Tonight I will be preaching out 1 Kings beginning in Chapter 16 where I have been studying the habits of the Kings of Israel and Judah, really in relation to our leaders today, and the how the societal ills are mirrored today in relation to us. My primary reference subject tonight is Elijah; who we know was a great prophet, who endured in a world that has to be similar to today with the same sin that is prevalent around us. God did some awesome things through Elijah, but Elijah also showed his humanity. I would like to make a point of how our lives can make impact like Elijah, and show us how our human qualities can rise up under pressure so that we can overcome spiritual attack, and the things of this world that opposes God.
The Prophet Elijah came onto the scene during the reign of Ahab who was king over Israel as many of us know, and Ahab was a very wicked King.
1Ki 16:30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him. (What a thing to have attached to your name for eternity) 31 And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, (who was another wicked king) he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him.
Good old Jezebel, Ahab’s wife was probably the most wicked person on earth at the time. She had to be bad if the really bad sins Jeroboam did was considered a “light thing” compared to Jezebel.
When looking at Jezebel, as the Word states, she was the daughter of Ethbaal, who was a priest of the cult of Baal. Baal was a cruel, sensuous and revolting false god whose worship involved sexual degradation and lewdness. So Jezebel because of her father was immersed in this degradation.
Looking at Ahab, he was the son of Omri. Omri has the distinction as king “of doing more evil than those before him.” 1 Kings 16:25. Omri was a foreign mercenary general, they think he was Arab, who took the throne through war. They said from archeological digs, that he was probably one of the most powerful kings of Israel.
So Ahab also had a dad who was a poor example to follow as King. So I guess it’s true, your kids will indulge themselves in worse things than you from your example and the spirit you carry. You’ve heard of that before haven’t you? Well these two were examples of that.
One thing to notice was that Ahab may have been evil, but his evil did not match his wife’s, so it is said that he “was completely subdued and dominated by Jezebel.” (endtimepilgrim.com)
Jezebel other than introducing Baal worship, introduced the worship of Ashtoreth also to Israel. Ashtoreth was a power hungry goddess of love and sensuality. Priestess/prostitutes filled her temples and “serviced” her worshippers. The men of Israel were easily influenced by this debauchery by Jezebel’s influence, so many Israelites left the worship of God for Baal and Ashtoreth due to the prevent perversion that existed.
Nice huh? It appears that Baal and Ashtoreth are still being worshipped today in parts of the world and especially here in the US for the matter if you think about it. Maybe not by name, but by the spirit.
But unfortunately, Ahab’s kingdom was considered one of the saddest chapters in the history of God’s people.
Like many of you, the story of Ahab & Jezebel as well as Elijah is a well-known Bible story. And it is surprising that today, you can hear in some Christian circles people referencing Jezebel. Since I was a kid, the term “having a spirit of Jezebel” was used concerning certain individuals and groups of people.
This Jezebel spirit is not even mentioned in the Bible, but it truly represents pure rebellion born out of witchcraft and is prevalent today. And I only mention this because I feel prompted by the Lord to talk about it here tonight in this sermon. Some of us already know this, but I believe the Lord wants us to be aware of this spirit because it is everywhere, and it is a stronghold in the church as well as outside. This spirit needs to be prayed down and cast out.
A couple traits to this rebellious spirit comes from what Jezebel did that was mentioned in the 1 Kings. One trait is:
An obsessive passion for domineering and controlling others. Referenced in 1 Kings 18 when she ordered the massacre of the prophets of God. She knew their power and wanted them out of the way.
The other trait:
A single minded determination to have one’s way, even if it destroys someone in the process. 1 Kings 21, when Jezebel had Naboth killed to steal away his vineyard for Ahab who wanted it.
This demon spirit is one of the most common spirits in operation today, both in the church and in the world, and it is a powerful enemy against the body of Jesus.
It operates freely in sincere believers whose hearts are for God, and operates in those who have obtained positions of power within the Church. This spirit establishes its stronghold primarily in women; however, many men have been victimized by it as well, where it functions as a “controlling” spirit.
