July 20, 2016
1 Kings 18-Part 2
LET IT GLOW
I still like watching westerns on tv, as I did when I was a kid. Many a time there was a showdown, or a shoot out, in the middle of the streets of town, to prove which man was the best. Seems like we have one here today in our study, although it is not with guns.
Elijah sent King Ahab's servant, Obadiah, to meet with him and settle this. Three and one half years of drought and famine in Israel was blamed on Elijah, according to Ahab. (Evil kings hated God's prophets because they spoke against sin and idolatry and undermined their control over the people. Elijah wasn't going to stand for that and told the truth-Ahab and his family had disobeyed God's commands and worshiped the images of Baal instead. (That was the reason for the drought, it was God's judgment on Israel.)
Elijah told Ahab to summon all Israel to join him at Mt. Carmel, along with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, were supported by Jezebel.
The MacArthur Bible Commentary explains:
Mt. Carmel was on the Carmel range of mountains, rising to 1,800 at its highest point, extends about 30 miles to the southeast from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea into the south of the Jezreel Valley. A series of rounded peaks and valleys, it became a symbol of beauty and fruitfulness because of its lush tree cover (Song 7:5; Is. 35:2). It is not known at exactly what point along this ridge the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal took place. The queen cared for 850 false prophets who were associated with her.
What do we do when the challenging of our faith is issued? Do we surrender all to God or try to work it out self?
Mt. Carmel was of significance to both worshipers of Yahweh and Baal.
"What better place to decide who is God, what prophets tell the truth, and which leaders benefit or harm the people," Paul House observed.
By the way, the 400 prophets of Asherah did not show up at the showdown.
LET IT GROW
When they met, Elijah issued the challenge:
How long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. (verse 21)
Halting between two opinions literally means along on or between two twigs. Israel had not totally rejected the Lord, but was seeking to combine worship of Him with Baal. The issue posed by Elijah was that Israel had to choose who was God, the Lord or Baal, and then serve God wholeheartedly. Rather than decide by his message, Elijah sought a visible sign from heaven. (MacArthur)
This is reminiscent of Joshua's challenge to Israel, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve." (Joshua 24:15) Baalism would accommodate other gods, but Jehovah demanded total and uncompromising loyalty and worship. For all practical purposes, Elijah stood alone as God's spokesman because the hundred prophets hidden away by Obadiah were inactive.(Falwell)
Why did so many people waver between the two choices? Maybe hey enjoyed the sinful pleasures, or the benefits of following the king into idolatry.
It is important to take a stand for the Lord, if we just drift along with whatever is pleasant and easy, we will someday discover that we have been worshiping a false god-ourselves. (Life Application Study Bible)
LET IT GO
Let god be God and follow Him.
Serve God wholeheartedly.