I know that this will not be popular – but our nation has had a progression of ungodly leaders. Their ungodliness is seen in a continued turn away from the God of the Bible – to a god of our own making – a controllable god – a god who will approve our works rather than challenge them. The god of America is a god who does not rebuke ungodliness – immorality – sensuality – or sin in general. This god will not speak up for the unborn – but will speak strong words against anyone who threatens our own personal quest for happiness and self-fulfillment at any cost. This god is a mushy god who is all about us – about us getting what we want – this is the selfie-god who is all about us defining ourselves however we want.
The leaders of Israel who dominated the 52 years represented by the names that first appeared in this article – were kings who moved away from serving the living God – and who embraced the same god who is ruling our culture today. The gods they served were called Baal, Ashtoreth, Milcom, Molech, and others – but their ways were no different than those of today. They did not call anything immoral – but reveled in a new morality defined only by what brought the most pleasure to the people of the day. They were OK with other gods being in the pantheon of the day – just as long as they were not saying that they had absolute truth. There were even gods who encouraged the sacrifice of the next generation – just as long as the current generation was satisfied and not burdened with the consequences of their choices. Again – it was little different than today – except where they had physical statues and idols that they worshipped – we’ve been able to reduce our gods to electronic signals that are transmitted to us on a screen we store in our back pockets.
The end of such a society really is a “no shocker” to anyone who studies history (which by the way that society does not promote unless the history is first approved by those who rewrite it for their own purposes). Destruction is coming – the end of that society is on the horizon and is drawing nearer with each selfish and self-serving choice it makes. The real question is how does anyone turn a society like this from self-implosion into its self-obsessed love of itself? The answer to that I believe is found in the appearance on the scene of a man named Elijah.
Who was this man? Where did he come from – and what made him the man for this hour? That is what I believe is answered for us in 1 Kings 17. Let’s look at some of those things together for a few minutes – and hopefully know what to desire – and what to pray for in a prophet for our generation.
First, Elijah was a Tishbite from the area of Gilead. This was a mountainous region – but outside of knowing its location had little to do with this man. What we learn from this is that God will raise up a person from wherever He desires. Looking for such a one from some specific location is useless. When it comes to how God raises up prophets we need to say it is all about “heart, heart, heart,” not “location, location, location.”
Second, and this is vital, Elijah speaks about Jehovah, the God of Israel being alive. God lives. That is something we need to hear again in our nation – as it was in Israel. The God of the Bible IS God. He is the living God. He is alive. He is still relevant and still working in our day. Elijah knew that because he himself stood before God.
Third, Elijah spoke of the God “before Whom I stand.” When all the nation was walking away from God and serving Him, Elijah continued to stand before Him. The word for “stand” here is important. It meant to stand for the purpose of serving another. Elijah stood before God – not in arrogance – but as God’s servant. He stood before Him to hear what God had to say – and then to deliver it. That is what this word meant when used of Jeremiah 23:18, 22. He stood before the Lord to see and hear His Word – and stood in God’s council so that he could hear God’s Word – and announce it to God’s people to, “. . . turn them back from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds.” When a person decides that he or she will remain before God, honoring and following Him, while all others depart – that person will hear God’s Word so that it may be declared before the people. Such a word will be an announcement of their sin and a call to repentance and a return to God.
Fourth, Elijah was willing to announce that judgment and difficult times were coming. He announced that there was going to be a drought coming upon the land. It may be interesting for us to remember that for the most part this was a season of prosperity in the land. The people had much – and thought that the prosperity would go on forever. But their prosperity was about to end. Why would Elijah have the bravery (or insanity as some might think) to announce that there would be no rain or dew on the land except by his word? Had he lost his mind? No – he had searched the Scriptures and knew that God had spoken such things in the Law – and at the dedication of the Temple of Solomon. What he was declaring also came from the living God before Whom he stood. He was not acting on his own – but was living by the Word of the Lord, which by the way, is our next point.
Fifth, Elijah was willing to live by the Word of the Lord. This sounds exciting until you realize that he was immediately sent to a brook of water to be fed by ravens for a portion of the 3 and a half years when there was no rain. When the water dried up from that brook – he was then sent to a gentile widow and her son – for them to provide bread and water for him on a daily basis by faith in a jar that held no more than a day’s rations at any one time. He also had to endure the death of the widow’s son and raise him from the dead by crying out to God to give him back his life. He did NOT go on a book tour – or hold meetings in a big auditorium where he taught people how to be rich and famous like he was. He lived hand to mouth – meaning – daily he lived from God’s hand to his mouth. He lived for the most part alone – or – dependent on sources that would humiliate any proud Israelite. But he knew his provision was not based on his own prowess in the world – but rather by God’s gracious provision. By the way – it was also during this time that he evidently came to understand his coming confrontation with the false prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. He said as much as he prayed there.
This was the kind of person that God used in a day of decline due to over 50 years of ungodly leadership. He needed someone who had remained true to God even while the majority of society had turned from Him. He chose a man who did not live for his own advancement, but who truly desired that God be glorified no matter what the personal cost may be to himself or to his country. God wanted a person who stood before Him as a servant as well as a spokesman. God wanted a person who above all listened to what God had to say in that day – and was unashamed to declare it regardless of what it meant for him. And finally, God desired a man who had no desire to prosper personally from his position before God, but who would lay everything down to serve Him.
Do I think there will be another Elijah for the United States of America? Not really – because the only other Elijah I see mentioned in Scripture will have his center of ministry in Jerusalem during the Great Tribulation as revealed in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. But do I long for God to raise up men and women like him in our day to speak to our nation? Absolutely. The time in which we live is a deceptive one. Godlessness is rising and taking center stage. The Word of God is being ignored and even mocked. Leadership no longer acknowledges the ways of God as a way for our nation. Those who hold to the Word will continue to be marginalized and maligned for saying what the Scriptures actually teach in regard to sin, repentance, and returning to God. If we continue in the ways we’ve chosen – the United States will fall. Much like Rome we will continue to fall inwardly until we implode. Then whoever the “rod” is that God will use to punish us – will finish the work – possibly with a single stroke. Will this happen in a week – a month – a year – a decade? I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet – so I have no timetable to offer you. It could be tomorrow morning – and it may be years from now. But our fall is assured as long as we embrace the godless against which God testifies and by which He warns that nations will fall. Ask Israel of old – or Assyria, Babylon, Greece, Rome, England, Germany, or any other nation that embraced the things we do as a nation today. Their history shouts to us every day. Nations have arisen and fallen – and yet God’s plan and purpose have been moving forward regardless of the players on the stage.
My hope is that God will grant us prophets who will warn of the coming day of judgment and reaping what we’ve sown. He has been faithful to do so throughout history. It is my hope also that God will have mercy on me – and I will take up His calling upon my life – so that regardless of what part I am to play – I will be faithfully standing before Him to embrace it when He speaks. May He have mercy upon the United States of America and call us to repentance, return, and hopefully revival in the very near future.