Updated: Jun 28
We are in a drought here in Georgia.
Our hay is dry and brittle instead of green and soft.
Our blueberries are shrinking on the bushes instead of growing plump and sweet.
After a week of near 100+ temps my spirit is drooping like the leaves on the mighty oaks surrounding our home.
This is not the first drought we've endured and I'm sure it will not be the last.
There will always be seasons of drought because we live in a fallen world.
There were many droughts during Bible times but one has always seemed to take center stage because of the dramatic way it ended.
As I've been studying the story of Elijah found in 1 Kings 17-19 several truths have stood out to me. But I really dug into 1 Kings 18:33-35.
"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." 1 Kings 18:33-35
A little background info is in order.
King Ahab of Israel is an evil king, worshiping Baal and leading God's people further into the sin of idolatry. Elijah predicts a three year season of no rain; not even dew will fall on the ground during this time!
God makes good on this proclamation and sends Elijah away so He can care for the prophets needs.
After three years a severe drought has come to the land of Israel and finally God sends Elijah back. He goes to Ahab and tells him to gather all the prophets of Baal for a showdown with the One True God. The Baal prophets are summoned as well as the people of Israel.
This showdown takes place on Mount Carmel...450 prophets of Baal verses one Elijah.
After a day of the prophets chanting, wailing, cutting themselves, and generally acting the fool; Elijah says enough!
As the people watch, he repairs the altar of God, places wood on it, digs a trench around it, and places the sacrificed bull on the wood. Then he does a crazy thing; he tells the people to get four large jars, fill them with water, and pour it over the sacrifice.
Whoa! What?! Doesn't he know there's a drought? He predicted it by all means!
Doesn't he know water is scarce? He lived by a brook that dried up after all!
Concentrating on 1 Kings 18:33-35 one question plagued my thoughts:
Where did the water come from?
The closest water source to Mt. Carmel is the Mediterranean Sea which would have been quite a trek to take once, let alone three times.
Did the people share their own personal supply of water? I mean they had traveled from all around, mostly through desert land, and climbed a mountain to see this showdown; surely they brought water with them. If this water came from the people, they sacrificed something very precious to them. And they did it for something that didn't make much sense; to pour over an altar!
There are so many spiritual truths we can deduce from this passage but what I want to share is this:
God's mighty movement in our lives requires our sacrificial involvement.
When there is a spiritual drought in our lives, maybe what God wants in order to move is our participation.
Here are three ways we can end a spiritual drought:
1) Build an altar to God.
No, I'm not suggesting we go out, gather stones and build an actual structure for sacrifice. What I am saying is that we need to build time in our day to spend with God in prayer and reading His word. This doesn't need to be a lengthy time or passage. Just a few strategic minutes spent prayerfully reading a short passage can awaken our spiritual appetite.
I like to ask three questions as I read God's Word:
What does this Scripture reveal about God?
What is God saying to me through this Scripture?
How will I allow this Scripture to change me?
Asking these questions forces me to listen for God's voice as I read.
2) Dig a trench around the altar.
Digging a trench around the altar we build means not allowing any distractions to creep in as we spend time with God.
We live in the age of digital distractions. Our phones are constantly in our hands with notifications ringing every few seconds.
In order to cut out distractions during my time with God I turn off all notifications and put my phone in work mode. Sometimes I leave it in another room all together.
What distractions can you cut out in order to spend more time with God?
3) Sacrifice something precious.
Whether the water Elijah poured over the altar came from the people or not; it was precious. Because this precious thing was sacrificed the people witnessed a mighty act of God as fire came down from heaven and consumed the sopping wet sacrifice.
In recent months I have sacrificed my online presence for more time with God. This may not sound like a big deal to you. But as an author hoping to get my book published my online presence is precious; publishers look at follower numbers to gauge whether or not there is a market for the book. Not being present on my "platform" has meant the loss of many followers. But what I’ve gained with God far outweighs any loss.
What precious thing might God be asking you to sacrifice in order to see His mighty movement in your life?
You are the God of sun and rain; the God of all creation; the God of our spirit and soul.
Sometimes You send drought to the land and sometimes we experience spiritual drought in our lives.
We want to end spiritual drought.
Enable us to build an altar of time in our lives. Show us where we can make time for Bible reading and prayer in our daily lives and give us the self-discipline to do so.
Give us strength to dug a trench around this time. Show us the distractions that creep in and steal time from us and help us do what is necessary to rid ourselves of these distractions.
Empower us to sacrifice what is precious to us for what is best for us. Speak to our hearts and give us ears to hear what You require of us in order to move mightily in our lives.
In Jesus' name, Amen.