What would you do if God asked you to take a stand against the leaders of the nation? What if he asked you to speak out against popular opinion? Could you do it? Would you do it?
These were some of the difficult questions faced by those called by God to be prophets to the northern kingdom of Israel. The kings of Israel had turned their backs on God and were worshipping false gods and were bowing down to idols. As their defiance increased, God looks to the bench and sends in the prophets!
Ahab, the king of Israel at that time, was a wicked king responsible for turning the hearts of Israel towards the false gods of Baal and Asherah. Ahab’s wife Jezebel was even worse than him, being the one who influenced him to turn to Baal in the first place.
God sent Elijah into the kingdom to show them that his God was the real God. He decided to challenge them to a God-off! On Mount Carmel, Elijah wanted to show Ahab which God was the real God! Elijah asked him to try and prove, through fire, that his god Baal was real. Ahab gathered the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah and Elijah told them to summon their god to burn the sacrifice with fire. From morning till noon they called on the name of Baal. Nothing happened! Elijah even goaded them on – “perhaps your god is on a journey or asleep!” They cried out all the more until the evening, even cutting themselves! Then Elijah told the Israelites to pour water all over his sacrifice – not once but three times - until the trench around it had flooded.
He prayed a prayer saying, “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. Answer me Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lords, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again!”
Sure enough, the bull, wood and even the stones were frazzled and disappeared. The fire licked up the water and everything around it!
Isn’t it awesome that we have a God that can still do things like that even today!
Little Miss Furious (Jezebel) was outraged when she heard what had happened and swore that she was going to kill Elijah. Now, Elijah did what probably most of us would do. He legged it! He ran far away because he was so scared of what might happen. There, God provided for him and made sure he was safe. After a while, God sent a man named Elisha to take Elijah’s place. As they were walking, a fiery horse and chariot that took Elijah up to heaven.
Elisha went off performing dozens of miracles – even raising a young boy from the dead – and serving God. After him, many more prophets went around performing miracles and warning the Israelites that if they did not follow the true God, they would face serious consequences.
Questions to consider and reflect on:
· Am I doing what God has called me to do?
· What has God called me to do?
· Will I be faithful in all things?
· Will I stand firm for God against the evil things of this world?