I.

The Weather

 

1 Kings 17:1

The entrance of Elijah in the Biblical record is abrupt, bold, and dramatic. Like a thunderbolt from the skies, Elijah suddenly appears on the scene and talks to King Ahab, the wicked king of Israel, about the weather. Talking about the weather is common conversation with people. But there was nothing common about the weather talk of Elijah before Ahab which is recorded in our text for this first chapter of our study of Elijah. A stern Elijah said that it was judgment time regarding the weather. He said a severe drought was coming to the land and would continue until Elijah decided to stop it. No rain, no dew, no moisture, nothing. Just the burning, searing, wilting sun day after day until Elijah called a halt to the torment. It was a bold and severe prediction about the weather which did not go over well with Ahab.

Though our text for this first chapter is only one verse, it certainly is filled with information, instruction, and drama. To further study our text, we will divide it into three parts. These three parts are the prophet of God (Elijah), the prince of Israel (Ahab to whom Elijah spoke), and the prediction of judgment (the message Elijah spoke to Ahab).

A. THE PROPHET OF GOD

The first few words of our text give us some introductory information about Elijah. These words tell us the name, neighborhood, and nature of the prophet. Further on in the text we will learn some things about Elijah’s calling, but we will consider that information later on when we get to that part of our text.

1. The Name of the Prophet

The name Elijah is a combination of the generic name for God ("El" from Elohim) and the name Jehovah ("jah" from Jehovah) the special Tetragrammaton name for God given to Israel. This combination of names makes Elijah’s name mean Jehovah is God. The meaning of the name instructs us about three important things. They are the problem of the land, the person of the Lord, and the parents of the lad.

The problem of the land. The name Elijah was a most significant and appropriate name for Elijah’s time and ministry. The great conflict of that day was whether Jehovah was God or Baal was God. Elijah’s name, as well as his ministry, emphatically said Jehovah was God! But most of the people in Israel worshiped Baal instead Jehovah. This wicked Baal worship provoked the judgment of the drought which Elijah predicted. The conflict of Baal and Jehovah worship climaxed in Elijah’s day on Mount Carmel when Elijah defeated the priests of Baal.

The person of the Lord. The name Elijah has New Testament ramifications, for in the meaning of the name it is an Old Testament testimony of the New Testament truth of the Deity of Jesus Christ. This truth is found in the fact that the Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New Testament (cp. Isaiah 43:11 with Luke 2:11). So Elijah’s name carries some great messages. The name is good New Testament theology about God’s Son as well as an Old Testament affirmation of Who is the Supreme God (Joel, the name of the prophet who authored one of the small books of the Old Testament, also means Jehovah is God—the Jehovah-Elohim parts are in reverse order compared to Elijah’s name; but the meaning, of course, is the same).

The parents of the lad. Little is said in Scripture about Elijah’s parents. But we learn much about their testimony for Jehovah in the name they gave their lad. The name said their testimony was courageous, continuous, correct, and conspicuous.

First, their testimony was courageous. It was courageous because of the popularity of Baal worship. With Baal worship so popular and also so intolerant of Jehovah worship, it would take great courage to name one’s child "Elijah." But Elijah’s parents had that courage. Elijah’s parents were some of the few who remained true to Jehovah while most of Israel was given to Baal worship. Their courage to stand for Jehovah reflected great faith which had a great influence upon Elijah. How valuable are godly parents who have this kind of influence.

Second, their testimony was continuous. It was continuous because of the preservation of Elijah’s life. As long as Elijah was alive, their testimony about Jehovah did not die but continued in him. All of us need a continuous testimony like that. Our testimony must shine more than just on Sundays. It must shine every day of the week. It must never die.

Third, their testimony was correct. It was correct because of the proclamation of the name. The name proclaimed that Jehovah was God. Elijah’s parents had their theology straight—for they believed Jehovah, not Baal, was God. You cannot have a good testimony if your doctrine is not correct. We have some popular movements today which play down the importance of doctrine. But when doctrine is not important, your testimony ceases to be correct and valid. There would be no correct testimony for Elijah’s parents unless the testimony said that Jehovah is God. Likewise there is no correct testimony today unless the testimony says that Jesus is God.

Fourth, their testimony was conspicuous. It was conspicuous because of the presence of Elijah. You cannot conceal a growing boy. He is going to be both visible and vocal. That would make his parents’ testimony about Jehovah very conspicuous. Let our testimony for Christ be just as conspicuous. God does not want us to hide our testimony for Christ "under a bushel" (Matthew 5:15) but to put it where it will be seen and heard.

2. The Neighborhood of the Prophet

Our text says Elijah was a "Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead." Elijah came from Tishbe of Gilead. Nothing is known of Tishbe, for there has never been a positive identification of a Tishbe in Gilead or anywhere else. That does not mean Tishbe did not exist, however. But while we know little of the town of Tishbe, we do know much more about the area of Gilead. Located just east of the Jordan River, Gilead was a hilly area that in some places was quite rugged and mountainous. While it was a generally fertile land so that crops and livestock could thrive in the area, it took much hard labor to make the land produce well because of the ruggedness of the land. Hence, it was not an area that tended to make a person soft and spoiled. Rather it was a place the produced real manliness which characterized Elijah. Joseph Parker said, "There was a wonderful similarity between the man [Elijah] and the region; stern . . . grand, majestic, and awful, were they both." Elijah was not raised in softness and ease. He was no wimp. He was all man. That kind makes the best servants of God. Softies do not make good prophets and preachers. They are flops at standing in the gap to stop evil. God does not call the lazy, indolent, and cream puffs into the ministry. He calls men into the ministry. The ministry is no place for the lazy, indolent, and cream puffs. We do not need prissy preachers! They are worthless.

3. The Nature of the Prophet

The abrupt, bold, zealous, and dramatic appearance of Elijah in our text reveals some of the nature of the prophet. First appearances in Scripture are often the key to what follows, and it was so in the case of Elijah. Other appearances of Elijah in Scripture are also characterized by abruptness, boldness, zealousness, and the dramatic. Elijah was not a passive, timid, mild mannered soul. It was his very nature to get to the point in a hurry, to flinch not at walking into danger, to be zealous, and to be dramatic in his actions. Elijah’s nature fit his calling.

