(I didn’t really intend to go on this one, but wrote the likeness of this in a conversation with a brother and it sort of fits as a transitional theme, along with its precursor, and the line of thought I am transitioning to.)
Well… let’s consider it a moment (I’ve actually got a post on Elijah at Carmel I may share soon, as it may be prophetically timely… regarding the spirit and power of Elijah); the kings of Israel were so wicked that the entire priesthood had actually fled Israel for Judah well before Ahab had become king. The bible declares that Ahab did more wickedness than all the kings of Israel who had come before him (1 Kings 16:33).
There were no longer any priests of God, and Ahab and Jezebel had systematically hunted down any remaining prophets of God and executed them. Obadiah (underground church) had been able to save just a few, and knew if he was found out he would be killed.
In this setting God sends Elijah to rebuke the king of Israel, and declare a famine in the land. Ahab has already killed thousands of priests and prophets, and now Elijah becomes the nation’s most wanted. Ahab begins to interrogate EVERYONE (which, while not directly stated, probably means torture for anyone suspected of knowing where Elijah went) to the degree that he forces the neighboring kings to swear covenential oath on pain of death that they know not where the prophet is.
Meanwhile God sends Elijah to sit, with no fellowship, in the wilderness for one and a half, or two full years (think ‘Castaway’:)), and eat his food from the mouths of unclean birds. I won’t here share much from my own testimony, but banishment from social interaction plays a great tole on a person’s psyche, sense of worth, and… confidence.
After his brook finally dries up, Elijah sees firsthand the horrific tole that the famine has had on the people of Israel who are literally starving to death.
Then he has to call together Ahab, and all the priests of Baal (all of them Israelites, the ‘people of God’) and confront this whole army. That would be something like YOU personally calling all the leaders of ISIS together and standing in front of them BY YOURSELF (well, maybe you’ve got a disciple with you at his point, since you’ve raised the dead) to tell them that their God is false – high intensity. On top of that he has to do it all in the anointing of God, AND in order for the confrontation to work out he HAS to get his miracle – life and death HAS TO get his miracle. Imagine doing that with your faith. Do YOU have faith for fire falling from the sky? Don’t assume that the sovereignty of God is the central element here. Suppose Elijah wasn’t really on page with God, and was just acting out of presumption – have you ever done that? – would God meet him if he were in presumption?
I’ve heard people declare, due to the story that follows Mount Carmel, where Elijah flees from the threatening Jezebel, and hides in a cave, and asks God to take his life (1 Kings 19:4) that Elijah was suicidal – or at least depressed. Just to qualify this, wanting to die does not make someone suicidal. Everyone wants to die at some point or other, particularly when they face difficult things, we feel things would be easier, or better if we weren’t around. Being suicidal, on the other hand, means that you are proactively planning to take your own life or that you make attempts to kill yourself. Elijah was NOT suicidal.
Fact is, Elijah was LIVING the End Time Tribulation (that’s part of the prophetic meaning to the whole story Elijah is the prophet of the end days – that’s why he didn’t see death, but was was caught up to meet Christ in the air – that’s also why John the Baptist was BEHEADED (Rev 20:4)). The tribulation he endured was complete with antichrist, abomination, and thousands of righteous people tortured to death and Elijah was living it ALL BY HIMSELF.
In the context of that, I personally, think Elijah held himself together incredibly well. My flesh would surely not be exuding happiness, even the joy of the Lord is hard to come by when ALL the righteous are smitten out of the land.
Anyhow – my point is – the prophets exemplify higher level revelation. Too often the church, in an attempt to make the Gospel relatable to the average pew-sitting Joe, reduce the spiritual significance of the prophet’s ministry. We’ve got the form of godliness – the embodiment of the prophets – we just need to be careful not to deny the power thereof.
Perhaps next I will discuss the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel in more detail, and lay open the prophetic signifigance of what wss taking place.