Monday 13 June 2016

Bible Book:
1 Kings

"Then the fire of the Lord fell ... and even licked up the water that was in the trench." (v. 38)

1 Kings 18:20-39 Monday 13 June 2016

Psalm: Psalm 102:1-11


King Ahab's wife Jezebel worshipped the false god Baal. She hadbrought hundreds of her own priests of Baal over from her owncountry of Phoenicia to infiltrate the Israelites and had killednearly all of the Israelite prophets. Her main target now wasElijah.

In today's story Ahab and Elijah meet face to face. It is time fora show down. Elijah challenges Ahab to a contest on MountCarmel.

All the people gathered on the hillside to witness theconfrontation. They saw Elijah alone facing the 450 priests ofBaal. Undaunted, Elijah turned to the crowd and reminded them oftheir fickleness, turning from one god to another as it suitedthem. He realised that the outcome of the contest would enable thepeople to decide once and for all who was the living God. Elijahsuggested that two altars be built: one for their god, Baal, andone for his. On these altars they prepared burnt offerings but theywere not allowed to light the fire. The fire was to be lit by theirrespective gods. The altars were prepared and a bull slaughteredfor the altar of Baal. The people and the priests sang and danced,they chanted and called on Baal, but nothing happened. Elijah madefun of them and urged them to shout louder - perhaps Baal can'thear you? Still nothing happened and eventually Elijah told them tostop. It was now his turn.

Elijah commanded the people to pour water on his altar. They didthis until it was absolutely soaked and then Elijah called to God.For a second nothing happened but then the altar burst into flamesand the flames even consumed the water that had flooded the altar.The people were overwhelmed as the power of the living God wasrevealed to them through the flames of fire.

To Ponder

  • If you were a member of the crowd that day, what do you thinkyour reaction would be as Elijah's god caused the altar to catchfire?
  • What are the false gods that need to be challenged today?
  • Where are the flames of the Spirit of Pentecost evident in ourworld today?
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