God always fits the man for the calling. If you do not possess the qualities needed for the call, God will give them to you if He calls you. Those who claim a particular call but evidence none of the needed qualities for the call are only pretending a call. God would not put a soft spoken, reticent man in the calling He gave Elijah. This calling only fit Elijah’s nature.

B. THE PRINCE OF ISRAEL

Ahab was the king of Israel during all but the last years of Elijah’s ministry as God’s prophet. That is why Elijah went to him with the prediction of the judgment upon the land, for Ahab was the prince of the people then. To take a detailed look into the person of Ahab, we will look at the country of the prince, the character of the prince, and the consort of the prince. All three were extremely corrupt which justified Elijah’s prediction of great judgment upon the land via the drought.

1. The Country of the Prince

The country over which Ahab ruled and where Elijah spent most of his ministry was the northern part of the Jewish nation. Though it was called Israel, the name did not apply to all the Jewish nation then. It had applied to the entire Jewish nation until the split after King Solomon died. Then the northern part of the split was called Israel (also "Samaria," after its capital, and "Ephraim," after one of its tribes) while the southern part was called Judah. To further examine Ahab’s country, we will look at the revolt, the rulers, and the religion of the country.

The revolt of the country. Ahab’s country was the product of a revolt. Our text occurred around 900 b.c. which was about sixty years since the revolt had occurred which produced the tragic split of the Jewish nation into the southern and northern kingdoms. The revolt occurred right after Solomon died. It was one of the darkest times in Israel’s history. Krummacher said the times were so bad, "It seemed as if Satan had transferred his residence from hell to earth."

Israel was a united kingdom under Saul, David, and Solomon. But those were to be the only kings who would rule over all the twelve tribes. Solomon’s death signaled the end of a united monarchy and brought about the split of the kingdom into the northern and southern kingdoms. Had Solomon remained true to the Lord, there would have been no split in the kingdom. But in Solomon’s latter years, he became consumed with the lust of the flesh and took unto himself hundreds of wives. Adding to this evil was the fact that he took these wives from nations and peoples from whom God had forbidden Israel to take wives. Then, to make matters worse, he allowed his many wives to turn his heart away from the true God to false gods. He went after "Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians and after Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites . . . Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon" (1 Kings 11:5,7).

The deterioration of Solomon’s character brought about a great oppressiveness in his government. Bad morals and bad doctrine do not promote good conditions in any land. They eventually bring oppression, tyranny, and slavery. And sooner or later the oppressed will revolt. When Rehoboam came to the throne in place of his father Solomon, the elders of the land besought Rehoboam to ease up on the people, to have a more compassionate government, and to remove the heavy yoke from off the citizenry. But Rehoboam, strongly influenced by his evil peers (1 Kings 12:8–10), would not listen to the entreaties for a more compassionate government. Instead, he said he would be harder on the people than Solomon was. His total rejection of the pleas of the people for a less repressive government was met by a great revolt. Ten of the twelve tribes of Israel seceded from Rehoboam’s rule and formed a new nation which was the northern kingdom generally called Israel. Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin stayed loyal to Rehoboam, and they formed the southern kingdom called Judah.

This revolt was doomed to failure, however, even though it came about in opposition to gross injustice. It was doomed to failure because it tried to solve the problem of oppression without correcting the cause of oppression, namely, the moral and spiritual decline in the land. The people wanted to escape from the consequences of evil, but not from the evil itself. They cried for freedom while they pursued the sins which took away their freedom. But until people condemn and forsake their evil, they will not begin to escape the consequences of evil. We need to remember this fact, especially during election years. There is no real return to freedom until we clean up our doctrine and our deportment! We make a grave mistake to think some candidate will save us from our nation’s problems when that candidate’s doctrine is unsound and his morals and convictions are deficient. He may speak ever so eloquently and impressively against some of the problems of the land; but if he does not attack the evils which cause the problems, he will not bring true reform.

The rulers of the country. Ahab’s country never had a godly leader. They had a total of 19 kings during their history, but all 19 were evil men. Elijah came on the scene during the reign of Ahab, their seventh king. A look at the first six kings which preceded Ahab will reveal the great moral and spiritual decline that took place as soon as the northern kingdom came into existence. When Ahab became king he only made the decline worse as we will see shortly. The six kings that preceded Ahab were Jeroboam, Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, and Omri.

Jeroboam. He started the northern split down a sinful path from which it never departed. He was a very wicked man. He did "evil above all [the kings which at that juncture would be Saul, David, and Solomon] that were before" him (1 Kings 14:9). The Divine epitaph on his life was "Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin" (1 Kings 14:16). Some 25 times that condemnatory phrase, "made Israel to sin," is said in the Bible of Jeroboam. Jeroboam corrupted the people by corrupting their religion. He made two calves of gold and led the people into worshiping them. Then he made priests "of the lowest of the people" (1 Kings 13:33) which further corrupted their religion. The evil reign of Jeroboam over the northern kingdom lasted for 22 years. He was succeeded by his son Nadab.

Nadab. He reigned only two years; but they were evil years; for Nadab "walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin" (1 Kings 15:26). His short reign ended when Baasha assassinated him. Baasha then assumed the throne.

Baasha. He reigned for 24 years. His reign was a bloody reign. He killed all of Jeroboam’s house and was in constant battle with the southern kingdom. Baasha also "walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin" (1 Kings 15:34).

Elah. When Baasha died, Elah, Baasha’s son, succeeded him to the throne; but his reign, like Nadab’s, was only two years. He was a worthless wretch because he was given to drink. This cost him his throne; for when he was on a drinking spree, he was assassinated by Zimri (1 Kings 16:9,10), who was one of Israel’s high ranking military officers.

Zimri. After murdering Elah, Zimri assumed the throne. But his reign as king lasted only seven days (1 Kings 16:15). In those seven days, however, he left a dark trail of blood; for he killed all the house of Baasha so that no one of Elah’s family could ever claim the throne again. But Zimri’s conduct was rejected by the people; and under the leadership of Omri, the top military officer of the northern kingdom, an insurrection was made against Zimri. Seeing his chances of winning were nil, Zimri went into the king’s house and set it on fire and died a suicide in the fire (1 Kings 16:18).

Omri. Success in removing Zimri put Omri, the father of Ahab, on the throne. He reigned 12 years. In the first four years he was king over only part of the northern kingdom, for some of the people followed an upstart by the name of Tibni instead. After four years Tibni died, and this opened the door for Omri to rule over all the northern kingdom. Omri’s reign continued the decline of Israel’s character and leadership. The Scripture says Omri "did worse than all [the kings] that were before him" (1 Kings 16:25). He was a wicked man and out-sinned his wicked predecessors. When he died his son Ahab became king. With the evil examples of Ahab’s predecessors as king, no wonder Ahab was such was wicked king.

The religion of the country. The political situation was not all that corrupted the land in Elijah’s day. There was also great corruption from the religion of the land. Corruption from religion came when the worship of Baal replaced and cruelly suppressed the worship of Jehovah. The issue which Elijah raised at Carmel was which of these two religions is right? He said, "If the Lord [Jehovah] be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him" (1 Kings 18:21).

To properly appreciate and understand the denunciation ministry of Elijah in the land of Israel, we will consider these two religions and how they differed.

First, the worship of Baal. Baal was a heathenistic, pagan god who was supposed to control rain and fertility. While over the centuries of heathen idolatry there seems to have been many Baals, the Baal worshiped in Israel during Elijah’s day was considered to be the supreme male god. Ashtoreth (called Ishtar by the Assyrians, Astarte by the Greeks, and Venus by the Romans) was the supreme female divinity and was often associated with the religion of Baal. Where an altar to Baal was erected, it was common to find idol poles (sometimes called "groves" in the KJV) erected in honor of the goddess, Ashtoreth, who was considered the consort of Baal.

This religion of Baal was a morally rotten, vile, sensual, and

cruel religion which made immoral sex acts a religious exercise. "Fertility rites played a large part in his worship. Licentious dances were prominent, and chambers existed for both male and female prostitutes"-(Leon Wood). Baal religion vilely influenced the land by dropping the morals of Israel to incredible depths and destroying character en masse.

The cruelty of Baal religion was especially evident in its being very intolerant of the worship of Jehovah. It persecuted the worshipers of Jehovah with great violence. The land was filled with blood from the great oppression of the worshipers of Jehovah by Baal religion. As we will see later, Ahab’s wife Jezebel was the leader in this persecution of the worshipers of Jehovah. Being the daughter of Ethbaal, the great high priest of Ashtoreth (female counterpart of Baal) in Tyre, she was well acquainted with Baal religion and its bloody tactics. Her knowledge of this, coupled with her personality and corrupt character, made her a vicious and fanatical promoter of Baal worship and a bloody persecutor of the worshipers of Jehovah. Jezebel was so successful in slaying the prophets of Jehovah that several times Elijah complained to God that he thought he was the only one left of the prophets of Jehovah (1 Kings 18:22, 19:10, 19:14).

The intolerance of Baal worshipers for Jehovah worshipers illustrates evil’s habit of intolerance. Evil often seeks to be allowed and permitted on the basis of tolerance, freedom of expression, rights, equal time, etc. But once it gets a foothold, you can count on it changing its tune about tolerance and equal rights. It will be the sovereign, and any competitors will be cruelly battered into submission. Under Jeroboam, toleration for idolatry was strongly encouraged in the northern kingdom. He made the golden calves and put them in convenient locations so Israel did not have to go far to worship. After all it was "too much for you to go up to Jerusalem," he said (1 Kings 12:28); so there must be toleration for some deviation from true worship. But toleration soon enabled evil religion to become the dominate religion; and when that happened, it was no longer toleration but totalitarianism.

The intolerance of evil for righteousness is seen on every hand in our day. Homosexuals talk tolerance today. They want equal rights; they want to be treated like everyone else. But that talk will end once they get in power. Genesis 19 shows us that fact. When homos dominate, they will persecute and oppress with cruel viciousness those who differ with them morally. Communism is the same way. As an example, in China during World War II the communists insisted on being included in the government. Finally they were allowed official recognition. Every one alive today knows what happened after that. Communism soon took over; and when it did, toleration ceased to exist for non-communists. Protesters for freedom, for other forms of government were machine-gunned down and run over by tanks. Hitler also gained power through the toleration of the Nazis by the other political parties in Germany. But when the Nazis got power, they bloodied the opposition into near extinction. Church troublemakers are also hypocrites in regard to toleration. They want their evil actions and unfaithful church members who are their friends tolerated, but they cannot tolerate a pastor or other church leaders they do not like.

Second, the worship of Jehovah. The worship of Jehovah was the religion that ought to have dominated in Israel. It was true, moral, and holy. It did not worship some stupid, man-made idol. It worshiped the one, great, and true God Who created the universe and all living creatures. But though this religion was the only right one and, therefore the best and the most blessed one of all, it was, however, the least popular one in Elijah’s day. Persecutions had either eliminated its adherents by death or so intimidated those still alive, that few were left who would stand faithfully for Jehovah. God told Elijah that 7,000 had not bowed the knee to Baal (1 Kings 19:18), but 7,000 is not very many when you consider the entire population of Israel was in the millions at that time.

Though Jehovah worship was so unpopular, it still produced, at that time, some of the greatest men ever to set foot on the earth. It produced Elijah, and few men compare to him. Also, late in Elijah’s story, we will meet up with Elisha and Micaiah. What two tremendous prophets these men were! Centuries have come and gone since they lived, but not many have compared to them. Then there was Naboth, a farmer who was so loyal to the Word of God that he would not, even for a good price, sell his property to Ahab (1 Kings 21). But in spite of the great characters produced by Jehovah worship, and in spite of the great character of Jehovah worship, the land was nearly unanimous in rejecting true religion. And this caused much trouble in the land. When true religion is unpopular, the church, the home, and the government are in big trouble. So Israel was in very serious trouble with God. Judgment was inevitable. The stern, condemnatory ministry of Elijah was the ministry Israel had coming to them for their religious condition. They were a sick people, and their religious preferences and practices invited and predicted great judgment upon the land.

