CONFRONTATIONS AND THE UNEXPECTED
by Nathan Shaw
At the end of every year I ask God for revelation concerning the coming year. For 2019 He spoke to me, “Expect the unexpected.” The biblical account of the life of Elijah is filled with the unexpected. There were unexpected confrontations, unexpected provisions, unexpected angelic and divine visitations, unexpected victories, and even unexpected defeats. All these unexpected events happened because of an initial confrontation. Elijah directly confronted King Ahab and declared that there would be no rain except at Elijah’s word. No rain meant no harvest. No harvest meant no provision. The issue at stake: Who was Israel’s source of provision—Baal, the god of the storm cloud, or Yahweh, the God who rides the clouds? By worshiping Baal, the nation of Israel was acknowledging and declaring him as their source.
Two Seats of Government
1 Kings 17:1 makes it clear that there were two seats of government operating—one in the natural realm, and one in the spirit realm: And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word." Elijah stood before God and His heavenly court. Ahab, as king of Israel, presided over an earthly court. Elijah came from the heavenly court and addressed the earthly court. The perspective from each seat of government was totally different. In fact the reading of events from the two seats of government was often contradictory.
A seat of government is concerned with the provision and protection of its people. Because there was no rain for three years there was a major problem with provision. That’s why Ahab referred to Elijah as the troubler of Israel. From heaven’s perspective Ahab was the troubler of Israel, not Elijah (1 Kings 18:17-18). Ahab was the one who allowed his wife Jezebel to promote Baal worship in the nation. During the confrontation between Yahweh and Baal the things that were happening in the natural realm and the things that were happening in the spirit realm often seemed contradictory. To really understand that which was happening in the nation during this confrontation required correctly discerning both the natural realm and the spirit realm.
Two Groups of Prophets
Interestingly, two groups of prophets are contrasted in the Elijah narrative. The false prophets comprised 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah (1 Kings 18:19). These prophets had direct influence over the king’s court through Jezebel. The number of the true prophets was only 100. Jezebel had systematically killed the prophets of the Lord. Their voices had been cut off from Ahab’s court. The 100 that remained were hidden in two caves, 50 in each cave. Their voices were heard only before the heavenly court. Even during the time of extreme famine God arranged for both the provision and protection of these prophets. Ironically, this provision and protection came through Obadiah, the chief steward of Ahab’s palace (1 Kings 18:3-4). The false prophets ate openly at Jezebel’s table. The true prophets were supplied secretly with a basic provision of food and water.
Two Mountains: Confrontation and Commissioning
After three years of famine Elijah appeared to Ahab a second time, this time to summon the false prophets to a dual on Mount Carmel. At Carmel the false prophets failed to call down fire on their sacrificial animal. Elijah instantly called down fire on his sacrificial animal. The prophets of Baal were seized and killed. Rain clouds started to gather. At this point it looked like Elijah would confront Jezebel herself, but unexpectedly he was overcome with fear and fled for his life.
At Mount Carmel Elijah believed he was the only true prophet of God left (1 Kings 18:22). The spiritual force behind Jezebel works to isolate true prophets from each other (1 Kings 19:10, 14, 18). If Elijah had stood strengthened by the reality of the 100 prophets that Obadiah had hidden and the 7000 people in Israel who didn’t yet worship Baal (1 Kings 19:18), would he have been able to take Jezebel out? If Elijah had taken out Jezebel it would have been a great victory indeed, but another important question needs to be asked. When there is a vacuum in government it needs to be filled. If Jezebel was taken out, were the righteous ready to fill the vacuum? If the righteous were not ready, another Jezebel could have arisen, or worse yet, an even more diabolical force could have taken her place.
Elijah fled to Mount Horeb where he met with God. God commissioned him to anoint Hazael as king of Syria, Jehu as king of Israel, and Elisha as a prophet in his place. The right people needed to be in place to bring about a complete victory over Jezebel. This was as important as the direct confrontation that had happened at Carmel. Carmel was about confrontation. Horeb was about commissioning. After the defeat of the prophets of Baal at Carmel there was a significant change in the spiritual atmosphere over the nation. Schools of prophets now met openly rather than hidden in caves (1 Kings 20:35, 41, 2 Kings 2:3, 5, 7, 15, 4:38, 6:1).
2019: A Year of the Unexpected
There are major governmental shifts happening in the nations of the earth. It is a strategic time. Standoffs and confrontations will continue. Many things that appear one way on the surface will turn out to be completely the opposite. No matter how bad things look in the natural, expect the unexpected. Only those who truly discern what is happening in both the spirit and the natural will interpret events correctly. It is most important that the righteous rise up and take their places of authority and influence.
Elijah appeared out of nowhere but his voice shook the governmental order of the day. The voice of the prophets was cut off, but 100 prophets were preserved hidden in caves, their voices still to be heard. Many have been prepared for this hour. The voice of the righteous will no longer be silenced. God is shaking the church out of her apathy and political correctness. The church is destined to be a prophet in the nations. This requires that we walk in humility, discern what is actually happening, and pray, speak and act with boldness. Bold speech will lead to bold actions. The greater the unity of the righteous, the greater the victories will be. Now is not a time to be isolated or discouraged. Expect the unexpected.
Nathan Shaw helps bring individuals and churches into dynamic encounters with God's indescribable love. Nathan's passion is to equip churches so that they can move in the Spirit, access heavenly realms, encounter God's heart and release His Kingdom on the earth. Over the last twenty years he has been instrumental in ushering in significant moves of the Spirit in over ten different nations. Many have experienced life changing prophetic encounters and dramatic visitations from God. Nathan is the author of two books: Passion and Fire and Unto the Least of These and he is the senior pastor at Fire and Destiny Centre www.fireanddestiny.org, Dunedin and Celebration Church, Mosgiel www.celebrationchurch.xyz.
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