The Spirit of Jezebel operates through the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. It has, in general, two aims:
To gain identity, glory, recognition, and power to satisfy the need for the “praises of men.” It is a desire for love and self-worth focused on SELF.
Secondly the Jezebel spirit is a man hater and seeks to deprive men of their effectiveness, and take away their authority and power over others.
The Jezebel spirit is in a constant agitation, terribly aggressive, very determined, callous, controlling, selfish, power hungry, manipulative, unrepentant, and deceitful.
And I figure all of us has seen it in action, in others individually, and in groups.
So looking back at Elijah during Ahab’s reign, he had his hands full. Don’t you think? Well today we have our hands full too.
When Elijah first comes on the scene, the first things he does is proclaim a drought directly to King Ahab in 1 Kings 17:1. Nothing like throwing gas on the fire directly at a guy who could kill you. Elijah had guts to do this. But when you have the Spirit of the Lord on you, you can accomplish many things right?
God then speaks to Elijah and sends him to a brook to wait, and Elijah experiences ravens being sent to bring him food. After the brook dries up, God send Elijah to a widow to stay with and he sees God miraculously replenishing oil and flour for him and her family to sustain them. Then during Elijah’s stay, the woman’s son dies, and by the power of God, Elijah revives the boy.
I believe it was by these manifestations of God’s power that Elijah saw God build up his ear to hear Him when He spoke to him, and to build up Elijah’s faith and resolve to see the Kingdom of God be manifest to God’s people.
God built up his faith, because it had to be frustrating to Elijah to be a Prophet and see how the people were led away by the sins that was prevalent. Vile sin that was deemed to be okay all the way up to the level of the King and his Queen, who actually approved and pushed it on the people.
When I look at our government today, it seems to be no different. Our current government approves sin. The sin of the murder of babies through abortion, we even provide money for it. Homosexual rights. Allowing people to kill themselves through self-assisted suicide.
Outside of our government business and pleasure are mixed with sexual perversion everywhere. It is splashed all over in our media, and people can indulge anywhere, and evenly openly in public.
The church has even turned a blind eye or agrees with some of the egregious sin that is prevalent in our society today.
We are in a sad state yes?
But look at Elijah. He took a stand. Because of his relationship with God, he stood up to the prevailing thought of the day. It is like today that “anything goes”. And because of his obedience. There is that word again, obedience. Last week that word obedience was in my sermon. I think God is saying something to us. Because of obedience, Elijah became a conduit for God to pour His Spirit out and reveal Himself back to the people.
In 1 Kings 18:20, when Elijah confronted the 450 prophets of Baal, and the 400 prophets of Ashtoreth, he was the last Prophet of God left in Israel. Basically he was alone. And guess what? It didn’t matter at all. Because the God of the Universe, the God of all Creation was with him. What could a mere man do to Elijah if God was with him. What could 850 men do? Or even a large part of the nation that was there with their king. Nothing. They could do nothing.
Elijah was there to show the people that there is a God of Israel. There is a God who still yearned for them. A God who still wanted to be a father to His people. So Elijah was direct with the people.
1Ki 18:21 “And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”
I believe sometimes we go limping between two opinions and we are supposed to know God and His ways. Elijah stood on the Word that God had given him, and through the process, God brought fire down from heaven to consume the altar that Elijah built to God, and when the people saw it, their response was, “there is a God.”
Today God is calling us to break away from double mindedness and follow Him. He wants our full obedience so He can manifest His Presence through us to shake this region. To shake this City. To shake our neighborhoods. Also to shake the Government.
To shake those in Commerce, and to shake the church, our lives, our lifestyle, and our intercession will do this.
How long will we stand with two opinions? Are we believers, sons and daughters of God, or are we that just in name only?
After Elijah, stood for God, and God manifested himself to the people, and the false prophets were extinguished, God sent the rain. 1 Kings 18:41.
