by Dr. Randy Taylor
Randy Taylor is a local church evangelist out of West Union, West Virginia, president of Mt. Salem Revival Grounds and founder of God Save America conferences.
“And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, show thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. And Elijah went to show himself unto Ahab. And there was a sore famine in Samaria. And Ahab called Obadiah, which was the governor of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly: For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.) And Ahab said unto Obadiah, Go into the land, unto all fountains of water, and unto all brooks: peradventure we may find grass to save the horses and mules alive, that we lose not all the beasts…. And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from thee, that the spirit of the Lord shall carry thee whither I know not; and so when I come and tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee, he shall slay me: but I thy servant fear the Lord from my youth…. So Obadiah went to meet Ahab, and told him: and Ahab went to meet Elijah…. Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table…. And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”(I Kings 18:1-5, 12, 16, 19, 21)
These people didn’t answer a word because they were too ashamed because they had already given up God. I want to give you a Bible illustration of what you just heard about, how Jezebel gave away all that grace she could have had. She was in the greatest nation, had the greatest God, and she turned her back on God in favor of idolatry and wickedness. Ahab, the king of Israel, and Israel who didn’t want God Jehovah, but they wanted a king like all the other nations, they gave up being the blessed people of God. I want to preach on that phrase in verse 19, “Jezebel’s Table.”
A preacher once asked, “Why is there so much denominational division?” My answer to him was because it is Biblical. There is such a thing as ecclesiastical separation in the Bible. Jezebel was one prophetess who changed a nation that was supposed to serve Jehovah God, and have no other god before Him. We are to worship the God with the capital ‘G’, not the god with a little ‘g’, like the millions of people that are walking before that dead man, Mohammed, who is going to send them all to Hell. They gave the God of Israel away. Ahab was the king of Israel, but he was a hen-pecked husband. Athaliah was Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter, who murdered her way to the throne after awhile, killing even her own children and grandchildren.
Jezebel the queen hated Elijah and wanted to kill him. Jezebel’s name, of all things, meant ‘chaste and free from all carnal connections.’ Isn’t that a strange coincidence? She certainly didn’t live up to that name. Yet her name is associated with some of the most wicked people that have ever lived. You don’t want to name your daughter Jezebel, that’s for sure. She was a murderer, the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Zidonians, named after Baal. Ethbaal was a worshipper of a wicked idol. His name meant ‘the god of the land.’ Through all their years, they worked to turn Israel away from God. Ahab built a magnificent temple in Samaria and began to worship a sun god. Jezebel housed 400 priests in a sanctuary that was erected and fed all 400 of them at her table. She thought they were greater than God. They forgot who they were supposed to believe in, Jehovah God. Jezebel married Ahab, king of northern Israel. Ahab sinned against God and his own Hebrew nation when he began to follow this person named after Baal, Ethbaal. Ahab served Baal the Bible says in I Kings 16 and in Micah chapter six. He caused a spiritual, moral decay in Israel.
Jezebel wanted to destroy the worship of Jehovah. She was attractive and powerful. She had no restraint. She was savage, relentless, proud, strong, and full of all kinds of schemes. She was persuasive in her influence. Her influence was her biggest curse. She used her strength to destroy her husband, her daughter, and her nation. Can you imagine that one person can be capable of so much damage? I’m telling you, if you don’t stay with that Book, you’re capable of being the same person. You’re capable of eating at the same table, if you don’t watch yourself. None could match her zeal for idolatry. None could match her worship. None could match her drive for deception, her enthusiasm to make false prophets. Baal had no one more dedicated than Jezebel, but it caused immorality, superstition, bloodshed and godlessness.
Elijah had been in hiding for three years after he prophesied a three-year drought. When he came out of hiding, he approached Ahab after that three-year drought and challenged 850 prophets of Baal under Ahab and Jezebel to a challenge of a supreme power at Mt. Carmel.
