Elijah's Fire (06-09-21)
Around 125 years after the reign of King David, Ahab became king of Israel. The bible tells us, he ‘did evil in the sight of the Lord’, including permitting the worship of Baal which, at times, included child sacrifice. The prophet Elijah challenges Ahab and the people to turn back to God.
Bible Reading: 1 Kings 18:21-24,30,36-39
Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." But the people said nothing. Then Elijah said to them, "Get two bulls for us. Let Baal's prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God." So the prophets of Baal called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered.
Then Elijah repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down, and prayed: " Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again." Then 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 all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The Lord, he is God! The Lord, he is God!"
Under the reign of King Ahab, Israel had drifted into idolatry and here the prophet Elijah tells them they must choose between serving the one true God, the God of their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, or serving the false gods of Baal. To make his point he challenges the prophets of Baal to a showdown. When it comes to the crunch, which God will they follow?
When we become Christians we choose to become followers of Jesus, and to align our lives with the teachings and principles found in the bible which are often at odds with the teachings and principles found in the world. Over time, though, it can be easy to drift back into the world’s way of thinking, and to compromise the faith which we profess. When this is the case, like the Israelites, we need to make a choice as to who we will follow.
The choice is never more clear than when there are crunch points in our lives. When the chips are down, we know that we will call on the one true God; let us then also follow him in the ordinary, day-to-day decisions and choices that we make.
Are there places where your way of life has drifted away from the way that honours God? Have their been times when you have made compromises in order to fit in with the value systems of the world? It is never too late to turn back to God. Just as Elijah ‘repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down’, so we too can repair the altar of worship and sacrifice in our own lives, to re-align our lives to serve the one true God, the God who is the same, yesterday, today and forever.
Almighty God, give me the grace to serve you with integrity each day,
that the world may see that ‘The Lord, he is God’.
Yesterday, today and forever.