1 Kings 18

God tells Elijah to “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain upon the earth”.  Remember that Elijah has been on the run from Ahab since he made the prediction of no rain for three years.  But God is ready for a showdown with the gods of Baal and it’s time for Elijah to come back.  Ahab had a servant named Obadiah who was over the household.  Things were grim and the food is running short.  As Elijah comes to find Ahab, he runs into Obadiah instead. Obadiah was a God fearing man and had hid 100 prophets when Ahab had them all killed.  As he meets Elijah he says “I your servant have feared the Lord from my youth”.  Elijah convinces Obadiah to go find Ahab so they can meet.

When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, Is it you, you troubler of Israel”?  Ahab blamed Elijah for the problems they had been experiencing.  But Elijah heard enough of that blame game, and turns the tables on Ahab.  Then he asks Ahab to “gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah”.  It is the showdown at Mt Carmel – where the gods of Baal will meet up with the God of Elijah.  The challenge is laid out: “If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him”.  Ahab assembles the 850 priests and prophets and the battle is on.

Elijah lets the prophets of Baal go first.  They prepare an altar and place a bull on it and call for their God to come.  After a long time of no action, Elijah begins to taunt them saying “Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened”.  But of course nothing happened – “No one answered; no one paid attention”. Then it was Elijah’s turn and he rebuilt the altar of the Lord and made a trench around it.  Then he told the people to “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt offering and on the wood….Do it a second time….Do it a third time….the water ran around the altar and filled the trench”.  There would be no question whether God showed up or not.

So Elijah prayed and “the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench”.  God didn’t just show up – He came in a mighty way.  That was the end of the prophets of Baal.  “Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon and slaughtered them there”.  Elijah heads up Mount Carmel with his servant and prays.  And after the servant goes and looks to see what is happening, a cloud began to form and the rains were coming.  “The hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel”.

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