Title & Purpose

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.

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Monday, 20 March 2017

A Country brought to its Knees so that it might turn to the Lord

Elijah was a man who prayed that his own country would be brought to its knees so that it might turn to the Lord. James informs us that before he ever stood before Ahab, and told him there would be no rain but according to his word, Elijah had earnestly sought the Lord in prayer that it would not rain, James 5:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.

Elijah would rather have famine that would bring great hardship, but would eventually cause the people to turn to the Lord, than for the nation to go on in short term prosperity but ultimately bring down upon themselves the judgment of God.

He realised that this people would never turn to the Lord until they felt the iron in their soul, until they were brought down to the very depths of deprivation, where food and water, the bare essentials of life, could not be easily found or provided.

He further realised that the Lord had already taught the truth that in order for a person, or a nation, who had rejected the Word of God to turn again to the Lord they need to put between a rock and hard place. A place so afflicting to the soul that they begin to consider the things of God, Deuteronomy 28:23,24. Consider the days of the Judges and the Kings of Israel and Judah. This truth is often illustrated in these times.

It is only by God doing this that a person, who has wrongly set their affections on the things of this world, will ever be brought to see the folly of their ways. For folly it is!

This principle still abides true today
This will be the future purpose of God in The Great Tribulation that will yet afflict the Jews. Its purpose will be to bring them to their knees so that they might be made willing to turn and believe on the Saviour when He appears the second time, Jeremiah 30:6-10; 31:18-21.

The fact that this principle abides true today has a bearing upon us. Are we prepared for our country to be brought down to its very knees, materially and financially, so that it might turn unto God? Are we willing to pay that price to see a turning again unto God? Our natural reaction would be: Lord turn the tide some easier way! But that is not possible as far as can be discerned from the Word of God.

It comes down to what we value more, material prosperity with godlessness or material hardship and a turning again unto God. This was the dilemma that faced Elijah. Do you not think he realised what he was praying for and wrestled with the consequences of what he sought from God? The dilemma was settled in Elijah's mind. He came to the place where he would rather have the famine and material and physical hardship than see his country and its people go on in their rebellion against God.

Are we prepared to have our comfortable way of living disturbed so that we might see a great turning again to God? Or do we think that this is too great a price to pay for a turning unto God? This is a serious matter to consider.

Israel were a nation under judgment for their departure from God
Israel was the Lord's firstborn among the nations of the earth. This firstborn broke the Lord's heart by forsaking Him time without number.

Because they were the Lord's firstborn they were going to be severely chastened by the Lord. Other nations it would seem were not judged as harshly as Israel for their sins. Israel's chastening came from the fact that they were privileged with the truth and rejected it. This alone can explain what happened to them.

The chastening of nations that have had the Gospel, and rejected it, will be greater than those that have not had the Gospel. This alone explains why Britain is afflicted with social problems that, for example, are not as bad in other countries of Europe. Britain is a nation under the chastening hand of God!

The dire straits Israel were brought into
First Kings chapter seventeen sets forth the dire straits that Israel as a nation were brought into so that they be made willing to turn to the Lord.

This was by gradual stages. Elijah had to go live by the Brook Cherith for a time. The ravens brought him bread and flesh morning and evening. Then the brook dried up and he had to move elsewhere. Zarephath was not in Israel, cf. Luke 4:25,26. Even outside Israel the effects were being felt. Here God miraculously sustained His servant.

The thirst for earthly things must be broken in their lives. The manner of living associated with the worship of Baal is exemplified in the lives of Ahab and Jezebel. It was sensual and worldly. It was given to covetous living, as illustrated by Ahab's desire for Naboth's vineyard. It had little or no regard for the Law of God. If Ahab had any regard he would have known that the law forbid Naboth to sell his vineyard.

This national calamity produced a positive outcome
The harsh circumstances that descended upon the land obtained a hearing for the Word of God and the prophet of God. Before this the king and the people did not want to hear. Now they were prepared to listen to the prophet Elijah when he appeared again upon the scene. God has His ways of obtaining a hearing for His truth.

There was a breaking with the worship of Baal. The halting between two opinions was brought to a head by Elijah under the Lord's direction. The people had to make up their mind whom they would serve.

Baal and the false prophets were exposed for what they were, lying deceivers of the people. Elijah, and more importantly the Lord, declared that He was the living and the true God, who alone ought to be worshipped.

On mount Carmel the people cried out: The Lord, He is the God; The Lord, He is the God, 1 Kings 18:39.

There was a returning to the Lord on the part of the people and a cutting off of the false prophets of Baal. If we are to see a turning to the Lord in our country something similar needs to happen.

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