under a juniper tree, requesting that he might die, saying, It is enough now Yehovah take my life; for I am no better than my father”
The servant of the Most High God had been through a number of amazing experiences of open manifestations of the power of God and he concluded that it was too much for him to endure. The Lord had given His word to this chosen vessel who, as the mouth of God, spoke truth before the wicked King. He then spent three years in confinement being equipped with all things necessary to accomplish that which was set before him. He withstood Ahab a second time and ordered him to assemble the people of Israel and the prophets of the false god they worshipped and at the end of the last act of this tragic comedy, wherein the prophets performed beautifully before the people proving that Baal did not even exist, the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering.
The precise timing of the purpose of God had ordained that the follies of these religious antics should be concluded at the appointed hour; a time in which the frenzy and swooning of religious fervor from the lack of blood in their bodies had brought these prophets of Baal to utter exhaustion. These actions ran their course up to the time of the evening sacrifice as prescribed in the Law of Moses, which coincided with the coming of the new day. The time set of God in the beginning was that the evening and the morning constituted a day and the sacrifice of tribute to Yehovah God which was to be offered in the evening. The morning sacrifice was the burnt offering that ascended upward with the sweet savour in the smoke and the evening was the bloodless offering of tribute before God yet because of the sin of the people, which demanded a sin offering precede the tribute, the bullock was slain and placed upon the altar of twelve stones.
Three years of drought had paralyzed the area to the point where affairs of the state were redirected to desperate endeavours for survival. Ahab had sent out the scout parties to find any place where there was water and provender that their animals should not die for the famine was sore upon the land. Elijah commands the people to pour four barrels of water over the sacrifice three times, one barrel for each of the tribes of Israel. Miraculously they not only found the water, no doubt in storage for the streams had dried up, but then, being made incapable of refusing his directive, they seemingly wasted this precious commodity by soaking a dead animal lying on a pile of rocks waiting to be burnt with fire. Notice that the ground was prevented from drinking in the water! Certainly ground that was three years dry was rock hard and extremely thirsty, yet Elijah was able to dig a trench about the altar of sufficient size and depth to hold the volume of water of twelve barrels of water; not one drop lost, evaporated by the evening sun or absorbed by the parched ground.
This tribute to the power of Almighty God was not only manifested for all to see by the fire of Yehovah falling from heaven and consuming the sacrifice but He also licked up the water that was in the trench. The Spirit of God then moved the people to fall upon their faces and cry, “Yehovah He is the God” and gave each an ear to listen and obey the word of Elijah. The people then corralled the prophets of Baal and delivered them unto that which used to be a twisted and torturous river but was now simply the brook of Kishon, about ten miles away, in the vicinity of the ‘place of the crowds’ (Megiddon).
Here the power of God lifted the hand of His servant and caused him to slew these prophets without tiring in demonstration of the judgment of God against the ungodliness of men. Not one of these men were able to escape as each stood awaiting his turn to be acquainted with Elijah’s sword, neither could Ahab summon his army to prevent him and when he was finished, Elijah came again to Ahab and told him, “Get up, eat and drink for the abundant sound of rain”. The time of Ahab’s death had not yet come and the evil he was appointed unto had not yet been fulfilled and so Elijah dismisses him from the scene and orders him away unharmed, for the hand of the people could not be raised against him, for Yehovah God had not yet finished shewing forth His great power and proclaiming His name.
“And it came to pass at the offering of the sacrifice that Elijah the prophet came near and said, Yehovah God of Abraham, Isaac and of Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant and have done all these things at Your Word” (18:36)strong>
This son of Adam had been ordained of old to speak the precious word of God to the wicked person known in Israel. He was made willing to speak by the Spirit of God who suppressed his fears and anxiety and caused him to announce the coming of this drought. The word was that this calamity would not cease but “according to my words”; and thus the three year drought and famine had not endeared this man to the nation of his people. The King had accused him of being the person who had single handedly disrupted the entire nation and the cause of whatever trauma had befallen the people and now Elijah, by the commandment of God, was calling for an assembly of the hatred of a vindictive people who hoped that this event would cause him to speak according to his words and end the heart-ache.
As the time approached and the fiasco of the prophets of Baal was ended, Elijah petitions Yehovah for proof that he is the God of all things but he also seeks redress upon the suspicions and bitter hatred of the people. The request is rather redundant for if indeed Yehovah God is the great King over all His creation than the hearts, minds and actions of the people were completely under His command. There would be no reason to vindicate the chosen vessel for no man could lay a hand upon him but by the eternal decree of God and if it be thus decreed that the people should turn upon Elijah, no amount of somber petitions before the throne of grace could alter His purpose which He purposed in Himself before the world began.
The fear of the man for his life is not removed because the vessel was afore prepared to receive the incorruptible seed; neither is the passion swayed or the confusion simplified when the Father reveals Himself dwelling in His people. The burning bush did not clear Moses of his anxieties, the parting of the Sea did not change the Adamic nature of the children as they departed from Egypt, and the feeding of the thousands upon the hillside did not convert one son of the dust into a citizen of the heavenly Kingdom; Elijah was not immune of these weaknesses.
