New Wine for New Wineskins October 2010

By , January 29, 2011 7:28 pm

Let the Weak SpeakLet the Weak Speak  (Part 26)

The Prophets – Walking the Talk
Remember – the purpose of this series is to release the potential that is within us to build successful ministries, kingdom businesses, and to be world changers who really make a difference in this world.  That will always involve change but we don’t need to panic because all of the change God requires from us is by way of exchange.  And so we simply come to the place of exchange – the Throne of Grace – where we have the opportunity to trade our weakness for his strength!

We are no longer wearing ourselves out chasing signs and wonders – we are signs and wonders and so we are destined to be the most exciting thing that is going on wherever we are!

Isaiah 8: 18

18 Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me!
We are for signs and wonders in Israel
From the LORD of hosts,
Who dwells in Mount Zion.

Joel 3: 9 – 10

9 Proclaim this among the nations:
“Prepare for war!
Wake up the mighty men,
Let all the men of war draw near,
Let them come up.
10 Beat your plowshares into swords
And your pruning hooks into spears;
Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’”

IT’S TIME TO LET THE WEAK SPEAK!  LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

We have been going through the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith” and looking at the lives of some of those listed there who although they were far from perfect were successful in overcoming the weaknesses of their flesh and fulfilling God’s purpose in their generation by faith!

In the past few sessions we continued doing what the writer of Hebrews does and began to race on through the rest of the folks that are mentioned here who all overcame their weaknesses by faith and saw the supernatural strength and power of God manifested in and through their lives!  So far we have looked at Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, and Samuel.

Hebrews 11: 31 – 40

31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. 32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again.

And so we come to “the prophets”.

Let’s start with Elijah.  Elijah’s ministry included an encounter with the wicked king Ahab where he pronounced a three-year long famine that began and ended when he prayed regarding the rain.  He was fed by ravens by the brook Cherith and after the brook dried up was sent the house of a widow where the LORD told him he would be looked after for the duration of the famine. When he arrives at her house she tells him that she doesn’t have enough food to feed herself and her son, never mind him.  Elijah tells her that the LORD will not allow her supply of flour and oil to run out and so she makes Elijah a meal from the last of her natural resources and they are supernaturally increased so that the word of the LORD is fulfilled.  Later on the widow’s son dies but Elijah raises him from the dead!

1 Kings 17: 21 – 24

21 And Elijah stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.” 22 Then the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived.
23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives!” 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is the truth.”

When Elijah prayed – God answered!  And he will answer our prayers in the same way when we pray in faith!

James 5: 16 – 18

16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (makes much power available, dynamic in its working). 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. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

After three years of famine Elijah is instructed by the LORD to return to Ahab and tell him that the famine is coming to an end.  When Ahab sees him he refers to Elijah as the “troubler of Israel”.  Elijah responds by telling Ahab that it was in fact he who had troubled Israel by allowing the worship of false Gods!

At this point Elijah decides to put the message of the coming rain on hold temporarily.  Instead he announces a contest between himself and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah that ate at Jezebel’s table.  And so all of Israel and the 850 false prophets are summoned to the top of Mount Carmel where two altars are built – one for Baal and one for the LORD.  Two oxen are slaughtered, cut into pieces and laid out on the wood on the altars.

1 Kings 18: 22 – 40

22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 23 Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. 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.” So all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken.”
25 Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.”26 So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made.
27 And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. 29 And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. 31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” 32 Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.” 34 Then he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time; and he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. 35 So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.
36 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 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. 37 Hear 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.”
38 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. 39 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!”
40 And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.

Elijah now brings Ahab the original message concerning the rain.

1 Kings 18: 41 – 46

41 Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” 42 So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, 43 and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.”
44 Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’” 45 Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel. 46 Then the hand of the LORD came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

But a weakness has been exposed in Elijah and when a threat comes from Jezebel against Elijah he runs away and falls down under a wave of hopelessness and despair.  Is God finished with him?  Not a chance!  The LORD lovingly restores him back to his calling and purpose.  It is important that the LORD speaks to us primarily through his still, small voice more than in the dramatic.  And so, it is important that we recognise the power of uncompromised obedience to what God says. We never have to try and vindicate ourselves or defend our reputation.  The word that we bring from the LORD coming to pass will be vindication enough.

LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

Also, it is particularly important for those with a prophetic ministry that they don’t fall into the trap of isolationism and thinking that they are the only one who is hearing from God.

The LORD set Elijah back on track and gave him an apprentice so that he would never be alone again in ministry.  The LORD then took him up in a chariot of fire without dying, he showed up on the Mount of Transfiguration with Moses, and he still has a prophetic role to play in the future!

LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

Elisha poured water over the hands of Elijah while Elijah poured into the life of Elisha everything that would prepare and equip him to be his successor.  When it came time for Elijah to be taken up,  Elisha’s commitment to follow through on his calling was put to the test three times as Elijah told him to stay where he was as he moved on.  But Elisha refused to let Elijah out of his sight and asked for a double portion of the anointing that was on Elijah.  He was told that if he saw Elijah being taken up that he would get his request.  Imagine if he had stopped pursuing Elijah when he was being tested. He would never have seen what he saw or received what he received!

When the mantle of Elijah fell on him it was soon apparent to everyone that he had the same anointing.

2 Kings 2: 15

15 Now when the sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him, they said, “The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.” And they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground before him.

Elisha went on to perform twice as many miracles as Elijah.  If you think in your weakness that the anointing isn’t sufficient for you then it would appear that double portions are available!  The anointing is the anointing but God hears your heart and really it is the scope of your effectiveness that will increase as much as it is the level of the anointing on your life.

Remember what Jesus said.

John 14: 12 – 14

12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

Jesus isn’t saying that we are to try and replicate or copy-cat what he did but that we will get involved in what he is doing.  He is still doing the same works and he wants us to partner with him.  He is the head and we are the body.  The body can’t act independently of the head without winding up in frustration and disillusionment like Elijah.

LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

Isaiah prophesied for some time before he saw the LORD in such a way that he was made conscious of his own weakness and cried out to God as a man of unclean lips in the midst of a people of unclean lips!  But the LORD sent deliverance and cleansing to him before asking for someone to go and preach the gospel.  Having received the strength of the LORD what else could he say but “Here I am – send me!”

LET THE WEAK SAY, “I AM STRONG!”

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