Where Are the Elijahs of God

by Leonard Ravenhill on August 11, 2015


Where Are the Elijahs of God

by Leonard Ravenhill

To the question, "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?" we answer, "Where He has always been-on the throne!" But where are the Elijahs of God? We know Elijah was "a man of like passions as we are," but alas! we are not men of like prayer as he was. One praying man stands as a majority with God! Today God is bypassing men - not because they are too ignorant, but because they are too self-sufficient. Brethren, our abilities are our handicaps, and our talents our stumbling blocks!
Out of obscurity, Elijah came on to the Old Testament stage, a full-grown man. Queen Jezebel, that daughter of hell, had routed the priests of God and replaced them with groves to false deities. Darkness covered the land and gross darkness the people, and they were drinking iniquity like water. Every day the land, fouled with heathen temples and idolatrous rites, saw smoke curling from a thousand cruel altars.
All this was among a people who claimed Abraham as their father, and whose forebears had cried unto the Lord in their trouble and he had delivered them out of all their distresses. How the God of Glory had departed! the salt had lost its savour! the gold had become dim! But out of this measureless backsliding, God raised up a man-not a committee, not a sect, not an angel-but a MAN, and a man of like passions as we are! God "sought for a man" not to preach, but "to stand in the gap."
As Abraham, so now Elijah "stood before the Lord" Therefore the blessed Holy Spirit could wright the life of Elijah in two words:"He prayed" No man can do more than that for God or for men. If the Church today had as many agonizers as she has advisers, we would have a revival in a year!
Such praying men are always our national benefactors. Elijah was such. He had heard a voice, seen a vision, tasted a power, measured an enemy, and, with God as partner, wrought a victory. The tears he shed, the soul agonies he endured, the groans he uttered, are all recorded in the book of the chronicles of the things of God. A last Elijah emerged to prophecy with divine infallibility. He knew the mind of God. Therefore he-one man- strangled a nation and altered the course of nature. This "crag of a man" stood as majestic and immovable as the mountains of Gilead, as he shut up the heavens with a word. Though it is wonderful indeed when God lays hold of a man, earth can know one greater wonder-when a man lays hold of God. Let a man of God "in the Spirit" groan, and God will cry out "Let Me alone." We would like Elijah's accomplishments, but not His banishments!
Brethren, if we will do God's work in God's way, at God's time, with God's power, we shall have God's blessing and the devil's curses. When God opens the windows of heaven to bless us, the devil will open the doors of hell to blast us. God's smile means the devil's frown! Mere preachers may help anybody and hurt nobody; but prophets will stir everybody and madden somebody. The preacher may go with the crowd; the prophet goes against it. A man freed, fired, and filled with God will be branded unpatriotic because he speaks against his nation's sins; unkind because his tongue is a two-edged sword; unbalanced because the weight of preaching opinion is against him. Preachers make pulpits famous; prophets make prisons famous. The preacher will be heralded; the prophet hounded.
Ah! brother preachers, we love the old saints, missionaries, martyrs, reformers: our Luthers, Bunyans, Wesleys, Asburys, etc. We will write their biographies, reverence their memories, frame their epitaphs, and build their monuments. We will do anything except imitate themWe cherish the last drop of their blood, but watch carefully the first drop of our own!
John the Baptist did well to evade prison for six months. He and Elijah would not last six weeks in the streets of a modern city. They would be cast into prison or mental home for judging sin and not muting their message.
Elijah lived with God. He thought about the nation's sin like God; he grieved over sin like God; he spoke against sin like God. He was all passion in his prayers and passionate in his denunciation of evil in the land. He had no smooth preaching. Passion fired his preaching, and his words were on the hearts of men as molten metal on their flesh.
But "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord" (Psalm 37:23). The Lord said to Elijah, "Hide thyself," and again, "Show thyself." It would be wrong to hide when we should be rebuking kings for His sake; it would be wrong to preach if the Spirit is calling us to wait upon the Lord. We must learn with David, "My soul wait thou only upon God"(Psalm 62:5)
Who of is dares to invite the Lord to cut out all our props? God's ways are not our ways. His ways are "past finding out," but HE REVEALS THEM TO US BY HIS SPIRIT!
Elijah prayed, not for the destruction of the idolatrous priests, nor for thunderbolts from heaven to consume rebellious Israel, but that the GLORY OF GOD and the POWER OF GOD MIGHT BE REVEALED!

We try to help God out of difficulties. Remember how Abraham tried to do this, and to this day the earth is cursed with his folly because of Ishmael. On the other hand, Elijah made it as difficult as he could for the Lord. He wanted fire, but yet he soaked the sacrifice with water! God loves such holy boldness in our prayers. "Ask of Me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." (Psalm 2:8)

Oh, my ministering brethren! Much of our praying is but giving God advice. Our praying is discolored with ambition, either for ourselves or for our denomination. Perish the thought! Our goal must be God alone. It is His honor that is defiled, His blessed Son who is ignored, His laws broken, His name profaned, His book forgotten, His house made a circus of social efforts.
Does God ever need more patience with His people than when they are "praying"? We tell Him what to do and then how to do it. We pass judgments and make appreciations in our prayers. In short, we do everything except pray! No Bible school can teach us this art. What Bible school has "prayer" on its curriculum? The most important thing a man can study is the prayer part of the book. But where is this taught? Let us strip off the last bandage and declare that many of our presidents and teachers do not pray, shed no tears, know no travail. Can they teach what they do not know?

The man who can get believers to praying would, under God, usher in the greatest revival that the world has ever known. There is no fault in God. He is able. God "is able to do according to the power that worketh in us." God's problem today is not communism, nor yet Romanism, nor liberalism, nor modernism. God's problem is - dead fundamentalism!

This generation of preachers is responsible for this generation of sinners. At the very doors of our churches are the masses - unwon because they are unreached, unreached because they are unloved. Thank God for all that is being done for missions overseas. Yet it is strangely true that we can get more "apparent" concern for people across the world than for our perishing neighbors across the street! With all our mass-evangelism, souls are won only in hundreds. Let an atom bomb come and they will fall by the millions into hell.

Sin today is both glamorized and popularized, thrown into the ear by radio, thrown into the eye by television, and splashed on popular magazine covers. Churchgoers, sermon-sick and teaching-tired, leave the meeting as they entered it - visionless and passionless! Oh God, give this perishing generation ten thousand John the Baptists!

Just as Moses could not mistake the sight of the burning bush, so a nation could not mistake the sight of a burning man! God meets fire with fire. John the Baptist was a new man with a new message. As a man accused of murder hears the dread cry of the judge, "Guilty!" and pales at it, so the crowd heard John's cry, "Repent!" until it rang down the corridors of their minds, stirred memory, bowed the conscience and brought them terror-stricken to repentance and baptism! After Pentecost, the onslaught of Peter, fresh from his fiery baptism of the Spirit, shook the crowd until as one man they cried out: "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Imagine someone telling these sin-stricken men, "Just sign a card! Attend church regularly! Pay your tithes!" No! A thousand times no!
1. Is it possible to have passion without prayer?
2. What must we be willing to give up in order to obtain the mind of Christ?
3. Would you prefer God to have partnership with you or to have ownership of you?
4. What can you do to stimulate prayer in your local church and in corporate multi-church prayer meetings?
From Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill, chapter 4