God says this to us. “Stand for me. Have one opinion. That I am the Lord God Almighty. As the sun rises from the east, and goes down in the West, I can pour out my presence as I did in the days of Elijah. I can pour down fire to cleanse and open eyes, and the rain of my Spirit. But you must stand for Me. Will I not do what I say I will do? Have I not performed in glorious ways? Will I not do it again?”
Elijah was one man who subdued a nation. What happens when an army of people who walk in that same Spirit of Elijah does the same thing? God is calling us out.
He is saying stand. I will manifest myself through you. Subdue the nation, then I will pour out my Spirit like rain on you and the people. It will be something like you have never seen in your life time. Amen!
When we stand, we must be prepared for attack. The attack of our enemy. The spirit of darkness that is in all things that are not of God. An enemy that wants us scared and impotent.
After Elijah experience this mighty move of God, and saw his people repent. It is surprising that he freaks out, when Jezebel hears from Ahab what he had done, and she sets out to kill him. Here is that spirit of Jezebel rising up.
1Ki 19:1 Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” 3 Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” 5 And he lay down and slept under a broom tree.
So Elijah runs. It says he was afraid and ran for his life. I was thinking about this. When we first meet Elijah, he is standing in front of Ahab telling him there is going to be drought and it won’t end except by his word. What a contrast. Look at what God did through Elijah up to this point.
Now Elijah is running. One thing this shows is the power of a deceiving spirit. That we need to be on guard at all times. Our enemy always wanting to stop us from the purposes that God has called us to. Elijah runs into Judah, the other country of his people, and plops down under a broom or a juniper tree and basically says to God, “I have had enough of my life, kill me.”
I believe at that part of his life, Elijah was tired. Fighting spiritual battles wears you out. For him it was to the point of just having enough of that life.
I have been in the same position, and know many others who also have been there. You get tired of the fight. I have said, “God just kill me. I am no good for you or your kingdom.” “I am a failure.” I remember saying that and falling asleep in a swing in my backyard in Louisiana.
I can relate to Elijah falling asleep under the tree. But the Lord does hear us, when we have had enough. For me it took some time of me looking for Him. He wanted me to seek Him out, but just like Elijah, He strengthens us for the journey.
In 1 Kings 19:9, God speaks to Elijah directly. I liked God’s question. “What are you doing here Elijah?” In my thoughts I have heard the same thing. God speaking to me, questioning me really not why I am here, but why should I even be here in this way?
Elijah like so many of us tried to get sympathy from God. We attempt to get Him on our side with our story that he already knows. We want sympathy, God wants action. He is merciful, and His mercy is that He doesn’t kick us in the butt for not believing Him or His promises.
One thing that is awesome that God does for Elijah, is in 1Kings 19:11, God says to Elijah, "Go out," he responded, "and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD." And there was the LORD, passing by!
God will encounter us if we press in. God is always for us. He wants the best from us, because He will give His best to us.
When Elijah heard the whisper of the Lord after the Lord’s presence passed by, God said, again, “What are you doing here Elijah?” Elijah went back into his “oh woe is me speech, and God ignored him. The Lord’s reply was “Go” and He gave Elijah a word and sent him off.
God’s presence will encourage us, and God’s Word will move us to believe, to listen again, and fulfill our purpose with power. God never left Elijah. He was always there. Elijah allowed himself to be deceived. Elijah ran from the issue, instead of running to God for encouragement. We need that sometimes. We need rest, and we need to be in the presence of God to be recharged and to receive a word from that still small voice.
God took out the enemies of Elijah because of their unrepentant hearts. Will He not deal with those who try to hurt us?
As with Elijah, we are in a battle. To overcome, we must be vigilant to be aware of what we are dealing with, what spirit, and let God’s Holy Spirit reveal that to us so we will not be deceived. That we will have discernment, and so we know what to pray for.
Also we must realize that we have the armor of God at our disposal. We must wear it, and use it. People’s lives are at stake that need Jesus. Elijah was an example to the people that there was a God.
And he is an example to us that when we come up against our Ahab’s and Jezebel’s, we must stand and profess from an offensive position knowing the victory is ours because God is with us. He is saying Go. Go, the time is short. Be my people, so I can be your God in everything you do.