You know, preachers need to get fed up once in a while. I don’t run with wolf packs because I don’t like wolves. Every once in a while you’ve got to expose them. Ahab and Jezebel were leaders of God’s nation and God’s people. When Jezebel heard of Elijah and how he had slaughtered all these well fed prophets from her own table, she vowed to kill him. Ahab was just a puppet in her hand. If you’re God’s man, you need to follow God and be a man. You don’t need to be your deacon’s man, or your wife’s man. You’d better watch out else you’ll do what they did.
After Elijah had hid himself for three years, he’s back again. By this time the famine was in Samaria. Obadiah was a part of that household, a governor and steward over Ahab’s household. He was a good man, but employed by the wrong boss. He was on the wrong payroll. Obadiah feared God greatly from his youth. I’ve heard that those who are good from their youth are usually very good when they are older.
Obadiah was hired by this wicked king. The truth is bad people trust good people better than themselves and others like them. That’s why it’s good to have this college here. This area needs to see what good character and Bible Christianity is all about. Obadiah knew what Ahab and Jezebel did was wrong. He had all those prophets by fifties in caves and fed them bread and water. They were prophets who preached against the idolatry of Ahab and his wicked wife. Many of his fellow prophets were slain, but Obadiah saved these. Had Jezebel found out what Obadiah was doing, he would have been tortured or killed.
Then Obadiah meets Elijah. That was a great day in his life. Elijah didn’t take much time to tell him what he wanted. He said, “I want to meet Ahab. Can you set it up for me?” When he met him, Ahab looked at Elijah and said, “…Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” You know, a good old fashioned preacher often gets accused of causing trouble where sin abounds. It wasn’t Elijah that caused trouble in Israel. It was God that was raining down judgement because of Israel’s wickedness. It wasn’t Elijah that caused the sins to bring judgment upon the people. It was Ahab and Jezebel and their wickedness. Elijah told Ahab to call a general assembly of all the prophets together. Eight hundred fifty attended that ministerial association on Mt. Carmel. What a meeting! Elijah wanted to teach Ahab that you can’t serve God and sin at the same time. You know there is no such thing as a worldly Christian. Either you are for God or you’re a compromiser.
Another thing Elijah wanted to teach him was you can’t pretend to love God while you obey Jezebel and her idols. Some churches have become idol worshipping churches. We need to get back to God. Elijah looked at them and said, “How long halt ye between two opinions? Who are you going to serve — God or Baal?” They were too ashamed to answer. They were in it too deep. They knew. You know it’s amazing when you get under conviction, you either try to talk your way out of it, or you just get quiet. They were so quiet.
Elijah told them that he wanted to rebuild the altar, and that’s where revival started, when you rebuild that altar. He said, “I want you to get two bullocks, cut them in pieces, lay them on that pile of wood, and without any fire I want you to pray to your god of fire to consume that sacrifice.”
They began to cry out. “Oh, Baal, hear us.” Elijah began to mock them. He said, “Is your god asleep? Can he hear you? He must be away on a trip somewhere.” Read the Bible.
If sin is sin, then call it what it is. I like old time preaching. I never get tired of hearing good preaching. These new guys that preach philosophies will take you to the point where you know more and more about philosophies and less and less about the Bible. We don’t need psychiatry in the pulpit. I never met a psychiatrist that didn’t need one. We need old time, leather lunged, Bible believing preaching. Somebody get up and just tell it like it is.
They cried, “Oh, Baal, help us. Oh, Baal, hear us.” Israel’s false god didn’t hear them. You know, God in Heaven always hears you. He’s always there when you need Him, but you’d better be on His side. The prophets of Baal cut themselves with knives and lancets until blood gushed out of their veins. Then Elijah said, “It’s time to rebuild the altar. Make a trench that holds water. Put wood on the altar. Pour four barrels of water on the sacrifice and then repeat it three times until all the trenches are filled.” Then fire came down from the God of Heaven that those Baal worshippers had been praying for and couldn’t get. When fire falls from Heaven, then you know it’s God that did it. God was on the scene. The Bible says that they all fell to their faces and cried, “…The Lord, he is the God; the Lord, he is the God.” Elijah said, “I’ve had enough.” He ordered the slaughter of all those false prophets. I’ve been to a lot of revivals, but I’ve never been to one of those kind. Can you imagine that day? Through everything, all of these troubles, Elijah never failed to show respect to the king. He knew that it was God that exalteth one and puts down another. The Bible still teaches in I Peter 2:17, “…Fear God. Honour the king.” Elijah honored the king and feared God. When Jezebel heard that Elijah killed all her prophets, she swore by her god, that god with a little ‘g’, that she’d kill Elijah. She sent messengers to tell him. Can you believe that after all these victories, he got scared off by this one woman. It caused him a Juniper tree experience.
