Water the Sacrifice

Water the Sacrifice

Matthew 17:20 (NLT)

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

 

Faith. It only takes faith the size of a mustard seed smaller than the tip of a pencil to make impossible things a reality in life. Faith is totally reliant in the things we cannot see and not dependent on anything that is common to the five senses. It is to simple act on what we know to be true and believe to be possible. Faith isn’t rational according to the world and some might even call it radical. When an impossible problem arises or the unthinkable occurs, people rally for God. When human possibility is exhausted, people innately know that God is the only option. But I wonder if there is anyone who might want more than an ordinary life. Does anyone want this faith that moves mountains? Oh we think we do. But in the midst of living life – we become so busy and engrossed with doing that we forget to really believe. To truly have confident hope means that there are some things too impossible for us to do yet we still believe in their true and relevant potential in our life. If God is human, we have a problem. If He can lie or change His Mind, there is a flaw in our faith because unconditional love has been tainted. If there is anything that can separate us from the Love of God, He is not Who He claims to be. Faith is a now response. It is an important resource for those who believe. It is untapped potential in the life of every person who chooses to follow Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

 

Faith is to be confident in the hope we have in God. We must believe with full assurance that what we have been promised yet cannot see is completely possible and more than probable for our life. To have faith means the words “if it’s God Will” something will happen become obsolete in our life. Nothing riles me up more than to hear “if it’s God’s Will” my loved one will be healed. Or “if it’s God’s Will” He will provide for this need. Well, is it God’s Will for your life or not. See I know for a fact that “by His Stripes I am healed.” I absolutely 100% believe that it is God’s Will for people to be healed of every sickness and disease. My faith will only go so far for others. It is personal faith and an individual’s confidence in God that makes it a reality in their life.

To make fire the old-fashioned traditional way, one may use flint and steel. The spark ignites a flammable tinder to become a burning ember. I can have a piece of flint in one pocket and steel in the other, but if I do not use them I will not have a fire. I must also have something to burn or a sacrifice of sorts. If the only thing I have is a dollar bill and the night temperatures are dropping, I will burn something of worth to have what I need. Faith works like this. It defies that which is logical to obtain the impossible. The same roll of cash could buy me shelter from the cold, but if that is not possible then what? This is when most people must decide if they truly believe. I cannot tell you for sure that flint and steel will produce fire until I invest the time and energy to find out if it works.

The Lord has given us two valuable resources to determine true potential in our life. His Word tells us what He offers and how to obtain it. That wasn’t enough just read the Old Testament. Jesus came and died for our sins. He took possession of the Keys to the Kingdom from satan to empower us to reclaim our life in God. But that’s not all, He released His Spirit to us to help us along the way. He is the One who takes the Word of God and helps us understand what we have and how to obtain it. My faith must be tested to be true. I must believe to see the impossible come to life. But if my Bible stays on a shelf gathering dust and the Holy Spirit is locked away in a heart bound by fear and disbelief – will I see that which I hope for. Nope.

I Kings 18:19-21 (NLT)

Now summon all Israel to join me at Mount Carmel, along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who are supported by Jezebel.” So Ahab summoned all the people of Israel and the prophets to Mount Carmel. Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent.

Ahab hated Elijah. He had searched every country, city and crevice for the Man of God to kill him. But Ahab had a bigger problem that day, in the third year of drought, his country was suffering. God sent Elijah to tell Ahab that He was sending rain. Obadiah was scouring the land for just enough grass to keep some of the king’s livestock alive when he found Elijah. Elijah told him to go tell Ahab that he was on his way to see him. Obadiah warned him that Ahab would not only kill Elijah on sight but most likely kill the messenger, too. When Ahab went out to meet the Man of God, he called him a troublemaker. Please note: when a believer truly decides to live by faith others will call you a troublemaker because you dare to believe in the God of the Impossible. Be ready! So Elijah issues a challenge.

On the mountain, there would gather 850 supporters of imaginable gods along with a handful of other people. Elijah stood in front of them all and asked the question, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions?” This would have been a good place to drop the mic to make a hasty departure. He went onto issue this challenge – “If the Lord is God, follow Him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” The people were silent. How is this different from today? The people of “faith” are silent. This world offers many other gods. Many people who think they are following God are not but rather exchanging their faith in the One True Living God for all the other things in life. Worthless idols that suck up time, energy and resources offering a quick solution rather than an impossible promise.

I Kings 18:25-29 (NLT)

Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “You go first, for there are many of you. Choose one of the bulls, and prepare it and call on the name of your god. But do not set fire to the wood.” So they prepared one of the bulls and placed it on the altar. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning until noontime, shouting, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no reply of any kind. Then they danced, hobbling around the altar they had made. About noontime Elijah began mocking them. “You’ll have to shout louder,” he scoffed, “for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!” So they shouted louder, and following their normal custom, they cut themselves with knives and swords until the blood gushed out. They raved all afternoon until the time of the evening sacrifice, but still there was no sound, no reply, no response.

Elijah let the prophets of Baal go first. They picked the choicest sacrifice. They placed it on the altar. They called on the name of Baal from morning until noontime, but nothing. They began dancing around the altar. Still nothing happened, so they began to shout louder and to cut themselves until their own blood gushed all over the altar. They did this all day into the night without a single sound, reply or response from Baal. Can you not see the comparison here? We are given the opportunity to offer faith as a sacrifice to God. We must only believe to see the even giving of their own life as a sacrifice when it is not required by the God of Unconditional Love and Faithfulness who offers grace as a means of support so our faith has potential again.

I Kings 18:30-35 (NLT)

Then Elijah called to the people, “Come over here!” They all crowded around him as he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been torn down. He took twelve stones, one to represent each of the tribes of Israel, and he used the stones to rebuild the altar in the name of the Lord. Then he dug a trench around the altar large enough to hold about three gallons. He piled wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces, and laid the pieces on the wood. Then he said, “Fill four large jars with water, and pour the water over the offering and the wood.” After they had done this, he said, “Do the same thing again!” And when they were finished, he said, “Now do it a third time!” So they did as he said, and the water ran around the altar and even filled the trench.

 

Now it is Elijah’s turn. He doesn’t put on a show but simply goes through the motions of the sacrifice just like he did every other day. He prepared the altar per God’s Instructions. He piled up the wood, cutting the bull into pieces as he did time and time again laying them on the wood. Bu then Elijah does the unthinkable, he tells the people to begin pouring water on the sacrifice covering the offering and the wood until the trenches around the altar were full. Well, not the possible just became impossible. When it comes to the Lord’s Promises, do you welcome the impossible? There is no change in Elijah’s actions. He is simply obedient. He does only what the Lord has told him to do over and over again. The only difference is that this time – it is impossible for a human to light the fire under the altar or for a manmade flame to consume the sacrifice. Are you willing to continue in obedience even when a good outcome seems impossible acting as though it is inevitable?

I King 18:36-39 (NLT)

At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. O Lord, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.” Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The Lord—he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!”

At the usual time… Elijah did nothing out of the ordinary other than believe in the God who makes all things possible. He didn’t waver. He was not confused or undecided. He calmly prayed and the impossible happened as fire immediately fell from the sky consuming the sacrifice and licking up every drop of water in the trench. God doesn’t need you to put on a show. He doesn’t need your help. He doesn’t want your blood, sweat or tears. He just wants us to belief. The Lord wants us to have faith that is so confident in His Power that we will water our sacrifice with impossibility knowing He is able. Believing wholeheartedly and not wavering between other gods. The people fell face down and worshipped God in that moment. There are people in this world counting on your faith to spark salvation in their heart and soul.

I Kings 19:11-15 (NLT)

“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied again, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” Then the Lord told him, “Go back the same way you came…”

To summarize, the 850 other prophets were hunted down and killed immediately after the events on Mount Carmel. God sent rain to the land once again. But what happens next may be the most encouraging part of all for us as believers. Elijah got scared and went into hiding. The Lord met him on the hill and asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” It happens to every Christian who dares to believe. Faith is a process. It develops over time otherwise we would be required to have truckloads rather than a single mustard seed, don’t you think? Elijah felt alone. He felt isolated.

I am ashamed to admit I find myself in hiding ready to give up, too. I don’t feel as though I have an excuse. The Lord healed our son of cancer. Not once, not twice but five times defying every odd recorded in medical journals and trials around the world. The doctors declared him in the realm of hope. We had nothing and no one to believe but God. Doctors and nurses have said that he is a living, breathing miracle. He has been in remission with no evidence of disease in over a year. I would say that ranks with a water-soaked altar being consumed by fire. Yet in the midst of such revelation, I too still run into hiding when the impossible does not happen overnight. I, too, have abandoned faith to doubt and fear just like Elijah. God meets me in this place even today as I was ready to give up on what I know the Lord wants to do but I was tired of believing enough to pray and press on until it happens. If it was easy, we wouldn’t need persistence to keep asking. If it were naturally occurring, the supernatural would not be necessary. If it were not valuable to the Kingdom, the enemy would not be fighting me so hard for it.

God’s directive to Elijah is what He is saying to us today, “Go back the same way you came…” Is it possible? Yes, His Grace is enough for us. It is enough to cover the tracks of our escape and put us back on the foundation of faith. It is enough to allow us to step back into righteous obedience from our rebellious wandering. The Lord was far from finished with Elijah. He is not finished with you. Faith is a process. It takes a lot of time and energy to cultivate into confident hope. It calls the impossible into existence. It makes the very thing that seems the most elusive totally inclusive in God’s Plan for our life. The Lord doesn’t ask for anything radical just absolute obedience based on faith and total trust in Him. Dare to believe today. Ask for the impossible and wait for it to happen. Activate the Word of God and allow His Spirit to help you in your walk of faith. Live by faith not by sight. It’s Biblically the only way to live the impossible dream as God des more than we think to ask for. Will you water the sacrifice today? Will you believe for the impossible rather than letting your “God” off the hook by compromising, substituting or just plain giving up? Imagine the potential of a life that moves mountains, now make it happen.

Hebrews 6:17-19 (NLT)

God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

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