1Kings 18:44                                    A Little Cloud                                               6/30/2013   

á      Intro (1King 18:38-46)

 

 

#1.      Carmel (1Kings 18:41, Acts 2:1-2)

 

 

á      Elijah the Intercessor (Php 2:7-8, 1Kings 18:44, Luke 6:12, John 14:13, 1John 5:14)

 

 

#2.      The Sea  (Isa 57:20-21, Jude 13)           

 

 

á      Did Elijah Pray for Rain? (Isa 44:1-4)

 

á      Beginning with a Little Cloud (Psalm 147:8)

 

á      Like a ManŐs Hand (Eze 36:37)

 

 

#3.      Jezreel (1Kings 18:45)   

 

 

á      Black with Clouds and Wind? (Isa 44:22,3, Joel 2:28-29)

 

á      A Great Rain (Isa 55:10-11)

 

á      The Hand of the LORD (1Kings 18:46)

 

á      A Little Cloud Out of the Sea Like a ManŐs Hand? (1Kings 18:44, Dan 5:5, Isa 57:20)

 

á      The Hand of the Lord Was on Elijah (1Kings 18:46, Rev 22:20)

 

Please open your Bibles to I Kings 18.  Last week we saw in this chapter the great confrontation between Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal. You remember what came to pass. Who lost this confrontation? And who won? We read in 1Kings 18:38-40,

1Ki 18:38  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.

1Ki 18:39  And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, Jehovah, he is the God; Jehovah, he is the God.

1Ki 18:40  And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

Who lost in this confrontation? The 450 prophets of Baal bit the dust. No more could they deceive the nation of Israel with their false gospels. Who won in this Battle? Did Elijah win this battle? No! Elijah had no personal enemies among these 450 prophets of Baal. He did not even know them. It was Jehovah God who won the battle.  Effectively, through this great miracle that occurred here on Mount Carmel, God had arrested the flood of idolatry that threatened to overwhelm the whole land.

You begin to wonder: Is God in this chapter continuing to give us pictures of salvation? Or is this just a piece of history? The answer is: This is a true historical event. But God has put these words in the Bible not just to teach us a history lesson. Last week we saw that all these things and all these events were types and pictures of Christ, and of salvation, and of the righteous judgment of God on sin and on sinners. When the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the sacrifice with everything under it, that was a picture of the great atonement of Christ on the cross.

First ask yourself: Historically, who was there with Elijah at the brook Kishon when he personally killed the 450 prophets of Baal? All the people of Israel were there, who came to Mount Carmel to see this great prophet, who had proclaimed 3 ½ years earlier that there would be no dew or rain until he would send rain again, that is the one they came to see.  King Ahab was there also.  King Ahab had seen the mighty miracle of fire from the LORD coming down out of the clear blue sky. And king Ahab did not interfere at all when Elijah killed the 450 prophets of Baal. He became meek as a lamb.  Now we continue in Verses 41 to 46

1Ki 18:41 And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. 42  So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees,  43  And said to his servant: Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said: Go again, seven times.  44  And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.  45  And it came to pass in the meanwhile, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel.  46  And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

In this historical record, we see three places of activity: #1. Carmel, #2. The Sea, #3. Jezreel.

Also in this historical record, we see a few things that logically fall in place. For example:

1.    Elijah said unto Ahab: Get thee up. Climb back up on Mount Carmel, your chariot is there.

2.    Elijah also went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth. Now he is going to pray that the blessings of God might come in an abundance of rain.

3.    Elijah sent his servant to look out for any cloud formation. He expected the rain to come anytime soon.  God was not going to fail him.  Has God not promised back in Verse 1 

1Ki 18:1 ¦ And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the LORD came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.

O. K. But that is all that I can find that fits the historical framework. God has added many more details in this passage. These are details which absolutely do not make historical sense:

á      Where did the servant suddenly come from? Until this point in history Elijah had no servant.

á      Why did Elijah say: Go look again, seven times? What has seven to do with all this?

á      Why did the little cloud come out of the sea, instead of being on the horizon?

á      Why was the cloud in the shape of a manŐs hand? Did man have anything to do with this?

á      Why does Jezreel suddenly enter the picture? Jezreel was not mentioned before in chapters 16, 17 and 18.  Ahab reigned from Samaria, which was the capital city of Israel.

And there are many more questions of this type that you could ask.  All these questions drive us to the main thrust of this passage: Why did God use these particular words in this passage? Is God giving us another spiritual picture of something? Let us begin to look at the first place of activity:

#1.      Carmel (1Kings 18:41, Acts 2:1-2) Did you know that the name Carmel means: A Fruitful Place? Indeed, it was a fruitful place for the Spirit of God to take hold of the people of Israel.

