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Teaching And Research By: M. E. Arbaugh
Last Update: Sunday, 10-Sep-2017 16:39:26 EDT
Teaching And Research By:
Facing Baal on the Mountain
1 Kings 18:25-28 " Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it. So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, "O Baal, hear us!" But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made. And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, "Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened." So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them."
As we study the life and times of Elijah, we need to keep in mind that all scripture has a literal application, that means that it has already happened or it will happen. We also need to keep in mind that all scripture also has a spiritual and a practical application. The word is alive and is a benefit to spirit, mind and body.
Well, what can we learn from that which we have just read? It's really an interesting story with just a little imagination, you could turn it into a National Geographic Special film of some far away land. But how does it apply to us?
Elijah said, if God be God, serve Him. Many years before, Joshua had said, "choose this day who you will serve. If you had been standing there on Mt. Carmel, considering your choice and all that was going on would you have wondered why Baal didn't answer?. Probably. After all Satan had many times in the past shown that he had power. When Aaron stretched forth the rod and the river turned to blood and the frogs multiplied, the servants of Pharaoh, the sorcerers and the wizards did the same. So why didn't Baal answer now? Elijah said, maybe you are not trying hard enough, why don't you redouble your efforts? So they cried louder and then cut themselves and still there was no answer. It appears that, they were forsaken by the one they served.
People who serve Satan, either by default or choice, are expendable. He doesn't care if they depend on him. Death and destruction are his aims. His attitude is that there are plenty more where they came from. Some one said, there is a sucker born every minute. I don't know who said that, but I know that they were quoting Satan.
Satan promises to endulge mankind in the lust of the flesh, but after they are hooked he is cruel to them and torments them. Contrast that to the good shepherd who leads us by the still waters, and lays down His life for us. Jesus shed His blood for us the god of this world drives us to distraction and then requires our blood.
JOHN 2 :10 explains the difference between serving God and Serving Satan. It says,
And he said to him, "Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!"
The headwaiter, talking to the Bridegroom says, everyone else serves his best wine first, and when people have drunk freely (that means intoxicated) then he serves THAT WHICH IS NOT SO GOOD. At the Beginning of service Satan promises much, he says, come be my priest, sit at the queens table, have the glamorous life.
But when they have drunk freely, the price is to be paid, and that which was not so good is served.
Satan says, have a drink, or a drag of marijuana just look how relaxed and witty you will be. This is the way to cope with your shyness, or your lack of social skills, or your problems. If one works, just think how much better two or three or more will work. Better do this everyday so your will always be on top of it. Satan doesnt start with something stronger. There is a progression from the pleasant to the not so pleasant.
At the age of thirteen, I started to smoke an occasional cigarette. I thought it looked cool and grownup. I saw the magazine ads with all those fancy people smoking, all my friends were doing it. I did not want to look different from my friends. It all looked very glamorous. The end result of that occasional cigarette never entered my mind. I didn't realize that when I was twenty-nine I would be smoking two packs a day, putting my heart and lungs in jeopardy and smelling like a stale ash tray.
Now be cool. I'm not picking on anyone. I do not believe that drinking or smoking and or a dip of snuff will keep you out of heaven. I am telling you, with love, that it may get you there sooner. I knew at age twenty-nine that smoking was bad for me. Never once did I say to anyone, "You really ought to try smoking."
A young man about to be recruited for the maffia doesn't get a mental picture of his body lying in a pool of blood in some ditch. Instead his mental picture is big cars, beautiful women, flashy clothes, and expensive restaurants. The prophets of Baal were no doubt the same, they tasted of Baal's best wine, at first. NOW, THAT WHICH WAS NOT SO GOOD WAS BEING SERVED.
But, we can keep drinking at the well of God it gets better and better.
