Focal Passages: 1 Kings
There comes a time in life
when fundamental choices must be made before anything else can be done.
You decide who you’re going
to marry then begin a covenant life. You say “Yes” to a job offer then begin
You tell your family what
God you will worship then order your lives accordingly.
Elijah has earned the
reputation as a “troubler” of Israel, because he has confronted King Ahab and
Queen Jezebel about the nation’s fundamental allegiance.
He has affirmed that Yahweh
is the only true God and Baal is not.
He has claimed that Yahweh
is the instigator of the multi-year drought because Yahweh, not Baal, is in
control of all that sustains life. Confrontation has come to a head.
These fundamental opposing
worldviews are going to collide. The collision is going to happen at Mount
Elijah singularly takes on
850 prophets of Baal and Asherah. The odds seem overwhelming, but this isn’t a
battle between prophets.
It’s a battle between Gods.
It’s a battle between
Yahweh, the one and only true God and Baal/Asherah, false gods that don’t
exist. So the outcome is never in doubt.
That’s why Elijah can taunt
his opposing prophets when their god doesn’t send fire down on their sacrifice.
It’s not that he is hard of
hearing, on a trip, or perhaps gone to the bathroom (a possible euphemism
derived from the word translated “busy”). Baal can’t answer because Baal
Then Elijah calls on Yahweh
who answers with fire.
The fire is so ferocious it
consumes not only the meat on the altar, but the very stones, water, and dirt
surrounding the altar. God makes it clear that He has no legitimate rivals.
But that doesn’t mean other
gods receive no worship. Ahab and Jezebel wanted to worship both Baal and
Yahweh, you know, cover all the bases, “Just in case.”
We may not identify with
these wicked Old Testament characters, but do we allow little league baseball
to compete with our worship of God? What about soccer for the kids? Leisure for
I had a man in my church
whose daughter got married on Saturday. A friend invited him to go fishing on
He went and had the best
time of his life. But he never went fishing on Sunday again. I asked him,
“Why?” He said, “I figured I was confronted with the god of pleasure or the God
of creation. And I chose not to serve the god of pleasure.” And for the rest of
his life, he kept that promise.
Who is your God?