Summary: This message is a call to repentance, and for spiritual purity and passion in hearts and lives of God's people. We've lost our fire for God, and we desperately need the fire of God rekindled.
Lord, Let The Fire Fall
Text: I Kings 18:21-24
Intro: Ever since the day man discovered it, fire has been a useful tool. But man soon discovered that fire could be both friend and foe. Not only could it provide light and warmth and be used to cook food, but it could also do great harm. However, it is not with the particular uses of fire that I am concerned today. I am interested in the symbology of fire, as it relates to God.
You see, throughout Scripture, we find that God has responded by, appeared in the form of, or has been likened to fire. And in every case, fire is seen as a symbol of God’s purity and holiness.
In Genesis 15:17-18, God, as a flaming torch, passed between the pieces of Abraham’s sacrifice, confirming His covenant with him. Here, the fire speaks of God’s purity, holiness, and reliability.
In Exodus 3:2-6, God appears to Moses in the burning bush. Again, the righteous purity and holiness of God is implied by the presence of fire. This is further emphasized by God’s command to Moses to remove his sandals, because he was on holy ground.
Exodus 13:21-22 depicts God in the form of a pillar of fire. Here the Hebrews saw God not only as the pure and holy One, but also as their Light and Guide, as well as their powerful Protector. The pillar of fire assured Israel of God’s presence.
Today’s message finds it’s setting on Mt. Carmel, where the prophet Elijah has proposed a showdown of sorts. Due to Israel’s backsliding into idolatry, under the wicked reign of King Ahab, God had withheld the rain for three and a half years (James 5:17). But Elijah has summoned the Israelites and their wicked king to Mt. Carmel for the purpose of settling, once and for all, the question of who was the one true God. The deciding factor would be the God that answered by fire.
This is an exciting story. But folks, there is truth for us in this account. The fact is people of our day are also waiting for the fire to fall. “How so?” you may ask. I’m referring to the fact that most people in our modern-day society simply don’t find God and His church very exciting, or relevant. I believe that is largely due to the fact that the fire of God’s purity, power and presence has ceased to burn among God’s people.
My prayer today is, “Lord, let the fire fall! Let the hearts of Your people burn once again with a holy fervor for You, that all the world may know the one true God lives.”
As we view this passage, I want us to be aware of what necessitated the falling of the fire of God among His people, as well as the results it produced.
Theme: The fire of God needed to fall because of…
I. THE PROBLEM AMONG GOD’S PEOPLE
A. The People Were Corrupt.
1. Ahab had led the people into idolatry.
I Kings 18:17 “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?
18 And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.”
NOTE: Ahab was one of the most wicked kings that ever reigned over Israel, according to I Kings 16:33, which says, “And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.” In essence, Ahab practiced idolatry. If you think that idolatry is something that should be relegated to a bygone era, or only to ignorant African tribes living in the remote bush country, you couldn’t be more mistaken. Idolatry is alive and well in American—even thriving.
What other gods could we have besides the Lord? Plenty. For Israel there were the Canaanite Baals, those jolly nature gods whose worship was a rampage of gluttony, drunkenness, and ritual prostitution. For us there are still the great gods Sex, Shekels, and Stomach (an unholy trinity constituting one god: self), and the other enslaving trio, Pleasure, Possessions, and Position, whose worship is described as “The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16).
Football, the Firm, and Family are also gods for some. Indeed the list of other gods is endless, for anything that anyone allows to run his life becomes his god and the claimants for this prerogative are legion. In the matter of life’s basic loyalty, temptation is a many-headed monster.1
2. Ahab’s wife, Queen Jezebel, blatantly honored and supported the idolatrous priests of Baal.