1 KINGS 18:29-30 "And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention. Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come near to me." So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down"
Six hours of frenzied activity had passed, then Elijah said to the people, come near to me, gather round, I want you to see everything that is done. Elijah wanted the people to see the power of God clearly. The gospel of John tells us that, "He who does the truth comes to the light, so his deeds may be clearly seen, that they are done in God." John 3:21
And all the people came near him and he repaired the old altar. The place of worship at that time was Jerusalem. According to the Mosaic law, there was only one place of sacrifice, and that was where God had fixed His residence. Before the tabernacle, sacrifices were offered any place, this was an altar of a previous age. Elijah was calling them back to their beginnings. In Revelation it says that God has somewhat against those who have left their first love. Sometimes I meet Christians who ought to start over too. They are so dreary they've forgotten what it is like to be in love.
1 Kings18:31 "And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, "Israel shall be your name."
Elijah was walking by faith, not by sight, when he took twelve stones. He looked into the future and saw Israel as one with their eyes opened to the messiah. We are to look into the future and see the bride of Christ in all her purity rising to the marriage supper . Don't lose sight of the Universal bride of Christ just because she is torn into so many pieces now.
With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two measures of seed. 1 Kings 18:32
Elijah built in the name of the Lord. Col.3:17 says whatsoever you do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord. That scripture has a companion. Let everyone who names the name of the Lord, depart from iniquity. (2 Tim.2:19) Your words and your deeds are to match. People are prone to say, don't do as I do, just do as I say. BUT JESUS, SAID, DO AS I DO. I used to wonder how the apostle Paul could be so bold as to say, "follow me" now I know it was because he had lined his life up with the word. He thought the Word, spoke the Word, and he did the Word.
1 Kings 18:33-35 And Elijah put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, "Fill four water pots with water, and pour it on the sacrifice and on the wood." Then he said, "Do it a second time," and they did it a second time; and he said, "Do it a third time," and they did it a third time. So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.
Notice how calm and deliberate he is, doing everything according to the pattern laid out by God in His word to His people. Elijah is giving God his best, which is obedience to His word. Elijah, taking care of the little details.
How do you suppose Elijah knew what to do? This was a big event, everyone was there, all looking at him, and he is supposed to offer the sacrifice. Elijah wasn't from the tribe of Levi, he wasn't raised and taught to be a priest. He was just an ordinary guy who had read the scrolls, and believed them. God was able to raise this man up to lead a nation back to Himself, because this man had read and believed the Word of God. Somehow, I can not picture Elijah saying, "Well, it is time to do my part, I'd better get out the scrolls and read up on how to build an altar to God and offer a sacrifice. Ah! here it is in Exodus. 20." I just can't imagine that he waited until the crisis arose and then started to cram for the exam. I think he already knew what to do and that there was only one way for him to have known, he read the word and God spoke to him through it.
Well, Mary, I'm waiting for God to speak to me, then I'm going to build. That's good! Have you been thinking the Word, speaking the Word, and doing the Word?
No, I'm just waiting and when He speaks to me, I'm going to build the altar and lay the sacrifice on it, just right. But until He speaks, Im just waiting on the Lord. I've been waiting five years now to find out if God wants me to be a doer of the Word.."
What a bunch of garbage. Half of the Christians in the world are sitting on their duffs waiting for a loud voice and thunder and lighting to move them.
God has already spoken to you , repeat after me, "My bible is God's written instructions to me." Unless you heed what He has already spoken, you're not going to hear anymore.
You want to hear how to build an altar and lay a sacrifice on it?
Listen to what the Lord says in Chapter 12 of Romans.
Verse 1 Present your bodies a living sacrifice, not crucified
You say you want to hear from God about what to do, read Romans chapters 12 through15 study it and put it into practice. That should keep you busy for quite a while.
Elijah knew what to do because he made it his business to know. 2 Tim 2:15 says we are to do the same. Study to show thyself approved, a workman or woman who needs not to be ashamed , able to rightly divide the truth.
What do we learn from this portion of Elijahs life? Be prepared for the challenges of life. Read the Word, think the word and speak the word, before the challenge arrives.
Next: Lesson Seven