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“A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea,” Elijah’s servant reported to him, so Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the Lord came upon Elijah and tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

Reading this passage on its own, it sounds perfectly fine. Elijah’s perseverance in faith had born fruit, so much so that James the Younger used him to encourage the Israelites to pray like Elijah in his letter to the twelves tribes. The rain and wind came, and Ahab was made witness to the power of God with the miracle of seeing Elijah outrun him to Jezreel. It sounds fine and looks fine until you read on and see the fruit of this display of power. Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.

You wonder if he ran faster for his life than he did against Ahab. What happened? He overcame the 400 prophets of Baal and outran Ahab’s horses, but was overwhelmed with fear for his life. Elijah’s mistake was that he did not wait until the cloud had grown to full size, overshadowing the whole land, before he sent word to Ahab.

As overcomers who are learning the art of overshadowing our foes, the most important thing we have to learn is what Jesus commanded many times, “See that no one knows about this,” to many whom He healed, including the blind. In our immaturity and our need to impress, we have often been premature in our declaration of what God intends to do and is doing, without a better plan, that is, to use what people can see us doing as a screen to hide the real intention of the battle. Whenever Jesus said, “See that no one knows about this,” they would go out and tell everyone. Had Jesus told them to tell everyone about it, they probably would not have. The purpose of Jesus’ words is twofold. One, to teach those of us who listen to Him that there is a time of waiting before we declare what we know to the world. This time is to allow the measure of the power of the message to grow just like if Elijah had kept silent as he watched the cloud grow, and not told Ahab through his servant. The effect on Ahab when the storm did come would be greater, and more importantly, Ahab would not have seen Elijah outrun him to Jezreel. Elijah had already told him, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of heavy rain.” That should have been enough, for while Ahab was eating and drinking, the downpour would have hidden the power of God coming on Elijah. Elijah would have gone to Jezreel without Ahab knowing and Jezebel would not have been able to seek him out, for the second word to Ahab, followed by the sign of him outrunning Ahab, forewarned Jezebel. Jezebel attacked Elijah and Elijah lost the element of surprise, and in the end he fled, not Jezebel.

So again, be reminded, do not see as others see and hear as others hear, even that which is of the Lord’s way. For when Jesus told them not to tell, He knew that they would tell the very thing He told them not to, for the news of Him as a great miracle worker would galvanize the Sanhedrin into doing the very thing that God wanted them to do to Jesus. The Sanhedrin was told, “What are we accomplishing? Here is this Man performing many miraculous signs. If we let Him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” Remember, they came to this conclusion because of the raising of Lazarus. John wrote: Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the Jews, as if He was afraid of the Sanhedrin. Jesus had, by John 11, performed so many miracles that His ministry had overshadowed all previous prophets including Elijah’s, except for Moses. Yet, at the same time, Jesus never told the Jews the purpose of His ministry except to speak of it in parables. So the Sanhedrin members were concerned about the loss of their position and their nation, while Jesus was really concerned about the recovery of what the Father had lost through Adam and the establishment of the Kingdom of God that would overshadow even the glory of Israel at its peak.

The true purpose of Jesus’ ministry was hidden from the lords and authorities of this world, otherwise they would not have crucified Him. If the Sanhedrin had allowed Him to live and take over their place, then Jesus would have failed in His mission. If the people of Israel did not demand His crucifixion, there would have been no Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world. An all powerful preacher and prophet working great signs and wonders is not what God wanted from Jesus. If however, the Sanhedrin were not roused to oppose Jesus out of their fear of loss of their position, Jesus would not have been crucified. So, Jesus allowed the reputation of His miracles and signs and wonders to overshadow His true ministry, so that it was hidden from view. In the same way, that downpour at Mount Carmel as the cloud overshadowed the land would have hidden Elijah as the power of the Lord came on him, and the Lord then spoke to him again. However, Elijah did not wait, but having forewarned Ahab to go to Jezreel, used the power of God to outrun Ahab to Jezreel.

Stop and think now, and see if you understand. Why would God want Elijah to go to Jezreel? What was at Jezreel that would have any strategic significance for the Lord? None at all! Yet Elijah went there and encountered Jezebel’s threat and ran away in fear. That must tell you that Elijah was in the wrong place, just like the twelve were in the wrong place in the middle of the lake when Jesus approached them, which was why they were in such fear. As disciples, not just believers, but as ones who have been called into the five-fold ministry like Elijah the prophet, fear is a sure sign you are in the wrong place and that you have not listened. The reason the Lord was angry and approached with a great and powerful wind that tore the mountain apart, was because Elijah was not where he should be. When God asks you, “What are you doing here?” it means you are not where He wants you. For if you are, the Lord will not need to ask the question.

Now see if you can begin to understand the tactic of the Overcomer, the Lord. In Elijah’s time, what was the strategic location? It was the Temple in Jerusalem. With the priests of Baal all slain in Israel and the people of Israel now in repentance on Mount Carmel, it was the most strategic and opportune moment for the Lord to have Elijah in Jerusalem at the Temple to offer the sacrifice there with King Jehoshaphat. Here was the opportunity; the priests of Baal are slaughtered and the people are in repentance. So now forget about Ahab and Jezebel and go to Jerusalem, offer the prescribed sacrifice there and let the power of God be displayed there to declare the Lord’s favour on Jehoshaphat. It was an opportune strategic moment for the Kingdom of Israel to be made one again, the house of Ahab destroyed and the house of David exalted and all the tribes under David’s house again. A repeat of the display of the power on Mount Carmel at the Temple Mount; one of destruction of false prophets and rebuke of a rebellious king and the other of exaltation of the true prophets and the obedient king. What business did Elijah have of outrunning Ahab on his horse?