The future well-being of a nation can be easily predicted by viewing the health of true religion in that nation. This means trouble for our nation. Mackintosh, writing back in the late 1800s, said, "We live in a time of more than usual barrenness and spiritual dearth. The state of the Church may well remind us of Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones. We have not merely to cope with evils which have characterized by-gone ages, but also with the matured corruption of a time wherein the varied evils of the Gentile worlds have become connected with, and covered by, the cloak of the Christian profession." If Mackintosh thought things were bad then, what would he say today? The churches of our land are filled with sensualism, pagan music, a wholesale lack of moral standards, and a sick emotionalism all of which has more similarity to Baal worship than to Jehovah worship. And many churches who want to be identified as fundamental, Bible-believing churches cannot boast of being radically different, either. The influx of low moral standards (increasing acceptance of divorce, as an example), the popularity of "Christian" sex psychologists and their radio and writing programs, the wild bar room music sounds of "Christian Rock" heard more and more in church services, and the sensual costumes of star Gospel singers reflect more the character of Baal worship than they do Jehovah worship. All of this degradation says one thing—judgment is coming!

2. The Character of the Prince

We have already seen in passing that the character of Ahab was very decadent. Here we give some detailed attention to his bad character. We look especially at the extent of his degradation and some examples of his degradation.

The extent of his degradation. Ahab was so bad that Scripture said he was worse than all the kings before him, and that included his father who had been worse than any of the previous kings. Twice the Bible records this fact of Ahab being more wicked than any of the kings who went before him: "Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him" (1 Kings 16:30); and "Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him" (1 Kings 16:33). We noted earlier some of the great wickedness of the rulers who preceded Ahab to the throne. For him to be worse than all of them makes Ahab a terribly wicked man indeed. The extent of his wickedness was extremely great.

The examples of his degradation. Some of the wicked deeds of Ahab are recorded at length in Scripture. We will look at them in great detail later when we come to those Scriptures in our study of Elijah, for Elijah confronted Ahab about these evil. One great evil of Ahab recorded in Scripture was his continuous effort to hunt down Elijah to kill him (1 Kings 18:10). Another evil of Ahab recorded in the Bible was his murder of Naboth who would not sell his vineyard to Ahab (1 Kings 21). Scripture also informs us that Ahab was very supportive of the wicked Baal worship (1 Kings 16:31,32). And one of the significant happenings recorded in the Scripture which emphasized how degraded Israel had become under Ahab was the rebuilding of Jericho during Ahab’s reign. Just before Elijah is brought into the Scripture record, the Bible records that in Ahab’s day "did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho" (1 Kings 16:34). Jericho’s walls tumbled down and were destroyed under the leadership of Joshua when Israel first entered Canaan. Joshua announced a Divine curse upon anyone who would rebuild Jericho. He said, "Cursed be the man . . . that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho [Keil says the Hebrew indicates the walls specifically]; he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son [that is, at the price of, at the loss of the life of his sons] shall he set up the gates of it" (Joshua 6:26). But in Ahab’s day, the people had become either so ignorant of the Word of God or had developed so much defiance for it, that Jericho was rebuilt in spite of the awful curse pronounced on its rebuilding. Jamieson says, "The unresisted act of Hiel affords a painful evidence how far the people of Israel had lost all knowledge of, or respect for, the word of God." But neither ignorance nor defiance of the Word nullifies its truth and power, for Hiel was unable to escape the Divine curse for building the walls. He "laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Joshua" (1 Kings 16:34).

3. The Consort of the Prince

The cursed consort of Ahab was Jezebel his wife. She is one of the leading characters in the story of Elijah, and so we will note some details about this wicked woman here which will help us understand better the story of Elijah. We will note five significant things about Jezebel: she was the downfall of Ahab, the daughter of Ethbaal, the director of persecution, a danger to Judah, and a defiler in church.

Downfall of Ahab. One of the worst things Ahab ever did was marry Jezebel. The Scripture points this out as a most serious evil. "It came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to [as] wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshiped him" (1 Kings 16:31). Ahab’s marriage to wicked Jezebel was his great undoing. "There was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up" (1 Kings 21:25). In describing the wretched situation in Ahab’s rule, Graham Scroggie said, "The land was ruled by Ahab: Ahab was ruled by Jezebel: Jezebel was under [controlled by] idolatry to Baal and Ashtoreth: and Baal and Ashtoreth were gods of blood [cruelty] and uncleanness." Ahab should never have married Jezebel. Her parentage should have been enough to cause him to stay far, far away from her; and, furthermore, the Scripture forbade Israelites to marry such people (Exodus 34:1–16, Deuteronomy 7:1–3, and Joshua 23:11–13). But Ahab scorned wisdom, as so many do when they get married, and married into great evil which ruined his life.

Daughter of Ethbaal. Jezebel’s father was Ethbaal which was the big reason why Jezebel was so evil. Ethbaal (the name means "Baal is with him") "was originally the priest of the great temple of Astarte [Ashtoreth, the female counterpart of Baal] in Tyre. At the age of 36 he conspired against the Tyrian king . . . slew him, and seized the throne. His reign lasted 32 years, and he established a dynasty which continued on the throne at least 62 years longer." (F. C. Cook). Ethbaal headed up "the most wicked dynasty then in power" (Edersheim). His reign over the Sidonians (also known as the country of Phoenicia with its key cities of Tyre and Sidon) was a great curse to them. His involvement with Baal worship was the key to the great evil of his rule. And his influence upon Jezebel in the matter of Baal worship was the key to Jezebel’s extremely unholy attitudes and conduct which made her the archenemy of all that was good and right.

Director of persecution. As we noted earlier, Jezebel was the big leader in the persecution of Jehovah worshipers. Being the daughter of Ethbaal she was well acquainted with Baal religion and its persecution tactics. Her knowledge of these evil tactics, coupled with her personality and corrupt character, made her a vicious, fanatical promoter of Baal worship and of the great persecution of the worshipers of Jehovah. She especially attacked the prophets of Jehovah to kill them (1 Kings 18:13). And as we also noted before, she was so successful in slaying the prophets of Jehovah that several times Elijah thought he was the only prophet of Jehovah left (1 Kings 18:22, 19:10, 19:14).

Danger to Judah. The curse of Jezebel was devastating upon the northern kingdom; but unrealized by most is that she also had a nearly disastrous influence upon the southern kingdom of Judah. Her daughter Athaliah married Jehoram who later became king of Judah. When Jehoram died, Athaliah’s son Ahaziah became king. He was an evil king and was a good friend of his brother-in-law, Ahab’s son, who was then king over the northern kingdom. This friendship cost him his life; for when Jehu waged war against Ahab’s household and slew them, he also killed King Ahaziah, who was visiting Ahab’s son (2 Kings 8,9). This caused Athaliah, the daughter of Jezebel, to go into a rage. She destroyed all the royal seed of Judah, the southern kingdom, except for Joash, who was hidden from her, so she could reign over Judah (2 Kings 11). Thus, she came close to destroying the seed of Christ! How great and guileful was the influence of Jezebel!

Defiler in church. We read of Jezebel in Revelation 2:20–23 as a type of those domineering women who often get in and defile the church. Like Jezebel, these women have a treacherous personality. They are immoral, usurp authority, and are self-appointed spiritual leaders ("calleth herself a prophetess" [Revelation 2:20]). They create all sorts of disturbances in the church and, if not stopped, will defile it, divide it, and destroy it. God has no place for these domineering women in the church. They are trouble every time. Oh, they may not appear to the naïve as evil people but rather as sweet Christian ladies. But such is not the real condition of their hearts. They are a defiled lot. Where you find a headstrong woman in a church who wants to run things, you will also find a defiled, evil, and wicked woman. God help our churches to discern these wicked women in their midst and to deal with them firmly and faithfully.

C. THE PREDICTION OF JUDGMENT

Our one-verse text closes with the short but terse and condemning message which Elijah gave to Ahab which predicted judgment upon Israel in the form of a drought. The message said, "As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word." Unlike our weather forecasters, Elijah was absolutely certain what the weather would be; and, furthermore, he would determine when the weather would change. No ordinary weatherman was he. But then Elijah was no ordinary man either.

It had to be some sight to behold when Elijah in rough peasant garb walked up uninvited to King Ahab and made his Baal-denouncing weather forecast about a drought of devastating proportions for Israel. It all happened so fast and so suddenly that before Ahab or anyone around him, if he was not alone, was able to react in rebutting or arresting Elijah, the great prophet had finished his stern pronouncement and was gone.

Elijah’s short visit to Ahab signaled the beginning of the end for Ahab. Ahab had lived a very wicked life, had ruled Israel according to his evil passions; and seemed to be getting away with it. But no longer. The Divine whistle blower blew the whistle; and from then on Ahab was going to discover that "the way of transgressors is hard" (Proverbs 13:15).

To examine this prediction of judgment given by Elijah to King Ahab, we will note the preface to the prediction, the particulars of the prediction, and the prerequisite of the prediction.

1. The Preface to the Prediction

Elijah prefaced his weather forecast with a short, but important, introductory statement. The statement had two parts to it. It spoke of the Sovereign of Israel and the servant of Jehovah.

The Sovereign of Israel. "The Lord God of Israel liveth" was the first part of Elijah’s message. It would get Ahab’s attention at once. And if Jezebel was with Ahab, it would immediately inflame her wrath; for it declared two vital truths about Jehovah both of which were adamantly rejected by Baal worship, and hence by most of Israel and especially Jezebel. It said Jehovah (Lord) was Israel’s God and that Jehovah was alive.

First, Jehovah was Israel’s God. What a challenge this was to the worship of Baal, and what a rebuke and condemnation it was to Ahab and Jezebel. Elijah plainly and powerfully stated the basic and all important truth which Israel needed so desperately to be reminded of; namely, Jehovah, not Baal, was to be Israel’s God. Baal worship, with Jezebel its vicious advocate, was endeavoring to eliminate Jehovah from Israel’s theology. And it looked like the efforts were succeeding, too; for only 7,000 of all the millions in Israel had not bowed to this false theology. But Jehovah, not Baal, is the God of Israel and also of all the universe. Israel needed to bow down to that truth.

The issue in Israel in Elijah’s time is the same issue that every age faces. The issue is who is your God? Who is going to rule your life? Who will be the Sovereign of the land? Will it be Baal or will it be Jehovah? Will it be a pagan idol or will it be the true and living God Who made heaven and earth? Will it be the god of the lust of the flesh, or will it be the God of holiness. Israel, in Elijah’s day, had let sinful passions and practices become their god. Through Baal worship, they were really worshipping their own base desires. They had simply deified their wicked ways and made a religion of it.

Three thousand years later multitudes are still letting their evil passions rule their lives. They may not make an organized religion of their evil, but it is still the same thing as Baal being god, for they bow down to their passions and not to God Almighty. So many things are justified today on the basis of our fleshly appetites and desires. Few let the Word of God be the rule in their lives instead. So the issue is the same today; and we need more Elijahs to make clear Who is to be our God, our Ruler, and our Lord.

Second, Jehovah was alive. Elijah not only stated that Jehovah was Israel’s Sovereign, but he also said that He was alive. Ahab and Israel needed this proclamation. The success and popularity of Baal had seemed to indicate that Jehovah was dead. After all, Jehovah was being openly mocked, despised, defied, and blasphemed; and yet no ill consequences seemed to come. Therefore, He must be dead. But how blinded the sinful heart is. It cannot discern the mercy of God properly. Here it interpreted the actions of His mercy as being a proof of His death or non-existence. At other times men interpret Divine mercy as an approval of evil. They will say, "If what I did was wrong then surely God would have punished me." Any delay in punishment is interpreted perversely as justification and exoneration of evil. Seldom do sinners see the delay in punishment as Divine mercy giving the sinner time to repent of his sin. But Elijah had come to straighten out Israel’s thinking, and to correct their misinterpretation of Divine mercy. He announced that Jehovah is not dead, as they had thought and wished; but He is very much alive. That should have caused Ahab to shudder; but, as calloused by sin as he was, the proclamation only made him angry.

