Elijah has already seen some amazing things. He's already been fed by Ravens, seen the oil and the flour of the widow who was caring for him be miraculously preserved (see previous posts), and The LORD has backed up Elijah's words and has not sent rain on the land of Israel for some time.
Yet, the people would not decide--were they going to follow the LORD, or follow the gods of the nations around them, such as Baal?
The Lord inspires Elijah to make it plain: he challenges the prophets of Baal and Asherah to 'showdown' of sorts.
Elijah calls to the people "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow Him." But the people said nothing." (1 Kings 18: 21)
Elijah (and the Lord) have had enough! Elijah says to 'Make 2 altars.. Dig ditches around them, but do not light them. You call to Baal, and I'll call to the Lord, and we will see which one shows up. The God who answers by fire--he is God!" (1 Kings 18:22-24).
The prophets of baal call out to him, pray to him, dance before him, shout do him, cut themselves for him from morning 'till noon. At noon, Elijah begins to taunt, "Shout louder--he may be asleep!". (v. 27)
They shouted louder, until evening. Still no one answered.
Elijah had seen enough. He called the people to himself, prepared the altar, then put the animal on for the sacrifice. He then did something very unusual--he had the people drench the sacrifice with water...jugs and jugs of it--until it filled up the trench aound the altar. He then said "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...".
The 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!" (1 Kings 18:38)
Then the people fell prostrate and cried "The LORD--He is God; The LORD--He is God!"and they seized the prophets of Baal.
The lessons for us today?
1) God deserves all the praise we can give Him; He is the ONLY TRUE GOD.
2) God does not 'share' His glory with false 'gods'. He will drive us to make a decision--whether to follow Him or not. 3) It does not matter the size or the circumstances of the challenge--if God is going to move, He has more than enough power to move in mighty ways!
4) Do not 'waver'! We must declare--and remember, and reaffirm--our allegiance to the LORD! Do not give his glory to another--another
god, another desire, another pursuit.
There are many 'gods' or 'idols' in this world, but the LORD will not share the glory that He alone deserves. He will require us to make a decision, and will raise the pressure on us until we do. Let's save time, suffering, and grief...and decide now to follow the LORD
We must seek Him, follow Him, and serve Him!
The LORD--He is God! The LORD--He is God!