I hear preachers say, “Well, I never get depressed.” You’re lying. Why don’t you come off your high horse and just admit you’re human like everybody else. Elijah got depressed. Depression is a sin. It’s a killer. Most preachers quit because they don’t get over what they’re depressed about. “Woe is me. I’m all alone. I’m by myself.” God said, “You’d better rest a little while because what I’ve got for you is going to take a long time to take care of.” Then he had a mountaintop experience. He just ran 30 miles from Mt. Carmel to Jezreel and he beat the king’s chariot there. He wasn’t some kind of wimp and he didn’t have queer lips either. If you’re a queer, get saved or get out. You say, “You’re not a sympathizer?” Never have been, never will be.
Then Elijah went 120 miles from Jezreel to Beersheba. That was the Juniper tree area. Then he went 200 miles from Beersheba to Mt. Horeb, where the earth began to shake underneath his feet and God said, “Elijah, I want you to go anoint two new kings.” That means he had to remove them. He was a fighter. Four hundred miles from Mt. Horeb to Syria where he took off Benhadad from Syria and put in Hazael. Then eighty miles from Syria to Israel where he took Ahab out and then put Jehu in. That’s 830 miles. They didn’t have automobiles or airplanes back in those days. He was some kind of man.
Ahab covets Naboth’s vineyard. He and his wife kill Naboth for it. Elijah said, “I’ve had enough.” He got his courage back. Don’t lose your courage, preacher. You stand in the pulpit. You don’t look at their faces and their eyes. When you are in the pulpit, you don’t have any friends. You’re God’s friend. You don’t take sides. You just take God’s side and do what God tells you. Ahab was the king of Israel. Elijah said, “The dogs are going to lick your blood and your wife’s blood.” The last thing Jezebel did before she died was, as she saw Jehu coming with his chariot, she painted up her eyes and placed her jewel crown on her head. She mounted herself in a palace tower, and watched Jehu’s chariot arrive. Jehu said, “Who is on my side?” To his surprise, two of her eunuchs, servants of the queen, obeyed Jehu and threw her down.
We haven’t heard the last of Jezebel. Jezebel number two is on TV every day today. Revelation two describes her. Perversion of truth, full of abomination, filthiness, blasphemy and fornication, drunken with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. Revelation 17 calls her the abomination of the earth, the great whore, the mother of harlots. God said He’ll rule her with a rod of iron. Jezebel had created a generation of mad prophets. It kind of sounds like another nation we know, whose words were like poison, who substituted truth for an anything goes message to prove their point and full of fables and false doctrines and wasted words, weird philosophies. We don’t need lies and deceit. We just need the Word of God.
I want you to notice with me what Jezebel’s table caused. Look at I Kings 18:21. “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”
#1. Jezebel’s table was surrounded by fence straddlers. I looked up in Webster’s Dictionary what a straddler is. A straddler is one who tries to walk or stand with his feet spread far apart. The Bible says “…how long halt ye between two opinions?…” Where I’m from you call those fence straddlers. A fence straddler to me is somebody on the farm that tries to maybe cross that fence and he gets his pant-leg caught in a barb wire fence. He doesn’t know whether to back up or to go forward — number one, because it hurts. Number two, he is going to rip his britches. Fundamental, independent, Bible believing preachers, we don’t have to cross the fence to split our britches. A fence straddler is scared of what kind of problem he’ll face. Compromisers, that’s what you call them. They lead to false prophets. They lead to alliances that become apostate. Time soon changes things. Where once Bible believers banded together to worship God in a Bible way, now because of their systems and their buildings and their colleges and their missions, everything gets so big and the burden gets so enormous, before you know it they’ve got to keep up with the status quo. I thought the tree would always fall the way it’s leaning, unless you’ve got some big bull dozer to hoist it over the right way. That’s what this conference is all about. It’s a big bull dozer trying to get us back on the right track. If your tree is leaning, you’d better watch out. Now we have pulpits of no restraint, full of compromisers. Anything goes.