The power of God came over this man and empowered him with the strength of Samson as he slew the prophets by the brook and in the power of His might, Elijah confronted Ahab, telling him that the drought was to end. Was he then upon the mountain with his eyes towards the sea and his hands stretched out before God naming and claiming the promise which he had received? No! Elijah was directed to the garden land of the most fruitful hill (Carmel) which at this time was a barren wasteland where he casts himself down upon the earth and places his face between his knees. No doubt the rush of the power of the Spirit over his natural abilities had ended and the body was weak and tired but this man assumed the posture of a defeated and frightened individual. He did not demand the rain for he had no power over the forces of nature; instead he sent his servant to go and look to see if the word of God was coming to pass.
The natural body is a wonderfully made device. It is capable of the most incredible feats of strength and agility when the will of God has demanded of it to be so but it is also completely incapable of the simplest of needs; to believe. The testimony of the scripture is that whatsoever the Lord has demanded as needful for the facilitating of His will is performed in and through His creatures who are the servants of His will. None may resist His power or withstand His decree for He turns the heart of the King like the rivers of waters and puts it in the heart of the people to fulfill His will but there shall never be a note of praise to the tools which the Master uses in the manifestation of His finished work.
The servant goes out and looks towards the sea and there is no change in the situation; what a confidence builder for Elijah! Yet he commands that the servant return seven times and on the seventh time there is a cloud arising out of the sea, like a man’s hand. The heavens soon darkened and the rain began in earnest and the Spirit of Yehovah again takes hold of His messenger to deliver another word to Ahab, who was riding to Jezreel. Before the word of Elijah put the scourge upon the land, this place was known as the place where ‘God sows’ because of the many water-ways and lush country-side, and now that the rain was to come, Ahab’s heart was set to go to that location to reap the benefits; “And the hand of Yehovah was on Elijah and he girded up his loins and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel” (18:46).
How far he had to run and how fast he ran are immaterial to the fact that Ahab was riding upon a chariot with beast making haste to escape the coming rain but Elijah outran him to his destination. The power of God ‘girded his loins’ (strengthened the man) causing the natural body of Adam to perform in a manner which far exceeded the expectations of the doer and baffles the mind of the inquisitor for the ways of God are beyond comprehension to the limited mind of man.
Is this an Old Testament Story? Or is this a witness to the God who does not change being the same yesterday, today and forever? Does He work in His children the same as He did in the life of this chosen prophet of old or is the hand of the Lord shortened in these days? Did Elijah expect or request these tremendous physical accomplishments? Had he trained for many years keeping his body in shape and his mind sharp for the time when God would call upon him to do these wondrous things? Or does Yehovah God work in His people both to will and to do His good pleasure? “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God has afore ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10)
“Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, So let the gods do and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time” (19:2)
Ahab rehearsed in the ears of his wife all the events of the day which infuriated the ‘bride of Baal’. Of course the center of attention was on the man who agitated all Israel and Jezebel’s anger swore revenge of the honour of her god. The events had proven that Baal not only is not a god but does not even exist but the persuasions of man stood strong even in light of the evidence. And how had she come to these immovable convictions? Is it not the work of God that His people believe on He whom the Father sent? How then is it that one does not believe?
Jesus used plain speech when He taught about the Kingdom of God and He performed many wondrous things. People came from miles around to hear Him speak and to see the miracles which He did but only those unto whom it was given to believe understood that this was Messiah. The rest had their eyes blinded to prevent them from seeing, their hearts made fat the truth and their ears dull of hearing “lest at any time they should see with eyes, hear with ears and should understand with heart and should be converted and I should heal them” (Matt. 13:15, Is. 6:9).
Jezebel, like her father Esau, had such an hatred for the man of God that she sought to kill him and though God had been manifested mightily in Elijah’s life still, when he perceived these tidings he ran scared into the wilderness. This action is consistent with the natural man for did not Jacob leave his mother’s house when he heard that Esau desired to kill him? Did not David flee from Saul even though Samuel had anointed him King over Israel? And so Elijah fled from Jezebel unto Beer-sheba in Judah hoping to escape her wrath.
This was no small journey as Elijah had many days to live in fear of Jezebel. The trip from Jezreel unto Beer-sheba was great and during that time there is no indication of any communication between Elijah and God. Thus the fear that he experienced became deeply embedded in his memory and slowly turned to a depression unto despair. He leaves his servant, who was given a mind to travel this distance with him, and ventures on a day’s journey into the wilderness that God had prepared for him.
This was the place where Elijah thought to die and his petition before God was to that effect. He had been shown by the grace of God that he was no different from any other son of the dust and that his life was no better than theirs. He had seen the glory of God and heard the voice of God speaking to him yet he could not overcome the Canaanite within who was intrinsically joined unto the dust of the earth. The light of the glory of God made open declaration of the weakness of the flesh and the unprofitability of the works of Adam which made the servant of God groan within at the vanity without.
