Many of us are familiar with this passage of scripture. You know, the one where Elijah challenges King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. Elijah’s initial meeting with Ahab was interesting. 1 Kings 18:17-18 (NLT) “When Ahab saw him, he exclaimed, “So, is it really you, you troublemaker of Israel?” “I have made no trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “You and your family are the troublemakers, for you have refused to obey the commands of the LORD and have worshiped the images of Baal instead.”
What is somewhat comical, is what Ahab calls Elijah, “troublemaker of Israel”. Elijah’s response is, “No, you and your family are troublemakers.” Remember, Ahab is a wicked, evil king. He kills people for saying the wrong things. Elijah’s bold response must have been quite unexpected. He not only tells them he and his family are the troublemakers. He tells them why: “You have refused to obey the commands of the LORD and have worshiped the images of Baal instead.” (v. 18b)
Elijah is now taking the ‘bull by the horns’ and gives instruction to Ahab. Verse 19, “Now summon all Israel to join me at Mount Carmel, along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who are supported by Jezebel.” Surprisingly, Ahab does what Elijah tells him. When all the people and prophets were there at Mt. Carmel, Elijah stepped forward and, as they say, ‘draws a line in the sand’. Verse 21, “Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent.”
Interesting comment. In verse 22, Elijah says, “I am the only prophet of the Lord who is left.” Now if you were to base your decision on who wins this battle on the number of prophets, Elijah would have been soundly defeated. There were 450 prophets of Baal and 1 prophet of the Lord. But because we know the “rest of the story”, we also know that Elijah, the “1 prophet”, wins this altercation. Why? Because victory is not based on what the crowd says or what man-made solutions have been devised. One real and living God, and one man who is willing to trust God, will always win.
What is funny is, there is no real ‘battle of the Gods’ here. We know there is only one real God and all others are made up in the minds of men. Deuteronomy 4:35 (NLT) “He showed you these things so you would know that the LORD is God and there is no other.” Then in John 10:30 (NLT) Jesus declares, “The Father and I are one.”
As the story goes, the prophets of Baal go to great extremes to get their ‘god’ to burn the wood and bulls on their altar. They danced, cut themselves, and shouted from morning until noon. Nothing. No response. Verse 27 is quite daring, “About noontime Elijah began mocking them. “You’ll have to shout louder,” he scoffed, “for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!” Oh my! Elijah is too funny! “Maybe your god is daydreaming… relieving himself… on a trip… or asleep.” They continued to call on their ‘god’ until evening, but no response.
In the meantime, Elijah makes his altar with wood and bulls as well, and then douses it with water. What confidence Elijah has in God! We then read when the altar was ready, Elijah prayed. 1 Kings 18:36b-38 (NLT) “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. O LORD, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.” Immediately the fire of the LORD flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench!”
God showed up and removed all doubt in the minds of those present, who was really God! Verse 39, “And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The LORD—he is God! Yes, the LORD is God!” The evidence for the real God was strong and clear!
So, in your ‘day to day’ life, how is your faith in God? Are their times when you get distracted by the troubles of life and this world and lose sight of God? Do you then look for the solutions the world offers and leave God out of the equation? I love this story of Elijah because we see bold, confident faith in God! We see faith in God displayed in how Elijah proceeds in life. We see His confidence in God when the odds seem overwhelming. Let me ask again, how is your faith in God? Are you dedicated to the Lord no matter what? Is it evident to those around you that you have faith in God?
Let me challenge you to reflect on the power of God. Reflect on what your life conveys about what you believe about God. Hopefully, like Elijah, your life clearly shows your faith and trust in the one true and living God!
Walking with you,