1Ki 18:41 ¦ ŇAnd Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.Ó Why did Elijah say: ŇThere is a Sound of Abundance of Rain?Ó No one else heard any sound. Why did he not just say: It is going to rain?  What was the rain typifying?  Are these blessings from God?  3 ½ years earlier God had put this nation under a curse: No rain!  This is a type, or a picture, that there would be a famine of the Word of God, just like there was a famine of the Word of God before the Lord Jesus came the first time. But now there had been this great miraculous sacrifice on top of Mount Carmel, which typifies Christ crucified.  And now that the bullock was consumed, Elijah hears the sound of abundance of rain. Now he hears a different sound. With his spiritual ears Elijah hears the sound of an abundance of the Gospel by the Spirit of God, proclaimed after Christ was crucified.  It was a fulfillment of the promise of God through the prophet Joel!  God is giving us here a picture of an event that would take place seven weeks after the Lord Jesus was crucified in AD 33. We read in Acts 2:1-2,

Ac 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  2  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, (and you know, that word for wind is the word ŇSpiritÓ) and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

And this is indeed the picture that is developing here in this passage of 1Kings 18. Elijah said to king Ahab: Eat and drink, strengthen yourself, for we have much work to do. Ahab does what he does best: he goes to eat and drink and Elijah does what he does best: Elijah prays for this people.

á      Elijah the Intercessor (Php 2:7-8, 1Kings 18:44, Luke 6:12, John 14:13, 1John 5:14)

Did Elijah just pray for physical rain? That would be like praying for physical prosperity. What good would that do for their soul? You know that this man of God would not just pray for rain. But remember that the name Elijah means: My God Jehovah. Elijah is interceding for the souls of his people like the Lord Jesus would have prayed for His people.

Elijah is humbling himself, as the Lord Jesus did humble Himself: He throws himself on the ground.  Look how the Lord Jesus humbled Himself. We read in Phil 2:7-8,

Php 2:7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Did the Lord Jesus intercede for every human being in the world? Let us think about that! Did the Lord Jesus die on the cross for every human being in the world? If that is what He did, then there are people going to Hell for whom the Lord Jesus already suffered the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. This is indeed how much the Lord Jesus had to suffer on the cross for us.

Look at the bullock on the altar here in 1Kings 18:38. He was consumed in an instant when the fire of the LORD fell on him. The bullock was not God and that is why he was consumed in an instant. But the fire of the LORD typified the intensity of the sufferings the Lord Jesus had to endure for us.  If the Lord Jesus had to suffer the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for someone, would that someone still end up in Hell? No!            That would be a gross injustice on the part of God.

But the Bible is very clear: The Lord Jesus paid for the sins of only those whom the Father chose from before the foundation of the world. Did Elijah pray for everyone in the nation of Israel? He certainly would have prayed for his servant.

Did you notice that from Verse 41 to the end of the chapter God speaks about only three persons: Elijah, his servant, and king Ahab. The entire multitude is not mentioned any more. But who is the servant representing? He represents all those from the multitude who have truly become saved when they saw the miracle of the sacrifice; they saw the miracle of the cross. Elijah is praying for the souls of his people like the Lord Jesus would have prayed for the souls of His people. The Lord Jesus also went to a mountaintop to pray. We read in Luke 6:12,

Lu 6:12 ¦ And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.

Elijah prayed, just like the Lord Jesus prayed to the Father, and sent His servants out to see the wondrous works that God can do, not because of their intercessory prayer, but because they knew that this was the will of God. Elijah said to his servant:     Look Again. He was certain that God would keep His promises. Is that not the same thing that the Lord Jesus told us? He said in John 14:13,

Joh 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

No, not anything whatsoever, for in our sinful mind we would ask things that are not good for us. But God qualified the things we should ask for as those things which are according to His will. The sovereignty of God may not be broken. We should ask God to help take away our sinfulness and show us the things we should ask for. We read in 1John 5:14,

1John 5:14 ¦  And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

Our prayers must be according to His will. Did Elijah pray this way? Yes he did. God told him what His plans were, and God said: Go show thyself to Ahab, and I will send rain upon the earth. Seven times did Elijah send his servant back to look for the fulfillment of GodŐs promises, for seven is the number of GodŐs perfection.

1Ki 18:44  And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. What was that little cloud that rose up out of the sea? What did that cloud represent? Let us look at the sea

#2.      The Sea  (Isa 57:20-21, Jude 13)                                    (Of Mankind)

First of all, we have to recognize that God speaks of the Sea frequently as a place representing all mankind.  For example, God says in Isa 57:20-21,

Isa 57:20  ŇBut the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.  21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.Ó

Also in the New Testament God uses that same symbolism for the sea. God says that the wicked are like raging waves of the sea. We read in Jude, verse 13,

Jude 13  ŇRaging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.Ó

And yet, out of this wicked and troubled sea of mankind, God in His great mercy saw it fit to draw out a people for Himself. And for this we have to be very grateful.

á      Did Elijah Pray for Rain? (Isa 44:1-4)

Yes he did, but he prayed not just for a temporary relief of the draught. What good would it do if the people would have food and water for a few years, and then they would die and eventually end up in Hell because of their idolatry?

Elijah prayed for showers of blessing that would transform these people from worshippers of Baal into worshippers of Jehovah. Elijah prayed that the Gospel would be poured out upon these people, which would really be showers of blessing. Elijah knew that people are not going to be converted by seeing a miracle, like fire come down from heaven. Only God can perform the miracle of salvation, through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not saved by watching a miracle, like fire from heaven, and we are not saved by watching if our faith is in conformity with the Word of God. We are saved by Christ, and by His grace alone we are saved through faith, and that not of ourselves. That faith is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast.

Please turn to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 44:1 (2X). When God speaks in Isa 44:1-4, God speaks of Pentecost, and God says that He is comparing it with the pouring out of the Holy Spirit like the pouring out of water upon dry ground: And what is the result? The dry ground comes alive.

Isa 44:1 Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen:  2  Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.  3  For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: 4  And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.

This is the kind of rain that Elijah has been praying for.  Not the nation of Israel is in view, but the Israel whom I have chosen; the Israel of God is in view in these verses. The name Jesurun already indicates this. This is an honorary name for Israel.

Do we pray for rain, sometimes? I donŐt mean the wet stuff. I mean spiritual rain, the water of the Gospel. Do we pray for unsaved family members? Every one of us here has some. Do you pray that the Gospel may reach them also? Do you pray that they may hear the Good News? Watching a miracle is not good enough for them. The miracle has to occur on the inside, not on the outside.

This is the Good News that Elijah has been praying for: Showers are representing the water of the Gospel.  This is the spiritual rain that Elijah has been praying for. And how does rain start?

á      Beginning with a Little Cloud (Psalm 147:8)

Then the little cloud grows and grows to the extent that it covers the sky with clouds. When God speaks in Psalm 147 about His actions in bringing salvation to Israel, and to the broken hearted, and to the meek, God uses the metaphor of bringing clouds and rain:

Ps 147:8  Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.

How does God bring salvation to His people?  He sends them someone to preach the Gospel. God first makes them hear the Gospel message through someone whom He sends. Where does the little cloud come from? The evangelist comes out of the sea of mankind.  Beginning with 12 Apostles, then the 120 in the upper room, then 3000 were added on Pentecost, and so on. The little cloud comes out of the sea like a manŐs hand: It is not a manŐs hand, but it is like a manŐs hand.

á      Like a ManŐs Hand (Eze 36:37)

Why did God use this metaphor? When the Holy Spirit was poured out God gave the task of preaching the Gospel into manŐs hand. Yes! God gave the task of bringing the Gospel into manŐs hand! This task is not just for preachers! This task is given to every person who has become saved. What are we doing with this God given task? Are we faithfully declaring what God has said? But to make sure that we do not draw any credits to ourselves, God says in Ezek 36:37

Eze 36:37  Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.

Yes, God has given us the task of bringing the Gospel, but God says that He is the One who does it all. God is the One who gives us the desire to bring His Gospel, God is the One who gives us the words, and God is the One who gives the increase.

Remember where we came from: The wicked and troubled sea! Just like God has saved us totally by His grace, so in like manner does God save others out of the wicked and troubled sea: totally by His grace. Therefore, God must be the One who is entirely in control.  It cannot depend on how cleverly or how lovingly we have brought the Gospel. It all depends on God. Now let us look at:

#3.      Jezreel (1Kings 18:45)                 Jezreel means: God Sows

This is the city where Ahab and Jezebel had been doing their dirty work. But now, this is where God sows His people. He has one already, Obadiah (remember him from the beginning of this chapter?) Just a little cloud, but that is how God starts.

1Ki 18:45 And it came to pass in the meanwhile, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel.

The little cloud grew out into many black clouds and wind. The question is: Why does God use these kinds of words? It sounds so threatening!

