1 KINGS 18:16-45
Having been prepared and trained for his assignment, Elijah now faces the enemy and immediately calls for their decision. Being in God’s presence, and seeing His power in provision and protection for His servant, Elijah challenges the people.
“How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him”
In the same way as the Israelites were faced with this question, each one of us is required to make the same decision. Our eternal destiny, as well as the quality of life we live, is directly related to the way in which we respond when making this decision.
The history of the Israelites is proof to us today that choosing to follow God, and obedience to His commands, is the only way that we can experience true prosperity and peace in this life .
The people recognized the truth in Elijah’s challenge, and no doubt remembered the days of prosperity that had been lost to them as a result of their turning away from God to serve Baal. Their response is typical of all who are in the same situation.
“But the people said nothing.”
When sinful mankind is faced with the eternal truth of God’s word, he can do nothing else but stand in silence. And we, like Elijah, must challenge others to a life of godliness whenever we are given the opportunity to do so. Such a servant will always be regarded as a “troubler of Israel” .
ELIJAH’S GOD ANSWERS
“Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire– he is God.” .
The Almighty God has always been likened to fire, and we see this many times in the scriptures. So this suggestion was not anything strange or new to the people. In the covenant between God and Abraham: . At the commencement of the priest’s service in the Tabernacle: . To stop the plague of death when David numbered the people: . At the dedication of the Temple: . God, in the wilderness journeys, originally appeared to the people as a consuming fire.
“Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.”
ELIJAH REPAIRS THE ALTAR
“Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came lo him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins.”
One aspect of the altar is fellowship with the Almighty God; in this case the fellowship was broken, and was therefore in need of repair. God’s servant must ensure that the altar is in good repair! . The results of close fellowship with God on the part of His servant Elijah is seen in the scripture:
“O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD– he is God! The LORD– he is God!” . As it was in the case of Elijah, others should be able to see the effects of our fellowship with God, and their lives should be touched in some way.
The people acknowledge God and the prophets of Baal have been killed, now Elijah returns to the top of mount Carmel to pray to his God that the curse be lifted; and God again answers:
“And Elijah said…there is the sound of a heavy rain.” Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on”