Story: Elijah and the Baal Prophets
1 Kings 18:16-39
Note: For the story, I will briefly mention events for context. To get the whole story, be sure to check out the story in your Bible or online starting from 1 Kings 17 to 2nd Kings 2.
Following many years of wickedness King Ahab of Israel had spread across the land, many of the people had fallen to worshipping Baal and other false Gods. Elijah, a prophet of God went to Ahab to warn him of the consequences of his wicked ways. If he did not stop a 3-year drought would fall on Israel. Ahab refused and accused him of bringing the drought upon the nation. He went into hiding for which time he became the last remaining prophet of God, during this time Elijah was constantly provided for by God. After the three years had passed, he challenged Ahab and the Baal prophets to see which God was the true one. It would be shown by which God responded by setting fire to their sacrifice. The Baal prophets went first and tried with everything they had to call out, but there came no response. Elijah’s turn now came, he covered his altar in water and poured it onto the altar and spoke a prayer, and without hesitation, fire came down and consumed the altar entirely. The prophets of Baal were left in terror and the people of Israel began to turn their eyes back to God.
We hear about Elijah who not only had to hide from enemies who never stopped looking for him but also had to face the King of Israel and the prophets of Baal alone. Elijah undoubtedly his struggles himself during this time, but because of the trust he had, God was able to complete his work through him.
His willingness to put his faith in God gives us one of the greatest stories in the Old Testament. We get to see this amazing moment of repentance for Israel, where God reveals his power through a mighty display of fire that leads the people back to him.
Elijah undertook what nobody else was willing to do, he stood with God in front of the very people who wanted him killed.
This is one of the hardest things for us to do as believers. We are afraid to put our full faith in God. We may trust him to take care of us in our struggles, but when we are called to stand out, we find ourselves hiding away instead.
Think about Elijah as he stood on the mountain, surrounded by the prophets of Baal. He remained confident that God would deliver on his word, and he even went as far as to mock the idol they worshipped.
When the time came, Elijah’s first move was to cover his altar with water. This obviously isn’t the best idea for something you want to set on fire. But God had a plan he was working through Elijah, when the fire came it “licked up the water in the trench” (verse 38). After that, there was no question of belief from the people of Israel that day.
Moses, Noah, Joseph, and the disciples are all other major examples of those who achieved tremendous things because of the trust they had in God. They had to all stand with God even if it meant doing it alone, and when we do the same, God reveals his plan for us.
“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”– Proverbs 3:6