I like the sign out in front of Brother Bob Smith’s church. It clearly says, “We don’t allow that new kind of music here.” What’s wrong with the old hymn book? I mean one that doesn’t take repentance out of the great hymns of the faith. I don’t care if anybody else will, I’ll say it. I don’t have to please anybody. I can knock your bark off and leave town. Our platforms are full of compromisers and peacemakers. Preach, brother, preach! Who cares what anybody thinks? What does God think about it? Winebibbers, you say, “Where did you get that from?” Some of them don’t care if they preach in these churches that have alcoholic wine at the Lord’s Supper table. Some don’t even think twice about taking missionaries and evangelist’s support. Now we’ve got supposedly fundamental Baptist churches, who are criticizing the King James Bible. Why don’t you take that name off your sign?
You, young men, go ahead and settle it right now. No matter who calls you on the phone, no matter how many arguments they try to bring to you, and they always come while you’re around your friends and try to embarrass you. They try to get you somewhere in a feeble moment where you might say the wrong thing. Just tell them, “I don’t care what you say. The King James Bible is God’s Word.” Stand on that Bible. They ruled out the stand on the deity of Christ, the blood atonement, Second Coming. These are cardinal doctrines of the Bible. Don’t you water down the Gospel. God will take care of you if you stand true to His Word. You say, “Aren’t you scared to preach it?” I’m scared not to preach it. You mess with the Gospel and God is going to mess with you. I don’t mind saying it. They’ve thrown out separation and standards and Bible purity and conduct and appearance. Brother, we’re changing with the culture. We’re changing with this weird religion that is going around today. Let me ask you preachers that have been preaching for awhile, can you preach the same sermons you preached 20 years ago? For some it is pretty easy. For others it’s embarrassing, isn’t it? Because you’ve got to stand before the same people you’ve told that to 20 years ago, and admit you’ve changed.
You say, “Well, it’s no big deal. I can change back.” No, you can’t. Not without a fall. You take standards out of your Sunday school teachers and choir and platform requirements. Before you know it, you’ll lose your church. You’ll resign and go into ‘itinerant speaking’, won’t you? I’ve kind of learned a lesson in the last 30 years that all sympathizers are compromisers. Dr. Roloff said, “We don’t need mixers; we need separators.” There will be another Mt. Carmel someday with the same result — fire. You see, we’re not strengthened when we sympathize with those who water down God’s Word. We just weaken the cause. These preacherboys in this room need to see the same fiery preachers taking a stand 20 years from today. I love to hear these great men preach because they don’t compromise. That’s why Brother Corle and Brother Fugate and Brother Mattingly have them in these conferences, because they’re still preaching what they used to preach. By the way, that’s the God Israel gave away, and that’s the God America is giving away again today. That’s the God our preachers are giving away. First of all, Jezebel’s table caused a bunch of fence straddlers.
