Elijah let the 850 false prophets have the entire day to beg a response from their nonexistent god. Then “he repaired the altar of the Lord” (I Kings 18:30b, NLT) and “dug a trench around the altar large enough to hold about three gallons. He piled wood on the altar, cut the bull into pieces, and laid the pieces on the wood” (I Kings 18:32b-33a).
In the midst of a horrible drought, Elijah poured twelve big jars of water onto the altar so that “the water ran around the altar and even filled the trench” (I Kings 18:35) that Elijah had dug around it. Then what?
“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. 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” (I Kings 18:36-37).
“At the usual time.” I love how casual the word “usual” makes this sound. What Elijah was asking God to do didn’t require so much as an effort on the Lord’s part.
“Immediately 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! 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!’” (I Kings 18:38-39).
Seeing “the fire of the Lord,” the people fell down in awe. Beloved, we miss out on so much of what God wants to do in us, for us and through us. Why? Because we allow the enemy to sidetrack us. What was business as “usual” to the faithful man of God, Elijah, was a total shock to those who had turned away from Him.
“They fell face down… and cried out.” Positioning, folks – internally and externally – is critical to experiencing God’s power. Displays of God’s might aren’t rare – it’s our blindness to what He’s doing that makes us think they are. Like driving away from the scene of a beautiful sunset, it’s impossible to see what we’ve turned our backs on.
“Then Elijah commanded, ‘Seize all the prophets of Baal. Don’t let a single one escape!’ So the people seized them all, and Elijah took them down to the Kishon Valley and killed them there” (I Kings 18:40).
“The people seized them all.” It took a lot of manpower to round up 850 false prophets who were no doubt already scrambling to get away. Yet there was no problem corralling all of them. One servant of God obediently followed the Lord’s instructions and the result was an entire nation turning in repentance.
Never doubt what the Lord can do through one committed believer. You’ve been strategically placed to serve Him. Be faithful.
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” (Helen Keller)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates