Lent 2022 Day 24
Tue 29 Mar
1 Kings 17:1 Elijah
Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”
1 Kings 18:1, 18-22
1 After a long time, in the third year, the word of the Lord came to Elijah: “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” 2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab.
16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”
18 “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. 19 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.”
20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 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.
Elijah was a bit of a moody prophet (read what he did after this episode above), though possibly not as moody as Jeremiah, but God worked powerfully through him. Elijah was a prophet when Ahab was king in the Northern Kingdom. Ahab was bad, but his wife was worse. She’d do anything to stamp out resistance to her religion. She’d had large numbers of the Lord’s prophets murdered.
God had warned that there would be a serious drought. And now Elijah is going to have a showdown with Ahab. Jezebel had 800 false prophets, all deriving a living from making up lies or divining nonsense. They were essentially a vanity resource, there to say what she wanted to hear, and that is why the Lord’s prophets had met an early end.
Elijah knew that there was only one outcome to his invitation to Ahab, and all of Israel would get to hear about if they weren’t already there on Mount Carmel. The stakes could not be higher for completing the task that Elijah had set – to have fire descend from heaven. I leave you to read the rest of the chapter for yourselves. I’ll just pick out Elijah’s words – compare them with the prolonged antics and disgusting practices of the prophets of Baal as they attempt to conjure fire from heaven:
‘O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your bidding. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.’
What is God looking for in a prophet?
How complex do our prayers and petitions to God need to be?
How intensely should we pray our prayers?
Why did Elijah win?
Father God, I do not have to prove you to others by being a showman, but I can rely entirely on you for your guidance and wisdom. You have grown me and taught me and I can share with others the reality of your life in me. Just give me courage. Amen.