Bristol, Virginia

And the Bride Has Made Herself Ready – Pt. 2

The Spirit of Elijah

He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17)

The above verse is talking about John the Baptist. There are a few very important things to note in the above passage. First, it is said John would go before Jesus in the “spirit and power of Elijah.” We know from 1 Kings 17-19 that Elijah was used in great power to feed the dying widow, save the little boy, kill all the prophets of Baal, and make it rain after a long drought. Those acts showed the power of Elijah. (God through him) Now, the spirit of Elijah turned the hearts and “made ready a people prepared for the Lord.” What a beautiful statement. Listen, being used by God in power is wonderful and we should all pray for it. But we should desire much more to be used to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Let’s look at the passage from 1 Kings.

King Ahab had brought the chilren of Israel before Elijah. Elijah, speaking to backslidden Israel said “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him. But the people answered him not a word.” (1 Kings 18:21) Then Elijah set up a challenge.

Then Elijah said to the people, ‘I alone am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.’” (1 Kings 18:22-23)

We know how the story goes. The false god of Baal didn’t answer by fire but the God of Elijah did. “Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” (v.38) God used Elijah to turn many of the peole of Israel back to their God. I believe that this same spirit is coming upon many in the church to make a people ready for Jesus’ return.

When Jezebel, the wife of Ahab, heard that the prophets of Baal had been killed, she vowed to kill Elijah. Terrified, Elijah ran and hid in a cave. While hiding Elijah made a telling confession. “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” (1 kings 19:14)

Elijah was zealous for the Lord. That same zeal is coming upon many today, even as it came upon John the Baptist. He hated that Israel had forsaken the covenant and torn down the alters. Likewise, men and women of God will be used in the spirit and power of Elijah to restore the covenant and alters of the Lord.

The Wilderness is a Key Ingredient

Both Elijah and John the Baptist were both men of the wilderness. When God first called Elijah He said to him: “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” (1 Kings 17:2-4) And it was said of John the Baptist: “And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mark 1:3)

The wilderness is a place of testing and quietness. You are removed from the many, normal distractions of life. The Holy Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness for 40 days. Likewise, the Spirit is driving many of us who are commissioned to prepare the way of the Lord into the wilderness. It is a place where we can hear God clearly. Some of you may have stopped desiring to go to this and that meeting. You have a longing to be alone in the quiet place with the Lord. Be assured, He is the one drawing you to that place. Do not feel guilty or you are missing out. You are not.

Speaking of the quiet place, let’s go back to Elijah for a minute. Back in the cave when he was hiding from Jezebel, Elijah had a powerful encounter with God.

Then He said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [e]a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:11-12)

God was not in the wind, earthquake or fire. He was in the small still voice. God is still in the still small voice. The question is are we quiet and still enough to hear that voice? I know a quiet place: the wilderness.

God is preparing a people who will “make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Yes, God will use many in power. That is needed. But the greater need is for a people who know the small still voice of the Lord. Then, they will declare that they, like John the Baptist are a “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord.” (Isa 40:3)

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