The announcement that Jehovah was alive was a direct attack upon Baal. He was nothing but an idol. Absolutely no life there at all. But Jehovah is vastly different. He is a living Person! How wonderfully this truth speaks of the great truth which is the foundation of the Gospel. It is the truth that Christ is alive! The Baals of men, such as Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, and others are all dead; but Christ is alive. The cross seemed to end it all, but Christ still lives. The tomb overwhelmed the faith of those closest to Christ, but Christ came out of the tomb, and He is alive! Apostate religion scoffs at the literal, bodily resurrection of Christ. But their Baalistic theology is no match for the facts; for the Bible says, "He showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs" (Acts 1:3). The angels told the defeated souls looking for Christ in the tomb, "Go . . . and tell . . . that he is risen from the dead" (Matthew 28:7). "The Lord God of Israel liveth," not Baal. What a great message; and yet, tragically, a message that is rejected by most people and to their eternal condemnation.

The servant of Jehovah. "Before whom I stand" was a phrase that said Elijah was the servant of Jehovah. From it we look at the calling of Elijah and the consecration of Elijah.

First, the calling of Elijah. Elijah’s Divine calling as a servant of God was that of a prophet. Being a prophet said plenty about the evil condition of the land. Arthur W. Pink said, "God only sent forth . . . His prophets in a time of marked declension and departure of the people from Himself." Mackintosh adds, "The exercise of prophetic ministry in Israel, of old, was always a proof of the nation’s decline." As with most prophets, Elijah’s ministry was not so much predicting but indicting. His main task was to denounce sin and to point Israel to the right path.

Though greatly needed, Elijah’s ministry of denouncing sin is never popular. It is always perilous for God’s servant. A denouncer of sin will know much about rejection, about scorn, about mistreatment, and about persecution. He will seldom, if ever, be accredited by any religious group. He will walk alone. He will not be heeded by many but will be mostly ignored. And he will be continually spoken about in a negative way, not only by his foes, but even by his friends. This occurred repeatedly with Elijah, for both foes and friends spoke negatively of him. The widow of Zarephath spoke negatively of Elijah when she said, "Art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?" (1 Kings 17:18). Obadiah spoke negatively of Elijah when he said, "What have I sinned, that thou [Elijah] wouldest deliver thy servant into the hand of Ahab, to slay me?" (1 Kings 18:9). Ahab spoke negatively of Elijah when he said, "Thou . . . that troubleth Israel" (1 Kings 18:17) and "Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?" (1 Kings 21:20). Jezebel also spoke negatively of Elijah when she said, "So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them [slain prophets of Baal] by tomorrow about this time" (1 Kings 19:2).

Though the office he held by Divine appointment was a perilous office, Elijah, nevertheless, performed with excellence. He was more than a match for the evil of the day. No evil will ever exist but that God will raise up that which can overcome it. For every Ahab there will be an Elijah.

Second, the consecration of Elijah. The phrase "before whom I stand" reveals Elijah’s great consecration in service. It tells us Whom he served and where he stood.

Whom he served. The phrase "before whom I stand" is a phrase used in the Bible to refer to service. As an example, Deuteronomy 18:5 says, "The Lord thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the Lord." In Luke 1:19, the angel Gabriel speaks of himself as a servant of God when he says, "I am Gabriel, that stands in the presence of God, and am sent to speak unto thee." A servant stands before his master ready for orders. When Elijah said he stood before Jehovah God, he was informing Ahab that he was a committed servant of Jehovah.

"Before whom I stand" was a most logical statement for Elijah to make. He had just said Jehovah was God, and if He is God then He should rule in our lives. And how do we demonstrate this rule? By doing what He says to do—which is what service is all about. Many want to declare the doctrine that Jesus is Lord, but we notice that few follow up with Elijah’s "before whom I stand" in their lives. We are top heavy on doctrinal statements today but very short on commitment-to-service statements. People in church readily sign great creeds; but when they are asked to sign their names on the dotted line for service, most of them get writer’s cramp.

Where he stood. To stand before God not only speaks of your service, but it also tells us where you are standing, what your loyalties are, and on which side of the issue you stand. Elijah wasted no time in letting Ahab know that he, Elijah, was not on Baal’s side. He was standing up for Jehovah. Elijah was about the only one in his day who seemed to be willing to let others know that he stood somewhere else than with Baal. When he walked into the opponent’s stadium, where everyone was rooting for the home team, he still wore the colors and carried the pennant of his team. He still stood and cheered for his team no matter if everyone else was sitting down. That is not easy to do; but when it involves God, it is the only right thing to do. How do you stand in the world? Are you like a chameleon who changes color with the scenery? Are you afraid to let people know where you stand in regards to Jesus Christ and to right and wrong? Is the only place you are not afraid to live your conscience the private polling booth where no one sees you; or do you have enough spiritual fortitude to stand for righteousness in public, too?-Many in the ministry employ subtle tactics to keep from taking a stand. Some avoid taking a position on issues by quoting this person and that person on both sides of an issue but never telling you where they themselves stand. They forget that God’s men are not in the business of conducting a symposium; rather, they are to declare the truth; they are to declare what is right and what is wrong. Others in the ministry declare the truth; but they do it anonymously so they do not have to take a public stand. They will eagerly write the document, but they do not want to sign their name to it to declare their position and their loyalties. They are like a prominent member of a fundamental Baptist denomination who we know who had a sermon of his printed anonymously in the denomination’s monthly magazine. He was a trustee of a college and feared some would be offended by his message and stop supporting the college. Hence, he would not be identified with the message. What cowardliness! And what made his cowardliness so bad was that he was not writing in a secular newspaper or magazine, where the enemies of God abound; but he was writing in his own denomination magazine. If you cannot stand up publicly in your church, where the sympathizers are, you certainly will not stand up well in the world where the enemy abounds! "If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses?" (Jeremiah 12:5).

2. The Particulars of the Prediction

Elijah’s weather prediction said, "There shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word." This weather forecast was a message of judgment for the land of Israel. It gave a Divine sentence of judgment upon Israel for their wickedness, for their evil of going after Baal and all the attendant evils of Baal worship. To study this message of judgment, we will note the duration, the devastation, and the design of this judgment of the drought.

