The Destiny Process (P2)
Elijah eventually leaves Zarephath and goes to Samaria, place #3. What will happen there? What will God do in the soul and life of His prophet there? What does He do in our soul and life in Samaria experiences?
Place #3: Samaria, The Place Where Deep Fear is Conquered
Read 1Kings 18:1,2. Samaria was the capital of Israel, the northern kingdom. It had become the center of Jezebel's hellish operations, the institutionalization of Baal worship and the bloodbath of God's prophets. And yes, sigh, God sends Elijah here into the very living room of Satan. Why? Because here in Samaria Elijah would face and conquer fear. Deep fears. Core fears.
You see, when the Lord told Elijah to present himself to Ahab, the only thing He promised to do was send rain upon the land. That's it. He did not promise to protect him from on-the-spot execution. He did not promise to protect him from being Jezebel's next martyr. He did not promise to shield him from imprisonment or torture. He told him one thing only, "Go, present yourself to Ahab and I will send rain on the land." For Elijah to show his ruggedly cherubic face in Samaria he had to defy his own core fears, fears like the fear of suffering, imprisonment, and death. At Samaria, deep fear is faced and conquered.
We, too, must pass through Samaria experiences in our destiny process. We, too, will come nose to nose with our core fears, and we, too, will have to defy and conquer them.
Some people fear rejection and persecution. Some fear dying. Some fear losing a loved one, or having to sacrifice this or that relationship. Some fear confronting an abusive person, or resolving a lingering issue that is uncomfortable or painful. Whatever the gut fears are, they are werewolfy enough to make a person reluctant or disobedient spiritually. Sooner or later, God will orchestrate our Samaria and go after our gut fears.
A Christian that successfully overcomes Samaria turns a colossal corner in their personality. They are no longer held down or held back by scary what-ifs. They are free, deep in their gut, to run towards whatever promise land they see. At Samaria, deep fear is faced and conquered.
To grow into our life purpose we must successfully endure and be liberated at Samaria, the place where deep fear is conquered.
Place #4: Carmel, The Place of Temporary Success with an Opening
Read 1Kings 18:16-40. Carmel is a towering mountain near the Mediterranean coast of Palestine, with the Acco Plain to the north and the Sharon Plain to the south. In Scripture, Carmel is adored for its beauty and fertility. Carmel literally means "fruitful, abundant, flourishing".
From Samaria God sends Elijah to Carmel, place #4. Why? Because here at Carmel Elijah would enjoy temporary fruitfulness and success, and this temporary success would open a way to his ultimate destiny.
Elijah's success at Carmel, though temporary, opened a way for his calling (reestablish public prophetic ministry in Israel). At Carmel, the nation's spiritual climate was drastically redefined; Baal was humiliated as powerless; eight hundred fifty false prophets were executed according to Mosaic law; Elijah was validated as the new chief prophet; Yahweh was glorified and rethroned publicly. These Carmel successes opened the way, or paved the way, for Elijah to fulfill his calling. They provided the necessary precursors to his ultimate goal (reestablish public prophetic ministry). At Carmel, there is temporary success with an opening to destiny.
We, too, will enjoy Carmel successes after overcoming Cherith, Zarephath, and Samaria. God never belittles or forgets our faithfulness to His transformation projects in us. Thank you Lord! At the right time, he rewards our faithfulness with fruitfulness and blessing at Carmel.
Though Carmel victories are sweet, they are only temporary. Realize Carmel is simply a rest and reward season on the way to our ultimate goal. We could compare it to being ahead at halftime or being ahead at the end of the 3rd quarter. Carmel is crucial, though, because it opens or paves a way somehow for our ultimate purpose; it provides the necessary precursors.
To grow into our life purpose we must visit and pass through Carmel, the place of temporary success with an opening to our destiny.
Jezreel Not Included
A quick sidenote. After Carmel, Elijah goes to Jezreel for less than a second; he immediately fled the city after hearing Jezebel's threat. Thus, Jezreel is not included as one of the places Elijah sat in long enough to experience the work of God at that particular place. See 1Kings 18:46-19:3.
Place #5: The Desert, The Place of Discouragement & Revelatory Urgency
Read 1Kings 19:1-9. After Carmel's breakthrough, Jezebel is heated to the boiling point and swears to retaliate. Elijah runs for his life into the desert. Here he would have to experience two things: endurance in discouragement and urgency for divine guidance.
At the desert, discouragement must be endured.
When the realization sunk in that Carmel's victory was only temporary and preparatory, and that Jezebel was still operative, Elijah withered into spiritual and emotional dehydration. He sunk so low he wanted to die. Yet, he would have to persevere through it. At the desert, discouragement must be endured.
We, too, will pass through discouraging deserts when we realize our Carmel blessings are not our ultimate purpose. They were only temporary victories that prepared precursors and openings for that destiny. At the desert, discouragement must be endured.
At the desert, divine guidance becomes urgent.
Strengthened by the supernatural food, Elijah ran forty days to Mount Sinai because He knew God would speak there. The desert made Elijah desperate for specific, significant guidance. For Elijah, at this point, divine guidance was no longer a luxury or a privilege or a neat spiritual experience. Knowing God would speak at Sinai was the only thing keeping his feet moving in the desert.
Scripture says often that the desert is where our appetite becomes ravenous for divine guidance. Deuteronomy 8:2,3 say God sustained Israel for forty years in the desert by every word that came from His mouth. Hosea 2:14 says God will lead His people into deserts and there speak tenderly to them. Psalm 29:8 says the voice of the Lord shakes the desert. John the Baptist willingly lived in the desert for extended periods of time to induce and perceive God's voice (Lk 1:80, 3:2). Paul, too, incubated in the Arabian desert to receive the New Covenant revelations (Gal 1:12,17). At the desert, divine guidance becomes urgent.
We, too, will become desperately urgent for God's voice in the desert, more so than we have been previously. The discouragement exposes the vanity and uselessness of all our efforts apart from His guidance. In the desert we become more zealous than ever to get to Mount Sinai, a place where God speaks.
The Desert Summary
To grow into our destiny we must visit and successfully overcome the desert, the place of discouragement and revelatory urgency.