A few days ago the Holy Spirit began to direct my thoughts towards the story of the mighty Prophet Elijah. I thought about his boldness and courage in comparison to the remaining 7,000 Prophets and Layman that were either Silent Saints or Cowardly Prophets hiding for their lives in the Caves that were in the land. The pagan Queen Jezebel was on a crusade to install her false religion as the religion in the land of Israel, and the only thing that stood in her way were the True Prophets of the True God of Israel. It then became her life mission to exterminate every True Prophet of Jehovah. Obadiah, the governor of King Ahab’s house and a God Fearing Jew [1 Kings 18:3,4], secretly took 100 of the Lord’s Prophets and hid them in two caves, 50 to a cave.
As I thought about these Prophets in Caves as Elijah stood publicly and boldly for the Lord in the face of death, I thought about two other mentions of dens and caves in the Bible and it seemed as the Lord showed me the similarity of these events to today’s Church in America. Let me look at three mentions of Dens and Caves in the Scripture and make the Comparison to today’s Church.
I. A CAVE WAS A PLACE FOR CRIMINALS [Jeremiah 7:8-11; Matthew 21:13]
In Jeremiah’s day as in Jesus’ day, the Lord rebuked those whom called themselves by His Name for making His House a “Den of Thieves”. Thieves commit their crimes and then retreat to a Den for a safe place to hide from their crimes. The Lord’s people lived like the devil and then retreated to the House of God to hide from their sins and look respectable. Today, the safest place to hide your sins and to look respectable has become the local Church. The average Church member lives as lawless, as worldly and as godless as the man who does not profess to being a Christian, and then has the audacity to come to Church on Sunday Morning and sing the songs of Zion, hold a position, preach a sermon, and give an offering, just as if they were the most dedicated Saint in Church. The Lord, through the Prophet Jeremiah warned His people that He would rather totally destroy such so-called Houses of God than to allow such to continue to offend Him and be an offense to His Holy Name. They were called to remember how the Lord had destroyed their place of worship that had once stood in the city of Shiloh, for turning it into a den of thieves. [Jeremiah 7:12]
The Church in America is showing every evidence of being abandoned by the Lord because of our evils and hypocrisy. Many a Church in America is filled with Criminals on Sunday Morning, but absent is the Presence of the Lord. The stench of death is on many who pretend to be the Lord’s House. The Church has become a CAVE FOR CRIMINALS!
II. A CAVE WAS A PLACE FOR COWARDS [1 Kings 18:3,4]
As the Prophets of God hid in caves to save their lives from trials, persecution, and even death, so do so many Preachers and Pastors today. Their Church has become a safe place to preach to the choir, to be well paid and cared for, to be shielded from the attacks of those who are trying to eliminate the worship of the True God from our Nation. Their Church has become a place to pretend that they are true to the Lord, while in their heart they know that they are being Cowards, refusing to speak out about the great hot button issues of our day. They never preach a controversial sermon, they never take a bold stand for the Lord on controversial issues, yet they preach their little series of “How to be Successful and Happy” messages week in and week out, never truly impacting our culture for Christ. The Church has become a CAVE FOR COWARDS!
III. A CAVE WAS A PLACE FOR CORPSES [GENESIS 23:17-20]
In Genesis 23:17-20 we read of Abraham buying a field in which there was a cave so that he might have a place to bury his recently deceased wife, Sarah. A cave was often used as places were the living buried the corpse of their deceased loved ones.
In the Webster dictionary the word CORPSE is defined as: (“a dead body of a person; something once vigorous but now lifeless and of no use.”) It makes me blush to say this, but that is a perfect definition of so many Churches in America today. Like the Church of Sardis [Revelation 3:1] “…thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.”] Most Denominations and Churches are HAS BEENS, at one time they were alive and vigorous, but now are lifeless and of no use to the Lord. They are living on their past reputation, but in a few short years no one will ever remember that this generation of Christians ever existed. I am afraid that the main cause for so many dead Churches is that as the Apostle Paul predicted, we have come to that day that: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it…” [2 Timothy 3:5] The Apostate Church has abandoned the preaching of the Gospel and the the exclusivity of Salvation in Jesus alone, and in doing so we have filled our Church rolls with Baptized, but Unregenerate Pagans who have a religion of externals and formalism, without a personal relationship with Jesus. The Church has become a CAVE FOR CORPSES!
The Church must awake from our sleep and see everything is not alright with us, as a matter of fact we are in worse shape that we ever imagined. We are in a CRISIS, and we must have a REVIVAL, when no longer is the Church a CAVE for CRIMINALS, but a place were we are worshiping the Lord in Spirit and Truth. A Church that is no longer a CAVE for COWARDS to hide from the opposition, but a Bully Pulpit from which our Preachers become a Prophetic Voice, speaking a THUS SAITH THE LORD on every issue of our day. A Church that is no longer a CAVE for CORPSES, but a place where the Gospel is Boldly and Proudly Proclaimed and REPENTANCE TOWARDS GOD and FAITH IN CHRIST is DEMANDED, a place where it is the Home for only the BORN AGAIN.
May the Lord Make It So!!
1 Corinthians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 4:5