We’re talking about how God is real, and maybe you know this or maybe you’re still wondering… either way, you are welcome. It’s one of the reasons I love opening God’s Word because I’m reminded of how faithful He is to His people. Whether they were the people who lived in Bible times like Elijah [we’re going to read one of his stories today], or you right now living in 2023, wondering and waiting for him to show up.
So, join me in 1 Kings chapter 18, and get ready for a big standoff that’s about to happen… and God is about to show up!
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Once there was an evil king and queen who reigned over northern Israel. Ahab was an Israelite, but he married Jezebel, a princess of Sidon, and she drew Ahab away from the one true God, and introduced him to her god, Baal. Now, there were many prophets in the land who believed that Baal was God. Only one prophet left for the one true God. And that’s the story we’re going to dive into today on the Bible for Busy People. My name is Erica and I’m so glad you’re here. We’re talking about how God is real, and maybe you know this or maybe you’re still wondering. Either way, you are welcome. It’s one of the reasons I love opening God’s Word because I’m reminded of how faithful he is to his people. Whether they were the people who lived in Bible times like Elijah [we’re going to read one of his stories today], or you right now living in 2023, wondering and waiting for him to show up. So, join me, won’t you, in 1 Kings chapter 18, beginning in verse 20, because there’s a big standoff that’s about to happen and God is about to show up.
So Ahab summoned all the people of Israel and the prophets to Mount Carmel. 21 Then Elijah…
The one prophet left for the one true God
…stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent. 22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only prophet of the Lord who is left, but Baal has 450 prophets. 23 Now bring two bulls. The prophets of Baal may choose whichever one they wish and cut it into pieces and lay it on the wood of their altar, but without setting fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood on the altar, but not set fire to it. 24 Then call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord.
Gives me the good goosebumps there because there is only one true God and one worthy wonderful Lord. Okay.
The god who answers by setting fire to the wood is the true God!” And all the people agreed. 25 Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “You go first, for there are many of you. Choose one of the bulls, and prepare it and call on the name of your god. But do not set fire to the wood.” 26 So they prepared one of the bulls and placed it on the altar. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning until noontime, shouting, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no reply of any kind. Then they danced, hobbling around the altar they had made. 27 About noontime Elijah began mocking them. “You’ll have to shout louder,” he scoffed, “for surely he is a god! Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!” 28 So they shouted louder, and following their normal custom, they cut themselves with knives and swords until the blood gushed out. 29 They raved all afternoon until the time of the evening sacrifice, but still there was no sound, no reply, no response. 30 Then Elijah called to the people, “Come over here!” They all crowded around him as he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been torn down. 31 He took twelve stones, one to represent each of the tribes of Israel, 32 and he used the stones to rebuild the altar in the name of the Lord. Then…
he dug a trench around the altar large enough to hold about three gallons. 33 He piled wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces, and laid the pieces on the wood. Then he said, “Fill four large jars with water, and pour the water over the offering and the wood.” 34 After they had done this, he said, “Do the same thing again!” And when they were finished, he said, “Now do it a third time!” So they did as he said, 35 and the water ran around the altar and even filled the trench.
Just want to pitch a quick tent here for one second and say, look at how Elijah trusted the Lord to show up. You can pour water on your altar right now, on your faith, as you believe for God to show up in your life and you watch him send the fire. You watch what happens. Verse 36, now.
At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. 37 O Lord, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.” 38 Immediately…
Please notice the word immediately. I think it’s important.
…the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up all the water in the trench! 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The Lord—he is God! Yes, the Lord is God!”
Isn’t that incredible? God proved himself. He showed up when Elijah called on him, and I want you to know today, if you don’t yet know the Lord Jesus personally, he will show up in your heart if you call on his name. The apostle Paul writes in Romans chapter 10, beginning in verse nine.
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” 12 Jew and Gentile[b] are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Just as Elijah was not disgraced when he called upon the Lord in front of a great group of people in which he was vastly outnumbered, they all worshiped Baal. The false god. God did not disgrace him. God showed up and he will show and he will show up when you call upon him, whether it’s the first time and you invite him into your heart to forgive your sins, or the millionth time. When you ask him for help, he will show up when you call on his name, the name of Jesus, for you are so loved.
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