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Facing Baal on Mount Carmel Facing Baal on Mount Carmel

Facing Baal on Mount Carmel

Devotions

The hymn writer Isaac Watts wrote these classic lyrics:

“I sing the mighty power of God that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at his command and all the stars obey.”

There is only one true God, the Creator of all. Despite their special covenant relationship with Him, the Israelites had forsaken Him and worshiped Baal and Asherah instead. So the prophet Elijah called for a showdown on Mount Carmel, a high ridge next to the Mediterranean Sea, near the modern city of Haifa.

On the surface, it appears that the enemies in this challenge were the false gods and their priests as well as the evil rulers of Israel, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. They even served the priests of Baal at their own royal table! But beneath the surface, the Israelites themselves were part of the problem. When given the opportunity, they remained silent, refusing to choose their faithful covenant God (v. 21). So the real challenge was to win back the hearts and worship of the people of Israel (vv. 36–37).

Elijah was focused on this outcome (vv. 38–39). He prompted the people. He taunted the priests of Baal and Asherah and mocked these so-called gods themselves. He made a point of increasing the degree of difficulty by pouring water all over the altar of the Lord. He had no doubt that God would answer his prayer and humiliate the idolaters.

Like the Valley of Elah, Mount Carmel shows us that the faith of a David or an Elijah is a sure thing, not a long shot. God can win any victory against any odds for the honor of His name!

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BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Bradley Baurain is Professor and Program Head of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at Moody Bible Institute. Bradley has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has just published his first book, On Waiting Well. Bradley taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Bradley and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Northwest Indiana.

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