The duration of the judgment. We must go to the New Testament to learn how long this drought lasted. Both Christ (Luke 4:25) and James (James 5:17) tell us it lasted three and a half years. A drought of that length would make itself felt in a very pronounced way. A shorter drought would be too easy to explain away and forget. But not a drought of three and a half years.

Because both dew and rain would stop, Ahab would know immediately that the drought was in effect no matter what time of the year Elijah came to him. If it was during the rainy season then, of course, it would stop raining. But if Elijah came during the dry season, Ahab would still know his message was true; for the heavy dews, which characterize the dry season, would stop (we will note more about the dews shortly).

An interesting feature of the duration of the drought was that Elijah would determine it. He said it would not dew or rain "but according to my word." Such a statement would make it very easy for Ahab to know if Elijah was a true prophet or a false one. It would be very easy to evaluate the integrity of Elijah’s claims. And this is exactly what God wants. It is false religions and false prophets who clothe their predictions and sayings in ambiguity so that no matter what happens, they can claim vindication. Only truth dares to be so detailed and specific as this claim of Elijah was. Ahab and all Israel will know easily if Elijah was a presumptuous fraud or if he was indeed a prophet sent from God Almighty. So it was with Jesus Christ, too. The claims He made were stupendous. Hence, it was not difficult to discern if He was true or bogus. When He came out of the grave, it should have caused every critic to shut their mouth. But, of course, many critics are blind because they do not want to see; and no amount of proof, even the best of proof, will convince them. That does not discredit the proof, however, but will only intensify the judgment of the critics.

The devastation of the judgment. Three and a half years of no moisture meant tremendous trouble for the land. Israel experienced a "sore [severe] famine" (1 Kings 18:2) as a result. If Elijah had said that rain alone was going to stop—that is, it would still dew—the land, though hurt, would not have been so devastated. In the course of a year, Israel normally has a wet season of six months and a dry season of six months. The rainy season is October through March, and the dry season is April through September. The dry season is not totally dry, however; for during that time heavy dews come upon the land. Those dews are so heavy they often meant the difference between total barrenness of a land and a vegetation cover. And dew could keep a man alive, for collection of dew for drinking water has sometimes occurred in extreme situations. The importance of dew in Israel can be observed in the fact of it being used as a symbol of blessing. When Isaac gave the patriarchal blessing to Jacob, he said, "Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven" (Genesis 27:28). Moses also mentions dew in his blessing which he gave to the tribes of Israel at the end of his life. He said of the tribe of Joseph particularly, "Blessed of the Lord be his land, for precious things of heaven, for the dew" (Deuteronomy 33:13). And God emphasized the blessed value of dew when He said of Himself, "I will be as the dew unto Israel" (Hosea 14:5).

So it was not just the lack of rain that would hurt Israel, but the lack of dew would really make the drought devastating. The land would suffer greatly. Elijah would see the brook Cherith dry up (1 Kings 17:7), and grass would become so scarce that Ahab and Obadiah "divided the land between them" (1 Kings 18:6) to look for grass for Ahab’s horses and mules. But even worse would be the starvation and desolation of people. When Elijah went to Zarephath in Phoenicia (the famine was even felt severely in that land northwest of Israel), the condition in which he found the widow gives a picture of much starvation and death during the famine. It was no mild sentence from God, but a very devastating blow.

The design of the judgment. At least three important reasons can be cited for why this judgment of a drought was to come upon the land of Israel. It was designed first, to encourage repentance, second, to expose Baal, and third, to exalt Jehovah.

First, the judgment was to encourage repentance. When God smites and brings low, it is to lead man to repent of his evil. The pain of chastisement is to show man how wicked his deeds are and to encourage him to turn from his evil ways to paths of righteousness. So it was in the case of the judgment forecasted by Elijah. It was to cause men to see the evil of their ways in such a forceful manner that it would cause them to want to change their ways. This judgment of the drought plainly denounced Israel’s idolatry—their worship of Baal. God had told Israel centuries before, "Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; and then the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain" (Deuteronomy 11:16,17). But in spite of God’s warning, Israel did not view Baal worship and its associated evils as bad. To them it was very acceptable. They legalized it, propagated it, and approved it. But God did not! The drought said God condemned it severely. The drought made plain that Baal worship and its attendant evils were vile wickedness and worthy of severe judgment. The drought said God has different standards than Israel and the sooner Israel adopted His standards the better.

Some, of course, will complain about the severity of the judgment; but those who complain are always those who fail to see the enormity of the sin and its devastating effect upon people’s well-being. Judgment is not cruel. God is not malicious and in unholy anger seeking to get His pound of flesh from those who will not bow down to Him. The Bible tells us judgment is a display of God’s loving-kindness. In Psalm 107, the Psalmist speaks about Israel’s waywardness and about God’s judgment upon them as a result. In this Psalm the Psalmist calls the actions of God’s judgment loving-kindness: "He turneth the rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein . . . Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord" (Psalm 107:33,34,43). Yes, God’s chastening hand is an expression of His loving-kindness. "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth" (Hebrews 12:6). It is indeed an act of love to try to get people back on the right path. And the worse the evil is, the more severe the chastisement will have to be in order to make the proper correction.

God, therefore, is not to be faulted and accused of cruelty in bringing the drought upon the people. Furthermore, neither is Elijah to be criticized for preaching judgment. To preach judgment is not being hateful, hardhearted, uncompassionate, and unloving. Rather, it is the act of a faithful minister who loves his people enough to take the risk of being hated and abused for preaching judgment in order to try to save the people from their evil ways. The preacher who refuses to indict sin and proclaim judgment upon it is the preacher who lacks love for his people!

Second, the judgment was to expose Baal. Baal, being the god of fertility, was supposed to be especially strong in the area of rain and good crops. When rain and dew stopped in the land, the people would beseech Baal to bring rain. But Baal would be unable to do that. The longer the drought persisted, the more powerless Baal would be shown to be. It would show he had no influence, no power to do anything at all about the rain. Particularly would Baal’s powerlessness be shown in that Elijah, Jehovah’s prophet, said that he, Elijah, would decide when the drought would end. Baal’s prophets would not be able to end the drought, for Baal could not give them any power. The prophets of Baal would doubtless be under great pressure to do something about the drought, especially as the drought became increasingly severe, but they could not. This exposing of Baal would climax on Mount Carmel when Elijah would challenge the prophets of Baal to show what their god could do, and he in turn would show them what Jehovah could do.

