While we might not witness outright idol worship in modern society, we do see people put their faith in unusual sources. Superstition haunts the sporting world. An athlete might wear the same hat or even the same pair of socks, hoping to ensure a winning streak. But is this trust warranted?
Today’s reading in 1 Kings 18 marks a high point of the book: a confrontation between God and His people. The confrontation is not between Elijah and Ahab, or even Elijah and the prophets of Baal, but between Yahweh and His people.
Elijah is the focal point, but his message is from God. “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; if Baal is God, follow him,” the prophet asks (v. 21). The site is a mountain range east of Samaria, likely a high place for Baal worship. Here, Elijah threw down the challenge: You call for Baal and I’ll call upon Yahweh, whoever answers by fire is God!
The prophets of Baal went first. After hours of praying, crying out, and ritual cutting, nothing. No fire, no voice, nothing. Elijah took his turn and after preparing an altar and sacrifice in the acceptable manner, he doused everything in water. Then he prayed. “Answer me, LORD, so these people may know that you, LORD, are God and that you are turning their hearts back again” (v. 37).
In response, the fire of the Lord fell. The people were answered, and God’s power was clearly demonstrated. Even during this time of great suffering, God never abandoned His people. He used punishment to soften their hearts and appeared to them in indisputable ways.
>> Today, we have front-row seats to the heart of a loving God drawing His people back to Himself. The confrontation was dramatic. The people acknowledged the authority of God—but would they continue to listen? How about us? Faced with the reality of God, are we ready to listen and to obey?
Great is Your name, God, and greatly to be praised! There is no greater reason to exist and to rejoice than knowing who You are. Holiness, power, and justice are Yours. May You be worshiped throughout the earth!