á      Black with Clouds and Wind? (Isa 44:22,3, Joel 2:28-29)

Well, remember where God took us out of: out of the wicked and troubled sea. We were by nature children of wrath, even as others. Christ had to take our sins and suffer for our sins an awful suffering. And because Christ has successfully paid for our sins, God says to us in Isa 44:22

Isa 44:22  I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.

You see that word Ňthick cloudÓ<05645>. That is the same word used for ŇcloudsÓ in 1Kings 18:45.

God is letting us know that our sins have been forgiven. It cost us nothing. To us it was free, but it cost Christ everything: He had to endure the Wrath of God, the Judgment of God, to set us free. That is why these clouds are full of rain, full of the Gospel of Christ, but at the same time these clouds tell of the awfulness of Hell for Christ and for those who are not in Christ. The Judgment of God is an integral part of the Gospel. The true Gospel always must include the Righteousness of God, and as a result, the wrath of God on all those who remain in their unrighteousness. But remember, God did not remain angry with us. Elijah prayed for rain, and rain he got. But for us, God is painting the picture of Pentecost, and God says in Isa 44:3,

Isa 44:3  For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:

GodŐs promise of pouring out of His Spirit is not only here, and in Joel 2. We read in Joel 2:28,

Joe 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions, 29  And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.

You see that word ŇspiritÓ. GodŐs promise of the pouring out of GodŐs Spirit is also given in 1Kings 18. That is why verse 45 includes the word ŇwindÓ, which is the same word as ŇSpiritÓ. And the result was a great rain. Please turn to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 55:10-11,

á      A Great Rain (Isa 55:10-11)

When God sends forth the Gospel, His Word pours out like rain. We have the promise from God that when we bring the Gospel to anyone, it will accomplish the goals that God had in view. For some it will be a blessing, and for others it will be a curse. For some it will bring salvation to their soul. For others who remain unsaved it will be a curse, for they have heard the true Gospel, and they have turned away from it. They have spurned the love of God they have sinned grievously.

Isa 55:10  For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:  11  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

You know, when people speak of verse 11 they interpret it this way: We bring the gospel to someone who has never heard it. But before that person dies he will be saved, for God promised it here in Isa 55:11. Is that really what God promised? We need to be precise when we say, Ňthus saith the Lord.Ó We know that God chose only a remnant of mankind to be saved. That remnant of mankind will be saved, and some of that remnant will be present when we proclaim the Gospel. But the majority of them will not be saved, because it was not GodŐs plan to save them. And so, we should not have our wishful thinking override the plans of God. When God says, Ňit shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent itÓ, it means that the perfect plan of God will be fulfilled in all its details; not our plan, but GodŐs plan. Those who remain unsaved were in GodŐs plan to remain unsaved. At Pentecost there was a great rain, spiritually speaking. Today it might be a drizzle, but God is still in the business of saving people. And we, as faithful stewards of the treasures of God, must still be in the business of telling people around us about the Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ. Let us return to our story in 1Kings 18. Then we read that:

á      The Hand of the LORD (1Kings 18:46)

1Ki 18:46 And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

The hand of the LORD is like the Spirit of the LORD. His Spirit is irresistible and is able to do with us what seems humanly impossible. And so it was with Elijah. He was able to move faster than Ahab in his chariot. But what was the reason for Elijah to be there before Ahab? What has this to do with the Gospel? Again we have to remember that Elijah is a representation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ahab went to Jezreel. Ahab went to the place where God sows, but Ahab could not claim any credit for telling anyone about Elijah or about Jehovah, because Elijah was already there before Ahab. And so it is with us. When we bring the Gospel anywhere, remember that GodŐs Spirit was there before us, and that He already prepared the hearts of the people to whom we speak. But why did God give us the metaphor of ŇA Little Cloud Out of the Sea Like a ManŐs Hand?Ó

á      A Little Cloud Out of the Sea Like a ManŐs Hand? (1Kings 18:44, Dan 5:5, Isa 57:20)

Is this hand referring to a manŐs hand or is it referring to GodŐs hand. Does God have a hand? No, ŇGod is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth.Ó But after the incarnation took place about 2000 years ago Jesus was born, and the Lord Jesus does have hands. Since God exists as three Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and since each of these three Persons are fully God, and since the Bible teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ is from everlasting, we understand that Christ is God the Son, who is fully God. The Lord Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God, but He is fully God also. And so, does God have hands? If you are referring to a New Testament period of time, then yes, God does have hands. 1Kings 18:44 says:

1Kings 18:44  And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a manŐs hand.

