Scripture Read: 1 Kings 18; 19
Title: Elijah and the Prophets of Baal
(H) Highlight verse: "How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him" 1 Kings 18:22
(E) Explain: Elijah declares to the people of Israel, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, then follow him.” He proceeds to challenge the prophets. There are 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah present.
The contest goes like this… There will be two bulls. One will be given to the prophets of Baal to sacrifice and the other will be given to Elijah. They will prepare the bulls and lay them on the wood but put no fire to it. The prophets of Baal will call upon their god and Elijah will call upon his God. The one who answers with fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice is the true God. The people agreed and thus the competition begins.
The prophets of Baal were the first to start. They begin by calling on the name of Baal. They cried out for hours. These prophets believed if they yelled louder then Baal would hear them. Nothing happened. Elijah begins mocking them by saying, “Maybe your god is asleep, or on vacation, or maybe he is in the bathroom.” The prophets went more extremes as they cried louder and cut themselves with sword and lances as was their custom. The prophets were screaming at the top of their lungs, tired and a bloody mess and still no word from their god. The irony in all this is that Baal is the sun god, so sending fire down from heaven should have been no problem whatsoever. The people lost interest and moved on.
It is now Elijah’s turn. He erects an altar that represents the twelve tribes of Israel. He places the bull on the altar. He then commands the people to drench the sacrifice with water. There was so much water the trenches around the altar were full. Elijah prays a simple but expectant prayer, “Show yourself to be the one true God, so the people will know you and turn back to you.” It was at this moment that a fire from heaven came and consumed the sacrifice, the wood and all the water. Once the people saw this they fell on their faces and worshiped God.
Concluding the contest Elijah had all the prophets seized and he killed them all. The draught was thus ended and he gathered his garment and ran away.
(A) Application: : The life of Elijah is amazing. God used this prophet in a mighty way. He brought a nation back to God, He cleansed the nation of idolatry and he commissions a prophet to go out after him to make a bigger impact on this nation. So what can we take with us today? What can we learn from Elijah and how can it apply to us today?
(R) Respond: Lord, I pray that I have the same passion and zeal for God and discipleship that Elijah did.
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