Let The Fire Fall

Title: Let The Fire Fall

Bible Book: 1 Kings 18 : 38

Author: Gene Edwards

Subject: Revival; Renewal



There were two east Texas snuff dippers on a motorcycle driving through the countryside and the driver was wearing a leather jacket that didn’t have a zipper or buttons. After a while, he stopped the bike and told the other guy, "I can’t drive anymore with the air hitting me in the chest; I’m freezing to death." And his friend said, “Well, turn your jacket around and wear it backwards so the air won’t hit you.” He did and they continued their ride until they entered a ninety degree curve too fast and wrecked.

A farmer that lived close by, heard the crash and ran to see what happened and then called the police and the police sergeant asked him, "Are either of them showing any life signs?” The old farmer said, "Well sir, that first fellow was ’til I turned his head around the right way."

In 1964, while I was stationed in San Francisco, a friend and I decided to drive over to Yosemite National Park, because it is world-renowned for its stunning glacier-carved valleys that flow with leaping waterfalls, while the giant sequoia trees dwarf every visitor. For more than 100 years the park was the site of a spectacular 9:00 p.m. evening show, when workers take ten wheelbarrow loads of fir tree bark to glacier point and start a fire in the bark in order to reduce them to glowing coals. People from all over the world gather below on the canyon floor waiting to hear these words penetrate the darkness: "Hello, Camp Currie," and all the people, with one voice, shout heavenward: "Let the fire fall!" Resonating from those glacier walls will come the reply, “The fire is falling!”

Unseen workers shove the pile of glowing coals over the edge, causing the night sky to light up by what looked like millions of fireflies. It was an unforgettable, electrifying experience!

In a recent TV interview, one of the ’old timers’ that called the fire down for 50 years said, "It is a shame that all this ended in 1968, because we always thought it was like a church service, or revival. People come from all over the world, and are deeply touched by this experience. Each night, when the last amber fades, there is a deep silence, or reverence that comes over the people. There is weeping everywhere, and then, after a few minutes, someone breaks the silence with applause and the applause would then escalate into a roar. Everyone was blessed, the ‘rich and famous’ as well as us ‘common folk’ people are deeply touched by the fire falls and it rivets them together in the strangest way. When gathered to watch the fire fall, very few people talk to each other while they wait, but after the fire falls, they stand around for hours praying, talking and singing!! Truly it is a spiritual experience!”

What takes place every night at Yosemite should be a prophetic picture of the cry of the heart of the 21st century church, because 2000 years ago fire fell on a group of believers gathered in Jerusalem and this world has never been the same since!

Over the years, many different symbols have been used to describe God’s presence: 1. Heavenly dove; 2. Breath of God; 3. Wind of God; 4. The pillar of fire by night; and, 5. the flames of fire burning within the bush of Exodus 3:2.

Hebrews 12:29 proclaims that "our God is a consuming fire," and therein lies the problem! Do we really want, the fire to fall? Do we really want God to consume us?

I read the story about a man who was going skydiving for the very first time and after taking all the lessons the time for the jump came. He lept out of the plane but he panicked and couldn’t remember how to open his parachute. As he was falling to the earth at 100 plus mph, he suddenly met a guy going up, and he seized the opportunity and shouted, “Hey buddy, do you know how to work a parachute?” The east Texas snuff dipper shouted back, “No sir, I sure don’t!! Do you know how to light a propane stove?”

God has chosen fire to be the symbol of his presence, and throughout history, revival has always been associated with fire. So to ask God for revival, is to pray for fire to fall from heaven.

When we think about fire in the Bible, we remember that no one could start a fire like Elijah, especially when Ahab and Jezebel became king and queen of Israel. 1 kings 16:33 says, “Ahab did more to provoke the lord to anger, than did all the kings of Israel before him.” 1 kings 17:1 says, “Elijah, a prophet of God, cursed the land, because of Ahab’s evil.”

For three years it did not rain and God came to Elijah and told him to go to confront Ahab about his evil ways. God promised Elijah that if he did thata it would rain. 1 kings 18:17-18 reads, “When Elijah confronted Ahab, Ahab blamed Elijah for his troubles. Elijah explained to him what the real problem was.”

