1 Kings 19:10 records Elijah saying to the Lord, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and put Your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” His words are repeated verbatim in verse 14. These verses give us great insight into the agenda of Jezebel.
Before we dive in, it’s worth noting: 1) Jezebel does not operate through women only. This spirit is ravenously opportunistic and will seek any susceptible person, male or female. 2) This is a short blog based on one bible verse, not an encyclopedia into the wiles of Jezebel. 3) This spirit is ancient and well-experienced at deception. We need the Gift of Discernment, humility, and if need be, the willingness to repent of any of our own involvement with this spirit. 4) We overcome this spirit not because we are strong but because Jesus is strong in us. 4) Please don’t read this and witch hunt. This blog is for awareness and to encourage people to pursue a life of intimate relationship with Lord. 5) Intimacy with the Lord is the very thing Jezebel stands against. Anywhere, any church, school, or ministry where intimacy with the Lord is a foreign concept, discouraged, or outright blocked, is clue that Jezebel maybe at work. Pursue intimacy, this is our spiritual inheritance.
The verse again: “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and put Your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
1. Zeal. The word for zeal in both the Hebrew קִנְאָה (qinah) and Greek ζῆλος (zelos) is the same word for jealous; in both languages, pointedly. “Z” is used for our being filled with a hot-burning, passionate love for the Lord. It describes our emotions as boiling on the inside, with love. “J” is used when it’s anger or hatred, in the negative.
We were designed with the capacity to love the Lord with this kind of zeal. Elijah is saying “this is how I love you Lord.” Jezebel is a jealous spirit, gratuitously desiring the worship that belongs to God, and passionately filled with hatred toward those who love and worship God. It is in the arena of worship that much of Jezebel’s battles are waged. “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15), the word “serve” עָבַד (abad) also means “worship”. More on this in point #3.
2. Rejected Your Covenant. The Old Covenant was God’s mercy on display. The Israelites had been invited into relationship with God at Mount Sinai, but out of fear they rejected His offer and asked for a mediator, Moses, a man.
“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” The people remained at a distance…” Exodus 20:18-21.
God, heart-broken, honored their wishes and set Moses up as mediator and inaugurated the Old Covenant through him. One man as a go-between for the rest of men. Driven by His great love, God still wanted to be among His people, and so limited Himself to the Ark, staying behind the veil, so He could remain in the midst of His people. This continued on down until the time of Jesus.
Yet, even with these concessions: a mediator, a covenant, God limiting Himself to remain among them, the Israelites rejected God, again and again they rebelled, they would not stay faithful. It’s here Elijah says they’ve rejected Your Covenant!
How is this applicable today? We are the inheritors of a new and better covenant (Hebrews 8:6) with Jesus the mediator (Hebrews 12:24). It is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh (Acts 2:17-21), God making His permanent home in our hearts, and promising to never leave us (John 14:15-21).
God’s method of communicating with us in the New Covenant is by direct revelation received into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, and by His written Word, the Bible. God speaks to us, and in many different ways. When Jesus repeated the words from Deuteronomy 8:3, “man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” in Matthew 4:4, He was saying man cannot live on the bread (the written Word, the Bible) alone. There is a continual flow of words and revelation from God to our hearts, this is the word that “proceeds”.
This is significant today because many in the church turn away from the direct revelation of the Lord and rely solely on the written Word, and other men’s opinions about the written word. Many today still ask for man as a mediator, i.e. a pastor, or other respected church leader. It’s looking for the opinion of a perceived “expert”, while turning away from the direct voice of the Holy Spirit in our heart. It’s a rejection of our New Covenant promise (note Elijah’s words: “they have rejected your covenant”). It’s placing greater weight and trusting the words of men, instead of God —Jezebel is behind much of this.
A couple of years ago in a conversation with a few pastors and I said, “People need to hear from the Holy Spirit for themselves.” An obviously frustrated pastor spoke up and with conviction proclaimed, “No! They can’t do that. They’ll get confused. They need their leaders to guide them.” I shuddered inside for this pastor. Her words were a self-indictment. She believed she was better for a person than God, the Holy Spirit, Who resides in a person.
Where the voice of the Holy Spirit, Who is God, is limited, ignored, or out-right rejected, Jezebel is very often behind it. It’s a very ancient agenda.
