Sacrifice-A throw back

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I have been blogging for about ten years now. My first blog was called “Where have you come from and where are you going? My second was a collaboration with my daughter called “Generational Faith”. Sometimes I go back and read those posts. Often I don’t know if I still agree with or believe what I wrote there, and that is OK, we need to have an evolving faith! It shows we are pushing forward, growing our faith and digging deeper into Jesus’ words.

Sometimes however, reading those old posts remind me of key moments. Moments where God taught me something that was faith shaking or faith shaping. A truth that still sticks in my heart.

This post was one of those moments. So I wanted to share it here. Hoping it would encourage you in your faith today as it did mine.

Written August 16, 2013

The stories of Elijah and Elisha seem to be repeating in my world as of late so I decided to read first and second Kings again. This morning I was listening to the story in 1 Kings 18 of Elisha coming out of a long hiding and challenging the Israelites to follow one God, not two. The King of Israel was wicked and so God promised through Elijah that it wouldn't rain for a LONG time.At this point in the story I believe it was three years and not one drop from the sky.THREE YEARS. People are dying, herds are shrinking, children are starving. It is a bad scenario. The people are in deep need of God, but they can't see Him because they can't see past their false god(s).He invites the Baal prophets to a battle and invites all of Israel to come and watch. Elijah finds the highest place, asks for two bulls and tells the Baal prophets to go first (since there are so many of them). They build up the alter, they sacrifice the bull and they put it onto the wood. Then they start praying to Baal. They pray and pray and pray. Nothing happens. They pray all day. Elisha mocks them and tells them maybe they should yell louder, maybe their god is sleeping, or travelling and needs to be awakened. They yell more, they even pull out their swords and start cutting themselves and bleeding all over the place. Still Baal doesn't send down fire to burn up their offering.Now it is Elijah's turn. He rebuilds up God's altar and sacrifices his Bull on it. He then does something weird. He asks for a TON of water to be poured all over the altar.  Four large jars in fact. So the Israelites do it. Then he says DO IT AGAIN. And they do it. He asks a third time and so again they pour FOUR jars of water on the altar. This thing is now soaked. He then prays to God and calls down fire. The fire comes, boy does it ever. It comes so hot and so strong that the bible says it burned up the bull, the wood, the rocks and the soil....THE ROCKS and THE SOIL.That is some HOT fire. I imagine something like lava coming down from the sky. Of course the people see this, fall on their faces and worship the TRUE GOD. It got their attention back to where it belongs. And the Baal prophets....well, let's just say they lost their jobs.Now, for years I thought the reason for all that water on the alter was to prove that God's fire was strong enough to burn up even the wettest of wood. (have you ever tried to start a fire with wet wood....nearly impossible). There could be no question it wasn't a fire from Man, but a fire from God himself.  It was God's over the top, see what I can do miracle.This morning however, I had a new revelation. Remember what we started this story with? It hadn't rained for THREE YEARS. There was famine and drought in the land. When Elisha asked the Israelites to bring water, He was asking them to sacrifice what was probably their most valuable commodity at the time- to God. He was asking them to give their all!(as a side note, there is also 12 jars of water poured on the altar...12 tribes represented in the sacrifice not to mention fire and water are cleansing agents-God was sending a message that they would be restored to Him) He was asking them to trust God with their lives. He was, even in this story, asking them to trust Him first, before he brought down the miracle. I wonder what would have happened if they said no? If they refused to sacrifice their precious water to the true and living God?The bible explains that a short time later (through a series of events that you can read for yourself in 1 Kings 18) the rain finally falls.So the Israelites had to give up their little bit of water, what they had in their hand, what they could physically see and trust in, in order for God to bring on the rain. I don't know about you, but that struck my heart today. What is God asking you and I to give up? What is God asking you and I to sacrifice? Something that might seem like it is our only life source right now. It may seem like if we didn't have that thing, whatever it might be, we would die. What is God asking you and I to trust Him with so that he can bring even more blessing down on our lives and reveal even more of HIS glory?

Originally posted here.  

Taylor Madge