The 850 false prophets have worn themselves out trying to drum up a response from their nonexistent god. The Real God’s prophet Elijah has enjoyed their antics so much that he’s ribbing these guys with suggestions like perhaps ol’ Baal doesn’t answer because he’s taking a potty break or gone on vacation. This spurs the false prophets to go even wilder.
“So they shouted louder, and following their normal custom, they cut themselves with knives and swords until the blood gushed out. They raved all afternoon until the time of the evening sacrifice, but still there was no sound, no reply, no response” (I Kings 18:28-29, NLT).
Elijah had given them the entire day to put on their worthless performance. Now “Elijah called to the people, ‘Come over here!’ They all crowded around him as he repaired the altar of the Lord that had been torn down. He took twelve stones, one to represent each of the tribes of Israel, and he used the stones to rebuild the altar in the name of the Lord” (I Kings 18:30-32a).
Elijah took the time to rebuild “the altar of the Lord that had been torn down” and he did so “in the name of the Lord.” There’s a gigantic truth here, folks; don’t miss it. Elijah wanted to start on the right foundation. If there’s a broken relationship in your life and that relationship was started on the right foundation, then it doesn’t matter how much it’s been torn down. It can still be repaired “in the name of the Lord.”
Similarly, a person can go through all the motions of worshiping God, but it’s all for naught unless the foundation has first been laid, and that means having received salvation through the confession of one’s sins and a personal commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.
So Elijah rebuilt the altar. “Then he 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. Then he said, ‘Fill four large jars with water, and pour the water over the offering and the wood’” (I Kings 18:32b-33).
There was a severe drought and yet Elijah called for “four large jars of water” to be poured out “over the offering and the wood.” Nothing could have been more treasured at such a time. That water became a part of Elijah’s offering as much as the bull. Never forget, child of God, when we entrust to the Lord that which is most precious to us, we open ourselves up for tremendous blessing.
So they pour on the four jars of water. “After they had done this, he said, ‘Do the same thing again!’ And when they were finished, he said, ‘Now do it a third time!’ So they did as he said, and the water ran around the altar and even filled the trench” (I Kings 18:34-35).
Twelve “large jars of water” poured on the altar of the Lord in the midst of a horrible drought. Faith, brothers and sisters. Every ounce; every precious drop was a symbol of faith.
Is your giving to your church the first thing that gets cut when your finances are in a drought? When you’re going through a rough time emotionally or physically, is it your worship that dries up? Child of God, every penny you trust Him with, especially in the hardest of times, is a precious drop of faith that He will sustain you. And the same can be said of every tear you cry in prayer to your Father who loves you.
“Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.” (Henry Ward Beecher)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates