1 Kings 18: ‘The Battle of Beliefs’
To listen on podcast click here.
When people say that all religions are the same, they offend everyone.
True tolerance acknowledges that every religion is different, and allows people to disagree with respect.
But, the truth will eventually be revealed, especially when the true God intervenes.
In our passage from 1 Kings 18 we see one of the great spiritual battles of all time, which begins as the Lord commands the prophet Elijah to tell disobedient King Ahab that the three-year drought will soon end, verses 1 and 2.
But before Elijah meets Ahab, we see the king’s attempt to fix the drought himself, as he summoned Obadiah, a devoted follower of the Lord, verse 3.
Obadiah is sent to search for feed in the fields, and as he travels, he meets Elijah, verse 7, who tells him to return to King Ahab to say that Elijah is coming to visit.
Then, verse 17, “When Ahab saw him, he exclaimed, “So, is it really you, you troublemaker of Israel?”
All Elijah’s done is proclaim the true word of God, but God’s enemies despise him for his prophetic ministry.
So Elijah responds, verse 18, saying, “I have made no trouble for Israel. You and your family are the troublemakers, for you have refused to obey the commands of the LORD and have worshiped the images of Baal instead.”
And so he commands Ahab, verse 19, to “summon all Israel to join me at Mount Carmel, along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah who are supported by Jezebel.”
There’s going to be a showdown!
Then when they’ve gathered, Elijah challenges them, verse 21, saying, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!”
Everyone had to make the same decision that we all must make today: will you follow the Lord?
Then, outnumbered 450 to one, Elijah instructs the people to bring two bulls, verse 23, one to sacrifice to the Lord, and one to sacrifice to Baal.
Then he tells them, verse 24, to “call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by setting fire to the wood is the true God!”
The prophets of Baal constantly shouted to their god, but nothing happened, and so, verse 27, “Elijah began mocking them.
“You’ll have to shout louder,” he scoffed, “for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!”
The prophets of Baal were sincere in their beliefs, but they were sincerely wrong.
So Elijah prayed a powerful prayer in verses 36 and 37, and then, verses 38 and 39: “Immediately the fire of the LORD flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The LORD—he is God! Yes, the LORD is God!””
The Lord won, and Baal lost… big time!
And so Elijah orders the execution of all the false prophets who rejected the Lord.
This punishment is what awaits all people who reject the Lord Jesus throughout their entire life, and are found to be his enemies when he judges the living and the dead.
Well, after the repentance and judgement, the clouds arrive, and the rain poured down, cats and dogs!
The Lord won and Baal lost.
Like the empty tomb of Easter, the enemies of God were defeated, and the followers of the true king celebrate the salvation with great joy.
Be exalted, Lord, above the heavens, and let your glory cover the earth. Keep our nations under your care, and guide us in justice and truth. Let your way be known on earth, and your saving power among all nations. Send out your light and your truth so that we may tell of your saving works. Hear our prayers, O Lord, for we put our trust in you. Amen. (AAPB, p.41-42).
Pray with us today's prayer request:
The Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) is a growing Convocation of Anglican churches in England committed to church planting. Their vision is to have 25 congregations by 2025 and 250 congregations by 2050. Pray for the planned church plant in the Isle of Thanet (east Kent). They have a minister, a venue, a core group, and a vision. They aim to start in September this year. Please pray for the Lord's continuing provision and blessing.
To access daily prayer requests click here: