1 Kings 18:20-21, (22-29), 30-39
18:20 So Ahab sent to all the Israelites, and assembled the prophets at Mount Carmel.
18:21 Elijah then came near to all the people, and said, “How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” The people did not answer him a word.
18:22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets number four hundred fifty.
18:23 Let two bulls be given to us; let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it; I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood, but put no fire to it.
18:24 Then you call on the name of your god and I will call on the name of the LORD; the god who answers by fire is indeed God.” All the people answered, “Well spoken!”
18:25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many; then call on the name of your god, but put no fire to it.”
18:26 So they took the bull that was given them, prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon, crying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no answer. They limped about the altar that they had made.
18:27 At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud! Surely he is a god; either he is meditating, or he has wandered away, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.”
18:28 Then they cried aloud and, as was their custom, they cut themselves with swords and lances until the blood gushed out over them.
18:29 As midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice, no answer, and no response.
18:30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come closer to me”; and all the people came closer to him. First he repaired the altar of the LORD that had been thrown down;
18:31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD came, saying, “Israel shall be your name”;
18:32 with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD. Then he made a trench around the altar, large enough to contain two measures of seed.
18:33 Next he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood. He said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood.”
18:34 Then he said, “Do it a second time”; and they did it a second time. Again he said, “Do it a third time”; and they did it a third time,
18:35 so that the water ran all around the altar, and filled the trench also with water.
18:36 At the time of the offering of the oblation, the prophet Elijah came near and said, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding.
18:37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.”
18:38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench.
18:39 When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD indeed is God; the LORD indeed is God.”
What an amazing picture of our Gods mighty and awesome power. Elijah stood before a nation who ultimately rejected and whole heartedly dismissed the name of God and His very existence. Elijah could have simply spoken words of conviction to the people but this required putting His words of faith into action.
In order to do this Elijah set before them a challenge to prove two main things: the first being that anything else that we put our faith in other then God, proves to be false. The second is that when we choose to put our faith in God we experience His power and blessings in our lives that we could never gain from any other means.
- Misplaced Faith leads to false hope: the nation of Israel had not only rejected God but had chosen to put their faith in something that was fake and left them feeling empty and hopeless. When Elijah challenged them to call on their “god”, Baal, to send fire there was no response. Not only was their no response but it began to drive them into a furry of frustration. Verse 28 says “Then they cried aloud and, as was their custom, they cut themselves with swords and lances until the blood gushed out over them.” Their faith was in something that could not answer them or give them the hope they were looking for. When we choose to place our hope in the things that the world has to offer to us, the only response we get is hopelessness and defeat. The world cannot offer us the peace and satisfaction that we hope to gain. True peace and joy is found in our relationship with God alone and when we cry out to Him, He is sure to answer us. Psalm 34:6 “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.”
- True faith in God equals true joy and peace: Elijah went to great lengths to prove that God is who He says He is. He is all-powerful and there is nothing in this world that can ever compare. He purposely had water poured on the bull three times to ensure every nix of it was soaking wet. This was to prove that humanly speaking, it is impossible to set fire to something that is used to put the fire out. This was to prove that only God can accomplish the “impossible”. When God did answer his cry and set fire to the bull it is amazing to see how it wasn’t just the fire that astonished the people, it was Gods all powerful and controlling hand that left their hearts filled with conviction and worship. Notice how they fell on their knees which was an act of true worship to the one true and living God. When we choose to place our faith in God alone we experience His powerful and loving hand moving in our lives in ways we never thought He could. Place your trust in Jesus Christ and He will fill your hearts with peace and joy that you will never find anywhere else.
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