God uses judgment to expose our false creeds if we will not heed more gentle admonition about them. And we have plenty of false creeds and philosophies today which invite Divine judgment. We do not call them by such names as Baal anymore, of course. Hedonism, Atheism, Existentialism, Humanism, or Freudianism are some of the contemporary names for Baal. Carnality, worldliness, greed, homosexuality, or drunkenness are probably more descriptive, howbeit less flattering, names for these false gods and philosophies of ours. But whatever the names, they are all the same. We depart from God’s ways; and the arguments we have for so doing become our creeds of life and that which determines our lifestyle. We foolishly think these sinful creeds justify doing things which God Almighty opposes. Like Israel, we forsake God in preference for the gods we have made with our own minds and hearts. But then God pulls out the rug from under us and sends us some much deserved judgment. This quickly exposes the folly of our evil creeds and philosophies and shows them to also be powerless to help us through a crisis. They are powerless to give us hope when all things fail us, powerless to solve our problems, powerless to give us satisfaction, powerless to give us a meaningful life, and powerless to give us comfort and assurance when we face death and eternity. The false prophets (often called professors, psychologists, psychiatrists, scientists, politicians, or celebrities) of these creeds and philosophies have no answers for the most important questions of life. They cannot end the worst drought of all, the drought of man’s soul, which can dry up every interest, every hope, every pleasure, and every profit in life.

Third, the judgment was to exalt Jehovah. Baal was being honored in the land, not Jehovah. The judgment of the drought was designed to reverse that practice. It would honor Jehovah’s ways, and it would honor Jehovah’s word. It would show His holy way as the only acceptable way, and it would show His Word as true. Let us look at these two things in more detail.

The honor of Jehovah’s ways. Jehovah’s ways were being despised, forsaken, and mocked as a result of Baal worship in the land. Baal worship promoted the vilest of morals. It honored gross unholiness. But Divine judgment would emphasize that the holy ways of God were the best ways, the only acceptable ways. And it would show that Baal’s ways were destructive ways. If mankind does not honor God’s holy ways by obedience to them, he will one day honor them as a result of judgment. And from the looks of things, the only way our land will honor the holy ways of God is through judgment; for our land is certainly not honoring God’s holy ways through obedience.

The honor of Jehovah’s Word. God had said that if Israel departed from His ways, He would bring drought to the land (Deuteronomy 11:16,17). Israel had for many years departed from Jehovah, but so far no drought. The forecasted drought, however, would show that Jehovah’s Word was not null and void. It would validate the Word and thus give great honor to Jehovah; for when a person’s word is proven true, it greatly honors that person.

People will always complain about God’s judgment, but the noble designs of Divine judgment invalidates any criticism of judgment. We’ve examined three designs of this judgment of the drought, and all three more than justify the infliction of the land.

3. The Prerequisite of the Prediction

Why was Elijah sent to Ahab? Why was he chosen for the task of declaring God’s anathema upon Israel’s sin? Was it because he had some impressive degrees earned at some famous seminary? Was it because he was a star athlete (which, unfortunately, gets many in our pulpits today)? Was it because he had a large church? Was it because he was the head of some important ministerial council in the land? No, it was none of these reasons, though these reasons seem very important to mankind. Rather, God sent Elijah to Ahab because Elijah was studied up, prayed up, cleaned up, and stirred up. There may have and doubtless were also some other reasons, but these four reasons especially stand out in importance. Elijah had the important qualifications for service for God.

We worry too much about opportunities. We need instead to concern ourselves about qualifications. You get studied up, prayed up, cleaned up, and stirred up; and you will have a job in God’s vineyard—you can count on that! Christ complained that the "laborers are few" (Luke 10:2). The reason for that problem is that few are studied up, prayed up, cleaned up, and stirred up.

Elijah was studied up. Elijah knew the Word of God well. He had obviously studied it much. The message Elijah gave Ahab—"there shall not be dew nor rain these years"—was rooted and grounded in the Scriptures. Elijah’s message said what God’s Word said. It said that if Israel was going to "serve other gods and worship them [as they were doing then] . . . then the Lord’s wrath [will] be kindled against you, and he [will] shut up the heaven, that there be no rain" (Deuteronomy 11:16,17) and that "It shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments . . . The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed" (Deuteronomy 28:15,24).

The Word of God was a great motivator and mover of Elijah. As an example, when Elijah was praying on Mount Carmel for fire to fall on the altar, he said, "Let it be known . . . that I have done all these things at thy word" (1 Kings 18:36). A true prophet of God spoke and acted as the Word of God decreed, not as the world dictated. Therefore, he must know the Word of God well. He must be a man of the Word. You cannot be a man of God if you are not a man of God’s Word. And you most certainly cannot be God’s spokesman to declare His message if you do not know His Word. Yet, we have a good number of men who claim to be preachers but who know little of the Word of God, spend little time in study of it, and whose sermons (not surprisingly) are nothing but chaff though they may be very entertaining to the audience.

Being a man of the Word of God meant Elijah spoke a message of authority. Any message that is based on the Word of God will be authoritative. It will not be a message of uncertainties, but of finalities. It will be a message filled with strong conviction. Elijah was not guessing about the drought he forecasted. He was informing Ahab that it was coming—no ifs, ands, or buts about it. His message was based on what God said, and there is no higher authority. We need messages of this authority today. Messages without this authority will do us no good at all. They will not solve problems, give good direction, or deliver souls. Our messages must be from the Word of God if they are to be valid and worthy of declaring.

I was warned as a young man not to take "too much Bible" in college if I was going on to seminary because I would get enough Bible in seminary. My response to that warning is that I am not aware that one can get "too much Bible." The idea that one can get "too much Bible" is ludicrous and originated in hell with Satan. It is the same wicked thinking that fears getting "too holy." Any person who is afraid of getting "too much Bible" will be of little use for God.

Elijah was prayed up. We learn in the New Testament that Elijah was prayed up. Elijah "prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain" (James 5:17,18). Elijah prayed fervently ("ea