Your head crowns you like Carmel,
And the flowing locks of your head are like purple threads;
The king is captivated by your tresses.
Song of Songs 7:5
Carmel, also called Mount Carmel is a mountain on the Mediterranean Sea noted for it lush vegetation. The word ‘karmel’ means fruitful or fertile garden, a cultivated place. It’s often used to contrast desert or wilderness, like this:
Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high,
And the wilderness becomes a fertile field,
And the fertile field is considered as a forest.
Here “fertile field” is the Hebrew word ‘karmel.’
The region of Carmel is first mentioned in a list of the kings that Joshua and Israel conquered after they crossed the Jordan
Now these are the kings of the land whom Joshua and the sons of Israel defeated beyond the Jordan toward the west, from Baal-gad in the valley of Lebanon even as far as Mount Halak, which rises toward Seir; and Joshua gave it to the tribes of Israel as a possession according to their divisions, … the king of Kedesh, one; the king of Jokneam in Carmel, one; – Joshua 12:7, 22
It was a nation that was turned from the kingdom of darkness, to a realm ruled under God’s Theocracy.
The next time we see Carmel, we find that it was a possession of the tribe of Judah. The name Judah means praise, and so we see that Carmel was a possession the sons of Praise.
Now the cities at the extremity of the tribe of the sons of Judah toward the border of Edom in the south were Kabzeel and Eder and Jagur, … Maon, Carmel and Ziph and Juttah, – Joshua 15:21, 55
After Saul defeats the Amelakites (sparing King Agag, leading to his own undoing as King in Israel) he built a monument to himself on Mt. Carmel.
Carmel is where David came across wicked Nabal and his gracious wife Abigail.
Mt Carmel (many years after Solomon wrote this Song of Songs) becomes the place that Elijah calls for a decision from Israel. “How long will you stumble between two opinions?” he asks God’s chosen. Then he challenges the prophets of Ba’al to the showdown of the ages.
You probably remember the story, but either way, it’s a great read – you can check it out in 1 Kings 18.
After the prophets of Baal can’t seem to get their God to come out and play, Elijah calls the people near and assembles his offering for the Lord. Then he has it doused with water repeatedly.
Next – well – here:
At the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that You, O LORD, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.”
Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. – 1 Kings 18:36-38
And here is the place for decision:
When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God.” – 1 Kings 18:39
Then Elijah killed all the prophets of Baal.
Carmel is a fitting picture of the head of the lover of God.
It is where the initial battle for allegiance took place, the place possessed by praise, and the place idolatry meets it’s doom.
Once it is under the headship of Jesus Christ it is a beautiful and fruitful garden cared for by the Master Garden builder Himself. The One who placed the first Adam in a wonderful garden, and the one who walks with us in our own garden in the cool of the day.
Perhaps today you find that your mind is a battle ground for your affections. Today may be the day you need to stand like Elijah and call down fire from heaven to consume your offering of praise. That passion fire from the Father will give you the courage you need to slay the prophets of Baal in your life, to destroy the detractors that keep dragging you back into compromise, or complacency.
Are you sick of living a mediocre Christian-ish life? Come with me to Mt. Carmel, and let’s call down some fire.
The result will be a beauty that the Lord can not resist.
Come Lord Jesus – set fire to our sacrifice of praise.
Come back soon.