The cloud is not a manŐs hand, but it is like a manŐs hand. There are seven verses in the Bible that contain the words, Ňa manŐs hand.Ó The most remarkable of these is the event of Daniel in the palace of the king of Babylon. King Belshazzar, the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, was feasting while the army of the Medes and the Persians were besieging Babylon. Then we read in Dan 5:5,

Dan 5:5 ŇIn the same hour came forth fingers of a manŐs hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the kingŐs palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.Ó Whose hand was this? It was GodŐs hand who pronounced a judgment against King Belshazzar that he would die that same night. When we look at the other six verses we see that where the verses contain the words Ňevery manŐs handÓ or Ňany manŐs handÓ it refers to manŐs hands. But when the verses contain the hands of a singular person, it always refers to GodŐs hands. And that is also the meaning of the ManŐs hand in 1Kings 18:44.

Why does God speak of Ňa little cloud out of the sea, like a manŐs handÓ, which grows so big that it covers the entire sky? The cloud represents the dwelling place of God. But this is the little cloud which refers to the dwelling place of the Lord Jesus before His crucifixion, before His exaltation. What does the sea refer to? God says in Isa 57:20 ŇBut the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.Ó The people of the world remain mostly unsaved. The Lord Jesus Christ was born in such a wicked world. That is why the little cloud ascended out of the sea of mankind. After the Lord was crucified, and died, and was buried, He rose again and ascended into heaven, and then He sent His Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday, and you know the rest of the story. The little cloud grew until it covered the entire sky, and it produced a heavy rain. Spiritually speaking, God the Holy Spirit filled the whole earth and rained on the people of the world the Gospel, the Good News of Christ crucified, until the entire Roman Empire was conquered by the Christian Gospel. That was the high point of the Christian religion. From then on it slowly degenerated into the condition it now is by false gospels that proclaim that Christ did not really pay for the sins of people, but that He only provided the possibility of salvation, but now we have to accept that generous offer. The Old Testament example of the degeneration of the truth is repeated. The Old Testament example of gradually sliding into idolatry is repeated before our eyes. Then we read in 1Kings 18:46,

1Kings 18:46  And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

á      The Hand of the Lord Was on Elijah (1Kings 18:46, Rev 22:20)

Elijah ran to Jezreel, the place where ŇGod sows.Ó He wanted to be first in line to serve the Lord by witnessing the Gospel, even before Ahab, the king of Israel. This tells us that the zeal of the Lord was in him. Today people would say, ŇWhat has gotten into him? What benefit was Elijah seeking in trying to be first in place, before Ahab?Ó That is what people would say today, because today this world has gravitated toward utter selfishness. Their entire life ambition is: What is in it for me?

Now we have to ask ourselves: Is the hand of the Lord also on me? What is my life-ambition? Do I understand why Elijah ran to Jezreel? Do I have such a zeal to serve the Lord? Our world today must be characterized as a narcissistic society.  This is not a world whereby everyone wears a daffodil flower in his lapel, but it is a world that is egocentric in all that they desire, and it is a world whereby the driving force for all their doings is a love for themselves. Narcissism is derived from Greek mythology: It was a young man who was pining away for the love of his own reflection in a pond; and then he was transformed into a narcissus flower, so that he could worship his own beauty for the rest of his life. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but that is how ridiculous egoism is. And now we have to ask ourselves: In all that we do, who do we do it for? Do we do it to serve ME, or do we do it to serve someone else? Do we do it to serve the Lord? We were created to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, through serving one another. This is what pleases the Lord. When we pray, we pray for others, for this is what pleases the Lord. Is the hand of the Lord also upon us? Do we feel driven by the Spirit of the Lord to bring the Gospel to others? Then would we also be driven to run to the place where God sows? Do we have the zeal of the Lord to bring on the end of the world? Do we realize that this is actually what we are doing? We work hard to bring on the end of the world, for when the last of the elect has been saved God will finish history. Are we praying like we read in Rev 22:20, ŇEven so, come Lord JesusÓ? This earthly life full of aches and pains is no longer attractive to me. We long to be in Your presence in the New Heaven and the New Earth.

But now, this should not be the real reason why we want to be at the end of our earthly life. The real reason is that we love the Lord, because He loved us first. We love the Lord, because He is our Heavenly Father, and we want to be close to Him. We love the Lord, because He will vindicate us against this world which has become more and more the hand of Satan against God and against all that God loves. We long for justice and be freed from all the wicked deeds perpetrated on us. That is why we pray, ŇEven so, come Lord Jesus.Ó That is why the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and that is why he ran to Jezreel. And that is why there was a little cloud, shaped like a hand, coming out of the sea of wicked mankind. Mankind needs to hear the Gospel, and the beginning of that event was Pentecost, after Christ had suffered and died for all those whom He came to save.

AMEN.                  Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.