Way back in August and September, I shared with you about the transfiguration and how Moses, Elijah, and Jesus were on the mountain together at that time. I also shared that Moses and Elijah were the only two figures in the Old Testament who actually entered the presence of God on Mount Horeb. In the following weeks, I proceeded to go into great detail about Moses’ mountaintop experiences, and also about Moses and Aaron as an intercession team. Now, it is time to examine Elijah and his mountaintop experience. So that’s the roadmap of where we’re at in this study. Got it? Good!
The story of Elijah’s encounter on Mount Horeb can be found in 1 Kings 19. But I will come back to that encounter. First, we must look in chapter 18, where we find the famous story of Elijah’s victory against the prophets of Baal. The false prophets of Baal tried to call down fire upon the altar, but to no avail. Then, after literally soaking the altar of God with water (in the middle of a drought, I might add), Elijah called upon the Lord, and with one prayer, God answered and burned up the sacrifice, the entire altar, and even the water on the altar! Then, the people knew the Lord was the true God!
Immediately following this story, Elijah said to the wicked king of Israel, Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of the abundance of rain” (1 Kings 18:41). Elijah then ascended to the top of Mount Carmel and prayed. He prayed for rain. As he was praying, he sent his servant to check the skies for any signs of rain. Keep in mind, Elijah already said that there was a sound of abundant rain in the land (v. 41). How did Elijah hear the rain when there was no sign of rain? I believe he heard it, not in the natural, but in the spirit—in faith! But even though he could hear the sound of rain, there was no sign of any rain for the first six times the servant was sent out. But on the seventh time, the servant saw a tiny cloud in the distance.
That was all it took! What began as a small cloud turned into a great downpour of rain! All this, because of the prayers of one man on a mountaintop before the Lord.
“Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?” (Ps. 24:3). I will continue coming back to this verse. He who has clean hands, a pure heart, no idolatry, and no deceit. I believe that, at this point in time, Elijah fit this description. He was living in faith and purity in the midst of turmoil all around him! How do I know that? Back in 18:22, Elijah said, “I alone am left a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.” Can you imagine that? Elijah was outnumbered 450 to 1! I would not want to be in his shoes! But the amazing thing is that numbers don’t matter to God. Even though Elijah was severely outnumbered, the way of the Lord prevailed. God sent fire to the altar and rain to the earth because of the prayers of one man. But this man’s prayers came out of a heart that was pure, hands that were clean, and a lifestyle of truthfulness and honor to God. Elijah maintained his close relationship with God, even in spite of the hundreds of naysayers around him. Pretty amazing, huh? That is what it means to ascend: to maintain purity in a corrupt world—a purity that leads to powerful and effective prayers.
…Come back next week and the following weeks for a three-part series, called “The Prayer of Power,” based on today’s blog. After that series, I will return to finish up Elijah’s mountaintop experiences.
Living a life that is pleasing to God is certainly not easy. In fact, I would venture to say that the more committed a person becomes to living a holy, sanctified life in honor to the Lord, the more lonely that person will begin to feel. Living in radical, faith-filled obedience to God is not popular, even among Christian circles. It’s one thing to be called a Christian; it’s another thing to ascend to a higher standard that Christ is calling us to live by. I think we could all say that we have areas in our lives in which we need to ascend—to elevate our thoughts, our attitudes, our behaviors, and our motives to the place the Lord calls us to be. It’s not about perfection; it’s about holiness. It’s about honoring the Lord in all that we do. Pray right now and ask the Lord in what ways He is calling you to ascend. Then ask Him to help you make that positive change.