Elijah cut a deal with Ahab in 1 kings 18:21, where it says, “Bring all the people to Mount Carmel along with the prophets of Baal and Asherah.” When they were gathered, Elijah urged the people to make a commitment. Elijah challenged Baal himself. Have his prophets place a bull on the alter, and let Baal set fire to it himself. The pagan prophets cried and cut themselves but there was no answer. Elijah made fun of them. “Maybe you should pray louder. Maybe he is busy, or traveling or sleeping. Maybe praying louder will wake him.” Nothing worked and then it was God’s turn. Elijah rebuilt God’s altar, dug a trench around it, prepared a bull and drenched all of it in water. Elijah then called on God to show his power. Elijah called for God to send fire from above and the fire not only consumed the sacrifice, but the wood, the altar and the dust around it. After seeing this amazing display, the people fell on their knees and proclaimed, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” And revival broke out in that time of great moral decline!

Elijah was driven with a passion to see his nation return to God, and the contest on Mount Carmel is a biblical model for revival!! There are 9 elements in the contest on Mount Carmel in 1 kings 18, that jolted a nation back to God and those elements are:

I. Elijah Prayed Earnestly

Elijah prayed earnestly that it might not rain. James 5:17 states, “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.”

The drought was to prepare the people to repent and to awaken their sleeping conscience through the door of human need. God often has to get our attention in the natural, before he can speak to us about the spiritual. We get the picture of man who’s concern for Israel was so great that he didn’t care if they suffered in the natural as long as it led to spiritual revival. The text in James doesn’t simply say, "So he prayed," it says he prayed, "earnestly."

II. Elijah Left No Middle Ground

Elijah caused the people to see that there was no middle ground anymore when it comes to serving God. 1 kings 18:21 reads, “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, how long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”

The great Watchman Nee said, "The same fire that melts wax, hardens clay. With such men there is no middle ground.”

Herod feared John the Baptist knowing that he was a holy man but he enjoyed hearing him preach, and he did many things that John suggested; yet, he never repented of living with his brother’s wife, a sin which with John confronted him. Eventually, Herod could straddle the fence no longer and had to choose whether he would murder John or lose his wife’s favor. To his eternal shame and damnation, he chose to murder the greatest minister of Christ who ever lived.

When Elijah came to Mount Carmel that day, the middle ground disappeared. When John challenged men to respond to God through repentance and the rite of baptism, the middle ground disappeared. When Jesus walked on earth and said you are either hot or cold, the middle ground disappeared. Just prior to the rapture, the middle ground that many Christians hide in will disappear. God said, “Everything that can be shaken, will be shaken.”

Listen carefully church, you cannot be ambivalent about men like John and Elijah, because the very nature of their ministry forces you to decide, one way or another. If you chose God, you are blessed with the refreshing rain of heaven; if not, your heart becomes hardened and you wind up committing sins you would have never dreamed possible!

Revelation 22:11 says, "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still!!!” This verse is difficult to comprehend, unless we put it in the context of the last days; you either take the mark of the beast, or you are murdered for nothing more than being a Christian. I believe in what’s called a pre-trib rapture. I also believe that this sifting and separating of men’s hearts is taking place right now. I’m seeing the hot get hotter and the cold getting colder.

In America, we Christians are called the "extreme right," but it is “they” who have moved further from the middle. What today is called the “political middle ground” in America used to be called the "far left." The middle has disappeared politically, morally and socially in this country, and my point was proved with the recent election. To be a Christian, in the days ahead, is to stick out like a sore thumb!

Satan is binding men with the thickest ropes he has ever used, but he couldn’t stop Elijah and he couldn’t stop John and he won’t stop this church!! Revelation 12:11 says, “For it has been written, ‘and they overcame him by the blood of the lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.’"

III. Elijah Repaired The Broken Altar

1 kings 18:30 says, "And he repaired the altar of the lord that was broken down." Altars symbolize prayer, fellowship with God, dying to self, and yielding to the will of God. The fact that the altar was in a state of disrepair was a powerful symbol of just how far the people were from God. Our text says the altar was broken down, and I believe there were two reasons for this.

A. Satanic Attack

Do you realize that hell fears one prayer more than it does a thousand givers? The national prayer altar has been broken down in America, in large part by the removal of prayer from our schools in 1963. "My house shall be called a house of prayer", was Jesus’ declaration, but how many churches can say that this statement is true of them. People find it easier to give money, than to spend time in prayer, because money is the God of this world!!

