“And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah, the prophet, came near and said, ‘Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and of Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and that I have done all these things at Your Word.  Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God and that You have turned their heart back again’.”

I Kings 18:36-37

Focus and faithfulness (God’s and ours) always ensure success.

He was greatly outnumbered.  850 false prophets against lowly Elijah (I Kings 18:19).  But, Elijah was not into calculating the “odds;” he simply stayed focused upon God.

When King Ahab’s charged Obadiah, the overseer of his household (v.3), with finding water and food for his livestock (vv.4-6), the faithful servant of the Lord God (vv.3b, 12b), encountered Elijah along the way (v.7).

When the fiery prophet told him to go tell the wicked king of his presence (v.8), Obadiah grew fearful—for he knew Ahab had been looking for this one who’d been preaching against him (vv.9-14).  But, Elijah assured him that all would be well—and Obadiah responded in faith (vv.15-16).  How blessed we are (and God, too) when faith drives out fear!

That was certainly needed when Elijah threw down the gauntlet at Ahab’s feet and challenged his pagan prophets to a duel atop Mt. Carmel (vv.17-20).  He didn’t mince any words when he cried “How long will you halt (Heb. ‘pacach’—‘skip over, hesitate, limp, pass over, etc.’) between two opinions?  If the Lord be God, follow Him; but, if Baal, then follow him” (v.21a).  And, interestingly, “the people answered him not a word” (v.21b).

Such is always the case, dear Pilgrim, when double-mindedness and indecisiveness—which are rooted in faithless disobedience—reign in one’s heart.

But, when implicit faith. . .which is rooted in Who God is and what He has promised (Heb. 11:6) are the order of the day. . .there is “Holy Boldness” that faces “insurmountable odds” unafraid.  Hallelujah!!

And, face them that way did Elijah.

Each side chose one bullock and prepared it for their “showdown at O.K. Corral.”  The prophets of Baal and the groves went first and cried unto their god all day long (vv.23-29).  They even “leaped upon the altar and cut themselves with knives until the blood gushed out” (vv.26-28)—but nothing happened.  Elijah even mocked them by saying “Perhaps your god is talking with someone or busy or on a trip; or maybe he’s taking a nap” (v.27).

But, he knew what was going on.  A false god is “no” god—and never should be feared or trusted.  We should always trust the one, true-and-living God and expect Him to move in miraculous ways in a time of testing.  And, that’s exactly what Elijah did that evening when it was his turn to call down fire from Heaven (vv.30-37).  We shouldn’t be surprised that “the fire fell” (v.38) and the people confessed “The Lord, He is the God; He is the God” (v.39).  Bold faith always incites faith in others.  May we live with that type of faith today in all situations.

June 6, 2011