#2. Jezebel’s table caused faithful men of God to be cave dwellers. They had to hide for what they preached. We got to come to a great preaching conference. Nobody told us we couldn’t come, but if we keep compromising things will change in this country. Don’t you back up on your stand on the Ten Commandments. They’ve perverted the Constitution. Now we’ve got private rights of individuals. You can go to any public place and find more pornography than you can God’s Word. Jezebel’s table caused cave dwellers. A cave is a cage or a den or a hollow place or a cavern. They feared for their lives. They had no courage. They were terrified. You really learn what you believe when you have to stand by yourself. When you stand with everybody else, you can agree with all of them, but it’s different when you’ve got to stand on your own two feet. You boys in college, it’s okay to say, “Amen” here, but let me hear the same shout when you’re all by yourself out there facing opposition. Obadiah feared the Lord from his youth, the Bible says, but he got on the wrong payroll. He had the wrong boss. He began to see the error of his nation and what happened to God’s people. It ought to do something inside of you, when you see corruption come to the good churches, when you see evil, wickedness, come into the lives of our people and our culture. Hey, this is my country, too. The country was full of fearful prophets, scared to preach against the idolatry of Ahab and Jezebel, scared to be separated.
There was a duplicity of doctrine in the land. There was no direction. First Corinthians 15:58 is still in the Bible. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” Philippians 3:14 says, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” This modern religion today, oh it will get new worship. It will win new friends, but it won’t get favor with God. The average preacher stands for nothing and falls for everything. Stand for that Book. The truth is if you preach that Book like you ought to preach, you won’t be everybody’s little fair-haired child. Somebody will turn their nose up when they mention your name. Preachers are all the time looking for greener fields of exhortation to meet the expectation of the people. Jezebel just stole another pulpit. That’s what they were talking about in their day probably. “Another pulpit has gone to Jezebel.” That’s the God they gave away. Israel didn’t want Jehovah. They said, “Give us a king to judge us like all of the nations.” Now their supreme power was Ahab and Jezebel. That’s the God they gave away. Now the nation obeys the orders and opinions of wicked people rather than God’s unchanging Word. That’s what we’ve got today. We’re following opinions.
#3. Finally Jezebel’s table faced opposition from the true man of God. I’m so glad that God raised up an Elijah. I’m so glad that Elijah, when he didn’t have a crowd, decided to stand by himself. He just stood up and said, “Okay, God, it’s me and You. That’s it.” But you’re a majority when you have God on your side.
A true man of God will see results at the altar. What kind of results are you seeing at your altar? Is it stagnant? Are people walking the aisle? That’s not their fault. That’s the man of God’s fault. Maybe you haven’t had that Juniper tree experience. Maybe God needs to break you before something great can happen so He gets the glory, but you need to stay faithful long enough until something happens at that altar. You can tell a true man of God by what happens at his altar. We’re not taking enough time to meet the spiritual needs of people. You spend more time preparing your sermons and delivering your message and then you cop out at the altar call.
An old time preacher, Dallas Billington, said, “You need to spend more time after your sermon with the altar call than you do in your message.” That would change things, wouldn’t it? He said, “Your invitations ought to last as long as your sermon.” You want to rush them out because you’ve got your programs. You got to put that candy sucker in their mouth. I’m not against promotion, but I’m against having no altar calls. All these little performers, they perform, and no altar call. God, help us. Is this church or a rodeo? Why don’t you let God’s people kneel at an altar? What happened to you? You might as well join the Southern Baptists. They believe the same way you believe. Is that what is going on? Where are you getting your material? Who are you hanging out with? That won’t get you any meetings. It never has.
A true man of God will have faith in God’s Word to stand against falsehood. Sometimes it takes courage to mount the pulpit because you know what is in your notes and you see who is in the auditorium. Preach what God told you to pen when you were alone in study. By the way, do you reckon God can still bless a sermon that is not typed out by a computer? I’m just wondering. All my preacher friends say, “You’re way out of touch.” Something is kind of sissy about that.
If you’re God’s true man, it means you’ll stand alone in what you believe no matter what the crowd says, all by yourself.
You’ll reveal God’s power. You won’t brag about it. You’ll brag on Him. God’s power will be right there where you are, if you’re truly doing what God wants you to do. We need God’s people and God’s preachers to stand true in this day of apostasy. When Elijah began to do what he believed God wanted him to do, fire fell. It consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the dust — everything. That was no ordinary fire. God demolished and destroyed everything.
