We have all heard the story of Elijah and his confrontation with the prophets of Baal. It is a dramatic showdown where the prophets of Baal attempt to bring down fire from heaven to consume their sacrifice but cannot. Elijah then drenches his altar with water before calling down fire out of heaven that consumes the sacrifice and all of the water around it.
Elijah did not do this to show the prophets their error. Instead, he did it for the people of Israel. That is why he had told Ahab to gather all the people to witness what he had planned. Once they gathered, Elijah turned to them and said: "How long will you stay between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him, but if Baal, then follow him" (1 Kings 18:21).
This period of history is hard to follow with two different kingdoms and a long list of kings for each. It is also difficult to understand how God's people continually broke their covenant with Him and worshipped false gods—so much so that the reader is left wondering: What in the world is going on?
Baal worship was so prevalent inside the kingdom of Israel that most Israelites participated in it. The showdown that Elijah orchestrated was meant to demonstrate to the people of Israel who the only true God was so they would turn from idolatry and rededicate themselves to Him. Elijah knew Baal was not a real god, but he had to demonstrate this to the people. They, in turn, fell on their faces and cried out, "The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!" (1 Kings 18:39b).
An interesting little note is that the meaning of the Hebrew name "Elijah" is just that: "The Lord is God!" Elijah had been born for that very moment in history.
You and I have been born into a particular moment as well. It's a moment in which our world is turning its back on God and the truth of His Word and worshipping the gods of secularism, globalism and moral relativism. God is calling us to be strong and to take courageous steps of faith to demonstrate His power to the people in our lives.
To learn more about the critical time in history to which Elijah was called, join me on this week's Out of Zion podcast episode on Charisma Podcast Network, What in the World Is Going On? I make it easier to understand this part of the Bible and the extraordinary story of the prophet Elijah.
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