Monday, February 22, 2016

Burning Stones in Drought-filled Times of Life

Burning Stones in Drought-filled Times of Life
by Donna L. Watkins

Remember the story in I Kings 18 about Elijah asking the children of Israel to choose between Baal and the Lord? He told them to take a bullock for sacrifice and place it on the wood with no fire under it. The idea was that Elijah would call upon his God and they upon their gods. He gives Baal a chance first and has quite a bit of mockery as they get nowhere and are even cutting themselves for blood to gush out.

Elijah builds an altar of stone and puts a trench around it, places wood and the sacrifice on it and then tells them to fill 4 barrels of water 3 times and to pour over it and fill the trench. One resource says the trench was 3 feet wide. They were in a severe drought of 3-1/2 years, one that Elijah had prayed down according to James 5:17. This says that people had super high respect for Elijah not to question him or disobey.

By evening those who worshipped Baal had no success in their god accepting their sacrifice by bringing fire to it. So at the evening sacrifice Elijah prayed and verse 38-39 says, "Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God. "

Notice it says the fire consumed the stones and the dirt and licked up the water in the trench. Stones and dirt! I didn't know stones could burn, but did a bit of research and found that they can at extremely high temperatures with different types of stone being less than others. It must've left a crater there. I find it incredible how God went above and beyond what Elijah asked for, which was to bring fire to burn the sacrifice. Isn't our God an extravagant God!? Awesome. Can you imagine seeing this happen?!

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After the event Elijah told Ahab to go eat and drink for he heard an abundance of rain coming. Elijah went to the top of Mount Carmel to worship and pray. He instructed his servant to go up and look to the sea but there was nothing.

Elijah had him do this 7 times. He had the faith it was going to happen and he was looking for proof of it. On the 7th trip the servant said there was a cloud the size of a small hand. Not much on a horizon view of the sea, but a small cloud is all he needed to know it was coming down. And it came to pass that there was a great rain. Confident expectation of his prayer becoming his reality. That's real hope!

There's hope for your drought also. Our problem is we look for a sign before we believe. We have to be so filled with God's unconditional and extravagant love for us that we know He will do this for us.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

He desires to do over and above all that we ask or think. But do you notice how He does this? It says according to the power that is at work in us. We have the power that God gives to those who believe. The same power that God used to raise Christ from the dead.

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms ... " (Ephesians 1:18-20)

Grab your Bible, you Hebrew/Greek concordance, and sit back and ponder this. We have the power to bring things to pass if we can only truly believe it's within us.

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