King Ahab stepped out of his chariot and approached Elijah. “So, there’s that troublemaker.”
Elijah shook his head slowly. “I’m not the troublemaker. I’m just the messenger. You’re the one worshiping other gods. You know better than that. Call all the people of Israel together on Mount Carmel. Make sure all 450 prophets of Baal come, too.”
Elijah waited at Mount Carmel for the contest to begin. Ahab’s 450 prophets were dressed in their finest garments. The crowd of private citizens filled the valley.
Elijah faced the people. “How long will you straddle the fence? Either worship the LORD or Baal.”
“I’m the last prophet of Jehovah. Baal has 450 men here. Let’s see who serves the real God. Bring us two bulls. We’ll each set up an altar and sacrifice a bull without setting it on fire. The God who burns the offering from heaven will prove who the real God is.”
The people all nodded. “That sounds reasonable.”
Elijah waved toward the prophets of Baal. “Since there’s more of you I’ll let you go first.”
As the morning sun rose higher the men fashioned an altar and cut their bull up to place it on the wood. They called out to Baal for a few hours. Nothing happened.
Elijah saw the crowd grow restless. He held a hand to the side of his mouth and faced Baal’s prophets. “Yell louder. Maybe Baal is sleeping or having a tryst with Asherah. There must be something keeping him from responding.”
The men began jumping around. Still nothing happened so they grabbed knives and cut themselves to get a response…nothing.
After the sun passed the high point Elijah raised his hands. “Come to me everyone.”
The crowd watched him build an altar with twelve stones. He laid the wood in order and cut his bull in pieces before he laid it on the wood.
He looked at some men standing near some water containers. “Fill four of those big pots with water and dump it on the altar.”
He had them repeat that two more times until the trench around the altar was filled up. “Now stand back.”
He raised his hands toward heaven. “God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel hear me now. Let these people know that I have done this at Your word and that You are the only real God. Turn their hearts back to You today.”
A bright streak fell from the sky. The wood on the altar quickly ignited the meat. Then the stones they were on went up in smoke as the water around it disappeared.”
All the people fell to their knees. “The LORD is God. There is no other.”
Here’s another one of those popular Bible stories folks pass by too quickly. We know how it’ll turn out so the surprise is lost on us.
Put yourself in the sandals of somebody in that crowd, or one of Baal’s prophets.
You’ve been told there are many gods. Worship whichever one you like, or better yet, more than one. As long as you’re sincere you’ll be fine.
You see. These folks are just regular folks like us after all. Society has led the majority astray. They’re following the crowd, especially when the leadership says it’s good.
That straight and narrow road has always been unpopular.
Baal’s prophets did all they could to get their god to respond. They began talking, then shouting, then jumping around until they got desperate and cut themselves. All to no avail.
Elijah simply asked God to intervene and He did.
Take a breath. God’s got your problem, too.
If it’s out of your hands it’s still in God’s grasp.
Give it to Him and trust His timing.
Do you remember what the rich young man in the gospels asked Jesus?
“What must I DO to be saved?”
We want to maintain control of things in our lives.
We want our efforts to be impressive to God.
We want Him to accept us for what we’ve accomplished.
God is too perfect for us to reach Him by our efforts.
That’s why He came down as one of us and died in our place.
That’s how much God loves you.
He loves you too much to let you waste your life in fruitless tasks just to fall short no matter how hard you try.
Baal’s prophets were even on the government payroll. That didn’t help them.
You don’t have any advantage over anyone else when it comes to reaching God.
Let God be God. You be you.
God has a plan for your life, even all those mistakes.
When you know for a fact you’re on the winning side you have a confidence that stands up against the odds.
Elijah was outnumbered 450 to one.
He taunted Baal’s guys because he knew they didn’t have a God, just a god.
The majority was wrong then. Yeah, don’t trust the majority now.
Being in the minority is hard.
The reason Christians meet regularly is so we can encourage each other to keep on keeping on.
Elijah had recently been involved in a resurrection of a boy from the dead. That’s how he knew his God was real.
This fire from the sky thing had been done before when Solomon dedicated the temple.
That resurrection bit was a new thing.
I got news for you. God is still in the resurrection business.
God can turn a heart of stone into a heart of flesh in a moment.
Keep praying for that loved one.
Don’t give up on them. God hasn’t.
Jesus died for them, too. His resurrection proved his power over death.
God told Elijah He was going to do something remarkable and He did.
The drought was about to end.
Life was going to begin again.
Take hold of that truth and don’t let it go.
I don’t know when God will turn your situation around, but He can.
Trust Him to be powerful enough to do it.
He can come through for you.
I’ll see you later. Wade