God had not brought Elijah to any corner of the world for him to suffer in solitude and wallow in self-pity. He brought His servant unto the pasture where He was to communicate with His child. Here, in spite of the great drought, stood a tree which the hand of God had kept unto this moment, and here Elijah came to sit, sleep and be refreshed for the final leg of the race he was given to run. The juniper tree, a twisted plant with low branches, provided him with shade from the sun and cover from the rain that was now falling but like the river, the raven and the widow, it had been prepared and preserved of God as a necessary element in the life of His servant to provide him with those things needful in his life.
This was the place where the Messenger of Yehovah came to the servant of God and refreshed him. God caused the natural body to rest as Elijah fell asleep under this tree and while he slept the Messenger gathered the wood, for the fire and baked the cakes that he should eat. When the time had come, He awakened the child of grace and fed him, again, with bread and water and caused him to lie down and sleep again. This bread and water, normally considered the diet of a condemned prisoner, was sufficient in the Lord to sustain Elijah for forty days until he came to Mt. Horeb to meet God and endure yet another lesson from the Master. This was the mountain in the ‘desert’ where God met with Moses and where He gave His Law to His people; the place where the people rose up to play before the golden calf and where God gave His covenant to Israel. Now it was the place where Elijah would learn of the power and mercy of God and the corruption of man.
“And he said, I have been very jealous for Yehovah God of Hosts because the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down Your altars and slain Your prophets with the sword, I alone am left and they seek my life to take it away” (19:14)
The wilderness of God, prepared for His people, appears to the natural eye as a waste and desolate area wherein dwells no good thing. The eyes of man look upon this area and conclude that there is nothing of profit within thus they leave it unharmed and undisturbed. But this wilderness and solitary place is a place of rest and tranquility for the children of the kingdom. It is isolated from the confusion of the world and properly outfitted specifically for every man in his order. Elijah saw the mighty conduct of the earth and the forces of nature as they roared and quaked but he did not find Yehovah God in them. His eyes were impressed by the strong wind as it rent the rocks and his body moved by the earthquake but even the fire of God did not reveal the beautiful manner in which God rules and commands His creation; a still small voice.
God has incorporated the magnificent and the spectacular into the fabric of the revelation of His work but He needs nothing more than the power of His Word, by whom he created all things, to rule and command over all. As he has intended in His heart and purposed in Himself so He has spoken and thus all comes to pass by the power of His will. The path He assigned unto Elijah was near conclusion and His servant had but a few minor labours yet to complete but none of these labours included converting people or winning souls unto Him. There remained yet seven thousand of His Beloved children who did not follow after the stranger’s voice nor stray from the love of the Beloved. Is this to insinuate that there were some that did stray and leave their first love? These things do not exist for the sheep hear only the voice of the Shepherd and the voice of another they will not follow. Those whom the Father loves, the same has He predestinated to be partakers of flesh and blood and endure the contradiction of sin against themselves but He has preserved them all and protected them in the Beloved, sealing them with the precious blood of the perfect sacrifice from the Lamb of God, slain from the beginning.
The more God reveals Himself to His little children the more the man of sin and his works are made manifest before the light of His glory. Abominations after abominations are discovered as the Spirit opens the eyes of the children to see the wretchedness and uncleanness of the creature. He shows that every son of Adam is a liar who cannot be trusted along with the worthlessness of this existence. These lessons give the understanding of what God has delivered His people from and the inherent and inseparable attachment of the natural man to the things of this world, thus Elijah the man is weak and corrupt but Elijah the son of God is strengthened in the power of God.
“And when the messengers of John were departed, He began to speak unto the people concerning John; What went you out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went you out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold they which are gorgeously appareled and live deliciously are in the king’s court. But what went you out for to see? A prophet? Truly I say unto you and much more than a prophet” (Luke 7:24ff)
The people of Israel were as are all men, still seeking a man. The eyes of the flesh desires to see the spectacular and to witness the things of nature but the man of God, the servant sent forth to speak His word and do His will is not who they want. The eyes of Adam saw the works which Messiah did and cast them aside as useless. They followed after Him not for truth but because their bellies were filled and man has not changed since the beginning.
Many religious people today seek after the wind and the quakes as proof that God is among them and the eyes of man are attracted to these things but the Spirit of Elijah is not the man Elijah and as they rejected John, who came in the Spirit of Elijah saying, “Prepared the way of Yehovah” so even now the natural man desires to see and experience something that will tantalize the senses and feed the curiosity of the carnal way. Jesus said, however, “if an man shall say to you, Lo here is Christ or lo there, do not believe him, for many false christs and false prophets shall arise and shall shew many signs and wonders to seduce, if possible, even the elect. But take heed behold I have told you all things” (Mk.13:21).
God still speaks to His people in a personally intimate manner and His Beloved is comforted even though for a time she is made subject to the vanity of this world by reason of the hope that she will be delivered from the body of this death when the race is run and the labors are ended. The contradiction of sin shall continue until the actions and antics of the body of this death are all manifested and the sin for which the blood was shed have all been made evident for “The Lord God Omnipotent reigns”.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
August 19, 2018