GOD OR BAAL?

[SW379] 5/18/2019 message notes by 

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2019

“God or Baal?”

 Text: 1Kings 18:1, 15-41

Elijah asked God’s people who worshiped the LORD and Baal, “How long will you limp between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him, but if your choice is Baal, follow him.” Jesus Christ asks today’s believers, “Will you worship My Father and Me, and no other, or will you continue to worship Us and the god of Self?”

Background

Baal   

The father of the false gods, the storm god, the god of lightning, wind, and rain. He was also the god of fertility. His name means “Master.” When his worshipers experienced drought and famine, or infertility, they believed they had displeased Baal, and offered their children in the fire to soothe his anger. Thus, they manipulated him so he would give them the prosperity that they wanted.

The god of Self — 

The one who follows this god and the Lord says, “I want to manipulate God into giving me what I want. If He will not give me what I want, I will look for another ‘god’ who will  give me what I want.” 

The root of worship of the god of Self  — the sin nature inborn in every human being since Adam. The sin nature of those who follow the god of Self is alive and well, and they are slaves of that nature! 

Do you remember Jesus’ words? He says he who sins is a slave to sin (John 8:34). And, beloved, Jesus says the slave to sin does not remain in His house forever (John 8:35).

The fruit of the god of Self 

Galatians 5:19 Now the deeds of the flesh (the sin nature) are evident (by outward behavior), which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities (hostility), strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions (heresies), 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Do you now see that that you must make an immediate choice?  Who you will follow — the god of Self, or the Lord? If you choose the god of Self, you will not inherit the kingdom of God (again, Galatians 5:21). Jesus Christ will erase your name from the book of life (Revelation 3:5). 

Therefore, pay close attention to the words the Lord has given me from 1Kings 18!

The LORD had imposed a three-year drought on the earth; therefore, there was a famine (see 1Kings 17:1). Why did He choose drought and famine, in order to discipline and punish His people for worshiping Baal? Because they believed Baal was the storm god, and therefore controlled rainfall. 

By imposing such an extended drought and famine on the whole earth, He judged both Baal and His own people who worshiped both Him and Baal. How? Baal was powerless against the drought and famine the LORD imposed on His people, and the people were unable to manipulate their false gods, and unable to manipulate the LORD.

There is a drought in today’s church. It is not a drought of natural water, but a drought of the living water that you receive when you are filled with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, famine in today’s church has resulted. It is not a famine of natural food, but a famine of the true Word of God (Amos 8:11). This drought and famine is Jesus Christ’s discipline and punishment for the church’s worship of both Him and the god of Self. 

Across many denominations, and around the world, today’s believers are widely taught by today’s Ahabs and their prophets that Jesus Christ came to serve the god of Self. They are taught to declare their demands to the Lord, and decree that He must do them. I tell you, the god of Self seeks to manipulate God! How foolish!

Verses 1, 15-16   

After three years of drought and famine, the LORD said to Elijah, “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the face of the earth.” 

Obadiah, who worshiped and revered the LORD, heard that Elijah was going to Ahab, king of northern Israel, and was concerned for Elijah’s safety. Why? Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, had killed all of the Lord’s prophets except 100 whom Obadiah had hidden (see Verse 3). Why? She did not like what they prophesied.

But Elijah was obedient to the LORD! So he told Obadiah, “As the LORD lives, before whom I stand, I will surely show myself to him today.” And Obadiah went to Ahab, instructing him to go and meet with Elijah.

This very day, I show myself to today’s Ahabs and their prophets and their followers. The Lord has sent me to exhort them turn away from worshiping the god of Self, and to warn them of the consequences of their sin. His promise to those who turn back to Him is that He will send the rain of the Holy Spirit’s fullness to any who will hear and heed His words.

Some tell me that it is dangerous to speak these things! Today’s Ahabs and their followers will try to kill you (silence you), they say! But the Lord has made me stand before Him to hear His words and speak them. Therefore, I will surely speak frankly and bluntly to the church, just as I am required to speak (Ephesians 6:20)!

Verses 17-18 —

When Ahab saw Elijah, he called Elijah a troubler of Israel. But Elijah responded that it was Ahab and his father’s house “who are the  troublers of Israel, because you have forsaken (gone away from) the commandments of the LORD and have followed the Baals.” 

Because Ahab and his house had chosen to follow Baal and Baal’s “family” the people of northern Israel followed Ahab into rebellion against the Lord. Because of their sin, Ahab and his followers were now troubled by the LORD by drought and famine!

It is the same today. Many worshipers of the god of Self, who are overseers and are in pulpits and are in pews, call me a troubler of the church because I continually call her to repent and return to the Lord, and I constantly warn her of the consequences of her sin. But I will continue to obey the Lord!

By calling me a troubler, today’s Ahabs turn things around, just as Ahab the troubler turned things around and accused Elijah! Today’s Ahabs are the troublers of the church, encouraging her to worship the god of Self. They have turned her into something that in no way resembles the church Jesus Christ inaugurated at Pentecost! 

Therefore, the Lord is troubling and will yet trouble today’s Ahabs and their prophets and their followers. As I have said, He is has struck them with a drought, for they have no living water, and a famine for the Word of God (Amos 8:11). But He has also sent and is yet sending His prophets to trouble their hearts with the truth!

Verses 19-20 —

Elijah challenged Ahab to call all of Israel to him at Mount Carmel, along with as 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of the Asherah, the “mother” of Baal. Ahab obeyed Elijah in this, assembling all 850 false prophets and all Israel at Mount Carmel.

Through this message, I challenge all Ahabs and false prophets of the god of Self. Meet with the Lord, right here and right now. How? In the Word of God, from which I speak! 

Verse 21 —

Elijah came near to the people of Israel and said, How long will you limp between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow (follow after) Him. But if Baal (is your god), follow him.”  But the people did not answer him a word.

O believer, how long will you limp between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow after Him, obey Him, and worship Him and Him alone. But if the god of Self is the god you worship, follow after it, and perish, in the day of judgment.

Verses 22-29 —

Why did Elijah say that he was the only one left as a prophet of the LORD? There were yet 100 of the LORD’s prophets, hidden by Obadiah, as I have said. But Elijah was the only one out in the open, prophesying.

I know that there is a remnant of the Lord’s prophets who speak for Him in these days. Most have been expelled from the church by today’s Ahabs and their prophets and their followers. Why? Like Jezebel, they do not like what the Lord’s prophets say. It is not the ear candy that the god of Self loves. 

But the Lord helps those who speak for Him, and we sing for joy, in the shadow of His wings (Psalm 63:6). And no one is able to destroy the eternal Word of God that they speak.

Elijah issued a challenge to the prophets of Baal, who prophesied out of their own imagination (Jeremiah 23:16). He challenged them to and get two oxen, choose one, cut it up, place it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Elijah would prepare the other ox, lay it on the wood, and put no fire under it.

Elijah instructed the prophets of Baal to prepare their offering and call on the name of their god (call him forth). They were to go first, for they were many. Then Elijah would call on the name of the LORD (calling Him forth). Elijah said, “The God who answers by fire (consuming the offering) He is God.” And all the people said, “That is a good word.”

I stand against many false prophets, and I challenge them to prepare an offering for the god of Self, and call upon the name of the god of Self. Go first, for you are many. The God who answers by fire, He is God.

The prophets of Baal prepared their offering, and called on the name of Baal from morning to noon. O Baal, answer us! But there was no voice and no one answered. 

At noon, Elijah mocked them — “Call out loudly, for he is a god; either he is occupied, or gone aside (to relieve himself), or is on a journey, or is asleep, and must be wakened.” Psalm 115:4-8 describes false gods — they are the work of man’s hands. They cannot speak, see, hear, smell, feel, walk, or make any sound. Those who trust in them will become like them.

Then they cried with a loud voice and cut themselves until their blood gushed. When midday was past, they prophesied until the time that evening sacrifice was made to the LORD — 3:00 p.m., by our time today. 

Today’s Ahabs and their false prophets will cry to the god of Self from morning to noon. They will use every Self-worship and Self-help and Self-affirmation method they can conjure up, in order to get the attention of the god of Self. But the god of Self is no god at all, and cannot answer. So today’s Ahabs and their prophets will become exhausted by their efforts to get the god of Self to respond. 

Verses 30-37 —

Then Elijah rebuilt the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down He prepared it for his sacrifice to the living God. He ordered it to be doused with water. Douse it! Douse it again! Douse it a third time! Wet it thoroughly, even the trough around it, to make it as hard as possible for it to be set afire!

In the natural, it seemed impossible to set me afire, for my sin nature was alive and well! My heart was completely hardened by my worship of the god of Self! But I testify that nothing is too difficult for the Lord! He consumed me, crucified the sin nature in me, purified my heart and now I am His servant. He has done it; therefore, it is He who is glorified — not me!

At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near to the altar he had built to the LORD, and said, “O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (Jacob), today let it be known that You are God  in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word.” 

Elijah continued, “Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people would know that You, O LORD are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.” Elijah knew that when the LORD consumed Elijah’s offering, the people would return to the LORD, for it would be the evidence that Elijah spoke for the LORD! 

I will call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who sacrificed Himself on a cross at 3:00 p.m., about 2,000 years ago, at the time of the evening sacrifice! He is the true evening sacrifice — the whole of the Law of Moses speaks of Him! 

Because the god of Self in me is dead and buried, I am able to call the Lord forth. But He does not hear sinners (John 9:31).

So what will I call, when I call on His name? O Lord Jesus, let it be known today that You and Your Father and Your Spirit are God over all, and I am Your servant and have done these things at Your word.

I will say, Answer me, O Lord, that they may know that You, O Lord, are God, and You have turned their heart back again! O Lord, You have consumed me! I pray that many will see the fire with which You have permanently filled me, and will turn their hearts back to You!

But I know that not all will return to Him, for some in the church are not the church. In the day of judgment, listen to His words to those who say, “Lord, Lord,” and yet worship the god of Self and therefore continue to sin against Him —

Matthew 7:23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE (do) LAWLESSNESS (sin).’”

Verses 38-39 —

When Elijah called upon the LORD, the fire of the LORD instantly fell, consuming everything on the altar, and even the altar itself — the offering, the wood, the stones, and even the water in the trench.

When the people saw it, they fell on their faces and they said, The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!

I asked the Lord to consume me so my brethren would  repent and turn from their worship of the god of Self, and fall on their faces, crying,“The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” Having offered myself to the LORD as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing (Romans 12:1). I  know He will to turn the hearts of my brethren back to Him, if they repent. He is the only One who can do it!

Verses 40-41 —

Elijah put the prophets of Baal and put them to death. Then he said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink for there is the sound of the roar of a heavy shower.” 

I speak the words the LORD has given me, in order to silence today’s Ahabs and their false prophets. They will ultimately burn in the lake of fire, unless they repent (Revelation 19:20). 

And when believers repent, they will hear the roar of a heavy shower  — a shower of living water within them. The famine for the Word of God will end. What will they eat? Here Jesus Christ’s promise to all in His church who repent from worshiping the god of Self 

Revelation 3:20 ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21 ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

Lord Jesus, let it be so, I pray, for you will come into those who repent, filling them with Your Holy Spirit! Amen!

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