Water On the Sacrifice
Dear Friend, Are things getting worse instead of better? Are you wondering why? Do you need a word of encouragement right now? Sometimes you and I face situations in our lives that seem to be trending down rather than up, in spite of all our prayers and petitions for improvement. When things get worse instead of better, we wonder what the Lord is doing—or not doing. It may seem strange to say, but when added problems arise, it is often just a little more water on the sacrifice.
Using a familiar passage from the life of Elijah, let me explain what I mean by the phrase, “water on the sacrifice.” In 1 Kings 18, Elijah issued a bold challenge to the King of Israel, his 450 priests of Baal, and the Israelites who had been led astray into Baal worship. Elijah said to the people, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him” (v. 21). Then Elijah spelled out the ground rules for the contest that was about to take place: two bulls, on two separate altars, with no fire under either altar. “Then you [priests of Baal] call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God” (v. 24). Everybody agreed to the terms, and the contest began. We all know the story. The priests of Baal danced, screamed, cut themselves, and wore themselves out calling to Baal. No answer; no fire on the sacrifice. Then it was Elijah’s turn.
Despite the Water
Before Elijah called upon the Lord to answer, he took time to repair the altar of the Lord, arranging everything exactly as it should be. Then, instead of calling immediately for God to send His fire from heaven, he gave an unusual order: “Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood” (v. 33). They obeyed. Then Elijah told them to do it a second time. Then he told them to do it a third time as well. Keep in mind that if these waterpots were the same size as the ones filled at the wedding at Cana (where Jesus turned the water into wine), each one held between 20 and 30 gallons of water (see John 2:6). So, by simple calculation, Elijah ordered somewhere between 240 or 360 gallons to be poured on this sacrifice. It was drenched, and the water flowed off the altar onto the ground, even filling a trench that had been dug around it. What was the point? Elijah was making this bold declaration: “Water on this sacrificewill not withstand God’s fire. All the water in the world won’t make any difference. It won’t keep the Lord from consuming this sacrifice by fire!”
How This Applies
What was the ultimate result of this contest? We see it in Elijah’s prayer right before God’s fire fell. “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again” (v. 37). Sometimes when things get worse instead of better, our hearts grow cold and untrusting toward the Lord. “Why aren’t You answering my prayer? Why aren’t You coming to my aid?” Could it be that one of the purposes for the worsening situation—a little more water on the sacrifice—is that God will be glorified in an even greater way in our lives? Can we make this very personal? Can we take this example to heart? When our situation gets worse instead of better, maybe it’s just a little more water on our sacrifice. Perhaps the end of the matter will be a greater testimony of God’s glory at work in our lives.
God’s Greater Glory
In one of Derek Prince’s teachings, he uses the raising of Lazarus to underscore how God’s greater glory can often come out of desperate situations. When Jesus was first informed of the sickness of Lazarus, this is what He said in John 11:4: “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Then Jesus waited two days before He went to Lazarus. Was this like water on the sacrifice? The disciples were perplexed that Jesus waited; Mary and Martha were upset that He hadn’t come sooner. Yet, the death of Lazarus—certainly some very serious “water on the sacrifice”—was for the greater glory: “that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Derek speaks of this priority of God’s glory in a message called “Seven Basic Conditions for Answered Prayer.”
What is the correct motive for prayer? Jesus has already stated it: “that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13–14). There is the motive on which God answers prayer: the sincere desire that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in answering that prayer. We see a similar truth in 2 Corinthians 1:20: “All the promises of God in Him [Jesus Christ] are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” What is the whole purpose of coming to God and claiming His promises? That God may be glorified through us in our doing it.
Trust Despite the Water
Does all of this resonate with you? Can you see how your worsening situation might be the predicate for a greater outpouring of God’s glory when He answers? Will you trust the Lord, recognizing these added complications as simply more water on the sacrifice? Let’s tell Him so together with the following prayer:
Lord, this is a tough one. When I consider that all I am facing may be for Your greater glory, I feel like the person who said, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” Even so, Father, I want to take a step of faith into total trust—of You and Your greater purposes in this matter. With this prayer, I change my view concerning these added troubles in my situation and these worsening aspects. They are simply “more water on the sacrifice.” I trust You, Lord. Even though this situation is totally drenched right now, I proclaim my belief in You. I call upon You as Elijah did. Let Your fire fall! As You consume this sacrifice by Your great power, I turn my heart to You again, asking You to bring greater glory to the name of Jesus through this entire matter. Amen.
Waiting for the Fire to Fall
You and I just prayed a very gutsy prayer together. Viewing a worsening situation as “a little more water on the sacrifice” requires great faith—but it’s helpful, isn’t it? Let’s stand together all the way through to the complete resolution of the challenge facing you. Please feel free to stay in touch with us, sharing each testimony of your progressive victory as it unfolds. Would you allow us to encourage you further with materials by Derek Prince that will enhance your walk of faith? In that regard, feel free to download the MP3 message, “Seven Basic Conditions for Answered Prayer,” from which we drew Derek’s excerpt. Just use the link below. Once again, we send our thanks for the privilege of staying connected with you. We are so grateful for your ongoing prayers for DPM—and also for your generous support.
For His Glory
It would be wonderful if every trial we faced had a storybook ending. “And they lived happily ever after.” You and I know that life rarely works like that. Often, the Lord requires us to walk through storms and disappointments. Actually, these are the experiences He regularly uses to strengthen us as we follow Him. Even so, it can be a discouraging process at times—one in which we need to encourage one another. So here is the word of encouragement. When God’s fire falls, it will be powerful. Can anything resist Him? No! Each added problem is simply a little more water on the sacrifice.