2 Corinthians 3:18 (JDW Super Amplified Version)
And we, who with unveiled faces, all beholding the glory of the Lord—as in a mirror—are being transformed into his image, essence, and likeness; with ever-increasing, all-surpassing glory, indeed from one degree of glory to the next. And this is from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Per usual, we are here at Mt. Carmel longer than I anticipated and we have a bit more time to go. Mt. Sinai will wait. We have gotten so caught up in the the battle of the Baals that we missed the back story.
It is quite easy and tempting to cherry pick the Bible for glory sightings. The same could be said in our lives. Our concept of glory can easily become reduced to glorious outcomes that bless and encourage us. In other words, answered prayers. This is glory to be sure, but it is the lesser glory. What if I told you, the proof of glory does not reside in our answered prayers but in our unanswered prayers. This is the pathway to the surpassing glory—where we press through the very limited sphere of our own life and family and beyond the immediate needs we have for deliverance and relief. The pathway to the surpassing glory opens up when we learn to glorify God not in response to the rain but in the midst of a seemingly never ending drought.
That is where the back story comes in. The whole land and its people had endured a devastating three year drought and were living in the midst of a debilitating famine. Some blamed Elijah for the drought; however, he only announced the Word of the Lord.
Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” (1 Kings 17:1)
Why would the Lord bring drought? It raises another question. Who was the so-called god who was responsible for rain? You guessed it—Baal. Baal was the God of fertility, also known as rain. His symbol was the lightening bolt. All of this drought set up the confrontation where the prophets of Baal, the masters of lightening were smoked out and exposed. The God of heaven and earth showed himself as the God who sends fire—the lightening of his surpassing glory.
Sometimes, okay maybe many times, the revelation of the glory of God requires a season(s) of pruning and purging. In these times, we become more or less weaned off of what we might call the temporal or even transient glory of God. These are the times where the Spirit wills to take us into the greater degrees of glory. The surpassing greatness of the glory of God is revealed when we come to glorify God because of the sheer magnitude of who God is and not just in response to what God has done.
Let’s cut to the chase. The battle on Mt. Carmel was all about rain. The prophets of Baal were calling on God for rain. They were practicing their transactional religion, doing what had “worked” in the past and yet turning it up a few notches. They were calling on God for rain’s sake. Elijah was calling on God for God’s sake.
In the first half of the gospel, we learn to relate to God for our own sake. In the second half of the gospel, we learn to relate to God for God’s own sake. This can be very difficult and disorienting. This is the place where so many turn away from the Spirit’s agenda of transformation and become discouraged. This is the place where allegiance to the living God is tested and where we slowly and subtly begin to build alliances with other suitors; lesser gods who aren’t gods at all. In ancient times his name was Baal. His most common alias today is money.
The Holy Spirit is now interpreting your own life in light of what he is revealing to you. Many of you are being challenged at the level of heart and mind right now; still others at the gut level. Can you sustain trust and faith in a God who withholds rain for a time, knowing there is a greater purpose that leads to a surpassing glory. I can promise you two things. 1. It won’t be easy. 2. It will be worth it.
This is the way—from glory to glory.
Father, we want you to answer our prayers. Honestly, this is our chief concern—our needs, our family, our community. We want deliverance. We want relief. This is the glory we want, and you are so good to share this glory with us. Let us inquire now—what glory do you desire? We want to want this greater glory; for your sake alone. Holy Spirit lead us in this way, for it is the very way of Jesus. Praying in his name, amen.
Are you grasping this, the lesser glory of God which can often be for our sake and the greater glory of God which may only be for God’s sake? Are you willing and ready to pursue this greater glory? What might it cost? It is always very near to those who will pursue it.
For the Awakening,