|image from http://michael2011.blogspot.com/|
It had not rained for 3 years in the land of Israel because the King and the people had forgotten about God and had disobeyed his teachings. The King was desperate for the prophet Elijah to fix this problem and for him to pray to God to let the rain come on his scorched land. Elijah told the King to bring the false teachers and the people and to meet him on the mountain. There they would see with their own eyes who was the true God.
Quietly the people listened to Elijah tell them that it was time for them to choose. It was time to stop going back and forth between God and the idol Baal, but first they must watch. 450 false teachers came and together they erected an alter to their god Baal and on that alter they placed the sacrifice. For hours they wailed and cried and begged their god to hear them and prove himself to be true, to consume the sacrifice with fire. But no fire came. Elijah told them to try harder, maybe Baal was sleeping. They cut themselves, cried harder, but still nothing happened.
Finally it was Elijah's turn. He built an alter with 12 large stones in the center of a large trench and on the alter he placed the wood and sacrifice. To the people's surprise he had water poured on everything! So much water that everything was dripping and the trench was full to the brim. And then he began to pray, "Yahweh, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, today let it be known that You are God....Answer me so that this people will know that You, Yahweh, are God and that You have turned their hearts back." Suddenly fire poured down out of heaven and consumed the entire sacrifice to include each stone, drying up every bit of water along with it! The people fell on their faces and worshiped God declaring "Yahweh, He is God! Yahweh, He is God!"
We are more like the children of Israel than we care to admit sometimes. We go back and forth between trusting God and going our own way. Maybe we don't worship an idol made of gold or bronze, but anything we place above the Lord God is an idol. Today put aside those things, bring them to the foot of the cross, kneel at the alter of the Lord and watch as God pours down fire from Heaven. He wants to reveal himself to you, the only true God worthy of such praise and honor.