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Elijah 8. Mount Carmel – 1 Kings 18:20-40


Elijah 8. Mount Carmel

Text: 1 Kings 18:20-40

God demands first place, he demands prime allegiance. Isn’t it interesting that the Bible records that the people said nothing. That’s a choice that people really don’t want to make.  Elijah’s demand is the demand of the whole Bible and the demand of God in every age.  So, let the battle commence!  Let us see who is the true God…

1. The Arena is Prepared!  V22-24

a)      The Fiery Gauntlet!  The first thing that Elijah does, is to determine the method by which we shall see which God is the real God.  Here it is, the God who answers by fire, He is God.”  So all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken.”  Baal wasn’t just one god, he was a multiplicity of little gods so he could be what you wanted him to be.  He was not just the storm god, (Baal Hadad) he was the fire god too!  Surely Baal would be able to do something so simple as to burn up a dead cow. But compare Hebrews 12:29 (SINCERITY IS NO GUARANTEE OF CHRISTIANITY!  Remember that it’s THE TRUTH THAT SETS YOU FREE.)

b)      The Sacrificial Offering! 2 bulls.  If you are going to take a stand for the Lord, there will be a cost.  This would be a costly dispute, and a costly victory, but always remember that anything that you do for the Lord, if it is to be blessed by him, will need to be SACRIFICIAL.  God blesses sacrificial giving.  God blesses sacrificial service.

So, it’s a very straightforward battle ground.  You have your sacrificial animal and we’ll have ours, and we’ll each call upon our god, and the god who sends down the fire, and burns up the sacrifice must be the one who is real.


2. Round One – The Prophets of Baal! V25-29

Be aware of the sincerity and the fervour of the prophets of Baal, as they conducted their act of worship, and as they prayed to their false god.  See:-

  • Elijah taunts the Baal-worshippersAnd so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.”
  • The Clergy’s worship intensifies!  Look at their response!  They began to offer THEMSELVES – by cutting themselves.  So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them.  And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid

You can’t doubt their commitment, their zeal, their fervour, their sincerity.  But all of those fine human qualities are totally wasted upon a false god.


3. Round Two – Elijah and Jehovah! V30-37

Now there are some very important steps that Elijah takes in preparation for what must happen.  Let’s see them:-

1)       Elijah Calls upon the People.  ‘Draw near.’  Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.”  So all the people came near to him. That’s the start of true worship isn’t it?  Here’s what James said, Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. James 4:8

2)       Repair the Altar! Restore true worship! The altar was broken and disused.  It must be repaired, for God always demands that our worship of him be done his way.

3)       Remember God’s Covenant Faithfulness! And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.”

4)       Reverence God’s Name! Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD. 

5)       Trust wholly upon God!  There had to be no way that this could be of man.  So look at what Elijah did. and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.” 34 Then he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time; and he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. 35 So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.  Where did he get the water in the midst of a drought?

6)       Pray!  Look at Elijah’s prayer…  And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. 37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”  Just a very simple, heartfelt prayer.  And God heard his prayer!  All that God really wants to hear is the expression of your heart’s desire!

So Elijah prays, and as usual, God hears his prayer!


4. Victory is Declared!

Now, Jehovah’s victory is declared in three ways:-

  • He Answers Elijah’s Prayer! Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench  You see when God chooses to reveal his might and his power, he does so in an awesome way!
  • The People are Truly Convinced!.  Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!”

God’s Enemies are Destroyed! And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.  Remember please what kind of religion these priests and false prophets promoted, terrible sexual malpractice, child sacrifice, these people were a cancer in Israel’s society, and a cancer must be cut out!  Does God still terminate his enemies in this fashion?  Spiritually and eternally, yes he does, for the wages of sin is death!

Robert K McEvoy, Ballymacashon Congregational Church.

From → 1st & 2nd Kings

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