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Topic: Where Angels Fear to Tread (not about the book) (09/08/11)
TITLE: SHOW DOWN
By Barbara Green
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Ahab was an evil king of Israel according to I Kings 18. He governed a land besieged with a number 10 drought. The Lord directed Elijah to make contact with Ahab promising He would send rain on the parched land.
Ahab ordered Obadiah, the manager of his palace, to investigate part of his kingdom checking on springs and valleys where his starving horses and mules could find food and water.
Obadiah was startled when he ran into Elijah, a prophet of God, while surveying the land! Elijah wanted to see King Ahab, but he was reluctant to cooperate since Elijah had a history of disappearing at the Spirit’s command. Obadiah understood it would mean death for him if the Spirit called Elijah to another location. He reminded Elijah he had been zealous for the Lord since he hid 100 righteous prophets and supplied them with food and water while Queen Jezebel slaughtered God’s prophets. Elijah assured him he would be faithful to his word and meet with the King.
When he (the king) saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” “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.” (1 Kings 18: 17-18, NIV)
Elijah had a plan to prove God was the real God. He called for all of Israel to meet on Mount Carmel along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah (not mentioned again) who were friends of Queen Jezebel.
The plan required two altars to be built – one for each religion. Each side cut up a bull and placed it on the wood upon an altar. Then each side appealed to their “god” to send fire and consume the sacrifice.
Elijah allowed Baal’s prophets to go first. They appealed to their “god” to light the fire from morning to noon, but nothing happened. Elijah gave them a hard time by insinuating Baal was asleep, deep in thought, busy or traveling. They responded with louder shouts, and slashed themselves with swords and spears. Baal didn’t come through, and his “long faced” prophets admitted defeat.
It was Elijah’s turn to call upon his God. He built an altar and prepared a bull placing it on the wood. A trench was built surrounding the bottom of the altar. Elijah used 12 large jars of water to douse the sacrifice and to fill the freshly, dug trench.
At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Oh LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be know today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Oh LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, Oh LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” (1 Kings 18:36-37, NIV)
Presto! Immediately the sacrifice, wood, altar stones and soil were incinerated by the blazing fire from the one, true God! Even the water in the trench evaporated! The spectators couldn’t believe it was over in the twinkling of an eye!
Elijah commanded the Israelites to seize the prophets of Baal. They were taken to Kishon Valley where all 450 were annihilated by Elijah who was empowered by God! Praise the name of the LORD! Most of us Christians wouldn’t touch that with a 10 foot pole!
Elijah, concerned about the devastating drought, climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and beseeched God for rain. Initially, he sent his servant to look toward the sea, but there were no dark clouds. He returned 6 more times. The last time the servant noticed a cloud the size of a man’s hand.
Elijah advised Ahab to hitch up his chariot and return to the palace before the rain prevented his trip. The winds whipped up, dark clouds swirled across the sky engulfing the light of dusk as the heavy rain pelted the chariot. Elijah strengthened by the LORD ran ahead of the chariot for 15-25 miles to Jezreel. Is our God powerful or what?! Not many of us would attempt a run of this distance during a storm!
So in one day Elijah proved his God was superior to Baal, slaughtered 450 false prophets, alleviated a severe drought with his prayer and out ran a chariot! PRAISE THE LORD!
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