B. Negligence

Also, the broken altar reveals the law of entropy, which simply stated means that things left to themselves break down. To Elijah, prayer was something of paramount importance. He recognized prayer to be vital for the spiritual restoration of Israel. That’s why the first thing he did was to repair the altar of the lord that was broken down.

The text also states that he took 12 stones, one for each tribe of Israel, but what does that mean? It means that, individually, each tribe had a call from God to meet Him at the prayer alter! That means each Christian home has a call from God to maintain the prayer altar!

IV. Elijah Reminded Them of Who They Were Supposed To Be

1 kings 18:31 says, "And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the lord came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:"

1 kings 18:36 reads, "And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word."

Our text speaks of the fact that God changed the name of Jacob, to Israel. People in the Old and New Testament were often given names that would be prophetic descriptions of their lives. Moses means “to draw out”, so called by Pharaoh’s daughter because he was drawn out of the Nile by her. But, his name prophetically foreshadowed his ministry of leading the people of Israel out of Egypt.

Jacob means “supplanter” or “cheat”, which is an apt description of his early years, and yet when he had an encounter with God his name was changed to Israel, which meant “Prince with God.”

So Elijah is drawing the attention of the Jewish people to the fact that they have a prophetic destiny to fulfill. They were not to live as heathen idol worshipers, but that they were a specially called and chosen people to be "princes" with God. Elijah really tried to bring this thought home by the use of the phrase, "Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel," rather than the more common "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." By calling them “the Israel of God” repeatedly, Elijah was saying, “You have a destiny to fulfill, a high and holy calling.”

V. Elijah Methodically Arranged the Wood and Sacrifice

1 kings 18:33 says, "And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood..." Elijah made preparation for the fire to come down. Some people say, “Revivals are totally the sovereign moves of God, and that man has nothing to do with it!” Yes there is a sovereign element to all moves of God, but God has already decreed that man is the tool God uses to bring about the divine movement. For example, 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Today’s sanctification produces tomorrow’s wonders. If we pray in secret, He will reward in public. If we ask, we will receive. And the list goes on and on!!

There is only one way to prepare for a revival, and it is the Bible way, and when the Bible pattern is followed, you can expect God to move! Elijah prepared the altar, the wood, and the sacrifice, in an orderly manner. He had also prepared the people, with 3 ½ years of his prayers, a drought, and a calling of them together before the Lord.

Now listen carefully! Where there is no altar, there is no fire! Preparation is not optional, it is essential!

VI. Elijah Filled The Altar With Water

1 kings 18:32, "And he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed."

1 kings 18:33b-35 reads, "...fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood. And he said, do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, do it the third time. And they did it the third time. And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water."

Elijah made it impossible for anything to happen other than that which God alone could do! Most revivals are nothing more than flesh on parade, and most, so called “moves of God” are nothing more than human emotionalism!

VII. Fire Came Down

1 kings 18:38 says, "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."

Let me tell you what revival is. Revival is not the fire falling. Revival is what causes God to respond by sending the fire. Revival is brokenness that God responds to with acceptance. Revival is the fire of God coming down on broken and contrite hearts.

VIII. Sin Was Removed From The Camp

1 kings 18:40 says, "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."

When the fire fell, it had such a dramatic impact on those under its influence that they forsook their sin. When revival falls on us, we too will forsake our sin!

What Satan had spent a lifetime building up was pulled down in seconds through one man who was committed to God! There is not a preacher worth his salt that would not want to write a book entitled, "The Day The Fire Fell." For Elijah, the falling fire was not a photo-op; it was a catalyst for men and women to be broken before God. It was a means for sin to be purged from the camp.

IX. Spiritual Restoration Led To Blessings

Spiritual restoration leads to earthly and financial blessings. 1 kings 18:41 says, "And Elijah said unto Ahab, ‘Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.’"

Now listen carefully, when we go 1 inch in God’s direction, we find that he has already advanced 10 miles in ours. With repentance, came the rain of God for man and beast alike, and the curse was lifted off of the earth. Crops were restored, granaries were filled, and prosperity and economic recovery came to Israel. God has a destiny that he wants you to fulfill, but that destiny requires that you:

1. Leave the middle ground

2. Repair your broken altar

3. Turn from sin

4. God will send the rain of his presence

5. The earthly blessing he has withheld will be provided

I close with this profound passage from Hebrews 12:28–29 which says, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” Amen!

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