During the days of the prophet Elijah, wickedness was plentiful. After many generations of wicked kings there came a king that would be the worst of them all, Ahab. He married Jezebel, also wicked, and proceeded to worship a false god, Baal. God, intolerant of their wickedness, sent a drought on the land. It would not rain for many years. In the third year, God appeared to Elijah, saying that it was time to end the drought and that he was to go see King Ahab. This was their conversation:
“When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is that you, you destroyer of Israel?”
He replied, “I have not destroyed Israel, but you and your father’s house have, because you have abandoned the Lord’s commands and followed the Baals. Now summon all Israel to meet me at Mount Carmel, along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table.” (1 Kings 18:17-19)
So Elijah proceeded to call out King Ahab and then called a meeting. At the meeting, Elijah didn’t play games, he got down to business, calling out the people for their indecisiveness of who to follow.
“Then Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If Yahweh is God, follow Him. But if Baal, follow him.” But the people didn’t answer him a word.” (1 Kings 18:21)
Elijah then offered a challenge.
“Then Elijah said to the people, “I am the only remaining prophet of the Lord, but Baal’s prophets are 450 men. Let two bulls be given to us. They are to choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and place it on the wood but not light the fire. I will prepare the other bull and place it on the wood but not light the fire. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of Yahweh. The God who answers with fire, He is God.”All the people answered, “That sounds good.” (1 Kings 18:22-24)
So the challenge was set: whoever’s god lights the offering on fire from the sky, is God. So up first Baal’s prophets. They yelled and cut themselves for hours but nothing happened. Elijah even mocked them saying that maybe their god was asleep or away on a trip. Now it was Elijah’s and God’s turn. He built the altar, even had people pour water onto the offering, making it humanly possibly for the offering to light on fire. There was so much water poured that it pooled up around the offering.
This was Elijah’s prayer:
“Yahweh, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that at Your word I have done all these things. Answer me, Lord! Answer me so that this people will know that You, Yahweh, are God and that You have turned their hearts back.” (1 Kings 18:36-37)
There was no dancing, cutting, long drawn out process. Just a simple prayer and faith.
“Then Yahweh’s fire fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. (1 Kings 18:38).
Not only did God answer, He exceeded. He consumed everything, even licking up the water in the trench. God had shown up in a big way.
The people’s response:
When all the people saw it, they fell face down and said, “Yahweh, He is God! Yahweh, He is God!” (1 Kings 18:39)
Repentance. True repentance. Even though the people had forgotten who God was, they remembered now in a big way.
God’s response to sin, blatant sin, through Elijah:
“Then Elijah ordered them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let even one of them escape.” So they seized them, and Elijah brought them down to the Wadi Kishon and slaughtered them there.” (1 Kings 18:40)
God is not okay with sin, much to the Baal’s prophets dismay. Elijah and the Israelite people chased the Baal prophets down and killed them.
At the end of the slaughter, God brought His forgiveness and brought the rain:
“In a little while, the sky grew dark with clouds and wind, and there was a downpour.” (1 Kings 18:45)
God kept His promise. Even after all the Israelite people had walked in sin and wickedness, God brought them back in a big way.
Just a cool verse:
“So Ahab got in his chariot and went to Jezreel. The power of the Lord was on Elijah, and he tucked his mantle under his belt and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.” (1 Kings 18:46)
So basically with the power of the Lord, Elijah outran Ahab on foot, when Ahab was in a chariot! Haha crazy.
Just like the Israelite people, we often walk away from God. We follow the next coolest thing, distractions, sins. God though wants to remind us of His power and His love for us. We have to repent and ask for God’s forgiveness so that He can bring His healing rain on our lives, restoring us from the drought that sin has caused in our lives.