First day of school we learned how Messianic Jews and locals worship on the Shabbat. It was a sight to behold. It’s not because ‘Oh I’m in Israel, so everything is extra holy and extra Jesus juice is poured on everything’ and it’s not that we can’t worship God fully any other country but this is a time in 2000 odd years that Jesus is being worshipped in His land, in His language by His people so it’s a great opportunity in our generation now for non-Israelis to witness the turning of God’s chosen people to the Messiah. There’s dancing and singing and the music is incredible. I’ve heard people in Malaysia making jokes about the shofar but it’s a sound both of worship and warfare and when they blow it, it resounds off the walls and gives you this sense that a person of vast importance arriving. And when they raise the banner, like literal banners, it has pictures and names that represent God, so when they wave it, they’re waving their declaration.
His banner over me is love.
The sermon today was on Joshua 5 where the enemies of Israel heard about what God was doing through His people and were afraid. Our enemies fear God too. And it isn’t so God can show off He is bigger and better and on our side, in fact He doesn’t take Joshua’s or his “enemies” side because winning isn’t God’s goal. The goal at the end is that even in the fear their hearts will soften and turn back to Him. We see an example of this in the famous story of Esther. God is looking for a people who will set themselves apart for Him; the prophets and apostles call for a circumcision of the heart. Do you know, when the Nazis wanted to confirm if a man was a Jew, they would check if he was circumcised? That was a fleshly sign of the Abrahamic covenant. We are called to have the spirit-filled sign; a circumcision of the heart, which means to set ourselves apart for God. When people look at our hearts, do they see the covenant we have with God? Do they see us as belonging to Him? The Bible is sometimes symbolized as a sword, what better tool to set ourselves apart than by using the Word of God that penetrates even to the soul.
Next we went to Mount Carmel to the site traditionally believed to be the place Elijah executed all the false worshippers of Baal. There is so much history and prophecy surrounding this area. Just over the ridge you can see Mageddo, where Revelation says the final war would go down; the Battle of Armageddon. So if you want front row seats, get some real estate here.
It was also this place that a spiritual act affected national political outcome.
Elijah was sick of God’s people being unable to pick a side that he calls for a showdown; let’s get both our God’s together and whoever’s God burns up the offering at the altar is the real God. If you win, I die. So Elijah wasn’t really sacrificing a bull that day, he was presenting himself as a living sacrifice because if God didn’t show up that day, he’d be done for. The same way we should never walk into God’s house empty handed. Our offering to Him shouldn’t be refundable.
The fire doesn’t come when there’s nothing on the altar because there’s nothing to consume.
As a result of Elijah’s sacrifice, the entire nation turned around and revival broke out. You want to see revival in your life? Build an altar and put something there that shows God you mean business.
Thinking of: Elevation Worships’ O Come to the Altar