Fire the old gods, part 3

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This is the story that I know Elijah from (one of the best stories in the bible in my opinion): the making of fire in a soaking wet situation. God sent fire down that not only burned the one thing that was offered, it also dried up all the water in the trench too. Elijah also predicted the drought and then the rain.

Why do I know this most famous story? Because I learned it by teaching vacation bible school or teaching Sunday school. Those of us who teach must learn… And teaching children should be a number one priority for all of our churches. I can’t say I ever heard this story in a sermon, but I can envision it from reading it now due to some portrayal aimed at children, making it super interesting.  We must teach ourselves the full ins and outs of Word, because if we don’t, who will? Plus, it’s God’s Way for us to have our journeys explained to us. This is why He puts us smack dab into a broken world to see what IS working: God IS working…  He will send the rain and the fire…

Lesson number one here? Believe in real God, not the fake ones, FIRE those old gods, especially Baal or whatever and whomever is leading you astray. Lesson number two? Step up to meet your enemies, don’t cower away, take your life into God’s Hands, not yours. Be brave AND resourceful of AND respectful of God’s fire power. Show them the Stuff God IS Made Of. And show your willingness to hold your tongue but not your example, demonstrate love over hate.

To BELIEVE that God IS Sovereign in your life, this goes back to that scripture of not being friends with the world. Follow God knowing He IS a jealous God. Why?  He knows better AND He wants you on FIRM ground, HIS ground. “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” Elijah challenged the people, we MUST challenge ourselves to stay on track believing God is sovereign and on plan.

Elijah didn’t just set this up on his own, God had already told him to go to those people. God already had made him a prophet (one that survived and was bold enough to approach King Ahab where he might have been killed). God was setting up the whole scene, and Elijah asked for ALL the prophets of Baal to be witness to what would fire up the crowd but throw water on their hope in Baal. 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.”

Elijah set up a challenge right then for whose god/God is real. The world of people who rely on anything but God will be lost, are already lost unless their eyes are opened to their stray ways. They dance around the truth that the world and worldly pursuits just won’t fulfill them. We get pulled astray too – but when the earthly music stops, and the devil pulls out the chair from underneath you so you have nothing to sit on, God will ALWAYS give you a place. God wants you on His firm ground.

As you read the story below, please visualize it all, God sent fire on a water-soaked scene just at the timing that Elijah set up FOR GOD. 

WHY? Why demonstrate God’s FIRE POWER?  So these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

CRUCIAL!!! It is not to judge and condemn the people, but to WIN THEM BACK by doing the turning Himself. We today are to share the news that God wants to turn our hearts back to Him. This is not for anyone to say “I told you so”. Sovereignly, God CAN do this, wants to do this, and WILL do this. LOVE is why God WANTS to do this, He is keeping faith in His people to turn back to Him and know they are forgiven in the process. 

Let us all look for His Fire and turn back to Him. 

The Lord—He is God! The Lord—He is God!”

Amen (and please read below)

—-

1 Kings 18:16-46

Elijah on Mount Carmel
So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”

“I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the Lord’s commands and have followed the Baals. Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.” So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 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, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 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.” Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”

Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.”  With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”

“Do it again,” he said, and they did it again. “Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward 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!”

Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there. And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” 

So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.“There is nothing there,” he said. Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’”

Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

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