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1 Kings 18:40 by Robert Dean
Series:Kings (2007)
Duration:57 mins 40 secs

Thinking about the conflict man has with nature. 1 Kings Ch. 18


The circumstances of the confrontation on Mount Carmel is not that different from the circumstances that we face in our world around us. The northern kingdom was a nation that had a history that was grounded in God's revelation to them. They had a tremendous history of truth, a tremendous past of great glory, freedom and prosperity under David and Solomon, but once Solomon died and Rehoboam became the king we saw that there was arrogance in his heart and soul. There was a tax revolt but that was something that was the will of God because He was bringing discipline upon that nation because of their paganism that had come in through Solomon. The people had approved of that and were beginning to synthesize the worship of Yahweh with these false religions. So God had brought judgment on the northern kingdom as He had outlined in Leviticus chapter 26, and that included that He would bring drought and famine on the nation.


If we are going to do what the Bible says in Romans 12:2, exchange the thinking in our souls for the thinking of the Word and be transformed by the renewing of our minds, we have to think. Most people don't like to think, which is why they don't go to good Bible teaching churches too often, they just like to go where they can sit and be entertained by various musicians and have a nice little prosperity, feel-good message that is designed just to make them feel good about all of their false thinking. So there is always this conflict that we have in history and we see this great example of it in Elijah, the conflict between the truth of God and the truth of man, which ultimately goes back to the same old battle that we have had since the serpent in the garden, i.e. the truth of the creator versus the truth of the creature. Are we going to worship the creator or are we going to worship the creation? The Scripture says that is always the trend and was the trend in Israel in the ancient world; they had succumbed to nature worship, to the worship of the gods of fertility which was their path to prosperity. What was so remarkable about all of Elijah's miracles is that every single one was designed to show that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob trumps the god of Baal every single time; every single one was designed to show that Baal was impotent.


The fire which came down on the altar was just the beginning of the change which took place. This was no surprise to Elijah; he understands the background, the various events in the past where God had sent fire from heaven. 1 Chronicles 21:26 tells of God sending fire from heaven on an altar that David built. In 2 Chronicles 7:1 God sent a fire from heaven consuming the burnt offerings and sacrifices at the dedication of the temple. Leviticus 9:24, fire came from the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. So this is not something new that was just generated by Elijah, he was able to set up the contest because he basically uses the faith-rest drill, he knows what the issues are. And the issues, then, aren't any different than what they are today.


This conflict of thought that is occurring between the divine viewpoint biblical thought that is what gives Elijah his courage, strength, power versus all of these syncretists is the same battle we face in our soul every single day, challenging the human viewpoint garbage that we have sucked up from the world around us. It is the same battle we face when we deal with family members or friends or others in our culture; they are just like the priests of Baal in more ways than we can imagine. All of those Israelites up on Mount Carmel were not thinking about their lives biblically, and it is the same thing today.


We need to ask the question: how does the challenge on Mount Carmel enable us to think biblically about our relationship to God, man and creation. Creation we prefer to use as a divine viewpoint category; nature really more of a human viewpoint category. Secondly, what forms has the human viewpoint system taken today to shape the thinking of our culture? Third, how much of that is in our soul, taken in from the world around us?


One thing we see in human viewpoint that goes back to probably the garden but it really got developed by the Greeks a lot is called the great chain of being. Without going into this in depth this really got developed and systematized by Aristotle and what he basically said was that this chain of being is a continuity of being from top to bottom and it includes everything in the universe. We could say as a definition that it is a hierarchy of static unchanging forms with god who is being itself—sometimes called the unmoved mover, the good, the absolute, and other terms—then angels, plants, animals, down to the inanimate objects; all part of the same chain of being. There is really no difference in kind there; it's just a difference in degree. This movement in the ancient world was from top to bottom but in the modern world it is from bottom to top. To diagram this we start at the top with God and God is in the box; He is part of everything else. Is that biblical? That is how the ancient gods and goddesses were; they were part of creation, part of nature, part of this whole chain of being so that their being was not qualitatively different from our being. But God isn't some just isn't man blown up big like some blow-up doll which just looks like Superman. Then there were angelic beings or spirit beings out there, man under that, then animals, vegetation, rocks, earth, water, etc. And they are all together, so we can't do anything to hurt them because then it hurts everything else! Then we have astronomical and geophysical environment. That includes the climate and climate change. What you say about the climate, how you interpret the data that you get, is going to be determined a lot by the glasses you put on. If you put on those Darwinistic, naturalistic glasses then you are going to look at the data differently than if you put on your Old Testament and New Testament glasses. The problem is we have a lot of regenerate, redeemed Christians who because they have been at these pious platitude churches that are so shallow. But do we think that we are going to overturn ten or one hundred thousand hours of human viewpoint brainwashing from the public school system, television and everything else with 45-50 minutes once a week? Talk about self-deception!

Romans chapter one tells us that "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness." Men suppress the truth; they hate God and they're worshipping the creation rather creator. Romans 1:25 NASB "For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." The problem that we have with nature (and it is a problem) isn't because of the industrial revolution, because of hydrocarbons or gasoline or any of these things, it is because of God. God did it, not man. God cursed the ground, Genesis 3:17. There was a curse on the animals. But there is going to be a real redemption, and that is indicated in the ministry of Jesus. In the prophecy of the Millennial kingdom in Isaiah 11:6-9 we read that this curse is reversed. Isaiah 11:6 NASB "And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. [7] Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox. [8] The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den. [9] They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea." It will be reversed, not by the environmentalists or the politicians, but when Jesus Christ returns and not until then. The change is produced because Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sin on the cross. That laid the foundation. When He returns he can work out the results of that redemption upon creation. Romans 8:19-23 NASB "For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for {our} adoption as sons, the redemption of our body." That is our hope. The only hope is Jesus Christ and nothing else.