Confrontation

OPENING PRAYER

Father, help me to not shy away from standing up for Your honor no matter the price.

 

Read: 1 KINGS 18:16-46

[16] So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. [17] When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” [18] “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the LORD’s commands and have followed the Baals. [19] Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” [20] So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. [21] Elijah went before the people and said, “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.[22] Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the LORD’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. [23] Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. [24]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.” Then all the people said, “What you say is good.” [25] Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” [26]So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. [27] At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” [28] So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. [29] 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. [30] Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which had been torn down. [31] Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” [32]With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. [33] He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.” [34] “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again. “Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. [35] The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench. [36] At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “LORD, the 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. [37] Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” [38] 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. [39] When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD-he is God! The LORD-he is God!” [40] Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there. [41] And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.”[42] So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. [43] “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked. “There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” [44] The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.'” [45] Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. [46] The power of the LORD came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel. 

 

Reflect: WHAT STRIKES YOU MOST ABOUT THIS PASSAGE?

This is arguably one of the most dramatic stories in the Bible! Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal and Asherah to a contest before the people–involving building an altar and calling on each one’s god to send fire to consume the sacrifice.Elijah gives a chance for Baal to act where he is supposed to be powerful and taunts the prophets about the lack of response (25-29). When his turn comes, Elijah repairs the altar, significantly using 12 stones representing the 12 tribes of a united Israel (30,31). To make the response more dramatic, he soaks the wood of the altar and sacrifice with water before calling on the Lord. When the answer comes, fire consumes not just the sacrifice but the wood and the altar as well (32-38). The drought ends and it starts to rain (41-46). Elijah portrays the people as trying to go in two directions at the same time (21). Worship of several gods was common in the Ancient Near East, but the Lord was over all–and remains so for his followers today.

 

APPLY

Talk to God about your expectation of how he can use you. Be ready to step out in the ways he calls you.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Jesus, I want to move in rhythm with Your heart, to go where You go and do what You are doing.

 

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