In 1 Kings, we read that Ahab ascended to the throne of Israel and reigned for 22 years. He was a bad king and he did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him. He set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal that he built in Samaria. Ahab therefore, is at loggerheads with the prophet Elijah.
Ahab had an encounter with Elijah. Elijah chided Ahab for abandoning the Lord’s commands and following the Baals.
Elijah then throw a challenge to Ahab. He said: “ Summon the people from all over Israel and meet me at Mount Carmel together with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who belonged to Jezebel.” So King Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel.
When they all were gathered at Mount Carmel, Elijah asked, “ How long will you waver between 2 opinions?” “ If the Lord is God, follow Him, but if Baal is God, follow him.”
Two bulls were provided. Elijah asked the prophets of Baal to choose one of the bulls, slaughter it, cut it into pieces and placed them on the wood but not to set fire to it. Elijah will do likewise to the other bull.
The prophets of Baal were to call on their god and Elijah will call on the name of the Lord to send fire to set the wood on fire. All the people agreed to this challenge.
Everything was set up as agreed and the prophets of Baal called on their gods from morning to noon. Nothing happened. They shouted louder, slashed themselves until blood flowed. They continued shouting till evening, still nothing happened.
Elijah then asked the people to gather round him. He took 12 stones ( each representing a tribe descended from Jacob) and built an altar. Then he dug a trench around it. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. He asked the people to fill 4 large jars of water and poured them on the offering and over the wood. He asked them to do it the second time and the third , till the water ran down and filled the trench.
Elijah then stepped forward and called on the Lord. He asked the Lord to answer his prayers so that the people will turn their hearts back to the Lord their God.
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.
When the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried “ The Lord – HE Is GOD!” “ The Lord, HE Is GOD!”
Our God is the One and Only God. He is the One and Only Living God. Isaiah 45: 5, “ I am the Lord your God and there is no other gods apart from me…”
Elijah’s challenge: “ How long will you waver between 2 opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him. Let us not waver. Let us know our God, love and serve the Lord our God.
Brother Lean Lam Kong