It seems that we always expect God to work in big marvelous ways. There are certain things we expect when God moves and if he doesn't meet our expectations, well, it just wasn't God - or so we say.
Let me say here that I don't believe God is limited. However we often place limitations on Him in our personal lives because we refuse to accept what He wants to do in us.
Let's consider the prophet Elijah. In 1 Kings chapters 18 and 19 we find the move of God manifested in two very distinct and different ways. yet the reality of the presence of God was undeniable.
After three years of drought, the prophet Elijah went before King Ahab and challenged the prophets of Baal as well as the prophets of the grove. Elijah called for two bullocks, one for himself and one for all 850 of the other prophets.
The challenge was that each was to prepare the bullock for sacrifice on the altar and put no fire unit it. In 1 Kings 18:24 the prophet said, "and call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord: and the God that answereth by fire, let Him be God. And all the people answered and said, it is well spoken."
The prophets of Baal took their bullock, dressed it and put it upon the altar and began praying to their god, Baal. Baal was believed to be the fire god of that day so, no doubt, they were confident that Baal would come through on their behalf. They cried from morning until noon, but to no avail. They began leaping upon the altar, yet nothing happened.
Along about noon, Elijah began mocking them. He told them to cry louder. Maybe their god is out running or on a journey. Perhaps he's talking to someone else or maybe he's asleep.
Elijah's mocking didn't deter them, but rather made them more determined to reach their god. The Scripture tells us that they cried or hollered louder and began cutting themselves with knives and other sharp instruments until the "blood gushed out" of them. What sincerity. Did this sincerity pay off? The Scripture says, "...there was neither voice nor any to answer, nor any that regarded." Their demonstrations meant absolutely nothing!
Evening was coming, and Elijah said enough is enough. It was now time for the Lord God to come on the scene in a miraculous way. the prophet made all the necessary repairs to the altar. He went one step further and dug a trench around the altar. He then ordered four barrels filled with water and poured it on the offering and on the wood. When he was finished, not only were the offering and altar drenched with water, but the trench was filled with water, as well.
Elijah then prayed a simple prayer, sixty three words long. 1 Kings 18:38 tells us what happened after he finished praying. "Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench." What a miracle! The miracle was undeniable.
The results of this wonderful manifestation of God is found in the next verse, "And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, the Lord, He is the God; the Lord He is the God."
In this case, God manifested His presence in a spectacular way. Everyone saw it. No one could deny it. This was God's way. Now, for us to say that this type of manifestation - the very visible and spectacular - is the only way God moves is to miss some very precious times.
In my next blog I'm going to talk about the days following this mighty miracle and how God chose to speak to Elijah. Remember, God is not limited except by the limits we place on Him in our lives.
Until next time...enjoy the journey!
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