3. Torn down Your altars. The altar was the place worship was offered to God in the Old Testament. Today, Jezebel still goes after worship, seeking to reduce, corrupt, twist, pollute, and sabotage it by turning it into anything but true spirit-led worship. Jezebel seeks worship for herself, but ultimately works to take it from God.
Jesus said, “true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in Truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in Truth” John 4:23-24. The Holy Spirit seeks to produce in us a worship that is pure and ministers to the heart of the Father. Jezebel seeks to cut this kind of worship off and cause our attentions to be on anything else but God; literally, anything else.
Jezebel offers many alternate and counterfeit altars for us to worship on. The seemingly benign and casual idolatries are countless: a spouse, a child, a pastor or leader, my ministry position/title, my church, my job, money, success, my TV shows, social media, my intellect… Anything we gain self-worth from apart from Christ leads to a warping of our true identity and can corrupt our worship, because our identity is inseparable from how and what we worship. Beware of Jezebel’s stealthy designs on ruling worship.
4. Put Your prophets to death. Jezebel was busy killing off the true prophets of God in 1 Kings 18:4, silencing the true prophetic voice of the Lord among the people, while installing false prophets. She had at least 450 false prophets (1 Kings 18:19), prophets that would speak and do her bidding, people at her beck and call. This is not a prophet. A prophet serves at the beck and call of the Lord, alone. He or she says and does all that God wants said and done. Nothing more and nothing less.
Ahab, Jezebel’s husband had more than his share of run-ins with true prophets. Ahab was running with his own agenda in the nation (read: church) and to have annoying people speaking God’s truth to Him was inconvenient. Jezebel cleaned up Ahab’s mess. She killed off the true voice of the Lord, and installed “yes men” prophets. Jezebel does the same today.
Jezebel craftily did all this, murdered God’s innocent and true prophets, while looking like a very good and religiously honorable person. She fasted. She called the people to prayer. She did right and looked right before the people (1 Kings 21:9-12), all the while fulfilling her nefarious plan. *Here I am wanting to remind people, Jezebel, and Ahab for that matter, is not limited to a persons gender.
5. I am the only one left. Out of fear Elijah ran for his life to a remote place in 1 Kings 19. Jezebel works to create isolation and relational disengagement, but we have been designed for relationship. We have been designed for deep and loving and accountable relationships.
Elijah really believed he was alone, I am the only one (1 Kings 19:14). God interrupted this believed lie, I have seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down… (1 Kings 19:18). God was saying there are seven thousand who have been faithful to me, just like you. They have kept themselves pure, and I have provided community for you.
Isolation is an excuse. Running is relational-disconnection. It is a symptom of a fear, it was for Elijah. Or, sometimes it’s pride that causes a person to avoid becoming relationally accountable to a community of believers, and to submit their life and gift. Jezebel can have people running ahead of themselves thinking they are better than others, spiritually more mature, or that they can’t relate to people, “they are not like me”… A worse excuse, “I am the leader here. I can’t let people really know me.” This becomes an excuse to stay relationally distant from the people he/she has been called to lead. Whatever the method, Jezebel pushes this isolation thinking into people to cause relational-disconnection, to break up and divide God’s people.
6. Trying to kill me. The prophetic voice is one that calls people into truth and right identity. It’s one that speaks forth revelation. The prophetic voice calls forth the new life of God. Jezebel, however, has a murderous agenda: kill off the voice of the Lord to His people, cut His voice off from individuals and corporately in the church, and render the church impotent—void of the revelatory “now” word of the Lord.
Jezebel employs a variety of methods. Silence the prophetic. Limit those with a prophetic voice. Falsely accuse the true prophetic voices and ruin reputations. Make them seem irrelevant. Kill them off if need be. Call the prophetic weird. Control the prophetic by creating a false understating of it. Use rhetoric to counter and water down truth. Create misinformation to distract. Create politically correct speech in the church to stop people speaking out, or from becoming a prophetic themselves. The list goes on…
There is so much more we could talk about but I wanted to limit this blog to this verse as a starting place: “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and put Your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
If you remember one thing from this post it would be that intimacy with the Lord is the very thing Jezebel stands against, so pursue intimacy with the Lord, above everything, as if your very life depended upon it—because it does.
Intimacy is our spiritual inheritance. Develop your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Tune in to His every breath. Ask Him to see what He sees and love how He loves… He wants you to grow into deep intimacy with Him, more than you do. He desperately longs over us for intimacy.