Jezebel’s table was in trouble now. She had to eat by herself. You say, “God is not fair.” No, it was a fair trial. Both sides had the same opportunity to call down fire. I hear people say all the time, “You preachers are mean. You preach too hard, too negative.” Well, you’d better thank God your battery post has a negative on it. You wouldn’t have gotten to church today. It takes both, doesn’t it? I still oppose the evil, liberal, wicked, and worldly things of our day. I still oppose the immodest dress, drunkenness, drugs, and nakedness. I still oppose necking, petting, and teenage fornication. I still oppose worldly music, dancing, gambling, bad TV, and movies. I still oppose sodomy, adultery, and immorality. I still oppose politicians for preachers. I still oppose laughing at purity. I still oppose perverted lifestyles and appearances. I still oppose pagan bibles. I still oppose pornography. I still oppose those loose standards and the destruction of the home and family. I still oppose the attack on marriage. I still oppose convention religion and denominational popes. I still oppose supporting liberals, infidels, evil doers, and unbelievers. I still oppose churches that think they need to have the endorsements of fellowships in order to survive.
I watched my brethren trust God enough through their beginning days of starting their churches until it came to maybe build a new building. One preacher I knew believed God for twenty years and then he went back in the convention because he couldn’t afford song books after he built his big building. How sick is that? People still go preach with him. I’m not going to preach with him. I never have preached for a Southern Baptist church. You say, “What is wrong with the Southern Baptist Convention?” That’s what your problem is. You ought to know what is wrong with it. Their money is wrong for one. Do you know what is sad? Catholic hospitals don’t provide abortions, but Baptist hospitals do. I still oppose heresies and false religion.
Go to Romans chapter one. A lot of preachers take Romans chapter one and treat it like it is just for a lost man, but there are some interesting verses here. Are you God’s child? Have you been saved by the blood? Then why do you need to worry about sitting at Jezebel’s table? Let me tell you what happens to a man that trusts in Jezebel’s table over Jehovah God. Look at Romans 1:21. “Because that, when they knew God,…” Preachers need to read Romans chapter one again. It’s not just for the lost man. “… they glorified him not as God,…” The same trouble Israel had. They knew Him, but they didn’t glorify Him as God. Verse 23, “And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.” What did God do? Verse 24, “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:” That’s not all. Look at verse 28. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;” You keep sinning against your body and your mind, and it won’t be very long before you start acting like them, thinking like them. You say, “I’m saved.” God gave them, ones who knew Him, God gave them over to a reprobate mind. You read the check list of sin after that, what you’re capable of doing once you get a reprobate mind. You keep sinning against your mind and you’ll get a reprobate mind. God will give you over. I want to just keep believing the same old stuff and stand true to this Book.
An old black man who loved the Lord used to have the job back in the old days of going down the street and lighting the old gas lanterns on the streets. That was his job every night. Every afternoon he’d light them up. A lawyer began to watch his life. He said, “Hey, old man, you are all the time singing about God and talking about God, but look at your clothes and look how poor you are. How can you brag on a God that keeps you so poor?” He ridiculed and gave him trouble all the time. Every night he’d go by praising the Lord. One night that lawyer said, “How can you brag on God when you’re so poor?”
Finally that old black man said, “Well, I’ll tell you. Lawyer, look ahead of you. What do you see?”
He said, “There are a bunch of lights.” He said, “Yes, that is what God is doing for me now, a lamp unto my path. He is going to show me the way.” The lawyer said, “What happens when you are finished?” He said, “I thought you were a brilliant lawyer. What happens when I’m finished? Morning comes.”
Morning is coming. I don’t care how dark this old world becomes, Christians ought to shine brighter. We have no business sitting at Jezebel’s table. We’re talking about people who knew God and yet took God’s people the wrong way. If you have the awesome privilege and responsibility to stand behind His sacred desk, you keep it right. If someday that man puts his hands on you to go out and do a job for Christ, you go out and do it for God and not for the favor of man. You say, “I can’t get a crowd that way.” You preach what God wants you to preach and He’ll see to it that you get the crowd you need. Just keep soulwinning. Keep getting people saved. Stand true to His Word and preach the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.