The Days of Elijah season
We have been confronted as ministries with many many economic crises accross the globe. I not want to dwell on the whys of it, rather the solutions to survive through it. Here in Portugal it has hit hard, over 35,000 companies gone bust, over 11% of the workforce out of work, houses being given back to banks, with the national bank blacklisting no end of families from ever borrowing from any bank again.
The crisis has hit so hard that the middle class does no longer exist. It has almost mirrored the situation in Brazil. You’re either poor or rich. Major banks have fraudently run off with deposits, hiding in fiscal paradises. The situation is so serious that as a domino effect, there is no tithes coming into the local church. Ministers are abandoning the vocational call for working in the normal marketplace, sometimes working 12-15 hours a day just to make ends meet. Then their churches lack care. It seems to me that the whole scenario needs a reappraisal. But the Lord is looking at this differently.
1.The season of famine is a season of direct divine provision
The current famine, is a financial one. The Lord is permitting it, to tear down the idols in the people. The major idol in the hearts is materialism. It is the pursuit of things which consumes the people’s minds.
In 1 Kings 17 we meet Elijah, saying to Ahab that the heavens were to be shut until the Lord saw fit. I believe the heavens are closed. Are closed to the majority but to the few, He reserves and preserves them. The just do not pass through the deprivation and poverty as most. God has ways to separate His People. Elijah spoke out his prophetic word, from the Lord, and was immediately taken to the brook Cherith. I have on previous occasions whilst in the UK in the beginning of my time in ministry, preached on this very passage. But the Lord took Elijah to be shown direct DIVINE PROVISION through nature. The Lord provided water through the Brook, and meat through ravens.
Whilst the very nature dried up and died, so Elijah received day and night, the divine provision.
How many times the very nature provides for His own in these famine times!
2. When nature dries up we have to instill faith in those outside the fold.
We see a surprising thing. We see Elijah at least 1 year by the Brook, then taken outside Israel altogether. God tells him that “He has commanded a widow to feed him. “ The widow was to exercise more faith than all of Israel combined. But when he finds her, in Zarephath, he sees a widow gathering the last sticks, for a last meal. The prophet asks her for food and drink. She replies that this was her last meal, and the prophet gives her the Word of the Lord. She believes and for a whole two years, the same barrel of meal, and cruse of oil, never ran dry.
I believe there is a time God will call others “outside” the recognized structures. Those outside may exercise in these times more faith, than those who are what you call, “right in the centre of affairs.”
I can think of a concrete example of this when “Cross and the Switchblade” was written. David Wilkerson published the book through a Jewish publisher, who wanted the chapters on the Holy Spirit Baptism publicized. It was those chapters which gave success to the project of Teen Challenge. And the longevity of that ministry was the dependence on the Holy Spirit. If it were a Christian publisher of that time, would certainly not have included those chapters for fear of being ostracized or their own spiritual prejudice. God used a Jewish man to use his own openness to open a spiritual dimension which would spring forth a charismatic renewal all over the churches.
How much more in our day.
Some call this “marketplace” ministry, that is somehow, through the work of favour of the Lord, the world serves the church in crisis time with resources it does not have, and dares to believe in a faith, it never had done before, to provide a platform of temporary provision for the famine time. The transference of faith, brings material and spiritual salvation to the world. So this “marketplace” has a purpose.
I suppose we see on a smaller scale here, what happened with Joseph. He was lifted up to implement the wisdom gained with a dream, and its interpretation. We see how God used a pharaoh to understand God’s purpose, being outside the covenant, yet being used to provide into it.
3.The Day for Fire has come
But there comes a day when the fire must fall. We often reflect on the need, being rain, but it is not, it is not the need…the need is for fire! Many say the need is for refreshing, for provision, but it is not, there needs to be a fire first. The fire comes as a result of invocation of the original covenant. Elijah restores the broken altar, and makes a challenge.
What is the challenge today?
The challenge is, that all of our social programmes, all of our prayer days, all of our fasts, and our concentrated activities have yet to produce any fire. Many are drawing their own blood in their ministry. The blood of themselves, the hours and hours trying to make it work, and also the blood of their wives and families shed TRYING TO PRODUCE FIRE! But it does not come. From dawn to almost dusk crying, shedding blood, their own.
But look, the altar of the Lord, has sacrifice. But it is that of the substitute. Jesus is our substitute.
Crying out from morning till night, and nothing. Who were they crying to? Baal. This means “Lord.” But it is not the Lord. It is a false Lord they set up.
How much more today. We have set up a false Lord.
Praise God we learn later in chapter 19&20 that 7000 did not bow down to Jezebel for a plate of food at the king’s table.
Contrast this with Elijah and the altar. He prays one pray, and then came down the fire, ate up the water, and all that the altar possessed. Simply invoked the covenant, simply understood the need for fire.
After the fire, the people understood WHO THE REAL LORD WAS. Then Elijah commanded the king to run because the provision of rain was coming. The requirement was now fulfilled, the famine was over.
4. The Day of Rain
I believe we have come to this place now. The Lord wants us to invoke the true covenant. So that the fire may come and SATISFY the requirement.
Then the rains will come.
So it is, when the Lord will give us the timing, which I believe is now, for the altar to be raised. Then time for the covenant, and then the fire, then the rain.
We must also see that the water which was filled in the trench is an offering in itself. If we are believing for a financial breakthrough, we must also see that there has to be a DIVINE OFFERING MADE TO THE LORD. If it is a FINANCIAL BREAKTHROUGH sought for THEN IT MUST BE FILLED WITH FINANCIAL OFFERING. This offering is licked up by the fire of God and rained BACK DOWN in the breakthrough.
This offering can only be directed to WHOM THE LORD INDICATES.
The rain is HEARD OF IN THE SPIRIT. Elijah says to the king that he had heard the rain, when there was NOT ONE SIGN OF A CLOUD. But in the spirit dimension THE FAMINE WAS NOW OVER.
We must parallel this with Hannah, when she had cried out to the Lord in her barrenness she had HER COUNTENANCE CHANGED, knowing that her cry was attended. She gave birth in the appointed time.
WHAT IS CONCEIVED PROPHETICALLY, IS ALSO BIRTHED PROPHETICALLY.
So there comes a time when we KNOW that OUR FAMINE, OUR BARRENNESS IS OVER. Isaiah 54 tells us to sing of children even still in the barren season, because SPIRITUALLY IT IS OVER, even without a sign of rain, sign of finances, sign of ministry open doors, sign of revival. We must sing of it, write new songs.
The Lord says to us today, there is a need for FIRE, and there is a WAY FOR FIRE. Do not seek just breakthrough, nor health, nor finances, seek FIRE. Seek that which SATISFIES the covenant. He HAS BEEN ON THE ALTAR ONCE AND FOR ALL, and His Name is Jesus!!! He has SATISFIED AN ETERNAL PRICE. Then the invocation will BRING FIRE.
What is that fire today? It is a HOLY GHOST REVIVAL. I believe it with all my heart, and my soul. It is not to kill the enemies of God, but to reconcile them to Himself.
This is where we are today…look away from your need…and see God’s need to RAIN DOWN HIS FIRE BEFORE FIRING DOWN HIS RAIN!!!