Above is Jesse looking out on top of Mt. Carmel.
Mt. Carmel, Carm (Carm means vine) el (is God), so Mt. Carmel means vine of God. It is the place where Elijah the Prophet challenged baal and the pagan gods. We see this in First Kings 18:19-40 Elijah faced 450 prophets of baal and 400 prophets of asherah who ate at Jezebel’s table. They assembled on Mt. Carmel, and Elijah went before the people and asked, verse 21 How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. Elijah then issued a challenge. He pointed out that he was a prophet of God and suggested that two bulls be provided. One for Elijah and one for the prophets of baal and asherah. The bulls were to be cut, laid on wood, but no fire provided, and verse 24 Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD and the God who answers by fire, He is God. The people agreed with this challenge. So the prophets of baal and asherah started invoking their gods, from morning to noon, but no answer. They started getting desperate, cutting themselves with knives and lances. Elijah taunted them saying perhaps your god is sleeping or can’t come for some other reason. After it was past midday, Elijah prepared the altar for his bull. He took 12 stones (one per tribe of Judah), laid the wood, made a trench around the altar and filled four water pots to pour over the wood and bull. Then had them do it a second and third time until the whole trench was filled with water and the sacrifice drenched. Then he made this simple invocation, verse 36-37 LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Here me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again. Then the miracle happened, verse 38-39 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!”
The contest between Elijah and the prophets is said to have taken place on Mt. Muhraka (Arabic for place of burning) which is on the southwest side of Mt. Carmel.
Here is Pastor Ted standing near the edge of Mt. Carmel. It was very rugged climbing and we spent some time looking out over the vista, scrambling on the rocks and sitting there imagining the mighty encounter with God.
Above is Janet who gave that great Bible Study on being Love Driven that blessed many of you.
What keeps amazing me is the ruggedness and beauty of the landscape. It gives me great respect for those who lived during Biblical times. A dependence on God would have been a must. And given the beauty of His creation, I understand why God wanted no altars built by man, but had His worshippers gather stones already created by Him to build the altar. The Earth and everything on it belongs to God. Can you imagine toting 12 of these stones, and given they were sacrificing a bull they would not have been the little stones. The stones were very rough and abrasive. (Heather’s thought, perhaps we are in God’s eyes rough and abrasive unless we are IN CHRIST).
My friend Julie, roommate for the trip, taking a moment from taking pictures. She is actually getting married this evening, I am so excited for her and Tommy.
In the forefront is Nurit, our tour guide, sharing the story of Elijah with us before we went to wander on Mt. Carmel. The others in our group were on the other side of the stone circle with me (the picture taker) she says smiling.
Pastor Don spoke a bit about Mt. Carmel. We had just come from Peter’s house where Peter had the vision about the unclean animals, and God informed him that what God has cleaned, let no one call unclean. This led the way to Peter ministering to Cornelius. Pastor Don said, when the Holy Spirit enters a room, when the presence of the Lord comes, we have to recognize something is giving way to the truth. Something either physical, emotional, intellectual, or all three – something is going to change. We have to remember our first experiences with the supernatural. When God causes a supernatural change in the natural, something has to give. When we receive the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, we are not the same. For Peter, he had to recognize that the Gentiles were accepted by God, that God opened their hearts, and who are we to exclude them?
The disciples were speaking in other tongues, Acts 2 in the Upper Room. We have to realize God gave us tongues as a tool for we will be on earth until Messiah comes again, and we need the spiritual language. Pastor Don pointed out there is an emotionalism that is motivated by the supernatural of God, so that what happens is naturally supernatural.
Elijah was faced with destruction. Ahab was manipulated by Jezebel, and a battle ensued. The Spiritual forces came together, and Elijah posed the question, if God be God, serve him, if baal be god serve him. Elijah took on all of them. He was bold in his faith and God honored that boldness with the sacrifice. At another time, Elijah also made the statement that there would be no rain until he said so, and God honored that statement. Elijah was speaking under the unction of the Holy Spirit. He was speaking what God directed him to say.
There was no rain, no matter what the false prophets did, the only thing to open up the heavens was God. The false prophets could dance, sing, shout, carry on, and nothing would happen.
The Levites kept looking to Jesus for signs and wonders, but God would not perform for them. Those who seek signs and wonders keep looking for greater and greater signs and wonders. What God is desiring is relationship. God wants our faith, and we do not get faith by experiencing signs and wonders. What produces faith?
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
When we diligently seek God, we then get signs and wonders, but signs and wonders are not the main result of seeking God, relationship is.
When Elijah called on God, God completely consumed the sacrifice, the water, the rocks, everything. The Power of God always exceeds our expectations at some point in our spiritual walk.
Whenever we are confronted with challenges we have to realize that satan is a defeated foe. God is greater than satan. Satan will come up against a holy and powerful God and lose. The prophets of baal were put to the test and lost, and the people realized that God was greater than their false gods. We have to realize that, as believers, the power of God rests with us and it is far greater than any earthly challenge we may face.
Right at the foot of the valley, Elijah, under the old covenant, declared victory. And the New Covenant declares the end of satan’s reign.
The prophet speaks and God sets the place of the prophetic as a memorial.
Where satan set forth to try and defeat God, the Holy Ghost and the power of God snatched victory from satan’s hands.
Pastor Ted then mentioned that in 1 Kings 19 Elijah was running from Jezebel, who had threatened his life. Even after the great victory on Mt. Carmel, Elijah ran in fear for his life. God took him to a mountain and told Elijah that he was going to pass by – there was a strong wind, but God was not in the wind, nor was he in the earthquake, or the fire. But God was in the still small voice.
Elijah saw God move, Ezekiel saw the wheels in wheels, prophets had visions of the coming of Jesus Christ. But after his victory on Mt. Carmel, Elijah was frustrated and depressed, and that could have lead to spiritual decline. But we need to remember, that after a spiritual high, even when we then go into a valley experience, that God has a purpose, a plan for us. And when God comes, time enters eternity and a change occurs. Pastor Ted pointed out that the Body of Christ becomes depressed if God doesn’t show up in the way that they want Him to show up. But just because He doesn’t appear the way WE want Him to does not mean that He is not there.
James 5:13-15 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins he will be forgiven.
Pastor Ted pointed out that we are all qualified to pray to God, that we are no different from Elijah.
James 5:17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
It takes as James 5:16 states …the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
We are not righteous in our own selves, but we are righteous IN CHRIST.
When we read about Elijah and the prophets we see that they pray earnestly. (Heather’s note, just read the book of Daniel as I am doing in another Bible study to see earnest prayer even in the face of life-threatening situations.)
I want you to know that I love Bible studies anywhere, anytime, but there is a great impact when you hear the same study on the spot where it took place (or near the spot it took place for we don’t know exactly where these events occurred). It adds an extra dimension to the Bible study.
Have a blessed day!
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