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7. Elijah vs. Ahab; God vs. Baal

October 12, 2010

Text:    I Kings 18:1-19:2

 

Outline:           I.     The Command                                         I Kings 18:1-15

II.    The Confrontation                                 I Kings 18:16-18

III.  The Contest                                               I Kings 18:19-24

IV.  The Champion                                          I Kings 18:25-39

V.   The Culmination                                      I Kings 18:40-19:2

Context/Discussion/Comments:

Elijah has been prepared and has received confirmation from the Lord that he is God’s ordained servant.  He told Ahab it wasn’t going to rain unless he said so and it hasn’t.  God has cared for and protected him from Ahab.  He realized God answers prayer when the widow’s son was revived.  It has been three years since his first meeting with Ahab.  Elijah is now bold and filled with confidence by the Lord and prepares to meet with Ahab for the second time as commanded by God.  During this time the famine has become severe.  Jezebel has killed the Lord’s prophets, Elijah has been hunted, and Ahab has sent Obadiah [who is hiding 100 prophets of the Lord in two caves] out to help him find any available water for Israel’s livestock. Elijah meets Obadiah and asks him to set up a meeting between he and Ahab.  Obadiah resists because no one has been able to find Elijah.  Obadiah fears for his own life thinking Elijah may be playing a trick on Ahab and will not show himself.  After-all, Elijah has a contract on his head.  Elijah gives his word that he will meet with Ahab and so the meeting is arranged.

Their meeting begins with a confrontation.  Ahab accuses Elijah of causing trouble and Elijah accuses Ahab of abandoning the Lord.  Elijah has the upper hand and tells Ahab to gather all of the prophets of Baal and Asherah [850 total] together with all of Israel and meet him on Mt. Carmel.  The false prophets and all Israel are summoned to Mt. Carmel where Elijah exhorts them to choose their god, Baal or the Lord God Almighty.  The prophets of Baal and Elijah will each prepare a sacrifice and place it on an altar with wood.  They are not to set it on fire but call on their respective god to do it.  The god who answers will be the One True God.  The contest begins with the prophets of Baal who call on their god all morning.  Elijah begins to taunt them so they call out louder and even begin to mutilate themselves but there is no response.  Elijah begins about 6PM and even douses his wood and sacrifice with 12 jars of water.  He calls on God and fire erupts immediately, even on the excess water in the trench.  The people claim the God of Israel  as the Lord God Almighty.

Elijah tells the people to seize the false prophets and kill them in the valley below.  He tells Ahab to get something to eat because it is going to rain.  Elijah ascends Mt. Carmel and prays to the Lord for rain.  He asks the Lord seven times for rain before rain clouds appear.  Elijah sends Ahab back to Jezreel before the heavy rains make it impossible to travel.  Elijah then runs on ahead of him.

When Jezebel hears what has happened, she promises to kill Elijah within the next 24 hours.

Lessons/Applications:

  1. Know that the God of Israel is indeed the one and only Lord God Almighty.  Look at the surrounding evidence and realize that God is God, sovereign over all things.  His Word is TRUTH.
  2. God often calls us who place our faith in Him to meet and confront His enemies on His behalf.  Obey and do not worry because God has fully prepared us and is sovereign over the battle He has called us to fight.
  3. Confronting evil means taking risks.  But our risks are supported  and controlled by the Lord through His Power and Presence in our lives.
  4. Confrontations are resolved by a demonstration of the facts, not by accusing words and/or opinions.
  5. Trust God.  Do not be afraid to challenge the power of others with the Power of God Almighty.
  6. We may lose some battles but the Lord God Almighty is the final victor.  Nothing is impossible with God.
  7. God’s victories should always be followed by humble prayers of praise and thanksgiving.  We must go into battle on our knees and we must leave the battlefield on our knees.  God’s power is revealed when we are completely surrendered to His Will and obedient to His Word.   We don’t salute our General, we bow to Him in humble adoration full of faith in His divine power to care and protect us as His Children.
  8. Our persecution and suffering on God’s behalf is not over until He says so.  He is Lord!
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