There are times when there seems to be a certain respite in history. And though the war rages around, there is still something of the quietness of opportunity, and the consequent pleading prayer for God to intervene. Such was the case in Zechariah 1:11. Those who were sent throughout the whole earth reported back to the Lord, declaring, “…all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.” (1:11) Why is this significant? Because it is at this juncture in history that the Lord will have mercy on Jerusalem, and declare, ” I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the Lord of hosts, …” (1:16) After 70 years of exile, the people would return to the land, and the temple would be rebuilt.
Now, we might think that this has nothing to do with us…but it does. I have been thinking for some time now that, because of what recently happened in the election, there has been given to us what looks like a period of reprieve from the downward slope of utter godlessness, accompanied by social and economical decay. I read this morning where other notable evangelical leaders believe the same thing, and that God is speaking to us of revival. For if we do not seek Him for revival of the church at this time, then I believe, as do many others, that we will not be spared God’s judgment upon our land. So, why do we take up the subject of “fire from heaven?” Simply because we need the intervention of God in a most manifest way throughout our land, spreading throughout the world.
When Elijah was carried away to heaven, it was upon a chariot of fire, pulled by horses of fire. Why this picture? Horses speak of power; the chariot speaks of authority; and the fire speaks of God’s holiness. When Elisha was surrounded by a Syrian army at Dothan, the Lord opened his servant’s eyes to see horses of fire, and chariots of fire. Why? It is a picture of that which is of God, but also, of the fact that God intervenes in His holiness in His power and authority, and this in the lives of men, families, nations. In Jeremiah 20:9, we read, “…but His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones.” Contrast this with, “Our boned are dried, and our hope is lost: …” (Ez. 37:11) What a contrast!! On the day of Pentecost, “tongues of fire” came upon all the disciples. Again, there was the fire.” God had given fire from heaven.
There is an old French hymn which, in essence, is a prayer, “…O viens Esprit de Dieu, fais-nous sentir ta presence…et baptise-nous de feu.” Translation: O come Spirit of God, make us to feel (to know) Thy presence…and baptise us with fire. It is not an appeal for the fire of trial and suffering, but for the outpouring of the Spirit. Wesley would write a corresponding hymn, “Come, Jesus Lord, with holy fire, come and my quickened heart inspire, cleansed in Thy precious blood; NOW to my soul Thyself reveal, Thy mighty working let me feel, since I am born of God.” The prayer is for the fire from heaven, the Spirit of God…revival by the Spirit.
When Elisha asked for one thing from Elijah before he was taken to heaven, it was for a double portion of his Spirit. Elisha realized that the key to everything was, not only the anointing of the Spirit, but the fullness of the Spirit. May God give us grace to ask for the fullness of the Spirit today, the fire from heaven…to be in our hearts, in our bones. And may His power and authority be lived out in us, as we love and serve Him this day. “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” (Psalm 81:10)