Likewise, what business did Jesus have of outrunning the Sanhedrin in their ministry? None! Jesus’ strategic move was not to dethrone Herod or take over the Sanhedrin, no, for He had defeated Satan to the point Satan has no hold on Him. Now Jesus would move on the very thrones of Death and Hades themselves through death on a Roman cross. Not even the Roman Empire was of concern to Jesus, but it was to defeat Death and take the keys of Hades, for then Jesus would cut off all retreat for Satan and he would have no strongholds left. The kingdoms of the world would be just a mop up operation. That is what Jesus did, waited till His ministry overshadowed the Sanhedrin’s and used the outpouring of their rage, jealousy and hatred to shield His true purpose.

Had Elijah waited in that pelting rain downpour, hidden out of sight of Ahab, he would have been told, “Go to Jerusalem.” When the outpouring had lifted, Ahab would not have known where he was, and Jezebel’s threats would have no ears to fall on for Elijah would be safely with Jehoshaphat. And as the people of Israel poured to Jerusalem in repentance, the overflow of that repentance would have swept the house of Ahab away and all the ten tribes back under the kingship of the household of David. Now, understand what happens when we do not learn the art of waiting until the cloud overshadows the land and we do not wait for what the Lord may truly have in mind, but because we have a victory over the enemy, because we have our prayers answered and because we have the power of the Lord come upon us, we take it all to outrun the kings of the world to where they are staying.

This time, there can be no race between the man of God and the king of the world and no Jezebel to impress. It is not a matter of doing things better than the world, not having better music, bigger buildings, larger crowds or more popularity, but rather to take it to the place where God has appointed and to meet with the King of the household of David. The signs and wonders we shall do will bring in a wave of repentance like it did on Mount Carmel, but if we take it to where the Jezebel lives, we will be defeated and God will have to ask us, “What are you doing here?”

But the day the Lord sees His elect gathered on the Mount of Olives to honour the King from the household of Judah, He will not have to ask this question at all, but only have to say, “Come up here.” You’d wonder now if Jehoshaphat was waiting for Elijah even as the news of the victory at Mount Carmel filtered through to him.

If we learn what it is to be overshadowers and wait for the overflow to happen, taking the victory and the power to where God has appointed and not where it seems good to us, then the Kingdoms of Heaven and of God will be under one King on Earth as it is in Heaven, just like Israel and Judah would have been restored to one king. God did want Israel to be restored, but Elijah missed the point of the victory.

In the midst of the outpouring that comes from the overflow of the power of God of signs, wonders and miracles, with great repentance from the people in this time, we do not go to Jezreel where Jezebel lives, but to Jerusalem where the Son of David reigns. The outpouring is not for new denomination, new churches, new congregations, new outreaches or new work to be laid down and planned for the next 100, 200 or 500 years, as if Jesus is not returning. This mighty revival is merely to hide the true purpose of God on Earth made ready for the arrival of His Son, Jesus Christ.

So there is a time of waiting, waiting for the growth, like the ark of Noah grew plank by plank, fixed in place nail by nail; a time of waiting, adding one miracle to another and then another, one practice to another, one success to another, until like the cloud grew until it overshadowed the land and could no longer hold itself in but poured out the rain on Israel. So likewise, we wait until we are so filled with power, practice, success, words and gifts that we minister not from an outpouring but from an overflowing. For the clouds after they have poured their water out are no more. But now we are to be like clouds that pour down the rain from the overflow of moisture held so that the rain will never stop. An outpouring will empty the vessel, but with an overflow, the vessel remains full.

As the Lord said when He declared the way of the Overshadower to us, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways. As the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” So now likewise, just as Elijah should not have had a race with Ahab to go to Jezreel first and Jesus’ true purpose was not to be made King of Israel by the people of His day, nor to take over from the high priests and Pharisees their religious role, so we are not to think as others think, nor walk the Way as others walk. It is not our work to pray for rain to end a drought for there will be other droughts, nor work for social justice to disperse despots and install good governments for there will be more despots. Nor to feed the hungry, clothe the naked or heal the sick as others do, for they will be hungry again, naked again and sick again. No, the overcomer must overcome the temptation to maintain the status quo and bring about the End Game. The need to end the game, to end the times, must overshadow all else. Teaching the world that Jesus loves the Father and did exactly what was commanded Him is completed by showing the world that Jesus continues to obey the Father exactly, even in waiting for the day appointed by the Father for His return.

So, what is the Father waiting for and watching for? He is waiting for His elect who understand the purpose of the time and the opportunity and do what others do not believe and do not know. Had Elijah understood, he would have gone to Jerusalem, not Jezreel, but the desire to maintain the status quo, having a divided kingdom, was too much for him.

So, do not be distracted from that which you are called for, for the fruit you are to bear is not just of the Spirit nor to find yourself standing in Heaven being welcomed by Jesus, but to be standing on the Mount of Olives welcoming Jesus. Others will find you strange and offensive, but what is stranger and more offensive: a church dressed up like a prostitute laying down with the heathens of the word while professing holiness, or a church at full power waiting for the return of their King and Lord?

So, consider your ways and your thoughts; whom have we so feared that we will not wait until the Lord speaks to us from the overflow of His heart? AMEN

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