Dr. Jimmy Knott discusses how It had been three years since King Ahab and Elijah last met. In the interim, Elijah had been through basic and advanced training. He was now prepared for the biggest battle of his life.
Perhaps no more dramatic scene in Scripture. The tension was high after more than 3 years of deadly drought. This was more than an Ahab-Elijah conflict. It was a duel of deities. Baal vs. Jehovah.
- THE PROBLEM (vv. 16-18)
Elijah, now prepared and trained, was ready to meet wicked Ahab. The wicked always blame believers for the trouble in the world – never think their own sins to be the blame. Throughout the dialogue it was Elijah who maintained initiative. Ahab and his father (Omri) were the real reason for Israel’s troubles. They had abandoned the Lord’s commands to not follow Baal. The natural physical problems of the nation were spiritual, the result of sin. The Israelites had not totally rejected the Lord to follow Baal. They wanted both!
“Why Mt. Carmel?” Regional HQ for Baal worship and believed to be the special dwelling place of the gods, esp. weather. Also Mt. Carmel was usually the first place in Israel to get rain.
- The PROPOSAL (vv. 21-24)
- PEOPLE (v. 21) – Many had no doubt heard of Elijah but only a few may have ever seen him before now. It was time for the people to choose and to decide (Josh. 24:15).
- PROPHETS (vv. 22-24) – Elijah threw down the gauntlet, declaring war against them – a divine duel to the death. The god who answered by fire was the true God. The people agreed. Elijah declared the rules of the game.
- The POWER FAILURE (vv. 25-29)
- (vv. 25-26) Elijah let them go first in choosing the bull to sacrifice. All morning (some 6 hrs.) they called on Baal but he was silent (Psa. 115:2-8) – “No response; no one answered”
- (v. 27) Elijah’s sarcastically ridiculed the lack of response.
- (vv. 28-29) Prophet’s responded with a greater frenzy – all to no avail: “No response, no one answered, no one paid attention.” This went on until 3 pm “the time for the evening sacrifice.” Note: Sincerity in religion or in worship is not the issue. No doubting their faith either. Their faith had the wrong object!
Elijah calmly and measuredly did two things:
- He PREPARED the (vv. 30-35):
- PEOPLE (v. 30a) – Elijah invites all the people to move closer to see better.
- ALTAR (vv. 30b-35) – He repaired the Lord’s altar…He had it “thoroughly drenched” with the salt water from nearby sea.
- He PRAYED (vv. 36-37) – Note three things in his prayer: He is the only true & living God (v. 36). We are to be obedient His servants (v. 36). He can change lives (v. 37).
* RESULT? (v. 38) God’s confirmation came, “then the fire of the Lord fell…,” consuming not only the sacrifice, but also the wood, the stones, the dust, & the water as well.
- (v. 39) The people responded by falling prostrate in humble repentance and crying to the one true God with hearty acceptance. No one could argue now! Baal was a nonexistent impostor. Jehovah was true God (1 John 5:19-21).
- (v. 40) Holy obedience – Elijah ordered all the false prophets to be destroyed. The nation’s malignancy must be removed. We must not only acknowledge God but also remove evil.
- When we are confident we’re in God’s will, we’re invincible.
- Divided loyalty is as wrong as open idolatry.
- Prayer matters.
- Never underestimate the impact of one totally devoted life.
CONC— “How can you know the fire of God in your life?”
- Surrender –
- Obey –
- Prepare –
- Repent –
- Trust –
- Expect –
Read 1 Kings 19:1-21 several times this week.
- Pick three words to describe Elijah.
- What are some modern idols we serve?
- When was last time you had the “fire of God” in your life?
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Thanks for listening. Pastor Jimmy.