Elijah v. The Prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:20 – 40)

Elijah brought the children of Israel to the showdown at Mt. Carmel.  He called them out as to whom they pledged their allegiance–God or Baal–, and the Israelites were silent.  He confirmed the odds: one Elijah, prophet of the Lord, v. 450 prophets of Baal.  He called for each side to receive a bull to cut up and offer on wood to their God.  But they would put no fire under the wood.  Each side would call on their God, and the God who answered by fire would be the true God.  Everyone agreed to the conditions.  Elijah allowed the prophets of Baal to go first.  They prepared the bull and call on the name of Baal from morning until noon.  Then they began to leap and dance around the altar.  At noon, Elijah began to mock them, saying “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.”  After that, the Baal prophets cut themselves and prophesied until the time of the evening sacrifice.  But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.  

Then Elijah called all the people to him.  He repaired the altar of the Lord, taking twelve stones to represent the twelve tribes of Israel.  He made a large trench around the altar, and prepared the bull upon the wood.  He then called for them to pour four large water pots of water on the sacrifice three times, until it filled the trench with water.  He then prayed this simple, but powerful prayer:

“Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. 37 Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”

At the conclusion of his prayer, the fire of the Lord fell on the sacrifice and consumed it, licking up the water and burning up the wood, stones, and dust.  When the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, He is God!  The Lord, He is God!”  Elijah instructed them to seize the prophets of Baal, which they did, and they executed them at the Brook Kishon.

Three things stand out in this story.  First the audacious faith of Elijah.  This man had declared a drought and it happened.  He had God feed him by ravens, and he drank from a brook during a drought.  He had brought a young boy back to life.  His faith was high, and it was correct!  Have audacious faith, for you serve an omnipotent God who loves you!  Second, Elijah’s respect and awe for God led him to victory.  Elijah did not order God around, and when God gave him and instruction, Elijah moved on that instruction without doubt or wavering.  Follow God without question and He will direct you into victory!  Finally, miracle-working prayer is a real thing.  Pray in faith and believe.  Calling on God will result in a powerful answer!

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