Summary: 2020 will go down for a lot of things. Will it go down as a year of Repentance, Revival and Rain?
Scripture: 1 Kings 18:18-46
Title: Repentance, Revival and Rain
Theme: Answered Prayers/Extended Blessings
Grace and peace from God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
2020 is going to go down in the history books for a lot of things. It will of course be the year of the Great Pandemic commonly called Covid-19 or by its two official names:
+It’s disease name – Coronavirus Disease
+It’s virus name - SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2)
And its unofficial name – The Wuhan Virus (NOT PC)
It is also going to be known as the year of shortages. There have been all kinds of shortages including:
+Toilet Paper +Painkillers +Sedatives +Lysol
+Garlic +Rice +Pasta +Clorox
+Meat (all kinds) +Face Masks +Gloves +Coins
And of course if you have watched the news there has been a shortage of civility and good old common sense and moral values.
We have found out a lot about ourselves over the last few months. Some things we have like and some things we have not liked. Hopefully, in the end it will lead to us to being a better people and becoming a better nation.
Our story this morning deals with a time when the nation of Israel was also suffering from a disaster. This disaster was not the result of some type of virus but of a drought.
It was a drought that had been prophesied by the Prophet Elijah. The LORD GOD ALMIGHTY had told him to announce to King Ahab and to the whole nation of Israel that because of Israel’s rebellion and sin God was going to stop the rains. At the time of our story this morning more than three years had gone by since Elijah’s first announcement.
Three plus years of watching creek after creek, stream after stream, well after well and watering hole after watering hole begin to dry up until there was hardly any water to be found anywhere in Israel. Three long years of watching the fig trees disappear, palm trees shrivel and grain crops wither. Three plus years of watching the cattle herds dwindle down to just a few head and sheep and the goat herds doing the same.
People everywhere were hungry; especially those who lived in rural areas and those who didn’t have very much to start with in the first place. Farmers who had done their best to eke out a living in a good year now had to turn to the corrupt government of King Ahab for a handout.
At first there was plenty of food and things in storage. But after three years things were mighty touch and even King Ahab and Queen Jezebel were beginning to feel the pinch.
For we all know when disaster hits the line between the rich and the poor is very easy to see. While others had to go without water and food those who sat around King Ahab’s table still had water to drink, meat to eat and delicacies to feast upon. It wasn’t until the third year that the Ahab’s government was coming under duress.
It was a time of chaos. It was a time of violence as land owners were doing their best to keep people from stealing the little water that they had in their creeks and streams. It was a time of protests as people all over the nation demanded something be done.
Like most kings at that time King Ahab looked for a convenient scapegoat. He looked for someone or something he could blame. He chooses to blame the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. He did not believe in the LORD. He and his wife Jezebel believed in Baal and Ashtoreth. He instructed the people of Israel people to forsake the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY to these gods for rain, blessing and prosperity.
However, none of those prayers were working. After three plus years people were tired of praying to Baal, to Ashtoreth and any number of other gods. None of those gods were listening.
Q. Was there anyone up in heaven listening to their prayers?
Q. Was there anyone who could rescue them?
That is where we find ourselves as we read our passage – Let’s turn to 1 Kings 18:18-46.
I. At First, We See That Battle Lines Are Drawn
The Prophet Elijah calls for a Battle; a Spiritual Battle.
Elijah goes to King Ahab and demands that the prophets of Baal and Ashtoreth join him in an all out Spiritual Battle. Whoever’s god wins is who Israel will serve. The meeting place for the battle will be on Mt. Carmel which was located in the ancient lands of the tribe of Asher.
Right in front of Mt. Carmel is this wonderful meadow where thousands of people can gather and look up at the mountain and view the event that was to take place. Elijah could not have picked a place that was any better in all of Israel.