And the journey continues….1 Kings. There are many adventures of God’s prophets, Elijah and Elisha, included in 1 Kings. Elijah was a prophet to the nation of Israel when Ahab was king and Jezebel was queen. The nation had been divided into Judah and Israel. Ahab ruled over the northern 10 tribes, Israel, and was an evil king. He worshipped Baal and Asherah and had forsaken the worship of God Almighty. God sent Elijah to confront him and relay the message that it would not rain in the land as a judgement for abandoning Him until God allowed it. Elijah left and God provided for him. He placed him by a brook and fed him with ravens. Later when the brook dried up, God sent him to the Widow at Zaraephath where God promised through Elijah that her oil and flour would not run out until it rained for sharing her food and shelter with Elijah. Finally after 3 years, God sent Elijah to Ahab. Elijah proposed a contest on Mt Carmel between the prophets of Baal and the Lord God of Israel. Ahab accepted. The story is written in 1 Kings 18:16-45.
What a contest it was! Elijah told the prophets of Baal to build an altar, put wood under and around it and place the sacrificial bull, which had been cut in pieces, upon it. Then the prophets were to call unto their god and ask Baal to consume the wood and sacrifice with fire. Elijah would then do the same and ask the Lord to consume it with fire. Elijah wanted the people to see that God was alive and real where as Baal and Asherah were powerless. So the prophets set up their altar and began to call upon Baal. Nothing happened. Elijah taunted them in verses 27-29 “And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28 And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. 29 And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention. Then Elijah asked the people to help him prepare the altar with wood and the sacrificed animal parts. However, Elijah also instructed them to dig a trench around the altar and pour water over all of the wood, and animal pieces. It was so much water that it ran down into the trench. He had them repeat this 3 times! Verses 36-39 describes what happened next, “And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 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. 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.”
I love this story. We see God’s amazing power over the elements, rain and fire. God’s power over other gods, the idols that the people worshiped, Baal and Ashorth. We also saw that God kept his promises, no rain, protection of Elijah, not tolerating evil, and protecting, defending his people. In addition, we see the people’s response to God’s power and might, as they fell down in worship. Shortly after this confrontation on Mt Carmel, Elijah tells Ahab to run home because it is going to rain and for him to hurry. It rained torrentially before King Ahab got back to Jezreel by chariot.
How big is your God? Can He be trusted to defeat all foes? Is He bigger than anything you face? Is He sovereign over all things, circumstances and people in your life? Read this story in full in 1 Kings 16:20-17:24. Marvel anew at the power, provision and planning God shows to Elijah and His mercy and grace towards the wayward people of Israel. He can and does show that same power, mercy and grace toward us through Jesus the Son. We worship and serve Almighty God and there is none more powerful. I am reminded of David’s prayer in Psalm 86:8-10 when I read this story in 1 Kings. “There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
nor are there any works like yours. 9 All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.“
May you look and see the power of God today as you walk with Him. May it cause you to fall down in worship before Him. He is the awesome God, mighty to be praised!