Daily Reading: 1 Kings 18:20-24:
“So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing. Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the Lord’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”
Elijah said let’s tilt the odds: 850 prophets of false gods representing the false religion of the day versus one prophet of God (1 Kings 18:19).
What’s the point in serving a statue, an idol? What a waste of time to worship anything other than the True God.
The word waver (pacach) it means to limp.
Why use the word “limp,” or “hobble around” in verse 21?
“How long will you go limping or hobbling, like you’re lame?” That word occurs again in verse 26b when the prophets of Baal are desperate trying to get their god to answer them: “‘O Baal, answer us!’ But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped [they hobbled] around the altar that they had made.” I don’t think those two uses of the word limp or hobble are an accident. If you try to get your meaning, your worth, your fire from anything but the true God, you will be lame all your life.
The odds would seemingly get worse for Elijah and the God of the Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now besides the disparity in the number of prophets.
- Dry wood versus soaked wood.
- A dry bull to light versus a soaked bull.
- No trench of water versus a full trench of water.
God loves to be at what man would label a disadvantage just before He wins. Think of Joseph in prison just before he rules Egypt. Think of Gideon with his three hundred just before he defeats the Midianite hordes. Think of Jesus on the cross.
The point is the circumstances testify without a shadow of doubt that the fire is a work of God and it is done to turn people’s hearts unto Him.
In every generation, among Jews and Gentiles — there is a remnant chosen by grace. God turns hearts to himself by grace, and God keeps hearts for himself by grace (1 Kings 18:37). It is a miracle to behold. A sight to see. I know people think how cool that must have been to see fire sent by heaven. This isn’t a one-time deal as I have witnessed fire from heaven and I know I am not alone. Remember the point of the story is that God is Lord. That He is the One who captures the people’s hearts. The fire I have seen come down from heaven is when a person who is as cool and wet as the wood in this story hears the message of the Gospel and the fire from heaven the Holy Spirit, ignites their hearts to see who the true God is as they receive Jesus Christ the Savior the very grace of God.